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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: First time mini painter - seeking advice rss

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James Little
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My girlfriend (who's somewhat of an artist herself) and I, are thinking about painting the minis in some of my board game collections. However, neither of us have ever painted minis before.

Having said that, what products are needed for the painting-mini-noob? Does anyone have a general list of brushes and paints that would work as a good "starter set"? What would the estimated cost for said set be?

I appreciate any information, recommendations, and advice from those of you who have dabbled in the art of painting miniatures before.

Thank you!
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Troy W
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Others can provide better recommendations for paints, etc. than I can. However, I did learn a few things when I used to paint:

1) Good brushes will repay the investment a million times over. Learn how to clean and store them properly, too...there are plenty of videos, etc. on YouTube and the like.
2) Get a magnifying system of some kind. This could be a professional loupe on a tensor arm for $$, or a juryrigged coat hanger and kids' magnifying glass for cheap. It will make your life MUCH easier, and may prevent long-term eye damage if you get into painting in a big way.
3) Small dowel pieces with jeweler's rouge or two-sided tape on the end can make great bases while you are painting the figure; this way you can pick him up, turn him, etc. without touching him.

Finally, don't be afraid to do some Googling...there are an incredible amount of sites out there with tips, inspiration, supplies, and so on...
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Chris Geggus
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Whilst I hate to give any support to Games Workshop, I always found the guys actually working on the shop floors to be really useful sources of assistance when I went through my GW phase many years ago. I guess the guys are sometimes so bored that a newcomer (read possible client), asking them for help and asistance on hobby related subjects is almost manna from heaven. I am assuming that you will have a Games Workshop somewhere in range of where you live.

Obviously they are also a useful source of paints, brushes etc., so you can kill two birds with one stone if they have what you decide you want. Otherwise their specialist magazine, White Dwarf, is a further source of painting suggestions and techniques. Using their ideas and equipment over about 4 years I went from awful to adequate - so there's hope for all!

Good luck.
 
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You'll find a number of useful websites and some idea of materials and cost in this thread:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/408909/my-wife-and-i-hav...
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Michael Barlow
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If there's a good craft store in your area, like Michaels or something, get a "value pack" of Gold Sable brushes (their handles are blue).

For a newbie, and for plastic figures, get acrylic paints. Model paints (enamels) can give you a nasty high and may melt the plastic because some of those boardgame plastic figures aren't made of the same type of plastic as plastic models at the hobby shop. I hate to give business to Games Workshop, but they make damn fine acrylic paint. Also, if you can find it, try Ral Partha acrylic paints. Avoid Apple Barrel paints from craft stores. But Ceramacoat paint is okay. But those craft paints have nothing on the cool speciality miniature store paints!

Don't go nuts getting every conceivable paint colour out there. There's no need. Get medium colours. A blue, a red, a green, a yellow, a white and a black. You can make almost everything else from that, unless you know you'll be using a speciality colour a lot (like "flesh").

Invest in a good quality masking tape to block off areas you don't want painted or repainted. Or try Silly Putty or modelling clay (but this will leave an oily residue that will need a spot clean). Or, try masking fluid from an arts supply store (or an on-campus college supplies store). It's got a nasty reek of ammonia but you can paint it on to mask an area, then peel it off before the paint dries. It's kinda cool.

Don't shop at dollar stores for supplies. They tend to buy up leftovers of uncertain age or cheaper (read "crappier") versions of better products.

Always, always, always clean your figure before you paint it. Nothing fancy. You can clean a figure with vinegar or dish washing soap. There are mold release agents on new figures. There are oils from your fingers too.

Apply one paint layer in a thin coat. Then wait till it's dry before adding another thin coat. Blobbing on a thick coat will obliterate detail (and it will take longer to dry).

If a colour is going on too transparently for your liking, try mixing the paint with another colour, white to lighten it, a miniscule amount of black to darken it, or some other colour.

Patience is your friend. Always wait for an hour between coats of paint. The bottle might say 20 minutes, but an hour is better.

Two days after you've finished painting your figure, clear coat it, with either a dull (matt), a gloss , or even a satin finish, whichever you prefer. Clear coats add that extra layer of protection to figures, especially if you're going to be handling them a lot.
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A single tip: use Vallejo paints. Game Color for a basic range, Model Color for a detailed selection.
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Grace Whelan
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1. Use good brushes. (except for drybrushing...cheap ones for that)

2. Always prime your figures. Lots of people prefer black primer. Its more forgiving, allows for some natural shadowing in the recesses, but will require more coats of ligter colors on top. I prefer white primer. Colors are more vibrant, but you will need to manually shade the recesses.

3. Use paints designed for minis. Acrylics are best. Yes, you can buy a big jar of craft paint and use tat...but the pigment in it is not as fine as in mini paints...so your figs will look chalky. I like Vallejo paints (Game COlor are ery nice), but Citadel paints are great and many beginners will do better with Citadel paints because they cover well and are very consistent.

4. Washes and inks are your friend. They can be tricky to get just right. A product called Wonder Wash is great. I think it is just ink, water and future floor finish mixed together.

5. Clear coat your figs when done. I like to use a Matte finish. If you do this, be aware that any metallic bits will dull. To get those shiny you will need to brush on some gloss varnish for those pieces. You can gloss coat the entire fig if you like that look.

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As to the above #1. You can prime in black and then drybrush white over the face, hands and other exposed flesh. (banners too) The white will make the color over jump out more but the overall figure in black is easier to paint.
 
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Obsolete Man
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HeinzGuderian wrote:
A single tip: use Vallejo paints. Game Color for a basic range, Model Color for a detailed selection.


An excellent suggestion.

You can often find exactly the color you're looking for. Though it might not have the name you expect. For example, WWII German army uniforms can be done with "German Field Grey" (actually a greyish green). The breadbags they carry as part of their kit can be done with "German Camo Beige". But WWII Hungarian uniforms are done with "English Uniform"!

If you care about accuracy and you're doing an historical subject, a little research goes a long way. For example, WWII Soviet infantry didn't have a single uniform color: they had green, grey khaki, yellow brown, tan/cream... all sorts. That's because they didn't have good quality control on the dyes (they were busy with other stuff...) and the uniforms faded; sometimes they faded differently depending on the origin of the issue, and were replaced unevenly. So you'd have mismatched pants and tunics, one faded one way and one faded another way, with the occasional new piece. So you can go into that level of detail if you want to do so.

But use good paints, decent brushes, and paint mainly to satisfy your own sensibilities. "Good enough" usually is (can't take my own advice though).

Obviously, wash the figures and then prime them. I just use Krylon "Flat Black" indoor/outdoor spray paint to prime with; then I go over any spots I missed with a paint on black primer and/or just regular black paint. I like to have black be the prime coat because if I miss a spot I can just count it as a shadow and move on.

It is good to add depth to your minis by using washes or drybrushing. With drybrushing, you dab most of the paint off the bristles (of a brush you don't mind destroying) and glide it back and forth over a painted area using a lighter color: the lighter color hits the highlights and brings out the detail. It also works great for metallic colors over black. A wash is sort of the opposite (at least the way I do it): you take a darker paint and mix it with water, then apply to a detailed area. The dark paint seeps into the lower areas and brings out the details with shading.

Ultimately, painting isn't very hard. If a guy like me can do nice work then it couldn't be.
 
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