Guide to Iron Man 3D Print Painting: Interview with Thomas Kunert

Many hobbyists who have a 3D printer at home are always interested in learning how to paint 3D printed objects. It is best when you can find a detailed guide on mastering technique on the model you have just crafted. This way, you can see all the nuances and create a real masterpiece. Thus, if you are working on Marvel Comics characters now, you will find our guide to Iron Man 3D print painting useful.

Thanks to the friendly Gambody Facebook community and talented hobbyists, Iron Man painting is easily explained. An interview with Thomas Kunert will provide some impressive details and steps for all interested enthusiasts.

Thoman not only knows how to paint 3D printed objects but he is also kind to share his experience on making and painting a fantastic Iron Man 3D print.

Iron Man 3D print painting
Maker: Thomas Kunert

About Iron Man 3D Print Model

Iron Man is a famous character from the vast Marvel Comics universe. Its standard colours are red and golden. But there are many other shades and colours to add when you start Iron Man painting with airbrushes or regular (dry) brushes.

You can find the link for downloading Iron Man 3D printing model on Gambody – Premium 3D printing marketplace. This project’s designer is Rodman. His Tony Stark as Iron Man 3D print looks outstanding when made by Mr Kunert.

While you are looking into the details of Iron Man print painting, you can download Iron Man 3D model STL files to 3D print it.

How to guides Iron Man 3D Print Painting

Iron Man 3D Print Painting: Interview with Thomas Kunert

A discussion on how to paint 3D printed objects can last for hours. A lot depends on the project itself, that is why it is best to hear some tips on Iron Man painting if you have printed this particular figurine from Marvel Comics universe.

1. Thomas, please, introduce yourself and recollect your path into 3D printing and painting. When and how did you become interested in these spheres?

Hi, I’m Thomas Kunert. I’m from Leipzig in Germany, and I’m now 41 years old.

In my youth, I started to paint comics with pencils. I was not very good at that, but it was a start. Later I learned how to paint with watercolours and acrylic paints.

The moment when my painting skills had increased massively was my entry into the tabletop hobby. I started to play Warhammer Fantasy, and it made me learn to paint on rather small canvases. At the same time, I began my training as a businessman for media marketing.

After graduation, I started to work as a graphic designer. The understanding of colours, lights, shadows and colour harmony in the graphic design is the same as when painting. So, I learned a lot from both sides.

All my knowledge is self-taught. Also, everything that has to do with 3D modelling. When you can model in 3D, and you are a painter too, there is only a tiny step between your ideas of 3D print look and its actual painting.

Iron Man 3D print prepared for painting
Maker: Thomas Kunert

2. Gambody Facebook community has been enjoying your fantastic prints since 2016. Atlas mech, Asterix diorama, Pennywise. All your works are impressive to discuss, but we would love to focus on your latest Iron Man figurine. Why did you choose this model in the first place? Is Iron Man an appealing fictional superhero to you from the movie or do you love the vast universe created by Marvel Comics?

After a lot of painted models and a posting of my work on the most excellent German-speaking website about 3D printing, the famous “Airbrush Step by Step” magazine asked me to write an article about 3D printing and airbrushing.

So, I had to find a model that would let me focus on the airbrush. My first choice was the Orc from Warcraft, and I started printing him. But after some reflections, I changed my mind. A model with more smooth surfaces would need less brushwork and more painting by airbrush. I’m a big Marvel fan, and the decision fell very fast on the Iron Man model.

There are a lot of different Iron Man 3D printing versions to buy online, but the Gambody’s version is my favourite one.

Iron Man 3D print painting of the head
Iron Man 3D print

3. Which 3D printer did you use for making the Iron Man model? Did you use the settings recommended by Gambody? Or do you have your preferences that turn out into a smooth print?

I own an Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer. My print settings are optimized to print very slowly to get the smoothest result possible. I print at 0.1 layer height by 25mm/s on the outer wall and 50mm/s overall. I use a three-layer support roof with 65% density.

These prints take a lot of time, but what is smooth out of the printer, it is less work on smoothing it after printing.

Iron Man head painting
Maker: Thomas Kunert

4. The FDM version of Iron Man 3D model for printing contains 17 parts. Do you remember the order, in which you printed them? Is it best to begin with the base and then proceed with the body? Or do you like to start with the head or torso?

If I remember right, I printed the parts in the same order as I later painted them. I think it was the head, the body followed by the arms, legs and the base was the last.

Maker: Thomas Kunert

It was a very late decision to change the printed base to a wooden one. If I had a larger printer and could have printed the base from the whole, I would have taken the original base.

Iron Man base
Iron Man base

5. How long did it take you to 3D print all the parts? Was PLA filament smooth in work?

I think it took a week to print all parts. With the base, I think it took four days longer.

Maker: Thomas Kunert

I have taken different types of PLA from various brands. I think it was red, brown and natural in colours but for my smoothing process, the colour does not matter.

Painting Iron Man torso
Maker: Thomas Kunert

6. Did you choose to go with the original model size of 36 cm (14 inches) in height, as designed by Iron Man creator Rodman?

To get the best possible result in smoothing and painting, I have chosen 150% of the original size. I always take the most significant part of all and scale it to the max my 3D printer can print without cutting the part in pieces. Bigger is always better than smaller.

7. While the quality of 3D print matters a lot for the final look of the figurine, the painting process is just as significant. Your Iron Man looks beautiful, and your painting job wows the whole Gambody Facebook community. Which painting methods do you like the most? Do you use an airbrush or prefer regular paints and brushes? Do you combine various methods while working on the project?

