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Subject: Painting minis - How would you do it? rss

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David Bernier
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Hi all! I've painted minis in my youth, mostly when I was in highschool/college and stopped when I got tired of it. I had fun back in the days and my 3 best minis were my last 3, The Trollslayer from Warhammer Quest, a Dwarf Lord and a Runepriest from WH minis (which I bought only cause I thought they looked cool).

Now i'm looking at my ER minis and how amazingly detailed they are so it easily brings back memories of my painting days. The ER minis are one of the best looking and detaild i've seen so far.

The only technique I used was drybrush...not the best but at that time it did the job. I mainly undercoated in white, then painted the mini all black and proceeded to the coloring. The end results were good for me. Now I know there's other technique out there like the wash, but I never tried it.

My question is, for those of you who paint minis, how would you paint Earth Reborn minis to bring them to life?

Thanks a lot, merci beaucoup!

P.S.: I'll try to find my 3 dwarves and take a picture of them, mayve you could juge the work I did and if it would work well with ER minis.
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Eric Foldenauer
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I painted two sets of these guys and have some advice. Like you, this was my first paint job of minis in about 15 years.

1. Trust in the pre-priming. You do not need to prime these minis and will only take the chance of losing the details by doing so (also, since the minis are glued to the base, you won't have to find a way to cover the base for the primer).

2. I didn't want to plan out my colors, so I stuck fairly close to the drawings and only made minor changes as I painted. Many details don't become apparent until I started painting, so be prepared to see and adapt to things in the mini as you paint them.

3. Take an exacto knife and scrape away the numerous mold lines. Then use a brush on primer on these areas. They didn't seem like a big deal the first time, until I started painting on them and felt they really detracted, especially on the Mammoth.

4. Paint a base layer of the color you want to build from. Typically, I went bright colors and used a wash to go darker.

5. For the two zombies, I dry brushed multiple paint layers. I started with a linen white, then brushed over a liche green, and then another layer of a tan flesh (but very sparingly). The sores and blood where accomplished very effectively using a flesh wash that had a reddish tint to it.



6. Devlan Mud is a great wash. Worship it. Love it, but have a pipe cleaner to blot up excess wash and control where you want it to flow. I used a number of other washes to match what I planned for each character. For Jessica Hollister, my base layer was a linen white on the light armor areas, then I used a wash called blue liner to tint it. For the darker armor, I just layered the blue liner wash until I was pleased at the depth of blue. For Nick Bolter, I used an ivory base color for his armor, and then generously applied devlan mudd to get the light brown shaded tone.





7. For the zombie juice green color, I used a goblin green, then a green wash, and finally highlights in yellow.

8. for the Mammoth, I used a tanned leather base coat, and then used devlan mud to make a pseudo camoflauge look (it also filled in the scrapes and dents to highlight the damage nicely). I used a scorched metal and gun metal colors to make the joints. The inner gears were done in chaos black and highlighted with gun metal or silver to make the gears pop. Then I went back in with some white to do some minimal edging. There are some other folks that posted pics of their much grittier (and better) mammoth. Because it is so much bigger, I recommend painting the mammoth first. It's much easier to step into painting the smaller miniatures.

9. Try not to muck too much with the faces. The sculpts have shading built into them. I hit them with tanned flesh, tanned flesh highlight, and tanned flesh shadow. I mixed the barest red into the flesh color to make the lips have a hint of pink to them.

10. I had quite a debacle sealing my minis the first time through. I ended up using testers Dullcoat 1160 1-3/4 oz. brush on matte sealant. One thing that is both good and bad about this sealant is that it can liquify the acrylic paint when you brush it on. I ended up using that to pull paint layers off in key areas with careful brush strokes. It dries very fast and you need some paint thinner to keep your brush clean. I found this much easier to use than the spray on matte sealant which is highly tempermental.

My personal gallery of mostly ER mini pics

Good luck!
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Eric Foldenauer
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See also, this thread someone else posted: earth reborn painting guide
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David Bernier
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Thanks a LOT for that post Eric, i'll use it as a guide line for my painting. Wow thanks!

I'll check that link at lunch time too!

Tipped for the post and a thumbsup to you!
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Fabio Calzolari
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fograsher wrote:
3. Take an exacto knife and scrape away the numerous mold lines. Then use a brush on primer on these areas. They didn't seem like a big deal the first time, until I started painting on them and felt they really detracted, especially on the Mammoth.

Sorry for my bad english, but i don't understand what the bold part means: have i to paint a primer? Could you pls explain it better?

Uh, and THANKS A LOT for these tips.
Could i ask some more? I'm terrible at working with hands, and i fear to ruin the labels painting the minis, or to break the minis trying to remove them from the base.... what should i do?
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Eric Foldenauer
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parduz wrote:
fograsher wrote:
3. Take an exacto knife and scrape away the numerous mold lines. Then use a brush on primer on these areas. They didn't seem like a big deal the first time, until I started painting on them and felt they really detracted, especially on the Mammoth.

