Bandai’s 1/72 Destroid Spartan: Modulation In All Things

Sometimes I’ll be happily strolling along, working on my model, generally focusing on a simple plan for the finish. (Because I’m a simple guy! 🙂 ) But every now and again, I’ll see something on the interwebs of the world wide net that causes me to stop and think. And that thought is usually “Hmmm…. this appears to be a perfectly valid way to potentially screw this project up!”

I’d been watching some videos posted on Youtube from BuyPainted and Adam Wilder. They both demonstrated painting various models using color modulation. And though I’ve tried it before with several models, and with very limited success, I thought (for some reason) this might be a great opportunity to try it again.

For those who don’t know, “color modulation” is a paint process by which you make rivet counters very angry. It seeks to exaggerate lighting effects through shaded gradients of paints, and these gradients will help define parts of the model, especially when later weathering steps are applied. While it is most often associated with armor modeling, many aircraft modelers pull from this method. Much of the “Spanish school” of modeling draws from this technique, though the two are not synonyms. However, BOTH do a wonderful job of irritating the Rivet Counting Department of Idiots Preventing Modeling Sanity, so, in my mind, both are worthy of experimentation. 😀

But I digress…

In looking at the surfaces of this model, I thought trying some modulation would be a great way to horribly screw it up experiment with the technique a bit. So throwing caution and reason to the wind, I decided to modulate it!

(But only after painting and masking the white and red… so… yeah….)

I started with a base of of Tamiya XF-26 Deep Green. I wanted to stick as closely as possible with canon colors, so after some careful examination of the anime in which this mecha appears, I chose the XF-26 color, as it was the closest within my reach at my airbrush station. This is a method I have used many times in the past, and it works well.

After applying a coat of XF-26, I then lightened it up a bit by adding some Tamiya XF-4 Yellow Green to the color cup. I like to use this to make green colors lighter, because it isn’t quite as bright as yellow. I began to spray this lightened color over the model, focusing more on the surfaces exposed to light, and not in the shadow areas. I continued adding the XF-4 to the color cup, progressively lightening areas in a way that (hopefully) would accentuate where the light would fall. Finally, with the color in the cup now a very light green, I added some Tamiya XF-3 Flat Yellow in for a final, somewhat obnoxious highlight. In this regard I think I was particularly successful. (The obnoxious part…)

Overall, I was reasonably happy with the result. It did a great job of simulating how light would fall on a plastic model built by a middle aged man trying out techniques he really doesn’t understand.

The next step was to add a “filter”. A filter is a method of applying a very highly thinned oil or enamel color over the top of the model to “unify” things in such a manner as to not be really visible, as various folks have described it on the the Tubes of You. (Though I may be mistaken about the details, as the specifics are a bit of a mystery. Though as a sales tool, it does move products!)  I decided to go with a somewhat reddish-brown color, using Ammo of Mig Panel Line Wash DON’T FORGET TO INSERT COLOR AND STOCK NUMBER HERE, thinned with odorless thinner. I applied the filter, and felt it was a great success, because I saw no change at all, so I am quite sure that is what “subtle” means.

(OK, kidding aside, it was a bit invisible at first, but I added more color to it, and it did make a nice difference in the end.)

With the modulatings and filtrations completed, I set the model aside to dry.

I do think the modulation method looks kinda cool, if done well. I certainly don’t think I am at the “done well” stage, but it is intriguing enough I will be continuing to experiment with it on future builds.

Next up for the Destroid Spartan- more weathering! Particularly focusing on things I’ve not done before, and will likely blow up the model in the process.

But I like it. It’s the “hey y’all, watch this” approach to modeling. Just my style. 🙂

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