The Hotness
Games|People|Company
The Hotness has gone cold...
Rule #1: Have Fun
United Kingdom
London
England
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've got lots of inks, paints, etc - even a great airbrush from when I did art years ago, but I have never (ever) painted a miniature before, and having seen what some people have done with this game - especially the beautiful work at http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/27242181/, I would really love some easy step instructions on how to have a go without making a mess, or spending a month doing it!

Even step-by-step instructions of one or two models would be a great start, though of course, knowing what I can do / should do all in one step would be useful!

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ed G.
United States
Fort Wayne
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The dip method FTW. Meets all of your requirements.



3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Boardgame
United Kingdom
Penrith
Cumbria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not going to knock the dip which I've never tried but readily admit the results look fantastic. However, if you already have inks, paints, airbrush and a couple good quality brushes (size 1 and 0 say - plenty small enough, any smaller just makes more work, honestly, and is only needed for inscribing the Koran on the inside of an acorn shell) and some cheaper brushes for drybrushing, you are well set up to start.

Like everything, you'll get the best results with practise. These D&D minis paint well because (on the whole) the sculpts are really good. I would recommend getting hold of a couple of random miniatures of similar quality to practise on, but you won't be taking any enormous risks by getting stuck in with the WoA figures - after all, it is possible to strip the paint off and start again if you mess up.

I have never used an airbrush (but plan on getting one) - it should save a lot of hassle for base-coating the figures. You want to use a decent quality matt white or black for the base coat - in general, a figure in a lot of armour you would base black, a figure with a lot of fabric or flesh white.

For myself, my approach to painting minis for games is that I want them to look nice, but I am not painting them to win a competition or something. I want to get the job of painting them over quickly. I want each hero figure to have different dominant colour or colours than the others, so that they stand out easily on the board. I want monsters of the same type to look identical, which makes them easier to paint, and to me fits with their role as playing pieces in this game.

Anyhow, you requested step-by-step instructions, so here goes:

A good figure to start with in Wrath of Ashardalon is the cleric Quinn. My figure was a bit miscast, as were quite a few other figures in the box - he had a groove from the mold down the side of the figure, and the tip of his pick missing. It is possible to correct these with a craft knife and modelling clay, etc. I made the judgement that for me these defects were not significant, and went ahead with painting without performing surgery.

I gave Quinn a white basecoat, using a can of Citadel Skull White primer. I would imagine that if you know how to use an airbrush, you will be able to skip giving your money to Games Workshop, and that you will probably be able to get better results and cheaper. I am presuming that you will have the experience of thinning acrylic paints to get the best results from your airbrush.

The main principle with a basecoat is not to apply too much. The thicker it goes on, the more detail of the sculpt of the miniature will be lost. You want nice even cover. If a bit of the colour of the plastic beneath is showing through that shouldn't actually be a problem, particularly if you allow yourself the quality control leeway that I am satisfied with.

Note, I went for white rather than black, even though the figure has a lot of armour. This is from the principle that black paint goes over a white basecoat much easier than white paint goes over black. With Quinn's cloak, his hair, face and neck there is a lot of the figure that will paint easier with a white basecoat.

Once the basecoat has completely dried, you will need black acrylic paint and a size 1 brush. Put some of the black on a palette. It will probably need a degree of thinning. The easiest way to judge the correct amount is to load up your paint brush with clean water, and mix this in at the edges of the black. Then clean your brush again (rinsing it in one of two or three pots of clean water you'll have up on your work surface), and get some of the black paint loaded up to the tip.

If you've already done plenty fine paint work with brushes then you will already have an instinct for what you are doing. If you haven't, then it is going to feel very awkward and difficult at first, but this will rapidly improve owing to developing "muscle memory" as it were for the fine control that your brain and hand will be unconsciously applying.

Paint the outside of the shield black. Does the paint look black once applied (rather than grey)? Is it too thick and dry, and so difficult to apply, is it pooling owing to being too wet? Take your time to get it right. Let the contours of the model show through as best they can, while the colour remains a firm black.

Leaving the back of the shield still white, now start painting the body armour black, applying the same criteria as to how close to the right balance of wet and dry, thick and thin that the paint is. Furthermore, practise the control you will later need to develop more by painting the individual sections of armour as though you are painting them in different colours. Let the brush find the grooves and run up to the edges, see how much black you are letting spill over into the next section, or where you are falling short. If this is difficult at first, be assured that it gets much much easier, and the best approach is calm, unhurried, and taking enjoyment from the task in hand. (You should probably be listening to Radio 3).

Once you have painted all the armour, and the head of the pick, you now want to paint the inside of the shield black, taking care to get as little of the black paint onto Quinn's arm and the shield straps as possible. And if you do let a little spill over - it doesn't matter - ignore it, it's the back of the shield anyway.

With the black dried you are more than half way home. Make sure it is completely dried though. Once you are confident in your abilities, you will be painting 3 or 4 figures at a time, so you'll always have something to do while the paint dries.

Now for the cloak. When I painted Quinn I opted for two colours for his cloak - vermillion for the outside and purple for the inside. If you want make it really easy for yourself and just use one colour, but two colours that complement each other is an easy and pleasing effect.

