I really like painting/repainting things because it adds the final character to a piece, and more than anything I love the ‘story’ of a thing. A customer asked me to repaint this airsoft mask since it needed to be used as a hybrid human-monster. The mask itself was really good, lots of detail and texture, the original paintjob was just black with a white skull-like pattern.
I sprayed the primer undercoat (always essential), then I brush painted it entirely with a sort of creamy-bone white colour. I exclusively used enamel paints for this (except for the blood) to make sure I got a good coverage, and I really like the finish. Acrylics are OK, but I find enamels much more versatile.
After the basecoat I switched to the airbrush and worked up tones and levels of details with various browns and flesh tones. The great thing about using an airbrush is that you can get really light coverage and literally just shade things in, it can be much more subtle than brush painting (at least, more subtle than I’ve ever been able to do with a brush!) so you have a lot of control over the shading. I only use a cheap airbrush, I’m not skilled enough to warrant using a good one, but it’s good enough to do what I need at this point – note: I’m really bad at taking pictures, I think the finish of the mask is actually a lot more detailed than I was able to capture in these pics.
After I’d done the majority of the tone and shading I switched to an old toothbrush and a long-bristled brush (like a small wall painting brush). I dipped some thinned paint (a mix of brown and red) and flicked it over the flesh tones. This randomly dots red-brown paint over the skin, which helps to make it look more natural. The trick is not overdoing it! Next I went back to the airbrush and added some highlights on the raised areas like the cheekbones, the ridges coming off the eyes and the nose.
Then it was time to do the scars, I switched to oil paints (the same stuff you’d use the paint a painting) and mixed up a blood red (more brown than red), painted that into the scars and the strange gill slits in the cheeks. Then I left that for half and hour or more, then used a rag to wipe it off fairly aggressively. The goal was to make it look like healed tissue, or ‘aggravated’ tissue. Sort of a pinkish red but the great thing about oils is that they move around so very well, you can sort of control the tones really nicely, and because it’s thick and gloopy you can push it into gaps, works great for blood and grime and things like that. I went over the areas on the cheeks with the airbrush again with a very light flesh tone to enhance the look of them being a more ‘new’ flesh and to blend in the top notes of the colour.
When it was all dry I coated it evenly with a matt clearcoat, then I did the brows, cheeks and nose with a light dusting of gloss clearcoat. I wanted to give it a slick, sweaty, sort of slightly unhealthy look.