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Introduction: After Season 3, it was pretty apparent that I already had over a hundred zombie miniatures to paint, not even counting those outside of Zombicide. I usually pass on specialized paint sets, but figured the Army Painter Zombicide Paint Set, Toxic / Prison Paint Set, and color primers would speed up my tabletop painting. This tutorial uses the Army Painter supplies somewhat differently than the Army Painter Zombicide Guides (basecoat, shade, highlight), so read various zombie painting guides, and try out which techniques you feel most comfortable with. Following this tutorial, I can interrupt or take a break from painting at any step, yet have paint jobs which still show off the detail of the miniatures.

BGG Painter's Guild: http://boardgamegeek.com/guild/909

Army Painter: http://www.thearmypainter.com/

zombiezombiezombie


Supplies


For those new to painting, here's a list of additional supplies you need to paint. The good news is that, with zombies, the miniatures can have forgiving paint jobs and they'll still look good on the table.

Jeweler's files and X-Acto Knife: You will need these inexpensive tools to remove mold lines on miniatures. They can also be found at craft stores. Mold lines are the "seam" on plastic miniatures where the metal molds join when making the plastic miniature.

Engraving Pen: The rotating industrial-grade diamond tip on this battery-powered handheld tool is useful for more quickly removing mold lines from figures. The price ranges from $10 at Harbor Tools, to $20 at hardware stores.

Hardware Primers (optional) and cardboard: The optional primer technique I use also uses black, grey, and white spray primers. Make sure you use the ones for plastic. Use cardboard and tape as a surface to prime the miniatures.

Double-stick tape and holders: Most painters will use a paint pot, empty prescription bottle, wine cork, etc. and superglue, sticky tack, etc. to adhere the miniature to the paint pot. You will want 16 or 24 of these, preferably uniform size, to paint many miniatures in one session.

High quality brush: A better brush means less frustration. You want an animal hair brush of size 0, size 0/2, and size 1. You can get inexpensive animal-hair brushes at craft stores, but will eventually also want a high-end Kolinsky Sable brushes from a hobby or art store. The BoardGameGeek Painter's Guild has advice for selecting a brush.

Two rinse cups: A first cup washes off most of the paint, leaving the second cup relatively clean to remove the rest.

Wet palette: A wet palette keeps your paint from drying, by using a container to hold a semi-permeable sheet of parchment paper on top of sponges, and a penny to avoid mold. Search on "miniature painting wet palette".

Pink Soap: Pink Soap or Master's Brush Soap are specialized but inexpensive soaps to clean your brushes, and can be found at craft stores. I find Pink Soap easier to use. After painting, rinse out the brush and dip the head into Pink Soap and store brush-side down.

Craft Paint, Black and Light Grey, Fine Sand, and White Glue: These materials will be used for the base, and are inexpensive at craft stores.

Acrylic Paint Pen, black: This inexpensive pen is useful for painting the edges of bases quickly and easily, and can be used without setting up your painting area.

Brush-tip Pens: These pens are useful for details and also more convenient to use than brushes.

Aluminum Foil: With double-stick tape, you can use aluminum foil and printouts of small pictures (search on "printies") for additional basing details.

zombiezombiezombie


Army Painter Stuff


Here's a list of Army Painter supplies you'll want, in order of newbie friendliness and price.


Strong and Soft Tone Quickshade Ink (eye dropper, $3): If you're not ready for the Zombicide paint sets, or have your own introductory set of hobby paints, Quickshade Ink is a must for the new tabletop painter. Strong is a dark brown, and Soft a lighter brown. I will include some comparison pictures in this tutorial. Of all the paints I've bought, the ink is the only "paint" I've run out of. Use these inks as washes. "Slop and glop" the ink over the figure with a hobby brush. The wash will settle in the recesses, leaving the raised areas lighter, although the overall figure will be darker. The figure will also appear dirtier, so the ink is best used on skeletons, zombies, orks, goblins, etc. You can also apply the wash as a "controlled wash" like paint. Note that Army Painter also has a Quickshade varnish sold in a tin, a different product. I prefer the ink because it can be used more easily indoors.

QuickShade Ink Set: I recommend to new tabletop painters the QuickShade Ink Set as their "second paint set". Besides the Strong, Soft, and Dark (black) Tones, the set comes with three color tones: Green, Red, Blue, and Purple. (No yellow or orange, however.) When used with a basecoat of the same or similar color, the wash will quickly shade the color (eg. Green Tone Ink with green orc or goblin skin). A wash used directly on primer will act like a shade (if the basecoats are thin), and is useful to guide you in painting the shaded areas of the model.