I used pretty thin mixes of these colours to paint the cloak. Put a small amount on your pallet and mix it in with a little water - maybe half and half. Dry the brush, wet the brush again, shake off excess water so the bristles are moist, and now dip the brush end in the paint. Paint the back of the cloak.

What you should find is that the paint runs into the grooves, pools in the 'valleys' of the cloak, creating a shadow effect, with the ridges of the cloak almost remaining white. If this doesn't happen you might not have mixed in enough water. If the paint is clearly very thin and the colour hardly showing at all, let it dry then paint again with a slightly dryer mix.

Now for the slightly trickier bit - use the same technique and consistency of paint for the arms and legs. I used the same colour for clothing as the cloak, and if you don't want to make extra work for yourself I recommend the same.

You're going to use a similar approach on the head and other flesh areas, but here you will first apply a sort of basecoat. Mix any brown paint with plenty white to get a pale flesh colour. Emphasis on pale. Then, using a mix about as dry as worked with the black, carefully paint the head, hands, etc, and let the paint dry. Paint right over the eyes, ears and mouth, up to and even a little over the hair line. It might be difficult to paint down to the bottom of the neck by the armour and cloak. If necessary, leave a thin line unpainted there - it'll get filled in by shadow from a later "wash" - better a gap than getting some 'flesh' on the coat and armour.

You will now have a figure looking like a shop window dummy. Let the paint dry.

To give Quinn a face you will apply the magic of the wash. Mix some of the brown with perhaps a little blue or red, and then "plenty" (ie 2:1 or something - more than previously used for mixing) of water. Clean and dry your brush. Now load up the end of the brush with your mix (just using a little really), brush over the face and... (this should be a "ta da!" moment) ...hopefully Quinn will magically have features. If there's way too much water use a dry brush to soak some up.

Getting the balance right here can be difficult maybe at first, but isn't too challenging or obscure. The details of the figure - often even very slight detail, should do the work for you. You can experiment with the colour of the flesh wash to give your figures a sickly or rosy hue as desired.

Let it dry. If Quinn's face is looking too dirty or dusky for your taste, you may wish to dry-brush (see below) a little paler highlighting later - for now let's move on to the armour.

I am assuming that you have some metallic paint - eg, Citadel's Mithril or Bolt Gun, or some other brand. It isn't actually necessary to use a metallic paint - using grey paint with a black wash later can look pretty good. Here you will now apply a dry-brushing technique - exactly how dry is up to you - but to start with, it's worth opting for "fairly dry". Using your larger brush or a brush with firm bristles and a blunt point, get your metallic paint on the end, then wipe of all the excess onto a piece of paper, (preserving the point of the brush of course). Using little side to side motions, brush the end over the face of Quinn's shield. Again, here we are hoping for a ta da! moment - there should be more silver on your brush than you perhaps realised after drying it, and the symbol on the shield should now have jumped out in surprising detail, with natural-seeming black shadow around the edges.

Try the same with the arms and breast plate - in a matter of minutes it is likely that the figure will look close to finished. Certainly this way his armour is going to look a bit battered and worn, which for my taste is not appropriate for such a dashing young Cleric - so to get shinier and smarter armour, don't let the brush get quite so dry, and don't leave so much black showing through.

When the armour has dried, get out some black ink. Get a little ink on a brush, and paint over the armour. The ink should really bring the armour to life, filling in all the details of the sculpt - but it is likely that once dry, the armour will be very dark. So, let it dry, then get your silver paint again, and dry brush (this time very dry though) over the armour again.

The final result should look something like:

I used a "Beaten Copper" metallic paint to dry brush over the symbol on the shield, but pretty much everything else is as-described.

For the base of my D&D miniatures, I paint them grey and then dry-brush white mixed with a little green. This is so as to match with the colours of the game's floor-tiles, and is a very quick and easy effect. Plain black of course would match the D&D pre-painted. I've never bothered with basing or quite seen the point - for playing pieces at least - I get the point that it looks nice, although would generally think that sand or grass look a bit odd on a dungeon mini.

Finally, I blast my minis with Citadel's excellent but expensive matt varnish spray - I assume that it's possible to use cheaper varnish (mixed with a healthy amount of water) with an air-brush? Once varnished you will be able to throw the miniatures in the box or let your three year old chew them as desired. Job done!
18 
 Thumb up
0.60
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aubrey W
United States
Georgia
flag msg tools
mbmb
Wow, excellent writeup, James.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rule #1: Have Fun
United Kingdom
London
England
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
James, thank-you very much for taking the time to go through that with so many additional thoughts and ideas. I've already done the basecoat - yes, it took seconds with an airbrush, and I got a very nice even layer of paint. TBH though, it's a bit over the top for just doing basecoats - and with acrylics the airbrush needs a bit of acetone to clean it. Most of my acrylic is ink rather than paint, though that's just being lazy.

Anyhow, a very inspirational response!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Boardgame
United Kingdom
Penrith
Cumbria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks. I've got a lot of satisfaction out of painting miniatures for board games, and am always keen to encourage other people to have a go.

