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    Avatar photoLagartija Mike

    What is your method of painting, your preferred materials and techniques: how should your figures look when completed? Do you modify figures to a greater or lesser extent, or leave them largely stock?

    Avatar photoAlvin Molethrottler

    Block paint, wash, dry brush and it’s done. I picked up some health issues in the past few years and now my hands shake, so fine detail painting is something I can no longer do. As for modifying, mostly I don’t bother as usually you can find a stock option if you go look for it.

    Avatar photoPaul

    I only modify plastic figures. Metal is too much of a pain to drill, cut, etc. I paint as follows:
    – Mini is fixed to base.
    – If mini has an integral base, base is evened out with wood filler.
    – Sand is glued to base.
    – Figure and base are spray painted matt black.
    – Paint the bases in my standard basing colours (chocolate brown drybrushed with sienna drybrushed with “beach sand”)
    – Paint the figure itself: 28mm’s get successive layers of dry brushing, 15s get solid blocks bordered by the black undercoat.
    – I don’t varnish because I’m scared of yellowing.
    – I then flock the base.

    I only use acrylic paints, and I burn through paintbrushes very quickly when painting 28s because of all the dry brushing.
    I tend to work on about 6 figures at a time when doing uniformed troops.
    End result: they look ok. Nor the best by any stretch of the imagination, but they look good on the table.

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    Avatar photoMartinR

    I sometimes mod figures, usually to create specialist types like radio operators or engineers. I also sometimes modify headgear etc.

    Painting technique for most figures is pretty much the same regardless of scale, from 2m to 20mm (54mm I do differently). Black undercoat, white/light grey mist from 2′ away (optional), heavy drybrush of base colour(s), pick out details, wash (optional or selective parts), pick out details obscured by wash (optional), very light drybrush of offwhite (optional for pre-twentieth century figures). Job done.


    Unlike some painting methods, I do hands/faces next to last, and  finally headgear. Flesh and hats is what gives the figures their character. Acrylic paints. I find washes are extremely effective on small scale figures (2mm and 6mm), really bring out the detail.

    Some figures (Ancients) I under coat white. 54mm I do toy soldier style, block paint over a black undercoat. Wild staring eyes and huge moustaches. Gloss varnish.




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

    Avatar photoSane Max

    I system paint – remove flash, stick to base, or a coffee stirrer if small, texture the base if on a base, undercoat, paint in batches of a unit of 10 or 15’s, or half a dozen if larger scales, with one full stage for all the figures before moving on, looking for ‘good enough for the table’ quality, finish the bases,then paint with yacht varnish and dull them with Testors. I then treat them so badly I need to repaint them all in about a year 🙁 that means I have to set myself a goal – if I want to buy and paint a new army I also must strip and repaint an old one. That keeps me from drowning in toys, too.

    I dislike converting, and do it as little as possible. Most I will do is a head or weapon swap.

    Avatar photoOtto Schmidt

    Dear mike

    Oil paint.   Have many units going at once because of the long drying time (sometimes up to a week or two) . Do conversions often, sometimes entire units.  Most of the time conversions are to make musicians or color bearers.

    Avatar photowillz

    At some stage most of the above, I mainly use grey car spray primmer as an undercoat.  Though black and red oxide are used depending on the figure.  Mainly acrylic paints are used though oil and enamels are used for specialist paint work.  A well cleaned up figure / tank / vehicle be they plastic, metal or resin and a smooth undercoat makes painting easier and produces good results.  The more time spent on preparing a figure, the less time is required in painting is my motto.  I still try different paints and combinations even after 40+ years of painting, I regularly find new paints and techniques.

    I do varnish using acrylic matt.  It hasn’t yellowed yet

    Avatar photoCount Belisarius

    My techniques vary with period and scale. I mostly black undercoat but have been experimenting with white/grey with a black or brown wash recently. I tend to only use washes now for vehicles other than as part of any prep. I tend to paint/dry brush any shading now. In nearly all scales I paint the faces first. I like to think the figure is ‘alive’ then! 🙂

    A big part as well is number of figures in a batch. For most it is 12-16. I find more than that and  I get bored doing one ‘colour’ at any stage. I’ve even been known to stagger a batch and be one or two stages out of sync just to keep the interest going. I’ve tried doing batches of 36 28mm figures but just cannot cope with that…


    Avatar photoLagartija Mike

    @CBelisaurius: I have the same superstition regarding painting the faces! I picked it up years ago when I used to work at the Bread and Puppet Theater.

    Avatar photoPiyan Glupak

    After getting rid of flash if necessary, filling holes in elephants, filing mold lines and all the other malarky that is sometimes necessary, I was the figures with a hot solution of washing-up liquid, rinsing them with water as hot as my hands can stand.

    Once the figures are dry (usually overnight unless the temperature is higher than 30 degrees Centigrade) I undercoat with Humbol matt enamel.  I used to use matt black, but now usually use matt white.  I like to let them dry at least overnight.

    I block paint with acrylic paints, usually doing any metals last.  Unless I am doing 15mm or larger figures, I don’t generally do a lot of dry-brushing or inking.  I leave the figures to dry for at least 24 hours.  Please note that 23 hours 45 minutes is less than 24 hours, whereas 3 days is a very suitable time.

    I brush my version of ‘magic dip’ onto the figures.  This is a 1/3 solution of liquid floor polish with a few drops of Windsor and Newton’s peat brown ink in.  Again, I leave the figures to dry for at least 24 hours.

    If the figures are on small bases (40mm wide) or are 15mm or larger, I brush clear, matt, traditional (spirit-based) varnish for wood onto the figures.  Once this has dried, the figures are ready for basing.

    For 6mm figure on 60mm wide bases, I don’t bother varnishing because I usually pick the bases up rather than the figures.  However, I do make sure that I brush dilute PVA (I think it is called ‘white glue’ in the USA) over the figures when I brush it over the flocked base.

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