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    Avatar photoAngel Barracks

    Given that pretty much every bit of 6mm I paint is my own product I want it to look as good as I can get it.
    I don’t want to present my product in a way that looks a bit naff.
    This also means that as all I play is 6mm sci-fi with my own stuff, it takes ages to get anything together as I paint sloooooowly.
    Then couple that with doing 6mm as my ‘job’ and the fact it takes ages, I rarely get to play as nothing is ready and when it is ready I am sick of the sight of it.

    This is why I am trying some 15mm fantasy using other peoples miniatures.
    Now, being new to 15mm it will take a while until I am happy with the quality, but having said that, as my income is not dependant on how well other people’s products are perceived I can afford to be less picky.

    This is what I am doing, I am painting things below my ability to enable me to get stuff done. (expect the heroes that Samantha and I will be using)

    Now, onto the actual thing..
    I have noticed that some of the models due to various factors, do not lend themselves to me wanting to put much effort in.

    Have you ever bought some models and not been arsed to do an especially good job on them due to their finish?

    Avatar photoRuarigh

    These days I am more interested in slopping paint onto figures to get them coloured in for the table than I am in doing showstopping paint jobs. The Unpainted Lead Pile is too large and my time in too short supply for me to do otherwise if I want to get any gaming time.

    I’ve bought a few figures over time that proved less inspirational than one might hope. Some of these were perfectly acceptable figures that did not engage the desire to do a great job. However, the majority were ultra-detailed 28mm figures. The sheer level of detail in the figures put me off painting them, because I knew that anything I did would not do them justice. As a result, I either did not paint them or did a half-arsed job.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.


    Avatar photokyoteblue

    Not all that well now that I am old .

    Avatar photoMr. Average

    I’m kind of a perfectionist, and I try to paint as well as I can all the time. A number of people at my club do not bother and it does kind of spoil the aesthetic experience for me.

    It’s really about finding a process that works and being in the right mood. If you’re forcing yourself it’s no fun, so why bother at all, is how I see it. So when I sit down to paint I bring my A game as best I can.


    I paint 6mm like I am painting 28mm – utterly ridiculous attention to detail and I just want seem to get out of the habit

    Avatar photoSteelonsand

    Most of the time, I’m quick and dirty, and mainly doing the smaller scales, the diminutive nature of it all can hide a lot of slap-dashery, but there are occasions where even if I start out with the best of intentions, there are sculpts that dictate how the paint job turns out, and I agree that über detailed stuff can be too challenging, and compromise creeps in…..

    Avatar photoMcKinstry

    I’m, as with others here, a bit anal compulsive in that if it is one the figure, ship, tank etc., regardless of scale, I’m painting it. My nadir is/has been painting the swastika on the bow of 1/6000 German capital ships and camouflage patterns on 1/6000 destroyers.

    I think I am a workmanlike painter in that I will highlight and detail to the best of my ability but I’ve seen many who paint better. I’m mediocre at best at wet blending and object lighting styles.

    I do some compensated work for other gamers and a terrain company to use as their web catalog pieces but I’ve seen such horrid work described as “pro painted” that I’d never claim that dubious title.


    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    You’ve seen some of my work. Here it is again, in case you forgot:

    I’m not that good, but very consistent. I block paint over white primer, very neatly, picking out all the detail I can see, and I try to create enough tone contrast that you can see the figure at three feet. No high-lighting, black-lining, nothing fancy. I like to paint irregulars, and use lots of earth tones and greys. I finish everything with a super-thin black wash, so thin you can’t see it, but it adds depth. These days I mostly paint 25mm figures, but my 20mm and 15mm are just the same. White eyes with brown pupils on the 25mm, just brown shadows on the smaller figs’ faces. I go over each figure several times, correcting every sloppy mistake. I’m a painfully slow painter.

    A few years ago I learned how to dry-brush over black primer, and I paint some that style from time to time. The Indian on the right of the photo is an example. I’ve experimented with high-lighting on a few figures, not that guy. I’m trying to improve, even at my advanced age. Actually, I have more time to practice, now that I’ve retired.

    My goal isn’t to create a masterpiece, but to finish another wargame unit to play with. Alas, OCD slows me down. I often buy painted figures at flea-markets and from marketplace ads…but then I have to ‘touch them up’, and I usually substantially repaint them. Sigh. At least I save time by using the original paint job as a base coat…

    In spite of everything, it still feels great when I can get in the zone and crank them out!


    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoAnonymous

    What I do has been politely called “painting.”


