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Wood Grain - A How too...

Dave J

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Before I started at WnW, if someone asked me to paint a Wood grain finish on a model... I would mostly likely painted it with one tone of brown! As most WW2 aircraft didn't have a lot of bare wood showing I never learnt or really used this technique till now.

This wood grain technique is very simple, all that is required is the following -

Acrylic Paint for the base -

Artist Oils and Mineral turpentine (not pictured) for the wash mixture -


I picked up this oil set from our local online auction site, like Ebay for US$15.

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With the base colour now being dry, its onto the next stage..

I am going to use 4 different oil colours out of the tube to show the different tones that you can achieve using the different base colours. I will be using Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Burnt Umber.


The oil colours are applied in the following order -
Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Burnt Umber.

XF-57 Buff base

XF-59 Desert Yellow base

XF-51 Flat Flesh base

XF-3 Flat Yellow base

Its a bit hard to see due the smaller sized photos, but the base colour gives the underlying grain a different tone.  Once the oil tones have dried you again can change the appearance by using a clear yellow or orange vanish. Unfortunately with oil paints the drying time is slow....


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As you can see that the different base colours do give the underlying grain a different tone. I have split the photos as front and rear fuselage so I could get a closer shot.

XF-59 Desert Yellow


XF-3 Flat Yellow


XF-3 Flat Yellow


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XF-57 Buff


So this will give you a good idea of what kinda of outcome you can get with a few different colours.

I would seal this in with a clear varnish, if you were happy with the tone achieved. You again can change the tone by spraying Tamiya Clear Yellow or Orange over it.

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as mention before you can change the colour of the wood by adding an tinted varnish. Here I have used Tamiya Clear Yellow and Clear Orange out of the bottle. Clear Yellow is on the top and Clear Orange is the lower surfaces.

Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow


Tamiya XF-15 Flat Flesh


Tamiya XF-3 Flat Yellow


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Tamiya XF-57 Buff


You can mix these two clear colours to get a shade to suit your requirements. I also forgot tho mention that you can do the same with the oil colours get different shades again, like I did here on the W.29 prop on the Wingnut Wings website to get that cherry/brownish colour.



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My technique for wood graining is pretty simple and very easy to do. Its very similar to a technique that armour modellers use for weathering.

I start off spraying the base colour to the part/s, this case I have used Tamiya's XF-59 Desert Yellow.

Next I thin down the oil colour with some turpentine to a very watery thinned mixture.

I apply the watery mixture the to the part to tint the base colour.

Then I apply dots of the oil paint onto random areas of the part and brush them back and forth to get the grain look onto the part. You can add different colour dots of oil paint to achieve dark grains.


It should look something like this one you have finished.




Since the oil colours have been thinned drying time is a lot quicker. Normally I find that it is tacky dry in 15-30 minutes and 24-48 hours dry to handle. You can also cheat and use a hairdryer to speed up the drying time. I normally do this method and will spray a clear varnish over the parts to seal them in around 4 hours after using the hairdryer.

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No worries Guys! Glad it will help you out!


Whoa! That's a brilliant tutorial Dave - thanks for sharing this, I will definitely try this out. Now, what's an "Oil Paint"? :)



Artist Oil paints, there are heaps brands out on the market... Most common one is Winston & Newton...




But here in NZ they are quite dear... NZ$5-10 tube! I got a set of Maries 18 oil colours for around NZ$20... They are made in China, they are a tad heavy on the oil side, but they are as good as anything else I have tried!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dave and Doogs, thanks for taking the time to post the above. :respect:


An alternative to artist's oil's are artist's acyrilics, they'll dry that much faster (and their cheaper!)

If you use oil's, one way to ensure they dry a little faster, squeeze a 'blob' (technical term, Honest ;) ) onto a piece of kitchen towel

or, if you can get it, onto a sheet of 'blotting paper' (I know, i'm THAT old!) and leave it for 45 minutes to an hour,

the paper will remove a lot of the linseed oil in the paint, then thin with something like IPA (denatured alchohol).


One last thing, another way to get your 'Wood grain', a GOOD quality broad, FLAT artists brush size 16 [3/4"] or 1/2" Aquafine by Daler-Rowney,

(other makes ARE available! B))  Draw through the thinned artist paint in ONE direction, instant wood grain.  




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  • 7 months later...
  • 9 months later...

Dave, thank you for taking the time and writing up a tutorial for us and I know I need help in this area. So, I will have to save it for when I get to building my WnW kits. I do have a question because i am bit confuse about the first part where you are showing us photo of fuselage with 4 different base colors. Are you applying all of the oil wash (Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Burnt Umber) to each one of the base color? To me, it looks like you brushed on the 4 tamiya base on the same fuselage and than its labeled XF-_ _ desert yellow, buff, etc, etc.


Things are much clear for me when you starred talking about your technique is similar to armor weathering. I can see the oil color affect in the base color but it looks much different. Is thar because the oil color was applied over the base color that was airbrushed onto the part?


Sorry for letting my confusion...confuse you :D I just want to be on the same page so I can use your guide correctly. :)


Thanks for your kind help.



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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks Dave.

This'll get use on my WnW Se5a when I get to it.

I've seen a few ways of doing it including the amazing Uschi decals but still its good to see it all in one place and with most all of the variations I have read about too.

Much appreciated.


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  • 2 months later...

The truly adventurous can go for 1/64 birch plywood sheets for interior pieces, with just an oil or lacquer overcoat for texture


Ya know, after coming back to this, I realized what an ass I was being when I posted the above comment.  This thread has truly amazing techniques for rendering a difficult surface effect, and I completely devalued that in my n00b-ish post.


My apologies.  I was an idiot.

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  • 8 years later...

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