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Star Wars: Imperial Assault» Forums » General

Subject: Star Wars: Imperial Assault [HOBBY & PAINTING GUIDE] rss

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Sensei Swag
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Hi Boardgamegeek,

After not touching a paintbrush in two years, Star Wars: Imperial Assault was the perfect excuse for me to get back in. I had been painting figures professionally for many years and after painting for 8-12 hours a day, there wasn't much of a chance for me to paint leisurely. I had purchased a set of the new Valljo Game Air Colors and a set of Badger's Minitaire paints and just saw that a new Star Wars boardgame came out and I had to get it. Reading through the board, I saw that many people wanted to make their figurines stand out so I decided to make this thread to help everyone out.

I'm going to be using two ranges of airbrush colors, but I will be painting with a brush (the airbrush is a Christmas present). Airbrush paints are thinned down regular acrylics and this will just save me the time of thinning or watering down the paints myself. If you are a beginner, I suggest you use normal acrylic paints - those designed for working on miniatures will be best. I linked a suggested Starter Set at the bottom of the page. You can substitute any Vallejo Game Air color with a color from the regular Vallejo Game line (they are exactly the same). I will also try to do a conversion chart to help painters using Citadel, P3, or Reaper Ranges as I have used those in the past. In addition to the Badger and Vallejo paints, I have the all 12 of the Citadel Washes. Even if you are on a budget, the Citadel Washes are worth their weight in liquid gold. Hobby paints are expensive - if you have to, you can buy craft paints at Walmart (or equivalent overseas brand) for under a buck each. I however, do not recommend this as these paints are very thin. If you are using them, shake them well before use (you should actually be doing this any brand of paint) and be patient as some colors will need many thin layers.

I will be updating this post as I go along. I will add everything to the first post so you don't have to shift through an entire thread. I imagine the tutorial will be complete in 2 or 3 days.

Didn't quite get to finish these, but here are the painted shots:





PREPARATION:

First things first, find a comfortable place to work in. This is my temporary workstation for the winter. I used an old 6x2 folding table. You can pick up one at Walmart for $30 to make sure you don't damage or paint your kitchen table.



Star Wars: Imperial Assault uses soft plastic miniatures. This material has a sort of rubbery material feel to it unlike hard plastic that you see in Warhammer kits or scale model tanks. Because of the nature of the material, some thin parts are not straight. This is true with many of the lightsabers in this game.



To fix Darth Vader's lightsaber, take a heatgun (or hairdryer in my case) and warm up the model until you can easily bend the saber back in shape.



Plastic does have a little bit of memory to it and since the saber was cast straight (the bending comes from the rapid cooling when the mold is released or from packaging), in many cases, the heat will just reset it. If you leave the model, the saber might bend again. So in order to set it, while the model is still warm, dunk it into cold water. Some people like to heat water to right below a boil, but I find the hairdryer much easier to use and it does not require as much waiting.



The next step is to clean the mold lines. Plastic models are made using a two-part mold and the liquid plastic seeps out of the join during production and leaves a plastic line. This does not matter if you are just going to be gaming, but a line running down the middle of a model detracts from the paintjob. Take an X-Acto knife and run it down the line. Always cut away from yourself, not towards yourself. You can also get extra-fine grit sandpaper and smooth it down after the line is gone. Be careful on detailed parts like the Nexu's fur and too much cutting will also remove detail.



I take a large brush ( a bristle brush would work better) to get all the plastic shavings off the piece.



Some people are having trouble fitting the double medium blaster cannon onto the AT-ST. First clean the mold line running over the circle part (that is there for the gun to swivel) and then carefully shave down the circle with a file. Be careful not to cut it all the way off because then the gun cannot move and might fall out. If that is the case, just get some CA glue (Super glue) and fix it in place.



Here is everything put together and cleaned:



Next step is priming. Always, always, always prime your miniatures before you paint them. The primer coat serves two purposes. First it gives the acrylic paint a surface to stick on. Secondly, it helps prevent the model from chipping. Many times you can get acrylics to stick onto your miniatures without primer, but if you drop them, the paint is coming off. Priming makes the miniature 1000x easier to paint. Enamel, Lacquer paints, and Tamiya paints (these are not REAL acrylics) can be painted on without primer, but I would still use some. Make sure the bottle you buy says Primer on it. Do not buy a glossy can of paint. You can prime in any color - black, white, or grey. Each painter has their own preference, but generally white makes colors more vibrant. Black primer works well if you are trying to paint fast as if you miss a spot, it won't be as noticeable. My primer says grey, but it is very light, almost white.

