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  • Painting miniatures - Design concepts - Appearance - Gun barrels

    In wargames the miniatures depict the people who fight battles. It depends on your philosophy how do they appear on the table.

    The appearance of the gun barrel can be important for some modellers.

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    Gun barrels

    Most miniature have guns with solid barrels.

    Gun barrel 1) Solid barrel

    You leave the barrel as it is.

    Benefits

    • No modelling required: It's the easiest way.

    Problems:

    • Unrealistic: As a real barrel is not solid, it won't look realistic.

    Gun barrel 2) Drilling the barrel

    You drill the barrel of the gun to make it more like the real one.

    Benefits

    • Realistic: As the real barrel is hollow, it will look realistic.

    Problems:

    • Modelling required: You have to drill the barrel. As guns are usually quite thin, it can damage the model.

    * * *

    What is the most important for you?

    Gaming

    For gaming purposes, it doesn't matter whether the barrel is drilled or not. There are some gamers though, who prefer drilled barrels. It really depends on your tastes.

    Photography

    On groups shots you won't see whether the barrel is drilled or not, but on showcase photos of single miniatures it might show.

    For single miniatures you might drill the barrels, just in case.

    * * *

    What do you think of these miniature painting design concepts of gun barrels? What is your take on this? What are your experiences? Do you have questions about these concepts? Tell us in the comments!

     

  • Miniatures - Painting miniatures - Painting light sources - Tutorial

    I've made a quick tutorial on painting light effects from object source lighting (OSL).

    When light shines on an area, if that light is stronger than the surrounding light, the colour area will become lighter, and unless the light is white, it will also change colour.

    * * *

    I used the Battlezones terrain from Mantic Games.

    I have to admit that chosing this piece for the photos may not be ideal, as it show a fantastic light source. The idea came from Ralph McQuarry's concept art for the original Star Wars. He came up with the idea that in that universe they are able to bend light, so they could use light sources built into the panels of the wall and it will still shine light to the sides.

    If the unreal nature of these light-panels bother you, try to imagine that it's not a flat area but one that protrudes from the panel.

    * * *

    Before you start painting light source effects, finish painting every other part of your miniature.

    If you use dark wash to create shadows on the miniature, do it before adding light effects. If you apply wash by brush, avoid the parts that will get lights, because the dark colours in the recesses could create too much contrast.

    If instead of a dark wash, you use pigmented varnishing as a last step to protect your miniature and create shadows (referred to as Magic Dipping), you'll need another coat of varnish to protect your light effects.

    Step 1: Paint the colour of the light

    Painting light sources - Step 1: Paint the colour of the lightPainting light sources - Step 1: Paint the colour of the light

    You have to decide what will be the basic colour of your light. I've chosen a greenish yellow.

    Paint the whole area of your lights with your chosen colour.

    Step 2: Add a lighter colour in the middle of the light

    Painting light sources - Step 2: Add a lighter colour in the middle of the lightPainting light sources - Step 2: Add a lighter colour in the middle of the light

    Make the central parts of your light a bit lighter.

    If you basic light is not a uniform colour, you can also use glaze, so the original paintjob will show up.

    Step 3: Add glow colour around the light

    Painting light sources - Step 3: Add glow colour around the lightPainting light sources - Step 3: Add glow colour around the light

    Lightly drybrush the edges around the light with the basic colour of your light. Draw the brush from the middle of the light outward. If you are not satisfied, you can brush it in a circular way around the light source.

    Instead of drybrushing you can also use carefully painted glaze.

    If you are using airbrush, put the nozzle close to the light souce, and lightly spray the areas close to it with diluted paint. It's better to give it several light shot.

    The glowing effect will look more natural with airbrushing, but it will take some practice to do it right.

    You can take this step with Step 1 if you wish.

    Step 4: Add a lighter glow colour

    Painting light sources - Step 4: Add a lighter glow colourPainting light sources - Step 4: Add a lighter glow colour

    You can use a bit more heavy drybrushing with your lighter colour. The farther you get from the center of the light, the lighter you should drybrush. Don't draw your brush as far outward as you did with Step 3.

    Instead of drybrushing you can also use carefully painted glaze.

    If you are using airbrush, put the nozzle close to the light souce, and lightly spray the areas close to it with diluted paint. It's better to give it several light shot.

