Thing Watch Stand
I worked on this project for about a month approaching and over Christmas 2019. My eldest son was going to get my wifes old Apple Watch and needed somewhere to charge it. Clearly a spooky “Thing” stand should do the job.
The printing of this project was surprisingly straight forward but as you can appreciate the task of painting the hand was going to be the challenge here.
I would like to thank MikeVR for posting the STL file for the hand on Thingivers. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2687241
This model printed out so easily in PLA and required no support material.
The raw hand was first attached to a screwdriver through the hole in the bottom of the palm, padding out the screwdriver with Duck tape. This allowed me to easily work on the piece without touching it and could clamp it in my vice while it dried between coats.
I didn’t perform any sanding to achieve a perfectly smooth surface as to be honest I wasn’t expecting the end outcome to be that good. I was intending to use the piece to play with airbrush painting initially. This is also why I don’t have many pictures of the process.
A couple of filler primer layers from a normal spray can were the first layers to be applied, this helps to smooth out the print and give the paint something to bond to.
I’m still learning to airbrush so this project was going to push my airbrushing skills. I had purchased a cheap airbrush kit some time ago from amazon and not really used it in anger yet, already having a small garage compressor the expense of a compressor wasn’t an issue for me but I did have to purchase a better regulator to drop the air pressure down.
I had researched many airbrushing videos on YouTube and a lot gave tips and tricks to reduce costs on paints and thinners, some I found worked others not so much.
A lot of airbrush paints are really expensive for such small amount of paint and I did find that I could use normal acrylic paints however these have to be properly thinned down before use.
I did try using window cleaner as a thinner (YouTube advice). While it did work it proved inconsistent and had long drying times compared to the proper thinners so this is an area I advise not to skimp on, buy proper thinners.
Top Tip – Add the thinners to the cup of the airbrush before the paint, and try to mix in the paint in the side of the cup, not down the bottom where the feed hole is as this will invariably block our airbrush. Even better gets some small jars and mix away from the airbrush.
Very early on with paining I learnt that the majority of colors can be obtained from mixing red, blue and yellow together.
I found this website a great help to get my initial colours https://www.wikihow.com/Create-Realistic-Flesh-Tones The first colour mixed is the lightest skin tone required, see the image of the small pot above.
Top Tip – If you have over lightened or darkened a paint mix never ever mix in black or white. This is the quickest way to achieve a muddy grey. Always start mixing back in some of the initial colours.
The first few layers applied were this lightest skin tone, I had made a good sized pot of this base colour as all subsequent layers to be applied to the hand are all mixed from this base colour.
I was tempted so often to test if the paint was dry with my finger, much cursing has ensued after I have dabbed my finger on to see if its dry. The outcome is either an uneven splodge in you lovely paint finish or a mucky blob from your finger – don’t do it, just wait until your sure its dry!
Always allow your last layer of paint to completely dry before applying the next. Don’t be tempted to touch it, just make sure you have left enough time for it to dry. Rushing this will spoil the layers below.
Mixing in burnt umber to gradually darken the tone I applied different layers of colour to the areas where I thought it was required by looking at my own hand for reference.
I probably applied about 8 different passes of different shades and very soon the hand got to a point where my expectations for this project were more than passed considering my complete lack of skills.
I added these before completing all the skin tone applications. By mixing a small amount of a very dark tone and with an old toothbrush flicked them onto the hand. I found that by keeping the brush a good distance away and not rushing gave the correct effect and applied a light covering with a variety of dark tones.
Subsequent light airbrushed layers of skin tone then blend the freckles in to give the overall effect.
Always practice applications like this on a scrap of paper or card before attempting on your project.
Knuckles and Fingertips
These were a challenge of my nerves, the hand looked so much better than expected and I had to mix in a good portion of red paint into some of the base mix to achieve the slightly reddish appearance of these parts of the hand. After making sure the airbrush wasn’t spluttering paint, I got the nerves together to apply the paint, slowly building it up with very light passes to the required areas.
I did think about applying some blue veins onto the hand but my nerve got the better of me, I didn’t want to spoil it now.
Cuticles and Fingernails
Hand painted on. Mixing a lot of white to the initial base colour to achieve the correct level.
Once fully dry two thin coats of Matt sealer completed the project.
I’m really pleased with how this project finished. Its encouraged me to continue with projects that demand a level of paint detailing. I’m no artist probably the furthest you can get from being one. So the result is all the more pleasing for me.
My cheap and cheerful airbrush performed really well, the only issues being slight splodging every now and then but this could have been my skills in control or how I had mixed the paints.
After I get a bit more practice and work a few things out further I may do a post on Airbrushing, the techniques that work for me and the equipment I use.
I’m tempted with a more professional airbrush but the costs are high for what I’m probably capable of. The Iwata Eclipse range are quite often raved about on YouTube – one for the future maybe.