I used Tamiya Fine Surface primer in grey, but any primer will do. Tamiya's bottle is expensive at $10, but you can get Krylon primer at Walmart or event automotive primer at about 3x the size for $3. The good thing about Tamiya's Surface Primer (and Mr. Hobby's equivalent)is that the surface is super smooth. Krylon's Primer does the job just fine, if you are just starting out, you won't know the difference. Follow the instructions on your can to see how far the spray should be from the model. If you spray from too far away, the paint will start to dry before it reaches the model and you will end up with a rough uneven finish. If you spray too close, the paint will be runny.

I prime the model in 3 step. First, I lay them face down and hit them from the top and 4 sides. Then I turn them over and do the same thing. Finally, I stand them upright on their bases and hit them again. I leave 15 minutes between each rotation. Remember to spray in thin passes. Now most people would recommend you wait overnight for the paint to dry before painting, but I gave it 10 minutes and go.




PAINTING

[REBELS ALLIANCE]

[IMPERIAL ARMY]

- All Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST)

Thank you Colonial Viper Ace for reminding me that my DSLR has settings besides zoom and flash. Now I can take halfway decent pictures at 2 in the morning. I will retake in the sunlight as it still looks a little off.



I had a few steps before this picture, but I had forgotten to put the memory card into my camera. This new camera doesn't beep at me to remind me to put in the memory card. I decided I liked the light grey primer and decided to use that as the main color. The first step was for me to define the panel lines. In order to do this, I applied a Gloss Coat onto the model. You can use any brush on (ie Citadel 'Ard Coat) or a spray (any Gloss Varnish works). I brushed on Badger Minitaire's Gloss Coat. Ideally it would be less work if you used an airbrush or can (which I forgot to buy).

Next, I thinned down Minitaire Charred Stone with a drop of airbrush thinner and water. I let capillary action take the paint off the brush and run it into the panel lines and around the rivets. It's okay to be sloppy - if you missed anything, it will be fixed. After you have defined all the recess of the model, get a paper towel and moisten it with acetone. It is important here that the towel is damp, not soaking or else it will ruin your model. Take this and carefully dab the raised areas around the panels. This will remove any paint that is not in the lines. The gloss coat protects the original color underneath. If your towel is too wet, the acetone will remove the gloss coat and the color underneath. If you happen to remove a little, just go back and add the original color.

Another way to approach this is to use a Citadel Wash which is a watered down paint for shading. The color I would have used is Nuln Oil. If you do this, you don't have to gloss the model, but you will have to go back with the original paint color to cover your mistakes. Ideally you would do this technique, called a pin wash, with oil paints (using appropriate oil thinner), but I was forced to use acrylics because I don't have oils with me at the moment.



The next step is to give the model a flat coat. You want the model to be flat, not glossy for the next step or it will not work. The best thing to do is to grab a can of Testor's Dullcoat and spray it over. Give it about 20 minutes to dry. After about 5 minutes, you can use the hairdryer to help it along. Even if you did not use a gloss coat and used acrylic washes (like Citadel Washes), it is still good to Dullcoat at this stage because the washes do dry a little bit glossy sometimes.

After the model is nice and flat, it is time for highlighting. I did this in 2 steps using the drybsuhing technique. In order to do this, take a wide, flat brush and load it with your color. In this case, I mixed 3 drops of Minitaire Badger Fur with 2 drops of Minitaire Snow White. If you are using another range of paints, just pick or mix a color that is slightly lighter than your main color. Take the brush and brush off almost all of the paint onto a paper towel until you can barely see the color. Here is what my brush looked like. You can see how the brush deposits less paint as you move to the right.



Now brush the paint onto the model focusing on the raised areas. The dry paint will catch any raised surfaces making the model really stand out.