    You can take this step with Step 2 if you wish.

    Step 5: Add the brightest colour to the light and glow

    Painting light sources - Step 5: Add white to the light and glowPainting light sources - Step 5: Add white to the light and glow

    Add the brightest colour (for lamps it's usually white) to the center of the light source.

    Last step is a heavy drybrush near the light. The farther you get from the center of the light, the lighter you should drybrush.

    Instead of painting and drybrushing white you can also use carefully painted glaze.

    If you are using airbrush, put the nozzle close to the light souce, and lightly spray the areas close to it with diluted brightest paint. It's better to give it several light shot. However, for this step I'd really recommend drybrushing, because you have more control over the brush, and as this is the last step, you won't have another chance to repair it if you make mistakes.

    Shadows

    If you are not satisfied with your lights, if it doesn't really feels right, try to add shadows, add darker glaze to adjacent areas to make the light really light up the miniature.

    Painting light sources in reverse order

    Some prefer to do it in reverse - they paint everything with the brightest colour (usually white) in the beginning, drybrush the adjacent areas, and then add coloured glazes in the areas that gets light. If you are finished with glazing, add white again to the center of the light source.

    * * *

    Painting light effects - Sources & tutorials

    Raffa aka Picster (for Massive Voodoo): Tutorial - Light and Shadow: Tutorial article about natural light on miniatures.

    Roman aka jar (for Massive Voodoo): Tutorial - Zenithal Lightning / Work Order: Tutorial article about natural light on miniatures.

    Painting light sources - Sources & tutorials

    Tutorial articles

    althai (for Hand Cannon Online): Tutorial: Advanced – Object-Source Lighting: Tutorial article.

    kbanas: Object Source Lighting Modeling Help: Tutorial article.

    Roman aka jar (for Massive Voodoo): Tutorial - Object Source Lightning: Tutorial article.

    James Brown (for Flames of War): Shine a Light: An Introduction to Object Source Lighting: Tutorial article.

    Anthony Adamo (for The League of Underwhelming Miniature Painters): Tutorial: Quick and Dirty Brush Tricks for Object Source Lighting (OSL): Tutorial article.

    Ron Saikowski (from From the Warp): Hobby Focus: Object Source lighting pitfalls: Tutorial article.

    Ron Saikowski (from From the Warp): Painting a glowing powerfist, Part 1: Tutorial article, step-by-step.

    Ron Saikowski (from From the Warp): Painting a glowing powerfist, Part 2: Tutorial article, step-by-step.

    Ron Saikowski (from From the Warp): Painting a glowing powerfist, Part 3: Tutorial article, step-by-step.

    The Painting Shop: I show you how to paint 40k plasma gun glow effect: Tutorial article, step-by-step.

    Tutorial videos

    Colour of the Gods: Painting Tutorial - OSL (Object Source Lighting): Painting tutorial video, using brush.

    EonsOfBattle: How to Create a Glowing Plasma Effect: Painting tutorial video, using brush.

    ichibanpainting: How to paint OSL *glowing effect*: Painting tutorial video, using airbrush.

    ralf137: Warhammer 40K Advanced Techniques part 16- Glowing Eyes: Painting tutorial video, using brush.

    GhostxHeart (from linkinhearts666): How to Paint: Object Source Lighting (OSL) | Warmachine: Cryx Slayer Helljack: Painting tutorial video, using brush. Miniature: Warmachine - Cryx Slayer Helljack

    Game Face Nation: Studio Workshop - How to: Paint Simple OSL: Painting tutorial video, using brush. Miniature: Games Workshop - Warhammer 40.000 - Chaos Space Marine

    Showcase articles

    James Wappel (from James Wappel Miniature Painting): You might even say it glows... Object Source Lighting: Showcase article.

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    Do you have further ideas about painting light sources for miniatures? Do you have your own methods? Do you have any questions about them? Tell us in the comments!

     

  • Miniatures - Painting miniatures - Miniature painting related definitions

    Article updated: 2016.07.29

    I've gathered some definitions that are useful to know when you paint miniatures.

    Glossy: It's an optical sheen level of the paint, that is shiny. More info:

    Matte: It's an optical sheen level of the paint, that doesn't shine and it's not glossy. More info:

    Painting stand: Something you use to hold your miniature while painting. More info:

    Pooling: The even when a thin liquid (wash, varnish) gathers up in a recess. You should remove the excess to avoid pooling.