Like I mentioned above, the magazine asked to focus on airbrushing as the primary painting method. So about 85% of the paint was sprayed by airbrush.

The details like the shadows, lights and highlights I painted with a regular brush with my hand.

Painting 3D printed object Iron Man figurine
Maker: Thomas Kunert

When I work on other projects, I like to mix these methods more between each other. Mostly I paint the ground colours at first by airbrush. Then I add shadows and lights with a regular brush as well as some freehand details.

After that, I smooth everything with some thin airbrush layers together. And at last, I paint the final details with a regular brush again.

8. You mentioned that you work with Vallejo paints. Are they easy to mix? Are they perfect for creating lights and shadows? Did you experiment with other brands while painting Iron Man figurine?

Since I started painting, I have tried a lot of brands. And Vallejo is the most stable and reliable colour range for me.

Fantastic Iron Man 3D print painting tips
Maker: Thomas Kunert

On the Iron Man 3D print, I only used Vallejo Gamecolour and Modelcolour. They are very nice to mix. And although the colours are not intended for airbrushing, they can be sprayed well in the right consistency.

I use colour strainer before I thin the colour with Airbrush thinner from Vallejo. Before this, I add some flow improver to get less constipation while spraying.

9. In one of the comments, you said that you relied on real Iron Man posters as a reference while painting and took colours through Photoshop to match them with your project. Was it a challenge to find all the paints you needed by Photoshop colour codes? How many paints did you have to buy? Or was Vallejo game colour and model colour set enough for this project?

Yes, it took some time to find the right colour tones for my project. All reference pictures have different light settings, so I had to find a compromise and choose what was best for my project. I had printed out some colour sheets and mixed paints for a long time to find the right colours that fit my sheets.

10. Can you tell us more about masking your model with Liquid Mask by Vallejo? When and which parts of the figurine did you have to conceal, and for how long?

Painting with the airbrush is all about masking things. The spray lands everywhere, even where it should not. So, you have to think about in which sequence you paint different colours.

Masking Iron Man 3D print while painting the object
Maker: Thomas Kunert

If you have finished a colour, you have to mask it. I usually paint from small areas to big ones and lay the mask over the mask. If all colours are done, I remove all masks in the hope that everything is well.

11. How did Angel GiraldeZ masterclasses on painting help you to handle the Iron Man figurine?

I own both books from Angel GiraldeZ, and they help a lot to understand colour gradients, airbrush using and overall handling in the painting process. On Angel’s YouTube channel, you can also learn a lot about painting.

Angel GiraldeZ books with 3D object painting guides
Angel GiraldeZ books

I watch a lot of tutorial videos on YouTube from different artists to further improve my skills and my understanding of painting.

12. Can you please shortly describe the order of painting your Iron Man project, including sanding, priming, airbrushing, masking, working on details, etc.?

Ok, I will try it.

First, after printing, I start to wet sanding the whole model. Then it is time for the first layer of Spray filler. Sanding, sanding, sanding. After sanding the first spray filler layer, I take a scriber to scratch the deeper lines out.

3D print sanding tools preparation for painting
Tools used by Thomas Kunert

Then I repeat all these steps over again. At last, I am priming the model with black primer from Vallejo. And before painting, I set a high noon light with white primer from top of the model.

Now I can start the airbrushing. I spray one colour in gradients till I like the result. Then I seal the surface by masking it and move on to the next colour. If all colours are done, I unmask the whole model and start painting the Blacklining and the Highlights.

Iron Man painting tips and tricks
Maker: Thomas Kunert

13. In one of your Facebook posts, you mentioned that the cost of materials for this Iron Man print is about €300. Is it the cost of mainly the filament and paints? Or does it include something else?

The about 300€ are all costs together. There are the printing costs, the spray filler (about 4-5 cans) of all colours and primer I have bought for this project. Liquid mask, colour sieves and the most expensive part, the wooden base. Altogether it’s a high price, but it’s right for the most part. My working time not counted.

14. Will you display your stunning Iron Man 3D print? Or is it a gift to someone?

The Iron Man was created mainly for the newspaper article. If someone makes me a reasonable offer, I will sell the model. Otherwise, I will exhibit it here and there to show what you can do with 3D printing and a little bit of colour.

Iron Man 3D printed model with STL files to download
Maker: Thomas Kunert

15. Which is the next 3D printing model you are planning to complete?

I have a lot of beautiful models I bought which I could print. At this time, I vacillate between a very cool Wolverine and a John Wick model. Very talented artists designed both projects.

But my biggest wish is to print the GOT Dragon as big as I can and to paint it. I love dragons, and I love Game of Thrones.

My problem is not printing or painting. My question is the free space in my apartment. My family consists of three persons, my wife, my daughter and I. I can only paint in the main living room. I fill the table with my painting stuff. Next year I plan to build a bunk bed to get more space and create a craft corner. Then maybe I can make more models and produce some tutorial videos on how I paint them.

Maker: Thomas Kunert

Read also: Stunning Aquarium Decorations 3D Printed by Gambody Enthusiast Thomas Hlinka

Judging by the photos shared by Mr Kurnert, Iron Man 3D print painting can look fantastic and very realistic to the Marvel Comics stories. It can only happen when you paint with much love for details. Love can bring life into any figurine. So, keep painting your projects and share your most beautiful photographs with Gambody community on Facebook.

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