August 09, 2017

TRENCH RUNNER REVIEW: Julian Conde gets Weathered up with a review of the VMS Spot-On-Pigment System

All the way from San Paolo Brazil our very own Julian Conde continues his look at the range of products from the new Vantage Modelling System aka VMS...








REVIEW : VMS SPOT-ON-PIGMENTS / ACRILIC BINDER AND ENAMEL 2.0 BINDERS
So... as I mentioned somewhere in a previous post, I think pigments are one of the greatest advances in modern model making. They are a key factor to realistic weathering. Together with mud, dirt and splashes, they are the pillar of our current day AFV, dioramas and figure painting and weathering.
Years ago it was very hard to replicate mud, at least for me. I had to make some out of modelling paste and paint mixed together. It was ok, but not very controllable.

In recent times I got to buy the MIG Productions Mud products. They were a breakthrough for me as mud goes. Realistic mud in a jar, with color options (few) and dry and wet versions. I got two darker tones and they were the backbone of my mud adventures for the last several years. But they are limited in what you can do with them and MIG Productions has gone out of business.  Since they are pre-colored, I used to apply the mud, then pigments on top of it to match the color I wanted to replicate with the pigments (Example : Reddish pigments for Vietnam, yellowish for Africa and etc) so it was time consuming. I even did that on my recent build of the Thunder Models US Tractor. I applied the MIG Mud, then several layers of pigments on top to get the color I wanted. Very messy and time consuming. Also, if they are left without use for some months, they dry out to a rock solid state and you loose the product and have a big hole in your wallet for it.

So now I have the new pigments and pigment binders from VMS. I know pigment binders have been available for quite some time, but never got to work with them before. Now I want to tell you guys about my experience with the VMS line of products, it made everything so easy and controllable...


First, about the Acrylic Binder. It’s a milky colored gel medium, and presented here in a very nice bottle with applicator nozzle for precise applying the product. You get to count the drops you want. That’s the perfect way, to me. All paints and products should come with drop applicators, like Vallejo and so on. All the great VMS products I’ve got have this kind of nozzle. I love it!


So, to start on the mud process, first a few controlled tests applying some acrylic binder on a surface...

Then, the amount of pigment you mix with it is going to give you a given result as wet and dry goes. More binder, wet mud. More pigment, dry mud. And everything in between. Since you are creating the mud, textured mud that is, with your own pigments, you get the right color from start. That goes a long way. Later on I will show the application on a small vignette I’m making to show the results.

One important note : this process is very hard on brushes. If they are left to dry without cleaning right after use they will be ruined. So get a couple of old brushes, hard ones just to use on mud processes. Once dried, it’s rock solid. Also on the model, be careful and take care when applying because once dry they are there to stay. This is a good thing, on balance, you don’t get a chance to have chunks of mud falling off your model over the years. This has happened to me using modelling paste.

So, lets make some mud, got a mix of different pigments to make a base color, but with “contrast”...


Started mixing the pigments for a “moist” or humid mud first...


Applied over a plastic strip. The curing time with forced drying from a hair dyer is less then a minute. Another reason to take care when applying these...


Dried with a nice moist look. Now let’s try with more binder and less pigment for a wetter look...


So you can carefully apply layers of wet to dry mud as you wish. All very clean (on the model at least) and controllable. Now some dry mud, with more pigment and less binder...


Final result for comparison...


Loved the results. It was very easy to achieve the desired effect and color. If you make a mistake, correct it as fast as possible with a water-wet brush or cotton swab. Have those ready to use when applying the mud process. I used a small brush, so it’s a more precise application, even if I need to make some layers to get the whole area the way I wanted.

Now, I will show how I use the mud and pigments on a model. This is a vignette from OOP S&T Products of a Tiger I section with a German Soldier seated on top. I’ve made some upgrades to the Tiger I part, adding some damage to the surface to simulate small to medium projectile hits. Then primed with the rock-solid Red Oxide primer from Mission models, mixed with their polyurethane additive. This will be the primer and the show-through color after chipping....


On with the process, to get to mud and pigments... at this point  I’ve done all the chipping, streaking, basic painting and weathering to the model. I used stencils for the German markings so it could be chipped also for realism...



I decided to make this in three types. mud, pigments and mud splashes, using VMS Enamel 2.0 Binder. First, moist mud, I used VMS Track Brown Pigment. Since the wet mud from snow and cold areas are always quite dark, I decide not to mix this time with other colors...


Made a mix with the acrylic binder...

Note the abuse my brush had to endure...

Started applying to the model...


Once dried, added a new layer of wetter mud to the outer edges, adding more binder to the mix...


Once dried (less than 2 minutes) I started with the pigment application on top of the mud, and also behind the skirts to simulate dust coming from below into the recessed area.

This is how it looks...


Now behind the skirts...


This is a real nice build up to the desired affect. The pigments are extremely thin and precise. The color match is also excellent.

Now, using the VMS Enamel Binder 2.0. I wanted to replicate splashes of mud. I used to do this with acrylics, mixing Vallejo washes with pigments, and splashing on the model with a old brush, pulling the  brush back with my fingers. Messy stuff when not using gloves and protect the surrounding area. This was a nice method for me, but with VMS Binder, being enamel, I could correct any mistakes with a good margin of time using a wet brush with white spirit or similar light solvent.

Once again the VMS binder comes with a nozzle point so you can drop just the right amount for you use. Mixed with the track brown pigments, and started splashing on the model, after tests on a surface...


I was expecting the result to be anything but matt. I did not want to use any more varnishes at this point, but VMS binder dried to a very matt finish, in a few seconds. I then added a new layer of splashes, on the lower area, and correcting a little with a brush moistened in white spirit...


This is the end result of the mud, pigments and mud splashes. I like it a lot!


Now, using VMS Light Oxide Fresh Rust pigment, I wanted to add some layers of fresh rust to some key areas.

One good thing about the VMS pigments is that they are very well served. These are large, filled to the top bottles of pigments. Great value for money here. This is by far the largest bottle of pigment I have. One downside is that the color name label is very small on the jar. You can’t see it in a distance on the shelf, so I added my own labelling to the jar. They could improve the labelling on the jars for a more clear recognition of the color or product type....


So, using a very thin brush, I started applying rust to the model...


Remember to be very patient and delicate. If you get it right you can simulate great looking rust and streaking rust on any model. Added some more...


Then, to minimize the flaw on the model, I darkened the end of the respirator fins from the radiator grille, with VMS Dark Soot Pigment. This will give some depth to the area...


So, 99% done. I will add some fuel spills and oil leaks, and then just get on with building and painting the figure for this vignette. The VMS Spot-on-Pigments are a fantastic addition to my weathering arsenal and will be my 'go to' weathering pigments due to their versatility, quality and value...


You can order VMS products from MTSC HERE

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