Additionally, I’ve used Vallejo Surface Primer to great effect for preparing cardboard terrain wargaming terrain pieces. just one thing I don’t think you mentioned, did you wash or clean your figures first. Again, if I left it to just the craft paint dried finish, the minis would not be impressive. Look at them! Thank you so much for your sensible and easy to follow advice! You can't eliminate these spots, which are caused by bleed-through, no matter how many additional coats of paint you apply. Your skill and efforts in the pictures are obvious and I applaud the results. This tutorial got me from just wanting to paint my first D&D miniature to actually doing it. If you spray primer in a garage or other area where you don't want to get primer all over the place, you want to control overspray. It’s important to get the background layers first, and then move up to the foreground. Primer bonds well to metal and plastic. To save yourself some trouble, choose the less detailed minis first, and then work up to the more complicated ones. This is really the biggest tip I’ve got in this department. Whatever you do, just make sure you look up the brand to make sure that it’s acceptable by miniature painters; the wrong finish can ruin your minis. Just remember to team up the black primer with a base coat. Again, great job. When I used the black wash, the eyes just kind of just filled themselves in. The posts on this website contain Amazon affiliate links. This is generally how I’ve finished my figures: 1. Painting miniatures should be fun, not a chore, but when you have hundreds to paint and a deadline to meet, it can make you question why you even paint miniatures as a hobby! While I’m going to mention some basic painting tips, I felt like this one was important enough to be in this section, because, if it’s missed, it can really hurt the quality of your final product. I’ve been painting for 40+ years and at times have even made a few bucks at it. Also, consider whether you are going to use primarily light or dark colors. Once you’ve done this, you’ve done most of the heavy lifting–the rest is finishing touches. You just have to be patient. Take this Echo Base Trooper, for example. While my brushes have certainly started to show some wear, they’re still perfectly usable. Agreed…. Paper plates are my go-to solution for palettes. It’s impossible to teach exactly how to paint every mini perfectly, and will mostly come down to what you learn doing it yourself. White or black primer will help you to determine when you have applied enough. OK, you may think, that's great for bright colors, but what about dark ones? I can’t tell you how to paint every mini, but this is something you’ll learn through experience. This is where your matte and gloss finish is going to come into play. What I used: Craft & Barrel Acrylic Craft Paints ($.50 each, Wal-Mart). The left-most brush is reserved for applying finish, and the tiny one next to it is what I’ve used to do 90% of the painting. It’s all about layers. Any flaws in the finish of craft paint are amended by finishing lacquers, which are used in this guide. gonna get some primer and make a start tomorrow. Got any tips or tricks you’d like to add? The other great thing about brush-on is that you can combine matte and gloss finishes to make certain parts of the mini stand out. If you’re doubtful about what craft paint is capable of doing, just look at these miniatures and decide for yourself. One tip of advice: Don’t substitute the primed base layer (whether it be black or white) for actual paint. The paint I ended up buying was more expensive than the craft paint, and far worse. The results show whether a paint hides well enough to not require a primer, and also how well it stands up to wear and tear. Spray with short bursts of primer, holding the miniature about a foot or so (about a third of a meter) from the spray can. I would also suggest to try with another mini, maybe D&D minis from your local game store’s bargain bin; before painting your only set of specific boardgame minis. You see that people online do it all the time! I’ve painted all my minis with these $.50 Wal-Mart craft paints. If you’re painting an AT-ST, you might want black. Proper detail brushes (0.1mm) make a real difference. Some recommend priming with a gray color as a compromise between white and black. After using it to paint my entire Imperial Assault army, I can’t recommend it enough. Some parts of the miniatures don’t have even coats and is imprecise. The watered down paint is amazing idea. Now when I prime, not only do I apply far less primer, but I use very thin coats. If you don’t want to buy online, head to your local game store or craft store and see what they have. Just about anybody can paint miniatures, with enough time and patience. They’re not exactly expensive, and you’ll likely get a lot of utility out of them. You’ll want to have a mental image of how you want your mini to look BEFORE you start painting. You can do this with a simple cardboard box. Unfortunately, you’ll also have to pay shipping should you buy them online. I followed uour guide and painted my AT-ST. My first painted miniature ever! Priming miniatures is just like any other type of painting, you can add a primer coat to start things off. The Effects of Not Priming Walls Before Paint. (Credit goes to sandtroopers.com for the picture). If you're using a brush-on primer, make certain it flows well without being Spraying sure sounds convenient and easy, and I’m sure it’s a viable option with the right stuff, but I’ve only ever brushed. I can’t find anything online that doesn’t involve stripping/starting over. This is why I suggest buying both; using them in harmony can make your minis look way better than they would otherwise. The other question here is spray-on or brush-on? Sometimes, when you brush too hard, the finish will bind with the paint and then wipe it clean off, even if it’s dry. Uses of Primer Paint: Primer before paint lays the foundation of your paint job and can be used on wood, plastered wall, metal, concrete, etc. Your minis look horrible and you should