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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Painting Tutorial: Goblins rss

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Introduction: This painting tutorial is written for boardgamers who want their playing pieces painted fast, don't want to spend much money, and are new to painting. It emphasizes "quick and dirty" techniques, so don't expect display-level results. I also did some experimenting, only sometimes with good results. So don't always follow what I did, and learn from my mistakes. If you read my previous Ettin painting tutorial, the mold lines and priming steps are (almost) the same. http://boardgamegeek.com/article/15292731

Colors used:
* Secret Weapon Washes: Algae (goblin flesh)
* Secret Weapon Washes: Dark Sepia (various)

Mold Lines: Mold lines are the "lines" of excess plastic on the miniature that should be cut off with a hobby knife, and filed off with small files. An engraving pen (under $10 at some craft stores) is a small handheld battery-operated "drill" with an industrial diamond-tipped head that will remove mold lines *much* faster. After removing mold lines, clean the figures in hot soapy water to remove the mold release agent, an oil. If you find mold lines after priming, you can still remove them. You can either spray white primer again, or use clear gesss (about $8 at craft stores) to paint over the plastic to "prime" the model for painting.

Zenithal Priming: To get the paint to stick to the plastic, spray the miniature with primer. Hardware stores sell spray primer, and make sure to purchase primer that says it will bond to plastic. When spraying primer, first clear the nozzle with a quick burst not aimed towards the miniature, then spray in sweeps starting a few inches to the side of the miniature. With zenithal priming, first completely prime the miniature black. Then lightly coat it in grey, then white, inspecting the miniature between sprays. You want the raised surfaces to be white, and recesses to be black. The black will give you a head start with shadows on the miniature, and the white areas will make highlights easier.



Zenithal priming


Next: Washes!
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Arjen Schouten
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You have no issues with the primer and paint becoming sticky?
I've had this problem with Fantasy Flight plastic. I did my Doom set, and it wasn't so bad especially after the paint and sealing. But I also test-primered with different sprays on some spare Rock Striders from Nexus Ops and they became *really* sticky. So much so that I can put my finger on them and they just stick to it. This was about a year ago, but the effect doesn't go away.

I eventually probably want to paint my Descent set, but I don't want to destroy them.
 
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Vargen666 wrote:
You have no issues with the primer and paint becoming sticky?
I've had this problem with Fantasy Flight plastic. I did my Doom set, and it wasn't so bad especially after the paint and sealing. But I also test-primered with different sprays on some spare Rock Striders from Nexus Ops and they became *really* sticky. So much so that I can put my finger on them and they just stick to it. This was about a year ago, but the effect doesn't go away.

I eventually probably want to paint my Descent set, but I don't want to destroy them.

It sounds like you're using the wrong primer. I just painted my set and used stix waterborne bonding primer. I don't know if it's ideal or even on the suggested list (this was the first set of pieces I've ever painted), but it certainly didn't have that problem.

You also need to make sure you let the layers dry before sealing otherwise you create a barrier that the water can't ever get out of and it will never dry.

ETA: Also this probably isn't the issue, but you do want to make sure that you're consistently using water-based or oil-based liquids. If you paint with acrylic, which is water-based, and then seal with oil, it won't bond perfectly. Oil and water don't mix.

From a carpentry forum: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?134381-Acrylic-ov...

Quote:
this under -> that

oil primer -> anything
water primer -> anything
shellac primer -> anything
water paint -> DO NOT PUT OIL OVER, needs a primer barrier
oil paint -> DO NOT PUT WATER OVER, needs a primer barrier

always use an oil primer outside. the oil will bond better and last longer. inside doesn't matter all that much, but don't use water based wall paint on furniture or cabinets, use an enamel. water based wall paint remains sticky. some interior primers struggle with the acidic nature of plaster, if you ever run to that, and for that a shellac primer is best.

that's paint compatibility in a nutshell.

fwiw i don't bother with using water based primers ever. i use oil primers on everything.
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Arjen Schouten
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Thanks, I tried two different types of spray primer. One of them worked pretty ok for the Doom figures. It was in Brazil, and the brand was "Colorgin". A grey primer which felt very similar to Motip, which is practically the same as the American Duplicolor brand. But the little Rock Striders didn't like it.

I think when I'm back in the Netherlands I'll first try with Games Workshop primer. It's against my principles, but who knows it might work better.
 