    Not everyone concurs…

    Avatar photoian pillay

    When I get time to paint, I usually block paint and then wash with dark tone and occasionally I will pick out some highlight features if I can be bothered. My painting isn’t great but I feel more accomplished doing it this way as the lead pile begins to shrink. Until my next shopping spree 😂

    For me my biggest issue is storage or lack of that prevents me painting. So I am slowly investing in those foam tray cases . Which means I have a nice secure storage place to protect my middle of the road brush work.

    Tally-Ho! Check out my blog at…..

    Avatar photoMartinR

    Slap it on, give it a wash and and a dry brush, pick out some details. Job done.

    I might give some particular things a bit more effort, but Wargames figures are a means to an end and as they aren’t display pieces, then good enough from two feet away is fine.

    The main thing I try and get right is a consistent basing style, as that is what makes them look like units on the tabletop.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoPatrice

    The first time some of my friends did see my 28mm miniatures I was still using Humbrol and in the same fast way that I had been using it for 1/72 and 15mm, it was before internet and I had no idea that any shading or washing or whatever could be expected.

    They looked politely and said nothing.

    Some time later I overheard some mumbling about painting with a paint roller.

    It was many years ago and I’ve been trying to improve. Not really succeeded.


    Avatar photoirishserb

    I discovered in the late 1980s, that it took me 3-5 hours per figure to do a really nice job.  I painted about 5 ACW figures that way.  Since then I’ve painted about 20,000 figs to a much, much lower standard.  If I painted them all to a high standard, I would get about one fig per week done, so I’d have to live over 380 years to paint what I’ve painted in the last 30 years.  Then I’d still have all of the sculpting, casting, scratch-building, and terrain building to do.

    I paint to a pretty low standard, particularly on 15mm and smaller, and do only slightly better on 20-28mm figs.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish


    iw gun

    The awkward questions first hmm?

    Mostly badly – I want figures to play with not to paint. Occasionally I’ll make an effort (and then prefer the bog standard ones!) – so mostly as above.

    Avatar photoPatG

    I am ok but I am a gamer rather than a model soldier collector. I generally block paint – dip – matte varnish. I have found that adding in a few details can really make figures pop with little added effort. For example, I added eagles to the sides of my Fallschirmjaeger helmets – it’s just a short “T”of white paint but at table distance it looks great.

    Avatar photoCerdic

    MartinR is spot on. Agree entirely…

    Avatar photoDon Glewwe

    …Wargames figures are a means to an end and as they aren’t display pieces, then good enough from two feet away is fine.

    I’ll third(?) that.

    The question/issue is simply a matter of ‘what are you modeling?’

    If it is the game/battle, then the 2-foot rule works (though I use a 3-foot-and-around-a-corner rule myself in honor of an old shop dictate).

    That said, if I get involved in a particular figure (no matter the scale) I’ll happily ‘go to town’ on it, and put up with the suffering of anyone around the table coerced into bending down and looking ‘really close!’ to admire the details.

    Avatar photoThuseld

    I slap on a few colours, flesh, uniform (up to 3 colours), weapon (up to 2), wash, then maybe drybrush the whole thing in a sand colour. This is for 6mm. The majority of my 6mm forces have 1 colour uniforms + visors and guns. Quick, easy, looks okay.

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Having experimented in the past with 5-layer highlights and other excesses of that sort, I like to think that I have the skill to paint quite well if only I’m able to will myself to put in the effort (which is rare). Then again, I think the same applies to most people. With the exception of some “special effects” like non-metallic metals, translucent fabrics, source lighting and ultra-realistic weathering (you know, CMON kind of stuff), painting beautiful figures doesn’t really take much of an artistic eye (which I lack), it just takes a logical set of rules and a generous measure of time and effort.

    As of a few years back, I’m much more interested in having the “unified big picture” look good than having individual figures be show-stoppers in close-up. I’ve come to think of myself almost like a comic book / graphic novel illustrator or an animator who needs to keep a consistent, functional, reasonable level of quality that allows for the continued production of new frames at a decent rate. To that end, I only ever paint miniatures with a single layer of highlights these days, and I intend for all future additions to my collection to be consistent in this way. It’s a little bit like a miniature-painting equivalent of cel-shading, or Hergé’s ligne claire, or something such. (Admittedly, a closer equivalent of ligne claire would just be plain old block-painting with no layering at all, although ultimately there’s a limit to how far the comparison can be taken).

