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Eastern Carolina Plastic Modelers
Modeling Article
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Last Update: 12 Apr 2009

Painting Realistic Leather Clothing
Brian Vinciguerra

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Having returned to the hobby only a few short years ago I have seen my proficiency progress at a pretty good pace because I like to adopt new things. Unlike some modelers who have been doing it for many years I have very few set in my ways habits and am willing to try anything to get the results that I desire. Recently I have shifted my focus a little to concentrate on figures. As a result I was asked by a contest attendee to do a commission work for him. I cannot tell you how floored I was at this request that someone thought enough of my talents that they would ask me to paint a figure that they would like to have displayed in their home. Needless to say I accepted the offer; though the fee I charged was nominal I really jumped on the offer to expand my skill set.

The figure I was asked to paint was a hollow cast resin piece by Aces of Iron. The real challenge in the piece is that the figure is clad almost entirely in leather. How was I going to replicate leather with my meager talents? The following article chronicles my attempt at "realistic" leather.

[article image] The first thing I did was to clean up the entire figure and give it a base coat with enamel primer. The leather was sprayed with Delta Ceramcoat Earth Brown to begin to give it that lush brown color of leather.

[article image] The next step I took was to brush on a slightly thinned coat of a mix of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna oil paints and let the oil paints dry for about a week. This stage gives the leather that shiny look of a new leather jacket. The oils are applied thin enough that the acrylic undercoat shows through. At this stage I brushed into the recesses and crevices Burnt Umber to enhance the shadows and folds of the clothing.

Next I emphasized the mid-tones by drybrushing on Burnt Sienna to emphasize the difference between the shadowed areas and the base coat. Keep in mind that the base coat acrylics still show through the oil paints.

[article image] The final painting step is applying a mixture of 3 parts cadmium yellow, 1 part Indian red, and 1 part Burnt Sienna together to get sort of an reddish/orangish color. This color is lightly dry brushed over all of the high spots to give the leather that really worn look that a WWI pilot's flight jacket would acquire from the many tedious hours in flight. After painting the remaining details the last step is to paint the entire sculpture in Testors Dullcote. In my case I used Delta Ceramcoat Flat Acrylic Varnish.

I would like to thank my client Joshua Harrel for giving me an opportunity to paint his figure for him. I really got to stretch the boundaries of my painting skills. I would also like to point out the fact that the techniques to paint this figure can be found at

The final figure is shown in the article lead picture.

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