Finally, I used pure Minitaire Snow White and did a light drybush only focusing on the highest points. Do not cover all of the color you did before, you want a natural progression.



The next technique is optional (well really everything is, just go as far as you want and spend as much time as you want to on your figures). To do paint chips, I take a piece of foam. You can use foam from miniature blister packs of from foam cases. If you have neither, a kitchen sponge is okay too. I took a knife and a file to roughen up the end and give it a little bit more texture. Then I dipped it in painted and dabbed it onto a paper towel until most of the paint was off and the sponge was depositing random patterns.



Here is what it looks like when applied to the AT-ST. When doing this, take care to focus the chips on areas where more wear would occur like the edges, hatch, and bottom of the legs. A few chips are used to break up the center of the armor, but keep it sparse.



Finally, to give the paint chips a sense of depth, I applied a highlight with Minitaire Snow White with a small brush. I just did this on the larger chips as doing every one would take too long. I only do this if I am working on a competition miniature.



For the metals, I applied a 1:1 (1 to 1 ratio) coat of Vallejo Game Air Gunmetal and Chainmail Silver. The center of the large top left panel could have used a little bit more paint as seen in the next two pictures, but after the wash is dry, it will not be noticeable.



Give the metal plenty of time to dry. Then wash it with Citadel Nuln Oil. Army Painter's Dark Shade also works very well (the dropper bottle one, not the dip).



For the final step of the metals, drybrush Vallejo Game Air Silver. If you are working on a large number of figures that need metal using this method, I recommend Citadel Necron Compound. That paint is part of Citadel's Dry line which are formulated for drybrushing.



I realized that the AT-ST looked a little bland so I decided to add some color markings to it. In order to do this, first mask off the areas that you don't want paint. The masking tape ensures that you have a nice solid line between the colors. Tamiya makes a good masking tape for models that won't peel the tape. I am using an unbranded Chinese roll. Blue painter's mask will work, but be more careful with that - I would use it only if I had put a Matte Coat (Dullcoat) on the paint first.

I don't have a picture of the next part, but I used Vallejo Game air Chipping Medium (applied with the same sponge as before). It's clear, but when after you put a layer of paint over it, you can rub off the Chipping Medium and it will show the color underneath. Any generic brand of Masking Fluid works. You can find Masking Fluid at Michael's or Hobby Lobby where the acrylics are.



I then used Minitaire Swamp Green to fill in the line. Since this is an airbrush paint, it did not go well over a flat surface. It took me about 7 thin coats to build up the color. If you use regular acrylics, this step should be a breeze.



Here is the marking with the tape removed. I also rubbed off the Chipping Medium with a pencil eraser to show the grey underneath. I took the sponge and used Minitaire Concrete Slab to do smaller chipping effects.



Last step of the AT-ST is to paint the windows. I painted them with Vallejo Game Air Black and added a layer of Minitaire Gloss Coat. You can substitute the Gloss Coat with Citadel 'Ardcoat or Future Floor Wax (renamed to Pledge Clear I think).





-Storm Troopers
I hope the pictures for these guys are okay. I am struggling with the new camera. I have literally tried 1000 different set ups.

I didn't want to paint actual white so over the grey primer, I took a can of White spray paint (get this at Walmart for 99 cents. Just make sure you get Flat not Glossy). Got back to your priming set up and put the model standing on it's base. Spray from the top of the head straight down and go around with a 45 degree angle. This will leave you with a nice gradient effect from the grey to white. This does most of the shading for us.



Next, get some Minitaire Charred Stone or equivalent medium grey and thing it down. There is no shortcut to this, just take your time and a tiny brush (00 or 000 works) and go around all of the recesses in the armor.



This next step is also time consuming and can be frustrating. Do the opposite of what you just did, but use White and highlight all the raised surfaces of the armor. These two steps are hard, but the effect is worth it in the end.




Finally, using the same brush, go over all the black areas being careful not to get any on the white. If you are unsure of yourself, do this before you start painting the white as clean up will be easier. I highlighted the fingers and Blasters with Vallejo Game Air Stonewall Grey. Since the Storm Troopers are in squads, I painted one set with Red shoulder pads and one withe Blue. The third squad was left white. Make sure you do the E_Web gunners at the same time too. I left one White and painted on shoulder pad Yellow.



