Your mini metal wrestler & You
… by various Happy Workers
>> Heads' up... this page is for attendees and speakers at FITC's Design & Technology Festival, who received a luchador wrestler metal figure of their very own.
Ok… so you’ve just got your hands on a funky metal mini luchador. You can either bask in its warm metallic glow and enjoy the buff sculpture au naturel. Or you can take the creative leap and paint ‘em up in a whacked out design of your choosing.
If you’re leaning towards the painting side and want a few ideas how to get started, we’ve created this for you. If you don’t wanna mess with it, then maybe you’ll get a kick out of the pretty pictures. Either way, we hope you enjoy some creative fun. And hey, if the mood strikes take a pic of what you do with your wrestler and share some design love… tag it with fitc & wrestler in flickr.
Before we start out, it’s only right to give what’s due to the people who brought the metal figs to you…FITC
C’mon, who else would give out such killer metal figures
The man responsible for the kickass 3D designs
Painter, sculptor, and much more... plus the one who managed most of the detailed painting you see here
Whipped up cagey package graphics until they were light, fluffy and delicious
Much appreciated 10th inning modeling assist
Happy Worker (that’s us)
We created the figures and some other stuff… lots o’ people to mention, but since you asked (or did you?) big thanks to Heidi Bedore, Shirley Yee, Celine Cimon, Dani Crosby, Marcelo Viera, Stephanie Young, Anna Birjevaia and Kris Schantz
Safety first (…or, in this case, second...)
Believe it or not, your FITC metal wrestlin' figure is not a toy. It’s a collectible art piece, and should not be played with by anyone under the age of 15. So you can use this as a valid excuse to keep any younger siblings or relatives’ paws off your stuff.
The toys are made of white metal, silver plated, antiqued and lacquered. If you like the taste of lacquer, feel free to lick the toys (note: for the record, we’re not actually recommending this). This said, an important note - if you decide to take the Break It theme to heart and actually break the figures, or somehow manage to scratch or remove the plating, know that the base metal does contain some lead – so please don’t suck on the pieces or on any scratched areas.
Step 1: Gather your painting stuff
If you’ve never actually picked up an old school, analog paint brush… this section’s for you. But if you’re an old hat at painting models, and have years of D&D miniatures experience or a penchant for painting “Warhammer” figures, you probably have all of this stuff already.
Get your figure painting kit together…
If you're a whiz with an airbrush or at finger painting, feel free to skip this section. But for the rest of us, it's probably a good idea to get a set of small brushes – some small flat brushes and a few pointed brushes for detail work. If you care, we used an inexpensive set by Model Expo, along with a few more nicer/more expensive brushes for detail work – our fav was the 15/0 Robert Simmons Hobby Mini HM81 Spotter. But pretty much any brand will do, just play around with them and see what you like.
Best spot to arm yourself with paints is any hobby store… most brands of model paints should work. Other than paint color itself, the 2 big Q’s are whether it’s acrylic or enamel/oil based, and flat or glossy finish. If like us you end up getting different kinds of paints, don't worry (be happy) - most of them will play nicely together. We used a combo of acrylic and enamel paints, and while we're not big fans of glossy finishes, an occasional touch of gloss adds variety and visual interest.
If you want to “paint by numbers” and re-create the official designs for Grease Lightning, Speedo Torpedo or the Ref, here’s a few ideas on paints. Otherwise, just pick your fav colors and see what happens!
Note: you don’t have to get these exact paints… they’re just an example. To mimic the "official" FITC wrestler wear, just ask your friendly neighborhood hobby store to get anything close – you can stick with one paint brand or do what we did and cobble together whatever paints we could find that were close. You can also mix up your own paint colors. Whatever works!
- Tamiya, Fine Surface Primer for Plastic & Metal (spray can)
- Testors 1104CA Dark Red
- Testors 1149CA Flat Black
- Model Master, Enamel Paint, 2004 Skin Tone Shadow Tint
- Model Master, Enamel Paint, 2001 Skin Tone Light Tint
- Model Master, Enamel Paint, 2009 British Crimson
- Model Master, Acryl, 4769 Flat White
- Tamiya Acrylic, XF-24 Dark Grey
- Turpentine… for cleaning up from enamel & oil paints
Other stuff you’ll want handySolvents… many paint companies (Testors, Tamiya, etc) have their own brand of solvent that works best with their paints. p.s. this is needed for enamel/oil paints.
Container with water… to clean off acrylic paint
Masking tape… to mask off any parts you don’t want to paint
Cardboard or newspaper… to keep paint off your favorite table or desk
Step 2: Mask your figure
If you want to leave the base plain metal, using masking tape carefully tape up & cover the base. Ditto anything else on the figure you want to leave au naturel.
Step 3: Prime now or get pissed later
If you skip this step you’ll be sorry… priming will turn your fig a neato shade of white, and more importantly it'll help all the other paint stick well.
Grab the fig, and spray it fairly well with the primer. Make sure you get under all those hard to reach parts… prime under the armpits, crotch, etc. Don’t worry, your wrestler is an inanimate metal object and isn’t really that bashful.
As with any other spray-based things a well ventilated area is a must have. (While we’re sorta partial to the smell of primer other people aren’t, and we’d assume there’s better ways to get high.) We primed our figures outdoors and soaked up some rays while the figs soaked up the paint.
Step 4: Painting
Now we get to the good stuff – let the painting begin! Ok, ok… first mix up all the paints before you get started… or your figure will have a serious case of the lumps.
(For this example we brushed on the paint, but if you’re handy with an airbrush feel free to spray away.)
Start applying your colors via a logical process… paint the base color(s) first, one at a time. Use the larger flat brushes and leave enough drying time in between… acrylic paints only need a couple of minutes, some of the enamels or oils may need a half hour or longer.
Multi coats… depending on the paints and color you’ll likely need several coats to get smooth lush tones. Acrylic paints needs more coats than enamel or oil paints, and generally the lighter the color the more coats are needed. Just keep painting on coats and allow drying time until you’re happy with the coverage.
For the FITC luchadores, it’s probably a smart plan to start with skin tones, then go for pants, etc, working your way up to the fine details. But feel free to skirt the rules and try something different.
For the finer details, the tiniest brushes are your best friends. Pointy brushes are also good for any line work. Tip: to steady your hands while painting fine details, rest the side of your painting hand and pinky finger on a firmly planted table (note - no, don't pick one of those tables at the cafe with the napkin wadded under a leg...), and steady the metal action figure by propping it against the table.
Step 4: Clean up
Remember what mom said?
Step 5: Admire, enjoy, and have fun
Take your lil’ luchador on long walks, out for lunch, and to the movies. It’s true that people may think you’re a bit odd, but chances are they already do. Just smile and enjoy some wrestling good times… and know that your beefcake figure can take any wimpy D&D and “Warhammer” figure anytime, anywhere.
p.s. …and, of course, be a happy worker :)