As I mention in my previous post, when it comes to painting I much prefer those models where I can simply block paint in single colours. I can add a little detail with dry brushing, but I'm not particularly good at mixing paints to achieve a natural look; one of my main problems is choosing the right paints to start with. Given that most of the wagon is bare wood I knew I would need something slightly more convincing than the wooden floor I achieved on the workman's coach, so I went on a hunt for some wood coloured paints.
My local model shop stocks Humbrol, Tamiya, and Model Color paints, but out of all three ranges they only had one Model Color paint that contained the word wood; Natural Wood 70.834. Obviously I bought this one, although I also picked up some dark sand, brown sand, and khaki as a tutorial I'd read recently suggested these colours could be used to represent wood. Looking at all four bottles I wasn't convinced any of them were really wood coloured.
My first impression of all the paints wasn't encouraging, but I did notice that the natural wood appeared to be fairly transparent, and in fact a quick web search shows a number of shops where it is labelled as transparent even though the label on the bottle makes no mention of this. Given it's transparent nature I wasn't particularly convinced by it, especially as it would require quite a lot to cover a surface. A bit of experimentation though showed that I could get some interesting effects depending upon what paint I applied under it. After playing around for a while I came up with the following really simple approach to painting the wood and while it probably isn't particularly novel I think it is worth documenting, at least so I can remember how I achieved the effect when I want to repeat it in the future.
So the approach requires just three paints; a white primer, the Model Color Natural Wood (70.834) and Model Color Black Shade Wash (73.201). I started by priming the wagon using a aerosol can of cheap white auto primer to act as the base colour. Once this was dry I used the black wash to help pick out the detail (gaps between the boards etc.) and to provide some shading variation. Once that had dried I then brushed on the transparent natural wood. For both the black wash and the natural wood I brushed the paint across the model following the planks so that details didn't cross planks too much. As you can see, in the top right photo, this is already starting to look fairly good, but I repeated the process a second time (black wash first and then the natural wood again) to build up more layers and details. Given that both paints brush on well and dry as very thin layers you can add a number of layers before you run any risk of obscuring the molded details, but I found just the four layers (two of black two of natural wood) gave me a colour and pattern I was happy with. I then painted in the rest of the details and finished the model with a quick waft of matt varnish, which helps to tone down the final natural wood layer slightly.
I'm sure there are many other ways of achieving a similar effect (I know Paul has used Lifecolor's Weathered Wood acrylic set to good effect) but for shear simplicity I quite like this approach and I think I'll be using it again in the future.