-Royal Guard
For the regular models on the imperial side, I will try to do them in a method where more advanced techniques are overlayed on the easier methods. The first step is the basecoat. This is the most important color so make sure you take care when applying it. I cannot stress enough, but multiple thing layers are always better than one thick layer. The Gory Red took three thin coats.



Basecoats:
Cloth: Vallejo Game Air Gory Red
Weapon: Vallejo Game Air Chainmail Silver
Handle and Facemask: Vallejo Game Air Black



Wash:
Weapon: Citadel Nuln Oil
Cloth: Citadel Carrpburg Crimson

To be honest, the miniatures look pretty great at this stage. You should stop here if you are pressed for time. With just 2 colors per section, the miniature already looks great. I'm going to take it a few steps further to show you what you can really do with these figures.

I don't have pictures here, but for the next step, I just added back the layers of red with Vallejo Game Air gory Red. I left the shade the in the recesses. I took Vallejo Game Air Bloody Red and went over the most prominent parts of the folds and finished with Vallejo Game Air Hot Orange thinned and layered on only the tops o the folds.



-Trandoshan Hunter


Basecoats:
Cloth:Vallejo Game Air Khaki
Skin: Badger Minitaire Pestilence Flesh
Straps: Vallejo Game Air Black
Armor: Badger Minitaire Dusty Ground
Shotgun: Vallejo Game Air Gunmetal Grey

[img]

Not the best picture, but at least the guys in the back are clear. No idea how the camera did that.

Washes:
Cloth: Citadel Devlan Mud
Skin: Citadel Athonian Camoshade (Army Painter Strong Tone works, Athonian Camoshade is a dity green wash).
Armor: Thinned down Citadel Nuln Oil
Shotgun: Citadel Nuln Oil

-Probe Droid

[img]http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j25/senseiswag/DSC00608_zp...[/img]

Basecoat: 1:1 Vallejo Game Air Chainmail Metal and Vallejo Game Air Gunmetal Grey



Wash: Citadel Nuln Oil



Drybrush: Vallejo Game Air Silver

At this point, I want to emphasize again how easy it is to metals look sharp. A base color, wash, and drybrush is all you need. Drying time aside, that was faster than trying to photograph the droids.



The next part is painting the lenses. From the movie pictures, I could only see a bright red light. Besides that, there is not much else to break up the monotony of the metal so I added some light lenses. These are pretty simple to paint. Paint the darkest color over black abour 3/4th of the way up. I start in the bottom right hand corner, but the left works too. Doesn't matter as long as its consistent. The next color takes 1/2 of that and the final highlight is very thing at the bottom. I think of a crescent moon shape. A final dot of white is placed in the top corner opposite from the brightest highlight. I hadn't done this before the picture, but choose your favorite gloss varnish and put it over the lenses.

The formulas I used are follows:
(all Vallejo Game Air)
Red: Scarlett Red, Bloody Red, Hot Orange
Green: Sick Green, Green Escorpena, Light Livery Green
Purple: Hexed Lichen, Alien Purple, 1:1 Alien Purpleead White



Finished Probe Droids.

BOARDGAME PIECES

After working on the figures, I debated maybe giving the game a try. My brother might be up for a run through of the first scenario. Looking at the board pieces, the cardboard edges from the cut out really detract from the look of the game.

Fixing it is easy. I used a pack of acrylic markers purchased from Walmart. The set comes with White, Black, Blue, Green, and Red. That covers most of the colors from what I see except for Grey and Yellow. Thankfully there are not many of those pieces so I can just use acrylic paint. Just take the marker and run over the edges of the pieces. On the gameboard pieces, just follow the black line because you won't see the connector parts anyways.

You can alternatively use Sharpies which I don't recommend too much because of the smell. The acrylic markers give a more vibrant finish. The cardboard will absorb most of the ink. You can pick up acrylic markers at Micheal's or Hobby Lobby too, but they run at about $5 each. The Walmart set ran me less than $10. They aren't brand name, but they work just as well. If you have Gundam Markers, those work too.

Left: Punched tokens/tiles | Right: Inked tokens/tiles.


Current Update: Starting on the baddies!

