Category: Painting (Page 2 of 2)

Gear Check: Miniature Painting

Welcome to a new type of article called Gear Check, in this I will try and keep an updated list of essential purchases for a certain task. This time around it’s painting miniatures, its focused about stuff that is the easiest to purchase in the UK so if you live elsewhere your mileage may vary.

This blog hasn’t got any affiliate links so feel free to google the kit to find better offers online, I have marked the essentials in bold so you can skip some items if they don’t suit your needs.

Winsor and Newton series 7 miniature painting brush size 0 – This will do eyes and fine detail work with no problem if you want to go that far but I would now consider this a tier 2 pick.
Army Painter Large Drybrush – Both are good and cheap and you will need two as they need to be totally dry before drybrushing or it won’t work.

Rosemary & Co size 0, 1 and 2, SER33 – I have tested these out as I wanted to recommend something cheaper than the Winsor and Newton series 7 size 1 and the Eavy Metal Standard brush that is now out of production and can confirm that they are ideal for miniature painting purposes.

Spray Basecoat:
Corax White Spray – I’ve tried the Army Painter white and its an off white so not ideal.

Chaos Black Spray – If you want to save yourself £1.50 you could use the Army Painter Black Colour Primer Spray as you will be giving the models a base coat of black from a pot after spraying anyway.

Nuln oil – The daddy of the painting world, this shades nearly every colour, works on bases and can be used to draw a black line between two separate colours to make them stand out.
Riekland Fleshshade – the wash used for skin. It now works in places that aren’t Riekland.
Agrax Earthshade – darker brown wash also for use on oranges, yellows, cream, bone, parchment and probably many more. Army painter uses giant pots of brown shade called quickshade to quickly shade entire models.

Seraphim Sepia – probably more of a second tier pick but can be used when you don’t want the extremely brown finish of Earthshade above. It also looks great over silver metals to tone the down and give them a more used look.

Base Paints:
Abaddon Black – Your standard black paint, probably the only paint you will ever need to buy more of.
Averland Sunset – Sometimes you will need to paint yellow over a dark base colour, you will need the patience of a saint to do this without this colour.
Mephiston Red – Your basic red
Caledor Sky – Your basic blue
Waaaagh! Flesh – Your basic green
Rhinox Hide – In the same way the dark brown wash is so useful, this dark reddy brown colour can be used on reds, browns, cream, cloth and the best trick is to basecoat stone before drybrushing on successive layers of grey.
Mechanicus Standard Grey – This is the first colour you use to highlight black and as black is the most popular colour it makes this the most popular highlight.
Leadbelcher – The basecoat for silver or metal, just hit it with any colour of wash to get a nice ethereal effect

Rakarth Flesh – This one doesn’t need to be used exclusively as a base for other colours as its light enough to highlight all browns and light grey. I regularly use this as a final drybrush for all black, grey or brown bases.

Layer Paints:
White Scar – There are two white colours Games Workshop offers, this is the whitest white and matches their base white spray. It can also be used to paint the sclera.
Yriel Yellow – Used for highlighting fire effects, chevrons and by crazy people for painting entire armies.
Lothern Blue – Your basic blue highlight.
Dawnstone – The next stage up from Mechanicus Standard Grey when highlighting black.
Warpstone Glow – Your basic green highlight.
Cadian Fleshtone – The one flesh colour paint in this list, some fleshtone to use your fleshshade on. Ooo err.
Administratum Grey – When painting black you can’t shade it darker to best results are gained by highlighting it twice, this is the second highlight.
Evil Suns scarlet – Your basic red highlight

Runefang Steel – I originally picked one of the Citadel Dry range of paints for this but decided that in order to teach drybrushing you would need a normal paint instead. If you only want the Dry paint get Necron Compound, but don’t come running to me when you want to do some proper grown up edge highlighting with it.

After painting your figure you are probably going to want to base it, the Citadel Base range of textured paints is fine but requires multiple coats and quite restrictive if you want to do anything out of the ordinary, I suggest looking here and picking one you like. Failing that you have enough to to make a decent simple grey base but you will need some basic material first so I recommend…
PVA glue – From any craft shop or online as long as it has a screw top. Don’t trust any that allow you to squirt it out as it will jam up instantly, I have heard good things about a make called Mod Podge but haven’t checked it out yet

Citadel sand – Probably the most controversial thing on this list, many people will tell you to use cat litter or sharp sand and then point you to a 1 kg bag for £1 but for storage purposes you only want a small container and one that you can dip models into without spilling to contents all over the floor so just go with this, it will last you for ages unless you want to batch paint armies with it.

