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Article updated: 2018.01.23

I've gathered some painting tips you might find useful. The material from this article has been moved to other painting related articles.

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The steps of painting a miniature

There are many approaches on how to paint. I've collected some of them. It is really up to your tastes, which one fits you better. You can mix & match these techniques as well, for example cutting the pieces off the sprue, gluing parts together until you still feel okay with them, and paint those pieces separate.

 

Painting on the sprue frame

When you receive a miniature, it is often on a sprue. Instead of cutting it, you can paint it on the sprue itself.

First, you need to clean up the flash and mould lines, and cut as many sprue channels off as you can, so those won't bother you, but you'll still get a solid hold of the miniature.

Lighting effects should probably be painted after gluing the pieces together.

Problems with priming on sprue: Although it's usually plastic miniatures that come on sprue, that don't require primer most of the time, if you still want to use primer, it can be problematic. First, you need to prime the pieces as they are, and finish painting them, then when you cut the pieces off the sprue, you need to prime the parts you've missed because they were covered with sprue channels.

Problem with the joins: For multi-piece miniatures, to make it easier to glue, you can cover the joins with adhesive putty or just scrape the paint off before gluing them together. If you glue polystyrene with polystyrene cement, it won't give a chemical bond if the plastic is covered with paint. If you glue a metal miniature, it's still better if you glue the metal to the other part, than gluing two layers of paint together and hope that it will hold.

Touching up after gluing: When you finally glue the pieces together, you'll probably need to cover some parts with paint, and you'll might need to use filler on some parts when you glue the pieces together. That means that after you've painted the miniature once, you'll have to go over it again. I recommend that you don't put that much effort on the parts that will be close to glued pieces, as you'll need to spend some time on them anyway. If you intend to pause between painting the sprue and the repairs, I recommend that you either use unmixed colours and note the colours (I take a photo of the painting phase with the paint pots) or you put the mixed colours on a wet palette, so they'll be available later.

Most miniatures are not created with the potential of painting them on sprue in mind, so the joins are not hidden. There are a couple of miniatures I have seen that work incredibly well after being painted on a frame. At the moment, only the Imperial ships from the Battlefleet Gothic box come to my mind, but I'm sure there were others. For those miniatures, every single sprue channel remain was covered by some other part of the miniature, so you didn't have to bother with them. They were a joy to build.

Advantages:

  • It's easy to hold the miniature in your hand by the frame.
  • You have more access to every side of the pieces, so it's easier to paint them.

Disadvantages:

Resources - Painting on the sprue frame

Conrad Mynett (for Putty and Paint): No Assesmble ! (Eldar Farseer - GD2017): Showcase article of a miniature painted on sprue.

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Painting the miniature in separate pieces

Some miniatures already come in pieces, but if you receive it on a sprue, you can cut the parts.

To paint them in pieces with a brush I glue (often with adhesive putty) the parts to a wooden tongue depressor. I prefer having all of them in a single place, so when I put the project on hold, I don't have to look for the separate pieces. The places that were glued, of course don't get painted, so after you finish one side, you need to move the pieces, so the other side can also be painted.

Others use cork plugs, with pins or wires stuck in them, and the pieces are glued on top of the pins. This covers a very little part of the piece, and the pin allows the pieces to be primed with spray.

Lighting effects should probably be painted after gluing the pieces together.

Problems with priming pieces:

  • You can use brush to prime one side, then wait for it to dry and brush the other side.
  • You can glue the pieces at their attachment points on a wire and use spray primer.
  • You can use adhesive putty to temporarily put the pieces together, and use either spray or brush to apply primer. This way you'll even see what parts will need to be left unpainted to help gluing them together.

Advantages:

  • You have more access to every side of the pieces, so it's easier to paint them.

Disadvantages:

Resources - Painting the miniature in separate pieces

E St. Kruiser50 )on Model Cars Mag): Painting on the sprue: Tutorial article about painting the miniature in separate pieces.

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Painting the glued miniatures

Many painters, especially those who follow the Games Workshop tutorials, glue the minis together before painting them.

Advantages:

  • It's easy to hold the miniature in your hand by the base.
  • It's easier to use spray primer on the miniatures.
  • You don't have to repair the paintjob after gluing the pieces together.

Disadvantages:

  • You might have difficulty in accessing every part of the miniature.

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Do you know further ideas or techniques for miniature painting? Tell us in the comments!

 

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