Home Forums General General I Can't Paint That!

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    Avatar photoAngel Barracks

    Are you ever put off from buying a model because you know you won’t be able to paint it as well as it deserves?

    I look at the way cool Infinity models and am scared to waste my time on messing up the paintjob, so don’t buy them…


    Avatar photoPatG

    Baccus 6mm, most 25/8mm. 20mm plastics are nice because the detail is within my capability and frankly desire to paint.

    Oh and SS pea dot but I don’t like them anyway.

    Avatar photoVictoria Dickson

    Anything 6mm and anything bigger than 15mm.

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Considering how much unpainted lead, white metal, plastic and resin there is in the world between all us hobbyists, I think it’s enough to say that figures deserve to be painted, to whatever humble standard most of us can manage.

    That said, I am sometimes turned off by some miniatures that seem to have been designed mainly to be “marketable”, as opposed to feasibly paintable by the average hobbyist. That is to say, they’ve been designed so that once they’ve been painted by a super-talented paid professional in the company’s own studio, they look nigh-on irresistible, especially to younger average hobbyists (including myself not very many years ago) who have not yet discovered that once they’ve shelled out for the (unpainted) figure they can’t really attain the same level of paintjob as in those gorgeous photos that made them commit to the purchase in the first place. GW in more recent years is the biggest culprit, but Privateer Press is also bad. There’s something kind of cynical about it. I feel like they know they’re duping their customers with false implicit promises that they can have glorious-looking armies if only they buy the product. But it’s a very indistinct line of decent/indecent marketing, of course. A lot of companies do it to some degree, including some that I like. I don’t really think of Corvus Belli / Infinity as having crossed the line, although maybe I should. I’m actually intending to take up Infinity some day, but not in the immediate future. Likewise Alkemy and Bushido, which have a similar style going on. I can’t paint them well (a basecoat and a single layer of highlights/midlights is my level), but I don’t terribly care.

    To look at the other side of the coin, I definitely am drawn to figures that have been designed and sculpted to strike a sublime balance between aesthetic merit and ease/intuitiveness/joy of painting. I find that the North Star clique of sculptors (Mike Owen, Mark Copplestone, Mark Sims, etc) are especially talented at that, as are Kev White, Kev Adams and a few other luminaries. They as sculptors seem to have an intuition that interlocks nicely with my own intuition as a painter. Their figures have a way of drawing out my enthusiasm to paint them, and making the process feel like less of a chore.

    Avatar photoMcKinstry

    Anything requiring eyeballs thus usually anything biologic 28mm and up. I can, I just don’t like to.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Avatar photokyoteblue

    Mostly it’s just age, I can no longer see up close to do the level of painting I did 20 years ago. So I pay others to paint figures for me. I can still paint 15mm vehicles…mostly.

    Avatar photoPatG

    I recall looking a a red 40k trooper that looked amazing – just a base coat …. and something like 11 layers of red ink wash. Gorgeous but no thanks.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Nah! I can paint anything. 6″ brush and Dulux: no problem.

    Avatar photoNorm S

    I think as time goes on I am less likely to feel that I can’t paint a figure, simply because I am now more comfortable with ‘wargamers standard’ and my eyes don’t see the detail so much now and so my figures look better to me for that.

    It’s a bit like modern digital photography which is so often on a setting of ‘sharp’, is quite unkind to human faces whilst a softer setting is not.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    If I listened to the original premise, I’d buy nothing & paint nothing because my abilities are but average.

    Of course we all compare our efforts to the “master class” stuff you see on the internet but taking the next steps into a hobby paralysis is the way to end up with bird watching or horse brass collecting as your hobby & wargaming but a sad memory of your inadequacy.

    I can say this about myself: I paint faster & better than I did in the past. I get praise, much of it doubtless undeserved, by friends. And I very much enjoy painting figures despite the mediocrity of the final product.


    Me? I can paint anything. Let’s leave it at that.




    Avatar photoMartinR

    Slap a load of paint on, bit of a wash and a drybrush. Job done.

    I really don’t care about painting things “well”, war games standard all the way. They are only pretty 3D counters anyway.

    I do spend a bit more time on things close to my heart, but often you just want to get them on the table. If they are all based the same, they all sort of blend in anyway.

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

    Avatar photomalc johnston

    Perry miniatures put me off, miniatures are to flat for me and its hard to pick out the details, still trying to work out why everybody rants and raves about how fantasic they are, they are good but to me not great, plus way too much flash on them


    Avatar photoCameronian

    Types used to put me off; samurai, landsknechts, medieval heraldry.  I’ve now painted all of them in various scales over the years and none of them seemed any more difficult than anything else.  I’m no Rembrandt so I paint the things until I’m happy with them and call it quits.  Avoiding unnecessary complexity is I think the secret, especially when you’ve got 20 plus to paint.