Sorry for my bad english, but i don't understand what the bold part means: have i to paint a primer? Could you pls explain it better?

Uh, and THANKS A LOT for these tips.
Could i ask some more? I'm terrible at working with hands, and i fear to ruin the labels painting the minis, or to break the minis trying to remove them from the base.... what should i do?
No problem. for clarity's sake, I will explain what I know about primer and why I suggest applying it after removing the mold lines.

Primer provides a surface for the paint to stick to. Acrylic paint does not stick well to bare plastic. When you remove the mold lines, you will have also removed the primer coat, leaving bare plastic. It is smart to apply a primer to these areas. Since you are doing a spot application, you want to do so using a brush on primer (citadels/games workshop makes one - it looks like white paint, but is not acrylic based). Your other option is to use an aerosal (spray on) primer which will coat everything and could lose detail (especially if you don't have much experience painting minis).

edited to add: I did some searching and: Reaper model#09108 Brush-on Primer is the stuff I used. Reaper and Citadel were the two brand names of paint I used.

As for the labels, I painted directly on the figure without protecting the labels. Because you are painting with acrylic, you can peel it off the base pretty easily after the paint dries with a careful scrape of the exacto blade. Also, having pipe cleaners handy is good to mop up wet paint as you spill it (and for cleaning the washes as they inevitably drip onto the stand as well). I find that pipe cleaners give better precision for sopping up paint than a brush or a paper towel.

Alternatively, you can use what's called Masking Fluid. Windsor Newton makes some: http://www.winsornewton.com/products/oils-solvents-mediums-v.... this is a rubber based medium that is brushed on. when it dries, it provides a layer of protection from paint. After you are done painting, you can rub the masking fluid off with your finger. Because the surface of the stickers is glossy, it should not have an adverse effect on the label. I did test masking fluid on James Woo's base, and was able to get it off with no problems, but because I was working with acrylics, and they are so easy to get off a glossy surface anyway, I decided to forego putting the masking fluid back on before painting.

Getting primer on the base or the label will be problematic, so you do want to be extra cautious when using the primer, however.
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Luke Stirling
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Having recently returned to painting in the last year or so, I can't recommend it advice in Eric's posts above highly enough. While the ER minis are some way ahead for me in my project list, I can say that this most of the technique suggestions above are things that I too have found to be very useful.

Oh, and an extra special mention should go to the Devlan Mud advice. If washes had been this good 10-15 years ago, I think I might have kept painting then. Not far behind Devlan Mud is Badab black. It performs a similar multi-purpose role for cold colours, such as greys and blues.

Also, many thanks Eric for the paint-on primer tip. I had started scraping the mould lines on the Mammoth as soon as I had opened my ER box, but then hesitated when I considered what to do about the loss of primer in those areas. I think I'll add a pot of that to my next gaming purchase order.

One last thing I should probably mention. I've lately been using a combination of Citadel and Vallejo paints. Both have been very kind to me so far (though I am marginally fonder of Citadel's metallics and some washes). I just want to point out to potential new painters out there that there's a lot of choice out there (Citadel, Reaper, Vallejo, and a couple of others) but as long as you stick with one of these miniature specific brands of acrylic paints, you really can't go too far wrong. So if you see a good deal on a starter set of paints I'd say go for it.

Keep your paints thinned (but not too much) and care for your brushes, and you'd be surprised how easy it is to get some great paint jobs with the materials available these days.
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David Bernier
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As far as paint bards go, my FLGS recommended me the Tamiya brand which he says is better than the Game Workshops.

Anyone know anything about his brand?
 
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Eric Foldenauer
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paralipsis wrote:
Keep your paints thinned (but not too much) and care for your brushes, and you'd be surprised how easy it is to get some great paint jobs with the materials available these days.
This is a good point. It's much easier to add a thicker layer because the paint was too watered down than it is to paint over a spot that went on too dark.


Rhezuss wrote:
As far as paint bards go, my FLGS recommended me the Tamiya brand which he says is better than the Game Workshops.

Anyone know anything about his brand?
I have never heard of the brand, but as paralipsis said, as long as the paint is intended for minis, it's hard to go wrong. I have no complaints about the Citadel or Reaper paint I used, and Devlan Mud is a Citadel paint, which was a key to my methods.

My biggest problem I encountered was the spray on matte sealant. It's much too fickle to be used by a casual mini painter.

This is what happened when I tried to use a matte aerosal sealant, and is why I recommend the Testor's 1160 Dullcoat:



The fate of my first batch.

I'm not saying the spray on sealant is bad, but I am saying it requires an experienced hand, far more experienced than mine.
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Christopher
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Has anyone used spray-on sealant on these minis? My concern is that it will adversely effect the sticker on the base.
 
