Q&D Painting Howto

Discussion in 'Miniature Wargames' started by thedungeondelver, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. thedungeondelver

    thedungeondelver Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    148
    Sorry, I'd meant to post this up before. This is essentially what I have said elsewhere, but hopefully in a more compact form...so let's get to it.

    HOW TO PAINT THE DUNGEON DELVER WAY

    Note: I am no painter of any great skill. However, it's in the hands, the eye and the mind. If you've got the combination, or at least one of those, you can make this work.

    First, let's talk about tools. You'll obviously need a range of brushes. I buy Reaper brushes out of habit, but if you're just now getting started and you're not sure how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, hit Michael's or Hobby Lobby, or any other "big" craft store that has a toy/model aisle. They WILL have a set of fine brushes to use, for cheap. A wise person in the other painting thread said that a tiny brush does not automatically mean it is good for eyes, etc. Loading the brush with a tiny amount of paint means you have just seconds to dot the eye and sometimes taking the time to do it properly takes longer which means the paint will dry on the brush. So don't worry about 0/20 brushes out of the gate.

    Next, while you're at the craft or hobby store: paint palettes. these are simple, cost about $.99 each, and if you wash them, are good pretty much indefinitely.

    Grab a coffee mug, or plastic cup, whatever, something you don't care about. This will be for water.

    Next, you want a hobby knife: an X-Acto knife, etc. will do the trick. These sonsabitches are SHARP. Like, scalpel sharp. Sharper than sharp. Please be careful.

    Pick up two kinds of glue: Elmer's glue and Gorilla Glue (their cyanacrylite/"super" glue, not their resins or epoxies) . Elmer's for mounting the mini on an armature for painting, Gorilla "super" glue is for putting together multi-part miniatures.

    If you have a lot of minis, scavenge every plastic soda bottle lid you can that has a relatively flat top. Or get some wine corks. You'll use these as armatures (explained below).

    A set of fine detail files (I have a trio of Armory files I bought back before dirt that I love) are essential, particularly if you're going to work with metal miniatures. I know there's a trend to plastic these days but if you want detail and precision casts, go metal. So get files.

    Likewise, even if you don't have a dremel, pick up a set of 1/32 bits. You can usually find them in quantities of 5 on Amazon. Along with this, a box of small paperclips. These are for pinning those troublesome limbs, heads, arms, legs, etc. You will find that you can remove the blade from an X-Acto knife handle and put the dremel bit there and have a hand-drill for sinking pin-holes in your miniatures bits. Whether plastic or metal, this can be a handy thing (and yes you may have to pin plastic). If you decide you're going to do this a lot, and have lots and lots and lots of metal minis, you might consider picking up the basic Dremel but don't go there until you've got some of the hobby (the painting hobby) under your belt and decide if you wanna go that route.

    Get a brass brush. You can find these at auto parts stores. Likewise get a toothbrush (either buy a new one or snag an old one). If you're taking an old one, wash it carefully to remove toothpaste residue.

    The next section is paints and deserves a talk all its own.
     
    Baulderstone likes this.
  2. thedungeondelver

    thedungeondelver Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    148
    Pt 2. PAINTS

    Okay, so you want to get a set of basic paints. You're in luck! There's tons of paint manufacturers out there. Reaper has some gorgeous paints. I'm being drawn towards Army Painter and Vallejo, but whichever of those thr...what? Games Workshop, you ask?

    Ahem.