Zombicide Core Zombie Set and Toxic / Prisoner Set: If Zombicide are your first miniatures to paint or you have more than one season of zombies to paint, there's no reason not to have these sets. The core set has ten paints, and the second set has six. Some of the paints are on the thick side, but can be thinned with water, wash, or leftover watered-down wash that's absorbed some water through the wet palette.

The core set has: Zombie Shader (brown-grey wash), Glistening Blood (bright red for fresh blood), Crusted Sore (dark red for dried blood), Dirt Splatter (brown), Brainmatter Beige (white), Zombie Skin (Skeleton Bone), Filthy Suit (grey), Dead Black (black), Wasted Jeans (blue), and Mouldy Clothes (green). The Toxic / Prisoner Set has Jumpsuit Shader, Prison Jumpsuit (orange), Scaly Hide (pale green), Boney Spikes (yellow brown), Toxic Boils (pale purple), and Toxic Shader (purple wash).

Zombie Skin (brownish white): AP's use of Skeleton White for Zombie Skin is a good practical color choice for new painters, since its neutral bright color more easily contrasts with other colors than darker skin. Likewise, if you accidentally paint a zombie's clothing with this color, it's easy to paint over. You can still use Filthy Suit if you want a grey zombie, and mix Zombie Skin with other colors for different colors of skin. Start with a lighter skin because the shade darkens the skin color. This paint is thick, and can be thinned with water or even wash.

Zombie Shader (grey brown): This wash behaves similarly to AP's Strong and Soft Tone Inks.

Glistening Blood (bright red): With a Size 0 or smaller brush, I found this opaque paint quite useful for painting in "evil eyes". I didn't need to thin the paint out like I did with Zombie Skin.

Color Primers: As suggested by the name, Army Painter Color Primers were designed for miniature gamers who have entire armies to paint. Most boardgamer won't need a $15 can of primer in a specific color -- except when they have over a hundred zombies. In fact, in just the base game and first standalone set, Zombicide has over one hundred basic zombies. If you save a just three minutes of basecoating per zombie, that's *five hours* of painting you don't need to do. However, besides expense, I'm finding the colored primers a little less easy to use than hardware-bought spray primers. I made mistakes (paint drying before landing on the miniature) by not carefully following the Army Painter videos on using the primer. Thankfully, zombies are pretty tolerant of painting mistakes, and the usual thin layers of paint fixed any primer problems. Each can of primer paints about fifty miniatures, so you'll need two of them for the basic zombies.
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I'd be interested in more info on the use of the penny? Never heard of it before. I normally use distilled water so assume the penny makes using tap water less prone to mould?
 
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I've never used a brush tip pen before. Are they all similar?

Do you use a particular brand?
 
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andrewmdale wrote:
I'd be interested in more info on the use of the penny? Never heard of it before. I normally use distilled water so assume the penny makes using tap water less prone to mould?


Yep! Looks like the penny changes the pH so mold doesn't grow. Just learned that.

Search on "wet palette penny":
http://privateerpressforums.com/showthread.php?146810-Wet-Pa...
http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/47897-that-wet-...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=232463
 
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esswhy wrote:
I've never used a brush tip pen before. Are they all similar?


I don't know if they're all similar, but a Prismacolor brush-tip pen was cheap for about $3 from the craft store. Haven't found a need to try other brands, but try whatever's at the craft store! I use red the pen for monster eyes (with no pupils). You can also get an assorted color set for $15, but I rarely use other colors.

005 Micron pens are also popular for eyes, particularly for pupils for heroes. I tried it, but they kept clogging since they're tempting to use for general use. Brush-tip pens are a little trickier to use for hero pupils, so maybe pick up and experiment with a black 005 Micron pen while you're at the craft store. Sakura Pigma brand is cheap but designed for pen-on-paper art, not miniature painting.

EDIT: The opaque bright red Glistening Blood, with a Size 0 or smaller brush, does a good job of painting in eyes.

http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=221462

Good luck!
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I'm new to painting, and these are the first I have done so far:

http://imgur.com/a/w7MkT#0

But question, why are your zombies covered in sand? I get it that the bases has this for effect, but why on the actual figures?
 
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Good job on the figs!