    Primer: A layer of special paint that will help the next layer stick better to the surface it has been applied to. Primers also act as undercoat. More info:

    Priming: The application of primer. More info:

    Silk shine: It's an optical sheen level of the paint, that's somewhere between totally matte and glossy. More info:

    Undercoat: A layer of material that will make the surface even, so paint or primer can be applied on it. More info:

    Varnish: It's a layer of transparent material that will protect your miniatures. More info:

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    Do you know further miniature painting related definitions? Do you have your own, better definitions? Do you have any questions about a phrase? Tell us in the comments!

     

  • Painting miniatures - Design concepts - Basing miniatures

    Article updated: 2016.12.01

    There are several ways you can base your miniatures, and there are several philosophies regarding basing.

    Basing philosophies

    Basing for gaming: The main purpose of the base is that the figure would stand on the table. It doesn't really matter what kind of base you use.

    Scenic basing: Miniature modellers prefer to use scenic basing, mostly grassy bases. This might come from Games Workshop guidelines.

     

    For further information on miniature base types, read our Gaming Nexus article:

    * * *

    No base

    Put a bit of putty or self adhesive glue under the legs of the model and it will stand.

    Benefits:

    • You don't have to worry about the base.

    Problems:

    • Most wargaming systems require you the use of some kind of base. So even if you don't glue your mini on one, you might need to prepare some for gaming purposes.
    • Most miniatures are not perfectly balanced, so they can topple during games, even if the glue would hold.
    • Most glue won't hold the miniatures perfectly.

    * * *

    Blank base

    A blank base is a base that is not textured, usually a flat plastic base.

    Blank base colour types: You have several choices.

    • Transparent: You can see through the base to reveal the terrain that's under the miniature.
    • Non-transparent: You can't see through these bases.
      • Dark: A plain dark base.
      • Coloured: A plain base that is painted in the chosen colour.

    Markings: As your base is blank, you can use markings on the side or the top of the base. These can be engraved or painted on. Markings can include army signs, squad markings, or anything you fancy.

    Blank transparent base

    You use  a transparent base to help your miniature stand.

    Benefits:

    • You can use it on any kind of terrain, and it will look okay.

    Problems:

    • Most transparent bases glare, so it can detract from the effect of transparency. If you use matte varnish on them, it will reduce the transparency.

    Blank dark base

    A plain, dark (black or dark brown) base.

    Benefits:

    • It doesn't require effort, as most companies sell black bases.
    • It's enough for gaming purposes.

    Problems:

    • It will look out of place on every kind of terrain.

    * * *

    Flat base

    The flat base is painted with colours to look scenic.

    Benefits:

    • It looks okay on the terrain it is designated.
    • It can be easier to do it, or more cost effective than scenic bases, but still look better than blank bases.

    Problems:

    • It will look out of place on every kind of terrain.

    Flat base - Sources & tutorials

    Sorastro's Painting: Sorastro's Zombicide: Black Plague Painting Guide - The Zombies: Tutorial video about painting flat bases with a medieval brick road or dungeon stones pattern.

    * * *

    Scenic base

    You texture and paint the base for a terrain type you've chosen. A simple scenic base differs from a diorama base in the amount of scenery - on a scenic base there's usually a couple of small rocks, or some tufts of grass, just to give a semblence of terrain. Gaming companies sell plastic bases with scenic textures, that you only need to paint.

    When you create a scenic base, you need to decide:

    1) Miniature first: Glue the miniature on the base, and create the scenic base around it. If you are using miniatures with slottabase, this is the only choice you have.

    2) Scenic base first: Create scenic bases, and glue miniatures on them after they are finished.

    Scenic base types: You have to decide what kind of terrain will you emulate.

    • Bare ground basing: You paint it brown, and texture the base like it's barren ground. You might also add small rocks on the base. Unless it's a sandy desert or a tropical rainforest, it won't look that much out of place as a grassy ground base. It won't look that good in urban environment though.
    • Specific terrain base: You paint it and put scenery on it to reflect the look of a specific terrain (grassy ground, arctic tundra, urban pavement, etc). It will look out of place in every other environment, and it can even look out of place in that specific environment, if the look of the base doesn't fit the look of table.
      • Home ground: The terrain on the base looks like the home of the miniature. Elves have forest ground, sand people have sand, urban humans have city streets, sailors have wooden boards on the base, etc.
      • Battle ground: The terrain on the base depicts the terrain where the imagined battle takes place. It could be any kind of terrain you imagine.
      • Model specific ground: The terrain is chosen to make the miniature look the best, or to reflect the character of the model. It might be totally different for every model in the same squad, or for every squad in the same army, if that would look good individually.