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Eric Foldenauer
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SpoDaddy wrote:
Has anyone used spray-on sealant on these minis? My concern is that it will adversely effect the sticker on the base.


fograsher wrote:
This is what happened when I tried to use a matte aerosal sealant, and is why I recommend the Testor's 1160 Dullcoat:



The fate of my first batch.

I'm not saying the spray on sealant is bad, but I am saying it requires an experienced hand, far more experienced than mine.
Like I said, I painted two batches. The first time I used a spray-on matte sealant (on a humid day, using amateur application skills), I had an effect of snow obscuring the mini and the base. Except for the snow effect, my stickers otherwise survived the process.

I used the brush-on sealant for the second batch and could not be more satisfied with the results.

That said, a spray-on gloss sealant is supposed to be much easier to apply, but I did not want a gloss finish; nor did I want to layer a gloss coat and then a matte coat on top of that.
 
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David Bernier
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After reading infos here and the guide Eric posted, as I understand it I could simply paint de base coat, then use the Devlan Wash (or any other washes for the desired effects) and then do some highlights and that's it?

If that's what it is, it sound really fun, quick and effective! I sure don't want pro quality in my painting but I don't want my minis to look like there were painted by a clumsy 4 yo either hahah!

So again, thanks for you immensely helpful interventions all, can't wait to start painting! Probably gonna start with Talisman minis though since detail is a little less important and then when my "skills" are back i'll do my ER minis!
 
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For miniatures that will be used for gaming I like to give the figure two dips (spaced a day apart) in future floor wax for a durable level of protection, then I hit it with a light spray of Games Workshop Matte spray to take the gloss off.
 
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Luke Stirling
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Rhezuss wrote:
Probably gonna start with Talisman minis though since detail is a little less important and then when my "skills" are back i'll do my ER minis!


One additional bit of advice when doing simpler minis. I have found that less detailed miniatures are harder to get looking really good, as they require more of the painter when the miniature is not as good. So don't get deterred if your Talisman minis only come out okay. You can still probably get the Earth Reborn minis to look much, much better just because they are such nice minis. I do agree with a warm-up project though. I've not been painting for the last few months, and so I recently started a warm-up job too to get me back in the rhythm before getting back into the ones I really want to do just right.
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Fabio Calzolari
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After an afternoon of paining, i discovered that the paint don't stick to the minis. There's places from where the paint peels off just touching it.
Other than the fact that now i'm really angry (i don't like to paint, i just want to have nice pieces), now i'm unsure about how to do.
I'm using Citadel and Vallejo colors, so i really don't know what's the problem.

What to do now? brushing them all and start again from the primer?
 
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parduz wrote:
After an afternoon of paining, i discovered that the paint don't stick to the minis. There's places from where the paint peels off just touching it.
Other than the fact that now i'm really angry (i don't like to paint, i just want to have nice pieces), now i'm unsure about how to do.
I'm using Citadel and Vallejo colors, so i really don't know what's the problem.

What to do now? brushing them all and start again from the primer?
ouch. That was not my experience. I did not use primer on my second batch. I even tested it out on the mammoth and saw I could not easily rub off the paint (after letting it set for a few hours). All the paint took to my miniatures without any additional primer than what was put on by the manufacturer.

I used primer on my first batch, but lost a fair amount of detail because I applied the primer spray too heavily and had to carefully scrape primer off the base because the blue tape I used was not effective in keeping the primer off the base. The only time I noticed paint rubbing off was before it was completly dry and my giant ham fingers were rubbing it off. but that happened with the batch I personally primed and with the batch that I just trusted in the primer from the manufacturer.
 
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Found that was not the paint .... is the painted primer that peels off. It smelled when i start painting... guess that i've got a "bad" primed series of minis.
I kept all the minis submerged in ChanteClair for one day

then with a toothbrush i removed almost everything. The minis that was peeling off loose also some of the primer, the ones that have got no problem still retain some paint.

Now i'm starting again, coating each whole miniature with its "base" color, before going into details, and checking how the paint sticks.
The gummy material of the miniatures seems not the best plastic to be painted... the colous tends to peel off again, but now it requires more effort, so i hope to have them safe with a final coat of transparent.

I tried to mix a drop of white glue in the paint: seems working better than spray primer, without covering the details.

 
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parduz wrote:
Found that was not the paint .... is the painted primer that peels off. It smelled when i start painting... guess that i've got a "bad" primed series of minis.
I kept all the minis submerged in ChanteClair for one day

then with a toothbrush i removed almost everything. The minis that was peeling off loose also some of the primer, the ones that have got no problem still retain some paint.

Now i'm starting again, coating each whole miniature with its "base" color, before going into details, and checking how the paint sticks.
The gummy material of the miniatures seems not the best plastic to be painted... the colous tends to peel off again, but now it requires more effort, so i hope to have them safe with a final coat of transparent.

