How To: Realistic Wood

Vincent Power shows us how to archive amazing results with plastic and paint…

I’ve been asked to do a “how to” on the process I use so I’ve put this long winded explanation together. Follow along as I explain a simple method you can master to create realistic wood effects.

To get us started, let’s look at what tools and materials you’ll need.
The basics include a sharp #11 blade, a scriber and a razor saw along with some plastic cut to the size you need.

You will also need paint of course. I happen to have one of the Ammo Tool paint sets which includes three colours for wood. However, it’s not necessary to race out and buy the same one because Vallejo white and Iraqi Sand can be mixed together to make similar shades. The AK Washes will be used for adding different tones to our plastic “wood”.

Ok, time to get busy.
Using the razor saw place it at the end of the plastic strip and drag it lightly towards you, scratching the surface. Try to avoid parallel lines as you work along the strip.

You will end up with this. Don’t worry about the roughness the scratching causes on the plastic, it’s all part of the process.

Repeat the scratching until you get something that looks like this.

The next step involves using the #11 blade and gently scraping the burrs away from the surface. Not all of them because some roughness will help your finished result.

Some wood will display small smooth areas within the grain. I simulate this by gently scraping in random areas but keeping in mind that less is more.

For variation along the entire piece, you can use the scriber to highlight and deepen random lines. These will be accentuated with the painting process.

Now is the time to decide on how distressed your wood will be. Wood is easily damaged and often has cracks, knicks and splits. Use a combination of the sharp #11 blade and the scriber to get the effect you want. Horizontal cuts at the edges will give you a nice effect.

Once you are happy with the look of your “wood” it’s time to start painting.

Painting is the fun part. 
Here are the paints I’ll use to show you what can be achieved with a simple method. Any primer can be used but I’m going to show you the variations you can get by painting one piece in black primer and the other in white.

After the primer is applied, either by brush or Airbrush, we can then decide on the base colour. For this SBS I’m using Old Wood from the AMMO Tool paint set.

The reason I enjoy painting is because of the variations that can be achieved with the colours. It’s all up to your imagination. Notice the variations caused by the different methods of applying the base coat over the two primer coats.

Next we add a wash to the wood to give some depth to the grain that we carefully created previously. To show you what the different washes can do I’ve painted each of the pieces with a different colour.

Next, we take some thinner and gently remove some of the wash so a hint of the original base colour shows through as well as providing further variation to our wood. Here are both pieces done.

The final step is to dry brush another lighter colour to bring out the highlights. This can be the base colour or another similar tone.

You should end up with something like this.

So there you have it. A simple way to create realistic wood.
I hope you find this helpful and if you have any other questions please let me know.