    Part of this approach is that I’m a consummate “collect both sides” type hobbyist and I never use miniatures painted by anyone else. In fact, by “anyone else” in this case I’m including myself from before I switched to this standard. I’ve become a compulsive stripper; I keep stripping old paintjobs of my own. None of my old paintjobs that are of a different style to my current one have any remaining value to me (with the minor exception that one of them is still my avatar at the time of writing). Some are too rough (I stuck with old-fashioned ink washes and drybrushed highlights for a long time), others too fancy-schmancy (like the aforementioned 5-layer highlight ones). They all get stripped off, and frankly I feel a bit more at peace with myself every time I’ve eradicated another one of them 

    As for rough sculpts/castings, if it’s too rough for me to want to paint it, then I don’t paint it. It’s pretty much binary to me; either I paint a figure to the same “functional” standard I paint all my other figures, or I don’t bother with it at all. There’s no middle ground. Similarly, with figures that have been sculpted “too fancy”, I don’t bother to go above my usual standard of painting quality even if the sculpting quality might seem to demand it.

    Avatar photoNoel

    Usually I paint well enough to my own satisfaction.  I gave up trying to be great, as that will never happen.  “Good enough for me” is what I aim for.

    Sometimes I turn out something that I consider to be junk (and it’s possible I’ll even try to fix it).  Occasionally, I do something I feel proud of.


    Over the last few years I’ve found less time to play miniatures games, but I still enjoy painting as I find it a relaxing way to spend some free time and it excites my imagination.  I’ve always loved toy soldiers — and I imagine I always will.


    Avatar photoGrimheart

    Pretty much what Noel said above.

    Spot on!

    Well maybe other than i only paint in short sessions as i find i get somewhat bored after a while 😱

    Interest include 6mm WW2, 6mm SciFi, 30mm Old West, DropFleet, Warlords Exterminate and others!

    Avatar photoGeneral Slade

    I paint extremely slowly and not as well as I would like.


    I can paint to an ‘8’ if I take my time and highlight and so forth.  Like others, I paint to play these days.  I suspect my paint jobs are more like a 6 or 7 now.  Mostly block painted with a few highlights to add at least some depth.


    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    Avatar photoVictoria Dickson

    I like to think I go for an acceptable standard.  Well, it’s acceptable for me, which is what counts. 🙂

    One thing I’ve noticed is that I always seem to remember my figures as worse than they are, then when I dig something out to use I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Avatar photoRules Junkie Jim

    I always seem to remember my figures as worse than they are, then when I dig something out to use I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Me too! After the initial glow of pride fades, anxiety sets in: Does this mean the more I paint, the worse I get??

    Avatar photoVictoria Dickson

    I always seem to remember my figures as worse than they are, then when I dig something out to use I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Me too! After the initial glow of pride fades, anxiety sets in: Does this mean the more I paint, the worse I get??

    That has crossed my mind too.


    I paint very averagely, but if you’ve got 400 troops on the table it still makes for a good spectacle. For a skirmish game however, my style would look pretty iffy!

    Avatar photoVictoria Dickson

    Basing makes a huge difference to the final look of an army, average looking figures with consistent good quality basing look better than well painted troops on dodgy basing I think.

    Avatar photoRadar

    At best average. Most of my painting is 15mm Napoleonics, I guess I must just get a bit bored knocking out 20 of the same uniform at the same time. Old school, so no washes, keeping in the style of my original painting 35 years ago. They look much better when viewed on the table en masse.

    Horses are a strong point. I’ve worked out a way of doing them that is quick and easy and gives fairly decent results. (Base colour – variations on a theme of brown, dry brush legs/mane/tail black, white highlights (face/fetlocks), then saddlecloth etc, then tack.)


    Painted a few 25mm fantasy, which I feel are much better.

    Recently painted 28mm steam punk (for #4 son) and some 15mm Peter Pig ECW. Both in a modern style (washes) and fancy bases. I think they look pretty good. I get the feeling that I put more in to these because I want them to look individual.

    Much better at painting building (model ones, real ones are just as badly painted as my Napoleonics)

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Of course – really you need to define ‘well’.

    It isn’t a fixed universal standard.

    Style is a movable feast.

    54mm Skirmish figure? Or 2mm blocks for Gettysburg?

    If you’re using the same standards to judge your painting, you’re doing something wrong.

    If you want people to pick your figures up and peer at them with a jeweller’s eyeglass, you could paint them to whatever is the current style standard, or gently tell them to put them down and look at them at the range for which they were painted to be viewed at.

    Black lining was all the rage for a while. Doesn’t seem to be so popular now. Wet blending? Shading? Black undercoat and ever lighter highlighting? Or white undercoat and washes to build up the shading in the creases? Mad staring eyes seem as popular as ever – can you really see the whites of their eyes at average engagement ranges?