    NEVER NEVER EVER BUY GAMES WORKSHOP HOBBY TOOLS OR SUPPLIES EVER PERIOD. IT IS A WASTE OF YOUR MONEY. Seriously, GW tools and paints are overpriced and generally of amazingly low quality compared to what you can get elsewhere. Even if you're painting a GW model and using a "How To Paint" that lists all GW paints? Yeah, google "paint equivalence chart dakka-dakka": there you will find a regularly updated paint equivalence chart. Ironbreaker is just Reaper's Honed Steel. Agrax Earthshade is just Vallejo Umber Shade Wash. This isn't a matter of me putting my thumb in GW's eye corporate. This is simple economics. GW paint pots hold 2/3rds the paint that a Reaper dropper bottle does. They hold slightly less than 2/3rds of what a Vallejo dropper bottle holds. GW paint pots don't fucking seal properly, which means their shitty paints dry out. Moreover, since they are in (bad) pots, you can't control what you're putting on your palette. Finally, a single GW paint pot runs about $5 or $6. Even allowing for discounts, they're still typically a buck to buck and a half more than Reaper or Vallejo paints (or Army Painter). Just...just don't use GW Paints.

    Now here's where we flip the script: if you want some GW paint...you can still have it! How? Coat d'Arms! They manufactured Citadel Hobbies' paints for GW back in the 80s and 90s, are still in business and, with that paint equivalence chart, you can get classic colors in bottles that aren't crap. They're not dropper bottles but they hold up for damn near ever. How do I know? I have a set of 5 Citadel Colour paints from 1994 that are in their original hexagonal bottles, have been opened and used some, and are still viscous and viable. Periodically I drop in some distilled water and Reaper Flow Improver and give them a good shake. Think about it: 23 years, vs. about...eight months.

    Now do you understand why I say "don't buy GW"?

    So you've got a basic line-up of paints. Let's get ready to paint.

    First thing we do is prep the miniature. If you have a metal mini, read on. If not, skip to the "Plastic Mini Prep" section below.

    Prepping a metal mini can be a multi-step process, but ultimately, if you do it, you'll find that your paint holds a bit better, you don't have funky "flash" or casting/mold lines to paint over and around, and so on. It's just better.

    To prep a metal miniature, first, remember the brass brush I talked about? Take the brush and very gently - I mean, imagine you're brushing a baby's hair - very gently brush the miniature. This has two effects. One, it helps remove "mold release" (baby powder, really) that they put in casting molds to make the minis pop out easier. Two, it puts a fine (invisible, if you're doing it right) patina of scratches on the miniature. This helps primer bond. Again, we're NOT scrubbing the thing like it's covered in cancer poop. You want to be GENTLE with it. Next step: take your toothbrush, and a tiny bit of dish soap, and under warm running water, gently scrub the miniature. This will remove any metal flakes you might have kicked up brass brushing it, and will remove all of the rest of the mold release.

    Back at your workstation, (which, by the way, should be well lit, if not by strong direct daylight then use a nice bright lamp or two that you can position comfortably and will illuminate what you're painting), examine the miniature for any burrs, mold lines, or flash. Using your files and your X-Acto knife, carefully trim these away. If you're worried about metal particulate once you're done you can repeat the washing step.

    Dry your miniature off after cleaning and washing/rinsing. Take a nice healthy dollop of Elmer's/white glue and attach the mini to the bottle cap or cork (I recommend corks, btw., they hold better). Let it sit for at least a few hours. Use the down-time to prep other minis.

    A NOTE ON PREPPING PLASTIC MINIATURES: Most of the above applies...EXCEPT the brass brush! the brass brush will pit/scratch plastic to hell and gone. Just clean it with soap, water, and a toothbrush.

    With your paints, you should definitely have gotten primer. Either white, black or grey. Some people prefer black as it makes shadows really pop, while others prefer white as it doesn't mute colors. Grey is, of course, in the middle, but you do what looks good to you.

    In the next section, I'll go over basic priming techniques, and we'll get in to paint blending.
     
    Baulderstone likes this.
  3. thedungeondelver

    thedungeondelver Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    148
    So...Priming.

    There's two (well, three) schools of thought on priming miniatures. Some folks say white. Others black. And still others go with a neutral gray. Gray tends more towards white, so for now we'll focus on White vs. Black. Briefly, it is my experience that black primer leads to more muted colors unless you apply SEVERAL layers. With that said, it does have the advantage of really making shadows and shaded areas pop. White, on the other hand, adds a bit of a "glow" to colors, and for brighter and fewer layers. Gray does this also, but not as well.