I was just wondering what you mean by "it's a bit over the top for just doing basecoats" in reference to the airbrush? As I said, I am thinking about getting one myself. Over my five game painting projects I must have spent at least £60 on aerosol sprays for undercoats and varnishes, and was thinking that in the long run it'd be more economical to invest in an airbrush. If it's the hassle of cleaning afterwards, I'd anticipate basecoating a large number of figures at the same time.

Aerosols can be awkward because you can't get in close to the figure or the paint goes on too thick - this inevitably means that some parts of the figure get less of a coating. I imagined that this wouldn't be the case with an air-brush, which is another reason I'd like to get my hands on one.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rule #1: Have Fun
United Kingdom
London
England
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
schkff wrote:
I was just wondering what you mean by "it's a bit over the top for just doing basecoats" in reference to the airbrush?

Sure - well, it depends on just how much painting you do, is all; I just had a look, and airbrushes have decreased in price over the years - so it's really worth getting a good one - I've had a Olympos HP-100B for over 20 years, and it works fine - as long as you look after it (just like brushes - you need to take care, and thoroughly clean it after use). If you aren't doing lots of mixing (eg tiny amounts of colour), you probably are better off with a suction-feed airbrush, and Iwata is a good make - at a glance, something like the IWATA HP-BC PLUS - which will give you very fine control where you want it, last forever, and take 30ml+ medium at a time, which goes a long way. There can be excellent 2nd hand prices, though you know - 2nd hand..

However, a major issue isn't the brush, it's the compressor. Going for air cans is just not an answer, so you need a compressor, and compressors need a big reservoir tank (receiver) and very even pumping in order to avoid your flow from pulsing - cheap compressors are very noisy and very uneven, though if you must save money, you can add a secondary receiver (receivers do two main things: 1: equalise the pressure variation from the start/stop and compressor pump, and 2:storage of air volume, equalising the variation in consumption and demand from the system - they also assist in collecting any condensate/water vapour that wasn't already eliminated by the compressor) but obviously the larger the receiver, the longer the pump has to work to get the air up to pressure, so if you want to be 'fast on', don't go for a secondary receiver. An even easier 'hack' for pulsing compressors is to get several air hoses and link them together, so they act as a receiver for you (and you can go for a walk with your airbrush).

If you are really rich, or you have elite bargain-hunting skills, (I see a Bambi 35/20 on ebay for £100 which looks excellent) then you can get a silent dentists compressor, which is more or less silent - I don't have one, but friends of mine rate them highly.

In the end, it's just my 2¢ :- for me, it all cost about £300 (25 years ago), and nowadays I use the kit maybe 3 hours a year - but then that's the modern workstation with photoshop, digital cameras, scanners, etc. But having said all that, it all still works, and it's great to have great kit, so don't let me put you off in the slightest!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Boardgame
United Kingdom
Penrith
Cumbria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your detailed reply. I was considering this airbrush and compressor:
http://www.airbrushcompressorshop.co.uk/products/compressor-...
which is £80. Does that look like it falls into the cheap category of noisy & uneven? I guess I should try to get to see or better still test out some before I spend my money.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rule #1: Have Fun
United Kingdom
London
England
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
schkff wrote:
Thanks for your detailed reply. I was considering this airbrush and compressor:
http://www.airbrushcompressorshop.co.uk/products/compressor-...
which is £80. Does that look like it falls into the cheap category of noisy & uneven? I guess I should try to get to see or better still test out some before I spend my money.

Hi, right - erm.. well, that would indeed be unlikely to give you the control that you would be looking for, TBH.

If you are on a very tight budget and have time (and engineering skill), you can make your own compressor from the back of an old fridge - there are instructions online (it's not something I've done!), and they can be very good.

OTOH, for a little bit more, and bargain hunting you could get 2 excellent midrange airbrushes (see http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/320677508979 ) currently at £45, an airbrush hose is about £5, and that compressor which looks amazing (see http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/180645057372 ) currently at £103. So that's like £150 + delivery for a professional system, though you may need a valve, but that will be a couple of quid.

If you cannot go for the compressor (which looks amazing), those brushes look sweet anyhow.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Boardgame
United Kingdom
Penrith
Cumbria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ok, thanks for the advice - I guess I will wait a little and save up for something like what you recommend.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rule #1: Have Fun
United Kingdom
London
England
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My first miniature paintings..
So, getting the inspiration, and I had a go. This is the first set of miniatures I've ever painted, so please forgive me!
The good

The okay

The Bad

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Boardgame
United Kingdom
Penrith
Cumbria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey, that's good work - with a particularly good job on Ms Dwarf's face. Impressive!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Neff

Alaska
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This looks great, esp if you are just starting out.
One thing that can help the final look, IMO, is a matte finish (as opposed to the glossy looks shown on the wizard for instance). I use a matte spray coat and like the "rough" matte look given to the finished mini.

A great tip I picked up for spray painting minis is to hot glue them to the top of a nail and line them up on a piece of trash-bit of Styrofoam.

Good work, keep it up!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rule #1: Have Fun
United Kingdom
London
England
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks, that's a really good idea.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.