If you have any hobby related question, feel free to ask. Please do not ask me anything about gameplay because likely I will not play the game - I am only here for painting. Also, I will probably sell the set afterwards as I do not have a lot of space for it.
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Contemptus Mundi
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I've been driving my wife nuts for years boiling figures on her shiny stove top causing water spots. Never thought of a hair dryer... duh. Would have thought a heat gun would be needed, but I'll give the dryer a try.

Post pics as you go. Great post, and welcome to BGG.

Cheers!
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Benjamin Symons
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I look forward to following this painting guide.
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Kyle Dalrymple
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Very much looking forward to the continuation of this topic. I've never really tried any mini painting, but this game is inspiring me to give it a shot. As such, I'm sure I'll find this guy exceptionally useful and as a complete newbie, the more details/images you provide, the better as far as I'm concerned.
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Jason Pounsett
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I've not painted in quite a few years and been trying to get the hang of it again before my game arrives. The tip about priming the minis lying down is an awesome one. I'll have to try it that way, and definitely a thumbs up on more images where able!
 
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Dan Kennedy
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Really cool but the last few pictures of the AT-ST painting (I assume) don't load any help to know what you mean by panel lines and raised surface would help.

Nevermind they loaded on my second try interwebs!!!
 
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Thank you everyone for the replies. And gold from my first post! Wow!

I finished the AT-ST portion of the tutorial. Unfortunately it's dark outside now and I don't have a daylight lamp. These pictures will do for now - I will retake photos in the morning after my dentist appointment.
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I wasn't sure if I would take the time to paint my minis once I had them in hand, but you've inspired the best in me. Thanks for an excellent post.
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Jason Cann
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Great painting guide. I look forward to if someone might take it upon themselves to mod the AT-ST in order to straighten it up from the default kneeling position. I'm no expert but the joints look like there's enough material there to work with.
 
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Hi, you mentioned you were new to your DSLR so I thought I would give you a quick fyi. If you look on your menu you should see a setting for white balance. You can manually set that to match your location ie flourescent or incandescent lights. If you are finding your pics are too dark raise your ISO. Hope this helps. Great guide by the way!
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Colonial Viper Ace wrote:
Hi, you mentioned you were new to your DSLR so I thought I would give you a quick fyi. If you look on your menu you should see a setting for white balance. You can manually set that to match your location ie flourescent or incandescent lights. If you are finding your pics are too dark raise your ISO. Hope this helps. Great guide by the way!


Thank you so much! That helped explain a lot. I can now get halfway decent pictures at night.
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Jeppe Tobias Hatting
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It's winter, cold and raining and I havent got anywhere to spray prime my minis :C
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Jason Hartloff
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I like to paint my minis for all my games, and have been doing it for years, but, I am not very good (no artistic talent whatsoever!).. so, this guide is AMAZING!!
I always do a better job when I can follow step by step along with a guide of some sort, and yours is perfect. I am picking my game up tonight or tomorrow, and will start painting this weekend.
Thank you for this guide, and like the others have said, I am really looking forward to the rest as you get them out.
Amazing job, both in the work, and the write-up!
Happy Holidays!
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Christopher Dodge
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Thank you very much for doing this tutorial! I have done some painting and consider myself to be more than a beginner but I have learned some very useful tips here that will help me take painting figures to the next level. Thanks again!
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Hatting wrote:
It's winter, cold and raining and I havent got anywhere to spray prime my minis :C

You can use Vallejo primer (there may be other brands, but this is what I use) with a brush.
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ThaDoc wrote:
Great painting guide. I look forward to if someone might take it upon themselves to mod the AT-ST in order to straighten it up from the default kneeling position. I'm no expert but the joints look like there's enough material there to work with.


I'm not sure that would work because of the way the joints on the model appear to work. I think it could be done with some scratchbuilding and cutting plastic.

Hatting wrote:
It's winter, cold and raining and I havent got anywhere to spray prime my minis :C


Run your spray primer under hot water from the facet. If you do that you can spray in the rain as long as the models don't get wet (if you have a porch or similar). As long as it's not gusting wind you should be okay.
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Christopher Dodge
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Sensei, can you describe what type of airbrush you use? And is it run off of a can or compressor? If the price is right, I may get one.
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14cross wrote:
Sensei, can you describe what type of airbrush you use? And is it run off of a can or compressor? If the price is right, I may get one.