    Whichever color you select, I would now mention a refrain you're going to hear a lot: THIN YOUR PAINTS. Thin them. Do not glop paint on right out of the bottle. You want your paints to be thinned to a 3:1 ratio of thinner (water, distilled water, or a 50/50 mix of water and flow improver - I prefer Reaper's). This creates a skim-milk like consistency.

    Now, once you've thinned your paint (or primer), a single simple coat will suffice. Remember, you just need something for the paint to hold on to. You're not trying to paint the mini in primer!
     
    Baulderstone likes this.
  4. Bunch

    Bunch Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    162
    Thoughts on spray vs painted on primer? I ask because we're getting to the cold humid part of the year
     
  5. thedungeondelver

    thedungeondelver Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    148
    I live in Florida, where it is humid or cold humid most of the time, although we have some very dry winters periodically. I say that my spray primer experience is largely negative; orange peel (the crumbly, dry dust-like residue that covers a mini after spray priming, and it "drinks" the paint, letting little to no color through, plus clogs up the brush) abounds. So I'm not a fan of rattlecan primer, particularly GW primer. I had Armory Gray I used for years and had great success with, but alas it is gone (I think it was made again for a while, but by a different company).

    Overall, brush priming does the trick. Even if you're doing a whole army, remember, a thin (and thinned) coat of primer works best.
     
  6. thedungeondelver

    thedungeondelver Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    148
    So this is me getting re-started.

    Once you have cleaned and prepped your mini and primed it, it's time to get painting!

    Let me make one thing really clear from the outset: if your mini has eyes visible (one or both), paint them FIRST. If you screw up, you have very little to fix! Whereas, if you screw up the eyes and you're doing them LAST...well, now you're stuck with messed up eyes and a mini painted to your liking. If you start with the eyes you don't have much to do if you foul them up so bad you have to strip the miniature or re-prime and start again.

    There's lots of different ways to "do" eyes. The best way I've found, particularly on miniatures that thankfully have larger eyes, is as follows:

    Paint the eye itself white. Even if you get some on the eyelid, cheek, nose etc. you're going to be painting over those in flesh tones later, don't sweat it.

    Thin black ink in a 50/50 mix with water.

    Load a brush with your black ink wash.

    Carefully flood the eye with black ink. Don't let it run all over the face! If you really get the whole eye-socket filled, take a small scrap of clean paper towel and soak the excess out. Sometimes this will leave enough in the crease between the eye and the eyelids, sometimes it will soak the whole amount up and you'll have to start again.

    Let this black ink dry.

    You now have a white-painted, shaded eye.

    Using a brush no smaller than a 3/0, place a single dot of color for the pupil.

    I'm going to be honest: you will screw this up repeatedly. You're going to be sitting there with some cock-eyed barbarian or sorceress or space marine looking up in agony at you from your workbench (or, rather, trying to, because MY GOD WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY EYES). Sigh, clean it up, and start again. All you can do to gain a steady hand is keep practicing. Until I invent my patented miniature eye-dotting machine, that's all you can do. Another point: if you look on coolminiornot.com you're going to see eyes that have colored irises, black pupils, specular highlights, and look like they're wet and following you! You will not accomplish this the first time out. I'm not saying "don't try" - if that's in your wheelhouse and you can knock that out, hey, AWESOME! Come back and post and teach me how!

    But if you're like me, and you're painting "for the tabletop", the white + ink shade + colored dot should do the trick.

    The next post will be pretty comprehensive about shading and highlighting. Hope folks are enjoying it.
     
    Bunch likes this.
  7. Bunch

    Bunch Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    162
    What primer do you use?
     
  8. thedungeondelver

    thedungeondelver Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    148
    Now? I use either Reaper or Vallejo brush-on primers (white or black depending).
     

Share This Page