    Benefits:

    • It will look good on the same type of terrain.
    • Bare ground basing could look okay in almost every terrain, except in buildings.

    Problems:

    • The more distinct the base terrain is, the more out of place will it look on every other kind of terrain. The choice of bare ground can be better.
    • If you glue your miniature before creating the scenic base, you might damage the paintjob. If you create the scenic base first, then glue the mini on it, it might not look that nice.

    Scenic base side types: You have to decide what do you do with the sides of the base.

    • Dark side: Paint it dark (black or dark brown). It will make the base stand out of the terrain so it will detract from the terrain effect. It's easier to see the base of the miniature.
    • Terrain colour: Paint it with a similar colour you use for the base. It will blend in more with the terrain. It will make it harder to see the base of the mini (this can be a problem in games).
    • Textured side: Texture it with the same method you do the top of the base. It will look better on photographs. It will make it harder to see the base of the mini (this can be a problem in games). The sides will chip off slowly unless you protect it very well.
    • Game-specific colour: Some games require you to use coloured bases. If you make terrain bases, the sides can still remain coloured.

    If you are worried that the base will look out of place on any terrain, create a set of bases for every kind of terrain you can imagine, and make them removable (with pins, for example) so you can use the appropriate type.

    Scenic diorama base

    You choose a terrain type and create a little diorama on the base, as if the base were part of a scenic terrain, with additional parts, like large rocks, bushes, trees, barrels, parts of buildings, vehicle wrecks or casualty figures. You have the same choices for the top and side of your base as with any scenic base.

    Benefits:

    • It will look very good on the same type of terrain.

    Problems:

    • It will look out of place (or even stupid) on every other kind of terrain.
    • The fact that the diorama parts move around the battlefield can be strange for some people.

    Scenic base - Sources & tutorials

    * * *

    Single and multibase

    Single base

    You put one miniature on every single base.

     

    Multibase

    You put more than one miniature on a base,

    Multibase - Sources & tutorials

    * * *

    Additional options for every kind of base

    Colour markers: You can use different colours to show game-related signs. You could use colours to differentiate between your squads, or in different types of units that wear the same uniform (it can be especially important if you are going for a realistic look, where the leaders of the squad look just like the others and don't wear a red hat).

    • Coloured base sides: You can paint a colour on the side of the base or just a part of it.
    • Coloured flags: You can glue little flags on your bases, or drill holes and insert flag poles when needed.

    Text: You can write text on the sides of the base, or on the top of any kind of blank base.

    • Names: You can write the name or number of the squad, or the name of the specific miniature.
    • Game data: Adding game related data on the miniature itself can help speed up play as you and your opponent don't need to check it in the roster sheets or rulebooks.

    * * *

    What is the most important for you?

    Gaming

    Every wargaming ruleset has guidelines (or strict rules) what kind of bases you have to use. That means, if you are using your miniatures for gaming, you'll probably need a base. Also, as different rulesets could require different bases, you either need separate miniatures for different games, or you need removable bases, so you can use the same figure with different bases.

    Photography

    If you'd like to take photos of individual miniatures, scenic bases will look better. If you'd like to take photos of large armies on gaming boards, use bases that will look good on that board. If you only use your miniatures for taking photos, you might not even need a base, you could just use temporary measures for your figures to stand (pin, glue putty, self-adhesive glue).

    * * *

    What do you think of these miniature painting design concepts of basing? What is your take on this? What are your experiences? Do you have questions about these concepts? Tell us in the comments!

     

  • Miniatures - Painting miniatures - Techniques

    Article updated: 2016.07.29

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

     

  • Miniatures - Painting miniatures - Basics

    These are basic tips for miniature painting.

    Topics

    * * *

    The basics

    What will you need?

    • Water, possibly thinner if you use oil based paints, alcohol if you need faster drying acrylics
    • Painting area
    • Brushes
    • Paints

    Care for your brushes

    Wash the paint often from them. Don't leave them in the water. Don't leave them wet. Don't spread them.

