New Miniature Painter Tips

This is not intended to be a complete “be all end all” guide to painting. These are just some things that I learned, that I wish I had learned earlier.

  • Prep your models by giving them a quick wash. The mold release used during casting of most plastic, metal, and resin miniatures does not like to be painted. However, the mold release comes off easy. Use an old toothbrush and some dish soap. Give the parts a quick scrub down, then rinse them off and let them dry. Caution: Don’t do this over the sink, small pieces will end up in the drain. Wanna guess how I learned this lesson?
  • Remove mold lines and flash. You may see small lines (and occasional larger pieces) that run down the side of the miniature. That is where the two halves of the mold come together; and some extra liquid plastic kind of squishes out. Take the back of your xacto knife or other scraper and just gently scrape off the line, don’t use the blade if you can avoid it.
  • Assemble or Sub Assemble your mini. Sub assembly is not always needed. It is a case by case thing. If you can easily see, and get a brush onto everythign once it is assembled; do it now. If not, assemble all you can, and then stop; leaving a couple sub assemblies.
  • Primer. ALWAYS. There are big time arguements on social media pages about this. Yes, even the one’s that say “Pre Primed”. Why? Because it gives you a better base to start with, and you can chose a base color now. Primers come in all kinds of colors. Games Workshop puts out some good quality sprays, as well as Krylon. Brush on primers are great too. However, if you have access to an airbrush, that is your best bet for priming and base coating. The brand I like best is Badger Stynylrez, you can use it straight out of the bottle, and comes in lots of colors.
    NOTE: Reaper brand miniatures react very poorly to some brands of rattle can primers. They become sticky, and stay like that, so test them before you ruin a miniature.
  • Paints. Give your primer 24 hours to set, then get to it. Paints? Use what you like and can afford. Personally I like Citadel and Vallejo brands. Feel free to start with the Apple Barrel, Folk Art or any other inexpensive craft paint. Lots of folks use them, the real difference is the pigment density. It will take more coats of craft paint to get the same results as you would in one or two coats of a name brand paint.
  • Thin your paints. Yes. This one. Are you listening?? I can’t stress this enough. Add water to your paints on a pallet, paper plate or whatever you use. Don’t use it straight out of the pot or bottle. The paint should flow right off your brush onto your model, if it doesn’t, add a little more water. It is more or less a feel thing, you will figure it out quickly.
  • Go slow. This is not a race, go slow, have fun with this.
  • Clean up. Wash your brushes, in clean water. and let them dry bristle side down if you can, or flat. Dont let them stand bristle side up, as water will pool in the ferrule, and quickly damage your brush. Once you invest in more expensive brushes, also invest in some Pink Soap by Speedball, and The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver. It will make those expensive brushes last much longer.
  • Learn from people better than you. There are some amazing folks out there painting some unbeliveable things, and so many of them WANT to teach you how to do it.
    I started with Tabletop Minions, Adam has some great material for new, and advanced painters. Along with lots of other stuff about wargaming. Another page with lots of basic tips is MWG Studios, they have helped me a ton too.

That is really about it. Have questions about this, think I should add something; or anything else miniature or gaming related (or just wanna say hi), shoot me an email here .