Old cup for storing painting water – Pick this up for a local Poundland or charity shop
Plastic lid for decanting paint onto – Pick this up from your wastebin
Paper towel for cleaning brushes – Pick this up from your kitchen
Plastic sheet or old cloth to drape over table – Probably Poundland again

Sundis Mini Drawer Tower – If you can find something like this it will store all your paints, brushes and models away nicely.

“But wait”, I hear you cry, “I need a specific paint colour to carry out a tutorial I found online”. No problem just use this paint compatibility chart to match whatever type of paint you have having trouble with.
“Can’t I buy X brand elsewhere”. Yes, you can find similar paints cheaper if you can find them but this, it’s is catering to ease of use rather than cheapness. Also you won’t really have to rebuy anything except black and the black wash so they will last you a decent amount of time regardless.

Painting 4 Ground Scenery

You can play miniature games anywhere that you can find a flat space that won’t be disrupted by other humans, pets or the wind or rain, you can stack up piles of books or magazines to make hills, raid ornament stands to make rock features and scatter other unused miniature vehicles around to give the scene flavour, my favourite borrowed scenery piece would either be the small cow skull or the tiny beer keg that was lying around at a mates house. Scenery was never a market that was heavily contested in the miniature games space. In the Golden Age of Games Workshop I refer to in other posts most of the scenery produced was either homemade or relatively small plastic kits of a ruined building. Large plastic kits were impossible for GW to make at this time as they didn’t have a large scale plastic mould. Hills were produced by vacuum formed plastic covered with green static grass flock and buildings would be following instruction on how to make them out of card or by using cardboard inserts in White Dwarf.
The situation wasn’t ideal, some companies tried to exploit it by offering large resin buildings which while looking very nice were both expensive heavy and fragile, Games Workshop produced large pieces of all plastic scenery when they brought their new larger moulds which were very nice looking but then inexplicably discontinued the sets and instead replaced them with the perfectly functional but boring 40k city kits and giant bunkers with mounted guns on for your sci-fi needs and insanely overblown high fantasy magic filled sculptures for the Storm of Magic supplement that looked like they came out of a Salvador Dali painting during his “death metal” phase.
Lets not mention the expensive plastic Chaos Fortress kit presumably created by someone who didn’t realise that the following year of Chaos releases were for Khorne, the faction that had no missile troops at all and were more likely to storm other peoples forts than hide behind one themselves.
Recently another way of creating scenery has come about, namely using laser-cut MDF kits that are pre-painted and can be assembled without the need for most tools or glue while remaining light and cheap. As with any new invention that says its going to do everything you’ve been looking for cheaper and better than you’ve ever hoped was possible I viewed it with scepticism and so decided that rigorous testing was in order. I brought the baggage card and the stagecoach kits as they looked small enough to be written off in the case that I wreaked them during testing and large and complicated enough to show off the level of detail possible using his approach.

Punching the baggage cart out was easy enough, there was heavy smell of burnt wood which is fair enough due to the lasers burning the wood so  I washed the kit with soapy water first and left it to dry, there was no issues with the paint peeling off or it warping and it withstood it like a champ. Its worth noting that there is nothing in these kits apart from MDF and instructions, so no transfers or brass etch material, everything that you see is all MDF.

The parts are all pretty much snap fit and don’t require much cleaning apart from a slight ridge where they connected to the original sheet of MDF, you could put them together and leave the but it is far to complicated to restore back into its sheet so I used PVA glue to hold the bits together which seemed to work fine without damaging the paint scheme. The laser cutting process can cut fine details into the wood with ease, so the spokes in a wheel were tapered, rivets were dug out and the gab between sheets of wood was all correctly modelled, the only problem was that the wheels were only modelled in one side so it you took a fine eye to the insides of them you would spot the difference.

The model is all pre painted with an airbrush that gives it small areas of darker colour to try and produce a patchy wood effect, the burnt edges where the laser has cut a hole had added to it so it could easily be left as it is but I was already determined to see how it would hold up to proper painting. It took the spray undercoat from army painter and the next ink was without a problem at all. I tried drybrushing layers of with Mournfang Brown, Deathclaw Brown and Karak Stone but it didn’t show up that well so I decided to paint thin lines of Deathclaw Brown down the planks to mirror the grains in actual wood which had an immediate effect. I weathered the wheels and underside with a ripped piece of foam with Rhinox Hide and was pleased at the result.