14cross,

I am not using an airbrush on this project, but this is the set I am getting for Christmas:

http://www.tcpglobal.com/ABD-KIT-3AB-20.html?sc=207&category...

It's an off-brand from a Taiwanese company, but it will work for all practical purposes. I recommend a Dual Action top feed (this kit contains 2, the 3rd airbrush is a siphon feed which I don't like). When airbrushing, thin your paints and make sure you are spraying on a low psi.

This airbrush is not an Iwata, Badger, or Passche, but the thing about airbrushes is that no company holds the copyright to them. The brand names will have smoother, more precise controls. I've heard from some knowledgeable people that most of the airbrushes are made in the same factory on the mainland. The designs are the same, the materials on the brand name brushes are higher quality.

Hope that helps.
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Chris Norrick
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I've not messed with model painting for at least 10 years. When I pre-ordered this game I knew it was time to pick it up again. This post is exactly what I was searching for. Sound advice from someone who knows what they are doing on the exact same set I'm preparing to paint. Perfect. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't wait for the series to be completed. I pickup up my game yesterday! Time to order paint and supplies.
 
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David C.
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This guide is fantastic. Thank you so much!

I started painting some years ago (and painted only a few games since then), when I purchased Earth Reborn. Since those were only a few minis and I didnt want to risk ruining them, I tested on some other game parts from games I thought I wouldn't play again.

This is one of the better ones resulting from my Earth Reborn learning experience:


After that I painted the ships in Merchants and Marauders

Later on I started to paint the pieces from Last Night On Earth (and never finished it). Currently I'm working on Clash of Cultures... hundreds and hundreds of pieces.


Why I'm talking about this?
Because I want you to know where I'm coming from when I ask you for your advice.

Even if I feel comfortable painting, I'm really bad with thinning my colours though. So creating washes by myself proved to be a nightmare. When starting with the hundreds of Clash of Cultures minis I bought "Army Painters Quickshade" which is okayish to use on those numbers and sizes of minis. But I'm really thinking about buying some washes before I start painting Imperial Assault (and Armymals, if I ever get enough time on my hands).
Can you give me pointers what washes would be usefull? How many would I need? You seem to use " Citadel Nuln Oil" a lot - do you use it exclusively for all colors?
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Julien Marr
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You sir are a god amongst men. Thanks for this.
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Derry Salewski
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Awesome to show us!

(Those probe droids look funny to me since I paint way more gems than way than lenses so all I can see are blinged out droids . . . )
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Great job. Amazon's had the Minitaire paint sets three times on their holiday deals (and airbrush once), so look out for a fourth! I keep a "Holiday Shopping 2014" thread on Dakka Dakka, and we post any miniatures-related specials there.

For mold lines, I recommend getting an engraving pen, $10 at Harbor Freight tools, and jeweler's files, $5 at a craft store.

Secret Weapon Miniatures has an interesting two-minute tutorial on using a white watercolor pencil for vehicle highlighting effects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_oM5JMkwQI

EDIT: Badger Air Brush and Minitaire Paint Set on Amazon at at 5pm PST!

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Robert Mair
Canada
St. Hubert
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Sam and Max wrote:
Great job. Amazon's had the Minitaire paint sets three times on their holiday deals (and airbrush once), so look out for a fourth! I keep a "Holiday Shopping 2014" thread on Dakka Dakka, and we post any miniatures-related specials there.

...

Badger Air Brush and Minitaire Paint Set on Amazon at at 5pm PST!

I guess living in Canada is not always benefitial. I found the Minitaire paints on Amazon.CA for $31.05 for 2 oz bottle!!! That's absolutely rediculous.
I'll stick to my art supply store and get a tube of acrylic (6oz for $2.50). The only problem is that I have to thin it manually.
 
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Chris Norrick
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Sam and Max wrote:
EDIT: Badger Air Brush and Minitaire Paint Set on Amazon at at 5pm PST!


Do you know what the "sale price" will be? I need a set of paints for my Imperial Assault project.
 
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