    Preparing miniatures before painting

    Cut sprue remains. File off or cut flash and mould lines. Test if you can tight-fit them. If you prefer painting completed miniatures, assemble them before painting.

    The basics - Sources & tutorials

    Joey Berry: Warhammer Joey #29. Painting Do's and Don't s: Painting basics tutorial video.

    Joey Berry: Warhammer Joey: How to Prep your Minis: Tutorial video.

    * * *

    Holding miniatures while painting

    When you paint your miniature, you need to get hold of it. Holding them with your hand is not very effective as you can smear grease on the miniature, and you can smudge the already painted parts. That's why we usually use a painting stand.

    Before you start painting, make sure the figure stands firmly on your choice of painting stand.

    Painting stand

    A painting stand can be practically anything that you can hold with your hand, and the miniature fits on it. The stand can be a cork, a bottle cap, empty paint pot, a piece of cardboard, or a wooden spatula (tongue depressor).

    I usually use adhesive putty to stick the miniature to the stand.

    Painting stand for miniatures with solid footing

    If it has a solid footing (this usually means integral base, or minis that can stand by their own), you can glue it on a base with superglue or adhesive putty (Blutac). You don’t need to paint the bottom of their feet as it won’t show on the mini anyway.

    Painting stand for miniatures with solid footing
    A wooden spatula as a miniature painting stand, figures fastened with Blutac

    When I paint a group of miniature that share a similar uniform, it's easier to paint the same colour on each of them if they are mounted on the same painting base.

    Painting stand for miniatures with no solid footing

    Miniature figures without integral bases (cavalry riders, drivers) may need to be balanced more carefully as they can topple more easily than standing miniatures. After painting the mini, you need to hold them (by hand, or by clamps) to paint their feet.

    Painting stand for miniatures with no solid footing
    A wooden spatula as a miniatures painting stand, the mounted figures are adhered with large bits of Blutac

    Holding miniature bits

    Clamps: If you have some small clamps, you can put them on the bits and use them to hold it while painting. Try to find a place that won’t be seen, so it wouldn’t need painting. If there is no such part, then change the place of the clamp and paint the place where it was originally.

    Glue: For small or lightweight bits put a small ball of adhesive putty on your painting stand (or the end of a rod, stick, wire) so you have something to hold them. If it comes off, use superglue instead. If even the superglue doesn’t hold it, use pinning (see below).

    Painting stand with miniature bit
    A wooden spatula as a painting stand, bits of Blutac hold the spears

    Pinning: Drill a hole, put a needle / paper clip into it, so you have something to hold into. You can put something on the other end (wine cork comes to mind) to make it easier and steadier to hold. Sometimes you need glue the pin for a stronger to hold. For a small bit 1-2 mm is enough, for a larger one a 3-4 mm deep hole is needed.

    * * *

    Primer

    Undercoat

    An undercoat is an even layer that can help cover irregularities in the painted material. If you had to assemble your miniature from separate bits, undercoating it can be a good idea. You can use any kind of primer, varnish or paint as an undercoat.

    Primer

    Primer gives you a layer that will make it easier for acrylic paints to stick to miniatures. If you paint metal or slick plastic, you need to apply primer before painting. The primer also acts as an undercoat.

    Prime your miniatures as soon as you can. When you’ll have some spare time to paint, or if you have some spare colour on your brush, you can use it on the already primed minis.

    If you don’t know whether you’ll need light or dark prime, just prime it with a transparent primer. Going with a dark primer can also be a good choice, as you can use it instead of a dark wash at the end of the painting.

    Primer - Sources & tutorials

    How to Paint Miniatures: Apply Primer to Your Miniature: Tutorial article, an extensive guide about the need for using primer before painting with acrylic paints.

    MWNCIBOO (for DakkaDakka): Priming vs Undercoating: Tutorial article about primers.

    Priming with gesso (Faceook): Article about using gesso as a primer.

    IDICBeer: How to Prime Miniatures with Pins in their Feet: A tutorial video about taping the pins in the minis feet to a board before using primer spray.

    Mike Dunn: Priming Miniatures 101: Tutorial video about the use of primer spray.