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Sam and Max wrote:
Zenithal Priming: To get the paint to stick to the plastic, spray the miniature with primer. Hardware stores sell spray primer, and make sure to purchase primer that says it will bond to plastic. When spraying primer, first clear the nozzle with a quick burst not aimed towards the miniature, then spray in sweeps starting a few inches to the side of the miniature. With zenithal priming, first completely prime the miniature black. Then lightly coat it in grey, then white, inspecting the miniature between sprays. You want the raised surfaces to be white, and recesses to be black. The black will give you a head start with shadows on the miniature, and the white areas will make highlights easier.


This is interesting. I've never thought to do multi-layered coats of differing colors of primer. I can see why you would as it develops a natural shade layer for table top quality figures. Very interesting.

Good work. Keep up the tutorials!

 
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Herwig Riedl
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i use alot of the ARMYPAINTER stuff. works great for me on boardgame minies.
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Myself, I use "Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch" since the can says it "Also bonds to plastic". However, I see you're in the Netherlands, so don't have a good answer for a primer that would be locally available. Are you on the Dakka Dakka forums? Quite a few members are international hobby painters, so maybe the can help. Also, Army Painter has a range of colored primers which can help speed up painting: prime in a color, add basecoats of other colors, wash, and paint details.

As for FFG's plastics, it's also possible that they used different plastic manufacturers for different games.

You can also use gesso. I use clear gesso as a brush-on primer. You can prime the miniature with black gesso (or clear gesso colored black with ink or paint), then drybrush white (or highlight in grey and white) for an effect similar to zenithal priming.

Good luck!

Rustoleum picture: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Painter-s-Touch-2X-12-...

@Charles: Thanks!
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Arjen Schouten
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Sam and Max wrote:
Myself, I use "Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch" since the can says it "Also bonds to plastic". However, I see you're in the Netherlands, so don't have a good answer for a primer that would be locally available. Are you on the Dakka Dakka forums? Quite a few members are international hobby painters, so maybe the can help. Also, Army Painter has a range of colored primers which can help speed up painting: prime in a color, add basecoats of other colors, wash, and paint details.

As for FFG's plastics, it's also possible that they used different plastic manufacturers for different games.

You can also use gesso. I use clear gesso as a brush-on primer. You can prime the miniature with black gesso (or clear gesso colored black with ink or paint), then drybrush white (or highlight in grey and white) for an effect similar to zenithal priming.

Good luck!

Rustoleum picture: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Painter-s-Touch-2X-12-...

@Charles: Thanks!
Thanks, and thanks for the compatibility-list in your previous post I didn't see that one when I replied.

The problem is indeed the type of plastic FFG uses, it causes a reaction with the primer which seems to stop the primer from curing correctly. More people seem to have this problem. I worked with many different materials and brands of primers and paints in the past, but the only material that gives a problem is the FFG plastic.

I'm in Brazil at the moment and the choice of painting materials is extremely limited here. I'm going back to live in the Netherlands soon, so when I get there I hope I can look around to find something suitable. I read about gesso before, and even tried it out, but the thing I don't like is that it doesn't actually bond with the plastic which leaves a fragile surface. I think I'm gonna try and find the Rust-O-Leum you mentioned, maybe they sell it in the Netherlands.
 
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Jay K
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I use the Games Workshop Chaos Black spray primer and it works really well. I also use their paints. I agree that I would prefer to use another cheaper brand, but GW is much easier for less skillful painters like me.
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No problem with sticky miniatures with the GW primer? If so I'll go for that.

By the way: You can try Vallejo paints. They're better than GW, and slightly cheaper.
 
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Goblin flesh washes: Typically, you want to paint as if the miniature was putting its clothes on. Start with flesh, then the first layer of clothes, etc. I don't always do this, but I do start with flesh. I also like to start with washes, since they're easier to apply than basecoats. Secret Weapon washes has two green colors, Green and Algae. I find Algae, a dark green wash, better for generic fantasy miniatures. For the Descent goblins, I experimented a bit by washing the red Master goblin in Green, and white Minion goblins in Algae. After seeing the results, I then washed the red Master goblin in Algae and added more washes of Algae to the other miniatures (not shown).


