4 Basic Tips for Painting Models
I’m Nick from the Screaming Brain. To just cover a little about me, I’m a tabletop and video game enthusiast with an IT background. During most days, I’m stuck behind a computer monitor for hours at end, and the last thing I tend to want to do once I get home is to continue to stare at a screen. My favorite way to release is to break out my paints and bring some of the miniatures I have to life (+1 for painting models- David). A few years back, David had introduced me to Warhammer and the hobby side of table top gaming. Not only can you play with the miniatures that so many games have available, there’s a huge artistic side to this as well. Not being limited to just Warhammer, there’s an endless supply of games where miniatures can be used. The fun part to these miniatures are that they tend to arrive unpainted, and sometimes unassembled.
As an amateur painter myself, I figure I’d lend some thoughtful advice to any that are starting the hobby. There’s tons of research material out there, and sometimes talking to someone already experienced can help. If you have questions, ask!
Thin Your Paints
First off, anytime you are painting models, ALWAYS THIN YOUR PAINTS! I can’t stress this enough, and it’s a tip I wish I learned much sooner rather than later. Whether you’re adding layers to a primed model, priming it for the first time, or adding quick highlights, always thin your paints with a little bit of water to give it a “melted ice cream” feel as one of my mentors likes to put it. Painting straight from the pot such as those from Citadel can leave your miniatures clogged with paint. Those minis have tons of detail molded into the plastic. Don’t let those go unseen from too much paint!
The whole reasoning behind thinning your paint lets you control the layers more efficiently. After one or two coats of primer, you should have a nice, even layer of paint going across the entire miniature. This way, each figure will have all their details easily seen and unobscured. While layering, this allows you to blend and highlight and give those nice tones that you see in pictures people put up online.
Use Washes and Highlight
Secondly, experiment with washes and highlights. As you can see in this example, I considered the left Royal Guard finished once I painted the cloak and helmet with red.
This time around, I felt I wanted to start ramping up my painting techniques and apply this new idea to the guards first. I first applied a crimson red wash to the whole figure, then highlighted with the same base coat red, and eventually brightened it to blend the edges. There are loads of resources available on YouTube to help with this. I followed techniques from Sorastro’s Painting, and Miniac.
Respect Your Brushes
Third, take care of your brushes. Water works great for cleaning off those bristles, and I’d recommend cleaning your brush every 10 minutes or so, even if you’re still using the same color. That acrylic paint will dry and can get gunk in between the bristles. This will keep them clear of debris. I especially recommend picking up a low vapor brush cleaner to be used on your brushes between projects. These cleaners usually will help restore their natural tip as well. The better you take care of your brushes, the longer they’ll last and the better they’ll paint.
Last but not least, have fun. I’m still learning new techniques with each miniature I paint. Don’t get discouraged with any project you take on. Painting can be very therapeutic. Just put on your favorite tunes, and get in that concentration state to focus on what’s in front of you. The miniatures are just waiting for you to breathe life into them. Your magic touch is all that’s needed, and enjoy each step you take. I enjoy taking progress pictures. You may not see it immediately, but seeing a mini’s progression from unpainted plastic to fully painted miniature can show you how far just a few dabs of paint in the right spots can go.
Let me know what you guys think if you’d like to see more tips or ideas! I’d love to share my own progress and help any who ask!