anybody can paint minis, part three

Paint Your Miniature Now

Bare Essential Supply List

  • dish soap
  • sponge
  • 2 tubs for water
  • paper towels
  • Exacto or craft-knife
  • super-glue
  • palette paper or white plate
  • 2 synthetic hair short handle watercolor brush (nylon, taklon, sablette), one 0 size and one 000 size.
  • miniature paint (any brand, if needed you can go without the two browns, two silvers etc.)
  • white
  • black
  • bright silver metallic
  • dull silver metallic (gunmetal)
  • light brown
  • dark brown
  • light skin color
  • dark skin color
  • middle blue
  • middle red
  • middle yellow
  • middle green
  • black ink
  • brown ink

Bare Essential Instructions:

  • Soak your new miniatures in a tub of soapy water and sponge them off after a while. This will remove the mold release grease that all new miniatures have.
  • Dry your miniatures on a paper towel.
  • Cut all the excess casting metal (flash) from the miniature with your knife and carefully bend it into the proper shape.
  • Assemble and glue you miniature if necessary. Check the base for a proper fit before the glue goes on.
  • Plan out which colors will go where on the mini. Use a scrap paper to check for color combinations if needed.
  • Set the two tubs of water down on the table and put a folded paper towel under one of them. One of the tubs is to rinse your brush in, the other is to get fresh water from.
  • Paint a base-coat or priming layer on the mini to get it ready to accept the later coats of paint. Use black paint if your mini will be mostly dark colors or white if your mini will be mostly light colors. Red, orange, and yellow parts need to go over a white layer of paint.
  • Put a drop of paint on your palette. Put a drop or two of water on your palette next to your paint drop. Mix the paint and water so the combination has the consistency of heavy milk or light cream.
  • Get comfortable, pick the miniature up and hold it in your hands. If you need to, brace your wrists against each other or the table edge so they don’t move too much. Try and get used to painting sitting up straight.
  • Using just the tip of your brush, apply your chosen colors to the miniature like you were painting a coloring book. Just try to keep it in the lines.
  • The paint colors go on in layers. You usually have to make two or three coats of a color to get it opaque on the miniature. Do not glob the paint on to make it opaque. Work thin and in layers. Control is key, opacity builds up over time. Drying time is only a couple minutes.
  • Wipe excess paint or water off your brush with the paper towel, you should always have a point on your brush. Rinse the brush in water before starting a new color and don’t rest your brush in the water tub with the tip down.
  • Once you have covered the miniature with paint, you are done. Congratulations. You may alternatively keep correcting your paint edges but it’s not necessary.
  • Clean up. Rinse your brushes with hand or dish soap in the palm of your hand until no more color comes out. Use soap to make a point on your brushes and have them dry out laying flat. This will keep them pointed as they dry.

More arcane knowledge to follow. Post any question you have in the comments section.

4 Responses to “anybody can paint minis, part three”

  1. September 3, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Great stuff! Thanks, Greengoat!

    What about trimming away molding lines? You know, those thin raised edges around the sides of the figure where the two sides of the miniature mold fitted together. Getting rid of it isn’t quite as simple as cutting flash away.

  2. 2 Greengoat
    September 3, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    What? You don’t like vigorously sawing towards your fingers with your razor-sharp craft knife? Jeez.

    Sometimes you can scrape the mold lines down with the knife blade (not cut, but scrape). But if your mold lines are too burly you probably want to use either some nail-files or some craft-files.

    I use the little craft files and they’re great and will never wear out. If you want to get rid of a mold line on the flat base of your mini, use some sand paper or a nail file lying flat on the table and then scrape your mini back and forth on it.

  3. 3 Invincible Overlord
    September 4, 2010 at 4:53 am

    I actually got satisfactory trimming results using
    * nailclippers for odd sticky-outy bits
    * school safety scissors for scraping flash and planing bases

    Otherwise, my last miniature session basically justified everything GG says about essentials — I had hardly any and boy did my minis suffer. I’ve discovered the reasons for everything Green Goat recommends first hand. But I think I’ve perfected my Runequest bronze and have even discovered a good corroded bronze wash thingy. This batch of trolls were a necessary sacrifice, like Kiddo’s knuckles when she was Pai Mei’s student.

    I’ve also discovered that I seem to hate curent minis as much as I hate current rpg art: 98%.

    This will help keep my new habit under control, though ebay has as much Heritage and Ral Partha as I could ever paint …

  4. 4 Greengoat
    September 4, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Sorry to hear of the troubles, maybe I can give you some spare paint pots or brushes?

    I recommend searching through the Foundry miniature line for ancients to use with Runequest. Foundry miniatures seems to make the historical equivalent of Games Workshop miniatures in look and scale. There are some American suppliers you can order through or you can get them direct.


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Past Adventures of the Mule

September 2010

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