    TheApatheticFish: Miniature Painting Tip: How to Prime Miniatures: Tutorial video about the use of primer spray.

    nuclealosaur: Miniature 101: Intro to spray primer + advance priming: Tutorial video about the use of primer spray and how to use primer spray to put primer into an airbrush.

    * * *

    Paints

    Colour shades

    It’s good to have previously mixed colours.

    • It’s easier to use it if you are in a hurry.
    • It’s good to have the exact same colour when you want to repair an already painted mini.

    You don’t need to buy them though; you can mix it and store it in separate bottles.

    Paints by sheen level - Matte, silk shine and glossy paints

    • Matte: It's an optical sheen level of the paint, that doesn't shine and it's not glossy.
    • Silk shine: It's an optical sheen level of the paint, that's somewhere between totally matte and glossy.
    • Glossy: It's an optical sheen level of the paint, that is shiny.

    If you will use varnish on your miniature, the sheen level of the paint won’t really matter, as it’s the varnish that will make the mini matte or glossy.

    It’s easier to get one bottle of matte and another bottle of glossy varnish than trying to find the same colour in both varieties. Take care that some varnish titled "matte" still gives a silk shine.

    Enamel paints

    Enamel paint give you a hard coat of paint when it dries. While it’s strong, it can chip if you bend or drop your miniature, so it’s a good idea to get a varnish on it if you don’t like to repaint them often.

    You need a solvent (usually nitro thinner) to dilute it before painting. Most solvent dilute the glue that hold the bristles in the paint brush.

    * * *

    Painting

    Painting

    Before you decide on your paint scheme, check your paints. It's embarrassing to find the paint bottle is empty or it dried and you don't have thinner.

    It can lead to unusual choices of colours, though.

    Before you start painting, make sure the figure stands firmly on your choice of painting stand.

    After everything is set up, shake your paint vigorously so the pigmens will get mixed with the medium.

    Painting - Sources & tutorials

    Zach Hillegas: How to Paint Miniatures for Cheap and With No Experience: A very good and thorough tutorial on how to start getting into the painting hobby.

    Next Level Painting: 5 Simple Trick For Paint Hordes - Table Top Quality: A video tutorial on using easy techniques to finish minis quickly. It's basically paint-highlight-wash, but the video is good.

    Airbrush & Analog: Cheat edge highlights: An idea about highlighting with watercolour pencils.

    James Wappel: Another approach: Using shade washes to base the colours and glazes to finish the miniatures.

    Kenny Boucher (from Next Level Painting): How To Paint Models to A Table Top Standard - No Excuses: Painting tutorial video, painting a Corvus Belli - Infinity - Yu Jing - Guijia with HMG Multi + Heavy Flamethrower, using airbrush.

     

    How to get the paint out of pots?

    If you want to use a colour straight out of a pot, you could just use your brush. After shaking the pot, it's inevitable that paint gets on the bottle caps, so after taking off the caps, I get paint out of the caps. This way, if there is some other paint left on the brush you use, it doesn't contaminate the whole pot, just the remains on the bottle cap. In case of acrylic paints it's also easy to wash it off with water if it gets dirty.

    If you'd like to mix the colours you could either use two tools (brushes, rods, spatulas, scalpels etc) to get paint out from the bottles, or use one tool and clean it after taking out the previous colour. If you use only one tool, I'd recommend the brush so you could just continue to mix it, then you can start to paint.

    If it is important to get a pre-defined colour, you could siphon the paint from the bottles, eitheir with syringes, pipettes, or with drinking straws. To use the drinking straw method, you need to put the straw in the paint, close the upper end with your finger, and you can lift the paint out. If you leave paint on the straw to dry, you'll see the amount you've taken out and next time you can compare it to the new one. You can bend the straw at the edge of the paint and use the same straw to get the same amount of paint out next time. If you want to re-use the same straw over and over for everything, you can mark it (bend it) at even intervals so you can see the marks even if it's covered in paint. This way you can get the same amount of paint any time.

    Write the exact colours and the amount of paint you have used to achieve the mixed colour, so you can mix it if you'll need it later.

     

    Diluting paint

    Don't use undiluted paint as a base colour. If it doesn't get into the recesses, you'll need another layer to get things right.

    Undiluted paint can fill the detail. It's not that much of a problem on large monsters, vehicles or buildings, but I wouldn't use it on humans.