For this batch of figures, I failed to follow the correct instructions for the Army Painter primer. Basically, the miniatures were too far from the spray nozzle, and the paint dried before landing on the miniatures. I'm used to hardware primer for plastics, but AP primer is a little less forgiving. When I *did* follow the instructions on another batch, the paint applied smoothly.

Which obviously means I'm going to try something different with the primer and see if it works! zombie
 
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Tutorial


Assembly Line: With over a hundred miniatures of the base zombies alone, work up your batches from 12-18 miniatures to 32 or more. Each sculpt has 6-8 multiple figures, so work on an entire sculpt's worth at a time within a batch.

Mold Lines: Plastic miniatures are made by pressing one or more metal molds together, filling them with heated melted plastic, allowing the plastic to cool, and popping out the plastic figure. The figure will usually have excess plastic at the seams, resulting in mold lines. Before filling, the molds are coated with mold release, an oil that allows the plastic figure to more easily be removed from the mold.

Some speed painting tutorials will tell you to skip this step. Don't. Instead, focus on removing mold lines visible from an overhead (eg. tops of bald heads) and side views. Even if you lose detail, remove the mold line. Jeweller's files and an X-Acto knife are inexpensive tools, while an engraving pen makes your work much easier. After removing mold lines, clean the miniature in hot water with a little soap. The soap will remove the mold release oil and unbend any bent parts.

Unfortunately, it's also easy to miss mold lines when the miniature is unpainted, particularly for light-colored miniatures. If you pre-ink the miniature by washing it after priming, you will find mold lines before you do the work of painting the miniature. Remove them and touch up with paint. White brush-on primer is also useful for painting over removed mold lines.

Primer: When selecting a primer, make sure it will work on plastics. In a well-ventilated area with low humidity, start spraying to the side of the miniatures, then apply the primer in a sweep. For Army Painter Color Primers, follow the tutorial video on the Army Painter site as closely as possible. To minimize touching the miniatures, I like to adhere two or three miniatures to cardboard with double-stick tape. This also allows me to experiment with more than one layer of differently colored primer.

I divide the primer step into two parts: coverage and color. When you're priming for coverage, you want the primer to completely cover the miniature. When you're priming for color, you apply the primer as paint to color it, much like an airbrush. Zenithal priming is a shading technique where you first completely cover the miniature in black (or grey), then color it with lighter colors (grey, white, and/or color primer) sprayed at an angle and overhead. The darker colors act as a shade, and lighter ones as highlight.

This picture is an example of zenithal priming, using black for coverage, and Army Painter Color Primer Skeleton Bone for color. Some of the darker areas of the miniature are from the paint, not shadow from the flash.


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Pre-Inking: Washes are usually applied after the basecoat (the first coat of paint on the primer). However, also washing the miniature directly after it has been primed will show off more details. The shaded and non-shaded areas can serve as guides when applying different shades of paint for shades and highlights.

These miniatures were primed only with Army Painter Skeleton Bone, then washed somewhat heavily with Army Painter Inks Soft Tone, Zombie Shader, and Strong Tone. The Inks are slightly different in color up close, but, at the tabletop level, are pretty much interchangeable. However, if you have the Dark Tone, its black color can be somewhat distinguished from the brown inks at a tabletop distance. Use it to pre-ink the Abominations and Survivors.

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Bases: Brush the bases with glue, then dip in fine craft sand. Then paint black, and drybrush grey. In drybrushing, put a small amount of paint on the tip of an old brush, and wipe off most of the paint on a paper towel. Then lightly brush against the sand, depositing the grey paint. Color the edges with a paint pen. This will be easier than painting them with a brush. The signs are "printies" and are useful to distinguish the bases. Print out a sheet of printies, cut out a section, tape it to aluminum foil with double-stick tape, and cut it out. Then glue it to the base. You can also color-coordinate the bases themselves, but this takes up a fair amount of additional time.

The abomination bases were glued with Gesso, which I found easier to apply. The printies were washed with a dark wash (Dark Tone) to tone the white printies down to a grey. The wash will also harden the paper. Dried Good Earth Tea was glued as debris, and also washed. I prefer to use dead static grass for monsters.

Printies: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1229010/painting-tutorial-ba...

Urban bases: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH64DUTUNXY





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Red Eyes: Red is a good color for "evil eyes". I like to use Army Painter's Glistening Blood is an opaque freely flowing paint. Assuming you're right handed, paint the right eye of the model, with the tip of the brush fitting into the part of the eye socket closest to the nose bridge. Turn the model upside down to paint the left eye. You can also use a Prismacolor brush-tip pen, or a Sakura 005 Micron Pen.