I tried to mix a drop of white glue in the paint: seems working better than spray primer, without covering the details.

It might be a little late in the process since you are already back at the starting point, but you could always appeal your concern to Z Man games and see if they'd be willing to replace your defective minis.
 
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fograsher wrote:
...you could always appeal your concern to Z Man games and see if they'd be willing to replace your defective minis.

I thought at it... but what can i say? How can i proof that is'nt my painting that is wrong, and that the priming process was defective?
I noticed while painting that there was some spots of exposed plastic on a zombie... but it was already too late.
 
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parduz wrote:
fograsher wrote:
...you could always appeal your concern to Z Man games and see if they'd be willing to replace your defective minis.

I thought at it... but what can i say? How can i proof that is'nt my painting that is wrong, and that the priming process was defective?
I noticed while painting that there was some spots of exposed plastic on a zombie... but it was already too late.
Well,it's the truth. At some level, they have to trust we are being honest. After all, if your minis were missing, what proof would you have of that? I'd go to the Z-Man website and state your case honestly with no expectations. It's worth trying. If nothing else, you're bringing a concern to their attention that they should be aware of.
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fograsher wrote:
parduz wrote:
fograsher wrote:
...you could always appeal your concern to Z Man games and see if they'd be willing to replace your defective minis.

I thought at it... but what can i say? How can i proof that is'nt my painting that is wrong, and that the priming process was defective?
I noticed while painting that there was some spots of exposed plastic on a zombie... but it was already too late.
...If nothing else, you're bringing a concern to their attention that they should be aware of.

Did'nt thought at this. You're right, i'll try with it.
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Is a matte finish (spray or brush on) enough of a layer to protect the painted figures from general wear from play? Or is something stronger required?

Is it suggested that a newbie painter such as myself use a brush-on matte finish as opposed to the spray on? From the comments above, it sounds like the spray on stuff is hard to work with?

Has anyone had any experience cover the base and sticker with a finish? I'd like to protect the entire base, so the sticker won't become damaged and worn over time, but not sure if the finish will ruin it. If anyone has done this, please post how it turned out.
 
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Luke Stirling
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naf313 wrote:
Is a matte finish (spray or brush on) enough of a layer to protect the painted figures from general wear from play? Or is something stronger required?

Is it suggested that a newbie painter such as myself use a brush-on matte finish as opposed to the spray on? From the comments above, it sounds like the spray on stuff is hard to work with?

Has anyone had any experience cover the base and sticker with a finish? I'd like to protect the entire base, so the sticker won't become damaged and worn over time, but not sure if the finish will ruin it. If anyone has done this, please post how it turned out.


If you pack them away with a moderate degree of care between plays, then a single matte coat should be enough. Being plastic minis, they are relatively easy to protect. That said, you might wish to find a somewhat more secure storage solution than the plastic tray that came with the game once your minis are painted. Then again, your tray might be better than mine. I have only the one example to go off, but the mini tray in my box was the least effective part of an otherwise excellent storage solution.

Brush-on is easy to use, and if all you are doing is Earth Reborn minis, the little extra time it takes to do it that way should pay off. Spray on varnish can be a problem depending on your local climate.
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Rhezuss wrote:
As far as paint bards go, my FLGS recommended me the Tamiya brand which he says is better than the Game Workshops.

Anyone know anything about his brand?

Tamiya is the highest quality brand in Japan. It's good stuff. I've recently gotten back into painting and have only just started using their line. Wow. (O.O)

Citadel: Thick. Solid color line (I haven't used their Foundation stuff). I still don't like their pots. Inconsistency when using airbrush. Expensive.

Vallejo: Nice flow. Great color line (I haven't used their Air Color stuff). Perfect dropper bottle action. Very consistent when using airbrush. Reasonable prices.

Tamiya: Like water. Solid color line (more like citadel in quantity, with a greater focus on primary colors). Glass bottles! Very consistent when using airbrush. Very reasonable prices locally.

I love my Vallejo, but as I live in Japan I have no qualms at all about replacing what I need with Tamiya, especially because Tamiya is so reasonable (Citadel size pots for 1/3 or less). Currently, high-usage items like the glosses and primers are already getting shifted. Looking at the yellows. Nice. The glass bottles are cool, but I'm in love with the Vallejo bottles, and will stick my Tamiya in them. Have no idea how much Tamiya would be exported, but I would think comparable in price.

My only concern with Tamiya would be color matching. I can't think of anyone that's posted a color matching chart like those that exist between Citadel and Vallejo, but I don't think it would be too hard. Tamiya targets bright and shiny Gundam, military models, big resin figure kits, etc, but not necessarily miniatures gaming like Citadel or Vallejo do.
 
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