If I had to give any criticism it would be that the finish has a slight texture to it but for wood of the stone buildings that’s not a problem, if it’s an issue you can take it off with sandpaper.

If you want to buy this kit it’s here and yes, it’s only £4, it’s not going to win you any painting awards unless you cover up the joins on the MDF but it’s cheap, light and can be painted up without any hassle to improve your gaming space. However you can take these techniques and apply them to anything 4 Ground produces for some good looking results.

Painting Yellow

As you might have guessed from a brief examination of the contents of this Blog my favourite time in miniature gaming was between 1995 and 2001, during this time all miniatures painted by the Eavy Metal team were bright enough to bring tears to the eyes of anyone standing within several meters. Bright blue went with bright yellow next to bright red on top of a base that was of course bright green. I have always tried to keep models bright enough to stand out in the darkened rooms that most gaming takes place in especially if you can keep to a really dark base to get them to pop.
So as my latest project I decided to test myself in a way only fellow miniature painters will feel my pain. I am of course talking about painting models yellow. This colour has long been reviled as one of the hardest colours to paint. I was always told that the two yellow paints that Games Workshop produced covered so badly due to the toxicity of the pigment used in them, this meant they needed to restrict the amount of it used in one go. I’m not sure if this was correct or not and considering most people would just add more paint and therefore pigment to the model it would undo the standards they put in place to keep us all safe. However in retrospect I have never heard of anyone in the western world being hospitalised due to yellow citadel paint related toxicity so I have come to the conclusion that Games Workshop must have been gaining some kind of sadistic pleasure from anyone trying to get a good coat of sunburst yellow on a model.
Back in 2012 Games Workshop revamped their ancient paint range with new colours and lines that were supposed to offer an easier and faster way to paint miniatures, much was made out of the increased pigment ratio in some of the previously tricky to paint colours. I assume this was an attempt to a) make everyone buy new paint sets b) invalidate the paint ranges of the 3rd parties who had been selling colour matched paints at a cheaper price and c) kill off any fans with weaker constitutions by exposing them to more paint pigment. However as all superhero movies have told me, toxicity is a thing to be embraced rather than feared so I went out and brought a mega paint set and immediately sold all of my old paints on eBay.
Flashing forward 4 years and skipping a lot of painting I decided to finally bite the bullet and paint a lot of models yellow. A quick Google search for exactly how to do this brought back a limited number of steps ranging from the extremely quick “white spray basecoat, two washes with casandora yellow, done” to tutorials with an airbrush. I don’t have an airbrush and only fancied painting up about 10 models so I needed another way.
I got through about 8 or so test models before settling on a method that was repeatable, easy, and looked nice under various types of light, I tried a white basecoat but then realised that going from white to yellow was much harder than going from one shade of yellow to another. Therefore as you may have guessed I settled on using a basecoat of Daemonic Yellow. To shade it down I tried the GW washes of Reikland Fleshshade and Seraphim Sepia but found then too light so instead used Agrax Earthshade. I also experimented with a spray gloss coat before the wash as I had heard that it helps the wash cover better. I have no idea of that works but the can was £1.99 on eBay so I went with it.
After this was down it was time to start the grind of multiple coats of Yriel Yellow. I found that Flash Gitz Yellow was too light and should be left for highlights if you need them. I also found it was much easier than expected, a couple of coats was good enough with some tidying up for certain areas where the wash paint had pooled.
It’s worth noting at this point that care is key when doing this, it’s often the difference between a decent paint job and a nice one. Always make sure you prevent the wash from obscuring details and always make sure you clean up mistakes.

Mission Statement

Welcome to the people who have decided to start reading this blog from the very beginning. It’s interesting to begin writing this as I don’t know how this blog will turn out and in what fields, if any, it finds success. My original idea is to document my interests in the fields of board games, card games, retro games workshop publication reviews and miniature painting, but you will almost certainly also find posts about other interests such as watch modifications, megagames, books, every day carry and anything else that it takes my fancy and gives me enough space to write long form content for. The main questions I hope to answer are:

  • Why everyone should learn to paint and how to do it?
  • Can the experience of painting miniatures be transferred to watch modification?
  • What gaming experiences everyone is missing out on?
  • Why is the golden age of Games Workshop from 1990 – 2001 so highly thought of?
  • If I could produce a game what would I make and why?

To be honest this blog could end up being a streaming platform for Thomas the Tank Engine electronic dance music in a couple of years time.


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