    'The time has come" The walrus said. "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage

    Anything requiring eyeballs thus usually anything biologic 28mm and up. I can, I just don’t like to.

    Nothing smaller than 54mm requires eyeballs, and even then it’s contestable.


    Myself, I just hate painting. After 15mm Napoleonics, Aztecs and Inca, 28mm WSS French were a blessed relief.


    And I block paint everything now. Life’s to bloody short to be dicking about with shading and, gawd help us, ‘triads’

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    Avatar photoirishserb

    I’ve never really considered figs in that way before.  I don’t feel an obligation to meet any standard.  I paint figs to entertain myself, and given the quality of my painting, it doesn’t take much to keep myself entertained.

    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    Are you ever put off from buying a model because you know you won’t be able to paint it as well as it deserves?

    Nope. I don’t let toys intimidate me. I’m always up for a challenge, modelling is part of the fun for me. I’m not a great artist, but my technique is still improving, slowly, even at my ripe old age, and I enjoy finishing a piece better than I ever did before. However, I will sometimes buy two of a really impressive figure, one for me to finish, and one for a friend who paints much better than I do

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoAngel Barracks

    Intimidated? I am not scared of it…  
    I just know I won’t be happy with the end result.
    Much like if I tried to compose a symphony.
    It would not be to my pleasing and I am in this for the pleasure, as I am sure we all are.

    I just won’t spend time and money on a figure that ultimately I won’t use/like.
    If I had lots of spare time to practice and improve to a state I would be proud of, then that would be different for sure.

    Avatar photoMr. Average

    15mm scale tanks. Like the look, but it seems nearly impossible without airbrushes and other such nonsense. 3mm and 6mm are much more my speed.

    Avatar photoCerdic

    Yes. Tartan!

    I must have the only British Napoleonic army with no Highlanders in it….

    Avatar photoCameronian

    Yes. Tartan! I must have the only British Napoleonic army with no Highlanders in it….

    Paint the kilts brown – the dye ran in the wash!


    'The time has come" The walrus said. "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

    Avatar photoPiyan Glupak

    When I do highlanders in 6mm, I am afraid that I just paint the kilts green.

    Avatar photoPijlie

    Nope. It’s always good to have a challenge. And I only need to meet my own standards. I know I am no Golden Demon winner, but I am reasonably good. And if I don’t like the result, I strip it and start again.


    Avatar photoMike Headden

    It seems the worse my eyesight and hand/eye coordination get, the smaller the scale of the figures I am happy to paint!!

    On 28mm I not only paint the eyeball but highlight it too. My 6mm Epic 40K marines have tac markings and chapter symbols on their shoulder pads.

    … there may be a reason I’m getting through my lead mountain so slowly 🙂

    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    Avatar photoFredd Bloggs

    No, but as a seller I have met it, we have our 28mm Scorpionmen painted to a high standard and the, ‘I couldn’t do them justice’ gets heard at least once a show.

    Avatar photoThuseld

    Armypainter Quickshade was what I discovered in order to pick out shadows in my miniatures. That gave me more confidence. Then I switched to 6mm and do a couple of colours, weapons, visors, then wash it and dry brush with sand colour.

    Avatar photoThe Gorb

    I can paint anything, any scale to an exactingly high standard — as long as I am not required to complete more than one miniature a year.

    Regards, The Gorb

    Left Hand Miniatures
    Graydon Gorby, Owner

    Avatar photoNathaniel Weber

    There are some periods that I don’t really want to get into because of all the painting, or would only get into at certain scales—Napoleonics in 6mm I can handle. In 15s or above, too much work.

    To Rhoderic’s comment about GW and Privateer Press: I agree to the point that the way they market painting their products is also problematic. Handing a totally new gamer, with no painting experience, one of their slick minis and a painting guide that shows them blended layering and all that crap is totally counter productive. Why not show the new painter simple ways to achieve great effects? Paint in the solid colors and then wash with black or brown wash, depending on the warmth of the model. Quick and effective. I’ve been painting some Skorne and Trollblood guys that way and it has been 1) very fast and 2) produces a table-top acceptable standard. I think the gaming industry generally needs to show that in tutorials, rather than throwing new gamers in the deep end and then wondering why stuff doesn’t get painted.

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