Green


Algae


Next: More washing!
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Red Wash: After toning down the brightness of the Green wash with the Algae wash, the red Master miniature was given a few washes of Secret Weapon Dried Blood and Ruby (dark red). I'm not sure if it will pay off, since I'm still painting the miniature. Ruby is a good dark red wash, but I also tried Dried Blood because, if you're going to only have one red, it'll be blood!

Bases: A quick and dirty way to paint bases is to paint them black (for dungeons) or brown (for outside) in craft paint, let dry, then paint glue on the bases and dip in playground sand. The playground sand has a variety of sand sizes, so looks more natural than store-bought sand. After the sand dries, wash in black or brown craft paint thinned with some water, then drybrush with grey or tan. To drybrush, dip the tip of a frayed brush in paint, then wipe off almost all of the paint on a dry paper towel. The brush will still have paint on its tip. Lightly brush the paintbrush against the sand, and the sand will pick up the lighter color paint. Note that bases made this way will not match the Descent tiles -- but a base painted to match the Descent dungeon tiles won't look right on outdoor tiles, and vice-versa.



Red wash with initial coat of craft paint for basing.


Next: Brown wash and more basing!
 
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Brown Wash: I tried a variety of Secret Weapon brown washes (Sewer Water, Baby Poop, etc.), and I think Dark Sepia works best as an all-around wash.

Bases: I also experimented with the brown outdoor bases, by planning out an area that would be lighter in color, to break up the homogeneity of a brown base with one texture of sand. It would not work the way I thought I would. Next time, I'll try a less abrupt transition between dark and light areas of the outdoor base.

Brown paint: The bows, boots, arrow, and quivers were painted brown, with a lighter brown as a highlight. I should have thinned the paint more to let the washes show better.



Bow looks kinda flat.


Next: Sand!
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When zenithal priming, do you let the primer dry between coats?
 
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Bases: When spreading the glue, make sure you don't touch the feet. Then dip the base of the figure in playground sand, and remove the excess around the base with your finger. After drying, paint the sand in runny craft paint, black for dungeons, and brown for outdoors.

For the outdoor base, you can partially cover the base with glue, dip the base in playground sand, let dry, paint brown, and let dry. Then spread glue on the rest of the base, and dip the base in finer sand. You can buy fine sand, preferably sand, at craft stores.

Finally, drybrush the sand in grey, for the dungeon, or tan, for the outdoors. To drybrush, dip the tip of an old frayed brush in the paint, and wipe off as much as possible. There will still be paint left on the brush. Then brush the sand with the brush, gradually highlighting the sand.

Lastly, you can use the tip of a bent paperclip to dot a small speck on the outdoors base, and press some static grass (under $10) into it. Then turn the miniature upside-down and tap away the excess grass. You might want to use the yellower "dead grass" variety of static grass, as I find the green one too "cheery".

White: For the white minions, I used Liquitex white ink, from their Liquitex Essentials (six colors, $20+ at DickBlick) to add details to horns, loincloth, etc. You can use thinned white paint. Use a paintbrush with a good tip. However, if the miniatures look playable to you when they're on the table, you don't need to continue painting! You can also paint the miniatures later, and can even return to them after you've gained more experience painting.



Sand before painting.




Sand after painting.




Outdoor base after gluing finer sand, and painting brown then drybrushing tan.




Minion with details painted white, and base drybrushed grey.
Master before detailing, with static grass added to base.


@AM: Yes, you should let the primer dry between coats, although this may take only a short time, such at ten or so minutes. After priming, let the model dry completely.

Next: Metal!
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Red: Red is a notoriously difficult color to paint, because it's usually transparent. Games Workshop Foundation Paints and Reaper HD paints are formulated to be opaque. However, with enough layers of red, you can have good coverage. With the red figure, I painted it first in red ink, the red hobby paint. If you don't have red ink, the hobby paint itself should do. Note that the horns were painted with white ink, and the arrow with grey craft paint.

Metal: If you paint science fiction figures, pick up various metallic craft paint colors. They will come in handy at odd times for your fantasy figures as well. For the Master goblin, a shiny metallic red helmet is suitably garish, and the metallic white contrasts the non-metallic horns of the Minion goblins. Metallic paints use mica and sometimes aluminum for their reflective properties, and these can get into your other paint jobs if you share brushes, rinse water, etc. with non-metallic paints. So you may wish to apply metals last when you paint, then thoroughly clean up your paint supplies.



Red!





Shiny and done!


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