    If you realise that you've missed some spots, the paint didn't get into the recesses, and by that time the paint already started to dry, wait until the whole layer dries, because painting over half-dried paint can mix things up.

     

    Colours

    If you have a dark base colour, you need to remember the details on the mini to paint them properly.

    I recommend making a photo of it before painting and using it for reference.

    You could also drybrush it with a lighter colour if you'll colour it with another paint anyway.

    If you have primer spray, it’s an easy way to base the whole miniature with the same colour.

    Colours - Sources & tutorials

    Beasts of War: Colour Theory... part 1 (3 Colours Up: Painting Tutorial): A tutorial video about choosing and mixing colours.

     

    Washes

    If you are painting buildings, it’s better to paint only one plane of it, so the wash can cover the area evenly. If you paint an already assembled rooms floor and walls at the same time, the wash will flow downwards.

    Washes - Sources & tutorials

    David Damek (from PLASMO - plastic models): How to Use Washes Oil, Tamiya panel line accent color, Citadel - Great Guide Plastic Models: Tutorial video.

     

    Highlighting

    During highlighting you make the colours on the higher parts of the miniature lighter.

    This can help you draw attention to parts you highlight. It can also help you hide some parts if you don’t highlight them.

    If you are looking to make realistic lighting, try to highlight the upper parts of the model, where the light reaches it.

     

    Glazing

    If you already have some basic paint on the miniature, but you’d like to change the colour, you can glaze it. For glazing, choose a colour that is stronger (more saturated, vibrant) than the one you’d like to get as the final colour will be paler. Mix some clear varnish with this colour – the more varnish you use the more transparent the glaze will be.

    You can also glaze with using only water instead of varnish, but it’s more tricky that way. I recommend touching up the parts of the mini you’d like to glaze with a slightly wet brush first, so when you touch the mini with the paint, it will flow into the other wet parts without further use of force.

    Glazing - Sources & tutorials

    Spikey Bits: Secret Techniques to Painting With Glazes - Hobby Tutorial: Tutorial video.

    * * *
    Do you have further ideas about miniature painting basics? Do you have your own methods? Do you have any questions about them? Tell us in the comments!

     

  • Painting miniatures - Design concepts - Appearance - Uniform & camouflage

    In wargames the miniatures depict the people who fight battles. It depends on your philosophy how do they appear on the table.

    The appearance of the miniature will be most important if the character you are trying to paint wears uniform or camouflage.

    * * *

    Dealing with uniform

    The clothing of your army is usually decided by the company who produces the miniatures. However, if you can choose freely, there are some possibilities.

    Uniform 1) Parade uniform

    The figure looks like it's on a parade. It usually looks smart and doesn't  always include armour.

    Uniform 2) Combat uniform

    The figure looks like it's preparing for combat. Everything on the miniature is in order.

    Uniform 3) Combat uniform, in use

    The figure looks like it's in the middle of the combat. There can be tears and stains on the clothing, scratches and dents on the armour.

    * * *

    Camouflage

    Most modern armies use camouflage to blend into their surroundings. Painting the mini with a camouflage colour causes several problems:

    • If you use them in a place they are intended to blend in, they will, so you can't properly see them.
    • If you use them in a place they are not intended to, they will look out of place.

    The best way to use camo for the miniatures would be to use fully transparent figures that just let the light through. Although this might make it harder to find and use the minis for gaming.

    As a sidenote, it's interesting that in the early days of Warhammer 40.000 the Adeptus Astertes used camouflage, because they were not stupid. Miniatures without helmets didn't depict soldiers without helmets, it was just a way to show that they are leaders. Having different paint schemes for different troop types just meant for the miniatures, not for the space marines in combat. That's why you couldn't pick the characters as targets, just whole units, because all of them had the same armour, and none were distinct enough to make it easy for the enemy to shoot at them. In the Rogue Trader rules, there's 10% chance of a Space Marine having Cameleoline armour, enabling him to completely blend into the surrounding.

    Camouflage patterns for the Adeptus Astertes in the Badab War

    Dealing with camouflage

    There are several possible ways you could choose, you just need to decide and stick to your plan.

    Camo 1) Parade colours

    The miniatures are painted in a way they would look on a parade.