    The point is – ‘well’ means different things to different people. Technical excellence is great – but you may not like the effect. And if it takes days per figure to achieve – do you want a battle with them or not?

    I’m not against ‘beautiful’ figures, but know why you want to do it and what effect you are seeking. And remember fashions change: this was ‘cool’ once too



    Avatar photoSteve Johnson

    Nowadays I paint as well as my shaky left arm will allow, due to having dystonic tremors. So fine details a real struggle, but as long as they’re neat and tidy and look good on the table, that’s goo enough for me. Oh and add in my eyesight is not as sharp as it used to be, and you get the picture…

    Avatar photoVictoria Dickson

    Nowadays I paint as well as my shaky left arm will allow, due to having dystonic tremors. So fine details a real struggle, but as long as they’re neat and tidy and look good on the table, that’s goo enough for me. Oh and add in my eyesight is not as sharp as it used to be, and you get the picture…

    Sorry to hear about your health issues.

    The only silver lining I can offer, as your eyesight gets worse the figures look better.

    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    I paint Pretty garbage but for a 15mm gaming table, tabletop quality is plenty fine.

    I enjoy painting, I just never got particularly good so I’ll admire the true masters instead 🙂

    Avatar photoNorm S

    The eyesight thing is very true, older eyes are forgiving and close up digital photography isn’t!

    Of late, I have found it frustrating to paint small scales, there are things on them that I don’t quite understand what they are, but a dab of paint anyway acts as a highlight and seems to make everything turn out ok once things are based in a group … but only after a wash and then maybe a touch-up highlight.

    I have recently painted some 28mm stuff and what surprised me was that I always thought this scale was the preserve of the super detailed …. but it isn’t,  a basic paint job is fun and good, it is just easier to paint, but again a wash and a highlight seem to be the ‘average’ painters friend.

    I think I have too many interests and not enough years left in front of me to worry about taking a long time to get detailed figures to the table.

    Avatar photoSteve Johnson

    “I think I have too many interests and not enough years left in front of me to worry about taking a long time to get detailed figures to the table.”

    So true Norm, so true. I’m trying to get away from my day job mindset of most models having to be perfect and switching to if it’s ok when on the table, then I’m more than happy. Good bases and flags make a huge difference as well.

    @ Victoria: thanks re: the health issues; more of a pain than anything else, but that’s the price of getting older!

    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    A nice base can make all the difference but, if in doubt,there’s Weasels maxim:

    “An okay table with two armies of okay figures will look great in aggregate” 🙂

    Avatar photoRod Robertson

    Fair to middling, but I get a fair volume done when motivated. Motivation however can be elusive at times … like right now. Too much to do and the wheels are spinning in the mud of my painting quagmire. Somehow just doing one thing a day has stopped being a motivator. Hopefully I can kick myself in the arse and get back on track. Must … do …. something!

    Cheers and good gaming or painting.

    Rod (the torpid) Robertson.

    Avatar photoBlackhat

    I have speeded up painting my own figures for the table as I have a lot I’d like to get done – so much more in block paint, wash and highlight style than the three layers that I used to paint.

    I paint well enough that other people pay me to paint for them (occasionally) and I paint the figures for my Imperial Miniatures Toy soldier line that people seem happy with…

    I’ve never considered myself a very good painter though, compared to other people…


    Avatar photoRob young

    Sadly, not as well as I did 40 years ago 🙁

    Rob Young

    Avatar photoDeuce

    A nice base can make all the difference but, if in doubt,there’s Weasels maxim: “An okay table with two armies of okay figures will look great in aggregate” 🙂

    I think this is worth remembering. A group of, say, four units of which three are painted beautifully and one is unpainted (or very badly painted) will look much worse than a group of four units all of which have a merely ok paint job. Better to get it finished and on the table even if it’s not a work of art.

    I am not a great painter, but with a bit of patience and application I can get some decent results I think. However, in many cases the deciding factor is not when I reach a pre-planned point of completion, but when I get sick of looking at a figure (or unit) and declare it “good enough”. Learning to override my perfectionism has been a key factor in actually getting units turned out. If I could learn to paint a little more neatly, that would be another big step: I spend too much time going back over touching up areas where colours have spilled over.

    I do spend quite a bit more time on some models than others, though. Generals and character figures tend to be laboured over for a while longer than the rank and file, and while they’re not going to win any awards I do sometimes get some to a level I’m actually happy with rather than merely satisfied to call it a day.

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