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Glazing: Rather than applying a basecoat, wash, then highlighting, you can apply thin layers of paint until the miniature is painted. The Army Painter paints are on the thick and bright side, and can be thinned with wash or water. I've found wash gives you more control over the thinned paint. Water can be watery and run into the recesses. Besides Zombie Flesh and Zombie Shader, place a drop of the white, black, grey, and brown paints on the palette as well. Experiment with mixing a little of these other paints with brushfuls of the Zombie Flesh, as well as the wash itself. Add more black when glazing the underside of the zombie, and grey for a grey-skinned appearance. You can also lightly brush the other raised areas of the miniature with Skeleton Bone and white as an undercoat for highlight painting. After glazing, touch up the shaded areas with Zombie Shader wash to correct any paint mistakes covering up shaded areas.

If you used Army Painter Color primer, you can and should save some time by skipping this step. You can always work on it later. The lefthand zombie was primed with color primer, while the middle and right ones were glazed. From a tabletop distance, the three look similar.

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Pictures and Notes


Priming and Pre-Inking




Miniatures after priming in Army Painter color Skeleton Bone, then washed with Zombicide Set Zombie Shader.
A few sites recommend gluing the sand before priming, but the primer cause the glue to separate from the boardgame plastic. Remedied by painting the base black.




Miniatures after priming in Army Painter color Skeleton Bone, then washed with Zombicide Set Zombie Shader.
Primer sprayed too far from the miniatures dried before "landing" on the miniature, giving them a sandy appearance. However, further painting corrected this.




Miniatures after priming with color primer, then pre-inked in a Quickshade Ink.




Notice the difference between miniatures not primed with color primer, and those which have. First column were inked with Zombie Shader, second with Strong Tone, and third with Soft Tone.




Strong Tone, Soft Tone, and Zombie Shader.




Zombie Shader, Soft Tone, and Strong Tone. Un-inked miniatures in foreground.




Stong Tone, Soft Tone, and Zombie Shader.




Soft Tone, Strong Tone, Zombie Shader, and Dark Tone.




Close-up of Abominations pre-inked with Dark Tone.


Bases




A black acrylic paint pen will more quickly and thoroughly paint the edge of a base than a brush, and does not need the setup of a wet palette.




Bases painted black and drybrushed grey. Some additional painting on flesh to bring up color and correct sandy appearance.


Red Eyes




These eyes were painted before glazing. Doesn't really matter what order you glaze, paint the eyes, or base.


Glazing




To remove any "sandy" appearance on the flesh, the flesh was glazed with Skeleton Bone (off-white) thinned with Zombie Shader (brown-grey) wash. Drops of Brainmatter Beige (white), Dead Black, Filthy Suit (grey), and Dirt Spatter (brown) was put on the wet palette for additional shading, highlighting, etc, for different shading and skin tone effects. You can also use Skeleton Bone to "highlight" raised areas on the clothing to brighten the undercoat. Experiment!




More glazing. Note how the "sandy" miniatures' flesh of the male miniatures have been corrected to match the properly primed miniatures of the female miniatures.




After glazing, Zombie Shader was useful for "touching up" the shaded areas where paint was accidentally applied.




Unglazed miniature primed with color primer on left, glazed miniature without color primer on right. Color primer really speeds up painting by omitting the glazing step.




Abominations after Dark Tone pre-ink and glazing.




Additional color-primed unglazed miniature versus non-color-primed glazed ones.








Coming soon! Painting flesh on Toxic Zombies!



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Updated Pictures and Notes sections.

Notes on painting Toxic and Berserk bases:
Toxic: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1243644/painting-tutorial-to...
Berserk: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1243988/painting-tutorial-br...
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More pictures added! zombie

In the Cthulhu Wars forum, I posted a tutorial for painting Secret Weapon Field of Bone bases, which can be used as zombie spawning points for Zombicide. You can use Army Painter Zombie Skin (Skeleton Bone) to drybrush the bones on the base: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1255951/painting-tutorial-de...
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Finished up the pictures!

Took about two months for two base sets worth of basic zombies. Spent most of my time removing mold lines. If you want to save work and time, only remove those mold lines that are visible from the top of the miniature.

Will update this thread when I start up the Toxic Zombie flesh tutorial!
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Added pic and comments about basing the abominations!

Preview pic of some figures I finally painted!

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Nice to see the survivors in monochrome!
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