    Benefits:

    • Distinguishable: You can distinguish every single soldier of any rank using this method. On parade grounds distinctions are a must, but in battle it's a disadvantage if you could just see who are the officers to take out.
    • Looks okay: If you get used to it, they will look okay on every battlefield.

    Problems:

    • Unrealistic: No matter what you do they will look out of place on every battlefield.

    Camo 2) Parade colours with dirt

    The miniatures are painted in a way if they got dressed for a parade but spent a week on a battlefield.

    Benefits:

    • The same as the Parade colours.

    Problems:

    • The same as the Parade colours.
    • I can't really understand why people do this, but lots of them seem to choose this painting concept.

    Camo 3) Basic camouflage (with distinctions)

    The miniatures are painted with a camo pattern, but you clearly show distinct rank and squad markings (that would be unwise for real camouflage).

    Benefits:

    • Distinguishable:You can distinguish every single soldier of any rank using this method.
    • Looks good: They look nice on the battlefield they are intended to be camouflaged.

    Problems:

    • Unrealistic: They look out of place on every other battlefield that doesn't have the colours of their camo.
    • For me, an out of place camo is more unreal than a Parade colour, but it really depends on your tastes.

    Camo 4) Total camouflage

    The miniatures are painted with a camo pattern, and all of them look the same from a distance.

    Benefits:

    • Looks good: They look nice on the battlefield they are intended to be camouflaged.

    Problems:

    • Sameness: The enemy player won't be able to distinguish your miniatures. It could be a benefit, as long as you are able to distinguish them. This could be achieved with coloured bases or the use of other markers.
    • Unrealistic: They look out of place on every other battlefield that doesn't have the colours of their camo.
    • For me, an out of place camo is more unreal than a Parade colour, but it really depends on your tastes.

    * * *

    What is the most important for you?

    Gaming

    For gaming, it's usually good to be able to distinguish the miniatures (Camo 1-3), preferably (Uniform 1).

    If both players need to know the exact nature of each mini, the lower concepts of Parade colours (Camo 1-2) do better.

    If only the player that owns them need to know what they are, Basic camo (Camo 3) can be good, and you can freely choose any kind of clothing (Uniform 1-3).

    Photography

    All (Uniform 1-3, Camo 1-4) can look good on photos. If you want realistic photos, the closer you get to Combat uniform, in use (Uniform 3) and Total camo (4), the better.

    * * *

    What do you think of these miniature painting design concepts of camouflage? What is your take on this? What are your experiences? Do you have questions about these concepts? Tell us in the comments!

     

  • Painting miniatures - Design concepts

    Before you start painting your models, you have to come up with a design concept for them.

    There are several questions you need to answer. Most painters just start painting and figure these out through the years, but it will take you less repaints if you plan ahead.

    Appearance - Uniform & camouflage

    Appearance - Gun barrels

    Basing miniatures

    Shadows

    Highlights

    * * *

    This could also make an interesting read, to think about your design choices

    Miniatures - The philosophies of miniature collectors

    * * *

    What do you think of these miniature painting design concepts? What are your experiences? Do you have questions about these concepts? Tell us in the comments!

     

  • Miniature painting commission services

    The Gaming Nexus Miniature Commission Database

    Miniature painting commission services: If you don't like to paint, don't have the time or don't have the patience, there are others who can help you. You don't have to wonder "who would paint my wargame or boardgame minis for me?" anymore, just check these commission painters. I've listed the commission miniature painting services by area.

    Guidelines

  • Miniatures - Painting miniatures - Sources & tutorials

    This is a collection of articles about painting miniatures. I've collected the sources and painting tutorials I've found interesting. 

  • Miniatures - Painting miniatures - Terrain and vehicles - Sources & tutorials

    This is a collection of articles about painting miniature terrain and vehicles. I've collected the sources, terrain and vehicle tutorials I've found interesting. 

  • Painting a juvenile Rock Churn for Imperial Space - Rahdox for Project: ELITE from Drawlab Entertainment - Painting log

     

    Painting a juvenile Rock Churn for Imperial Space - Rahdox for Project: ELITE from Drawlab Entertainment - Painting logRahdox v1 for Project: ELITE from Drawlab Entertainment painted as a Rock Churn for Imperial Space

    I painted a Rahdox miniature as a juvenile Rock Churn, to be used as a pet by the Gaunt pirates, for the Imperial Space games. I made photos, and took notes of the painting progess.

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