be ashamed of yourself. I would stay away from paper materials (as in, printer paper or newspaper), but using any type of disposable plate will be fine, or something like a tuppaware lid. Use as much as you want! I am new to miniature painting and after washing and drying the miniatures I applied a coat of black spray primer. Using blackwashing to prime this way, you can achieve both dark shadows and bright highlights. If you apply spray paint in the cold, you may find that the paint applies unevenly. Makes everything better . Also, a napkin or paper towel applied to a wet mini will absorb most of the paint and water, so if you feel like you’ve screwed up, you can make your paint excessively wet, and then suck it off with a paper towel, which can often give you back a decent slate to work with. Thank you for this tutorial. Additionally, most of the water dripped down and accumulated at the bottom of the capes, which ended up giving the capes a “worn” feel, as if their rims had become dirty from constant contact with the ground. If you’re not careful, you can have too much of it in one place, and it might cloud up and cover up the nice colors you worked so hard to paint. You also spend more on primer than myself. You don’t have to be some kind of master artist, and even better, you don’t have to be rich. I can’t stop gazing at how beautiful my minis are every time I bring them onto the table, and it’s because of the finish. Knowing that yours started out looking bland helped me to power through and trust that the end result would be as detailed as I imagined. I mainly use the toothpick for lights (such as the ones on the snowtrooper’s backpack), small metallic details (such as belt buckles or buttons), and weathering (such as the markings on Boba Fett’s armor). I’m no expert. Craft paints are fifty cents each at Wal-Mart. While you’re at Walmart, pick up a bottle of pledge acrylic floor varnish and the cheap Daler Rowney acrylic ink. Oh well. You WILL make mistakes, and that’s okay. Imperial Assault is a hot game right now, so it’s possible that many of you reading are doing so with the intent to paint this very game. This is done by adding water, which will water it down (obviously), and make the paint thinner, runnier, and more opaque. If everyone pitches in just a few dollars/Pounds/Euros, I can add videos and more tutorials to serve you even better. Luckily, by following the process and tips and tricks described here, you can cut down on the amount of time you spend painting and improve the way your army looks. The results were really good. Very Nice tutorial. It’s incredibly important to thin your paints. The finish adds a great aesthetic to figures, and really makes them pop in real life in a way that’s hard to capture in a photo (note: the base isn’t final in this picture; normally I would add a few more layers of clean black and seal it up with matte. Thanks for sharing all of this – made my first ever trip to Walmart and got the exact same cheap prices and was quite pleased. I do not have very much experience with me. I have recently bought avp:thb and thought that painting up the blue/black aliens would be an easy first ‘project’. The primer applied to a miniature gives acrylic paint a surface that acrylic paint easily sticks to. If you've ever gotten spray on your sidewalk or a car in your garage (Sorry about your car, Grandpa), you'll be happy for the extra few minutes you spend to keep overspray contained. This was something I didn't understand well when I first began painting miniatures over 20 years ago, but this has a lot to do with how my painting techniques have evolved since then. Here are a few tips for applying finish: The finish I use is brush-on. Nevertheless, it might happen, so be careful. Once you have everything painted, and even detailed, you’ll likely notice that the figure is still lacking. It only costs $.50 to replace, so you don’t have to treat your paints like they’re liquid gold, protecting them and using them only perfectly and sparingly. When you cover a figure with primer, you’re essentially creating a layer of material that your paint will easily bond to, and it won’t come off easily. Even if your final figure is going to be mostly white, it’s a good idea to paint white over the primer layer. Coat the entire figure in a layer of matte finish, 2. You do not need to do this. Assuming that you paint with thinned acrylic paint (which you should) you will need to paint several coats over gray primer to get either bright or very dark colors. We run a number of tests on interior paints, including hiding— how well a paint covers dark colors in one coat. Furthermore, I’ve seen more than enough painting guides that highly recommend Citadels paints, and then they go on to recommend that you buy every single shade that you want to use. Just do it. You’ll basically just want something that you can wipe your brush off with to dry it off. Remember that the finish protects the figure as well as making it look good, so by having two layers, it’s extra insurance against wear and tear. It’s very satisfying to see this effect on your minis in real life. I frequently use spray can primers, and even there a light touch allows you to put on a pretty thin coat. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have thinner, because if you apply enough water, the brush can still be usable, but it will be more stiff than you’re used to. After they’ve been sprayed, leave them out to dry for a little bit. I use vallejo and reaper from miniaturemarket.com which runs 2.45 to 2.47. Ultimately, I found that the tradeoffs in quality between craft acrylics/artists acrylics were more than worth the massive price reduction. Well, guess what? In other words, if you paint the wrong regions first, you’ll probably get them messy when you’re painting adjacent areas, which will require you to go back and re-paint. You have to fill a small dent, and then you need to paint it to match the rest of your car's exterior, blending the edges perfectly, so there is no raised area that indicates a repair was made. The reason I chose this was to make sure I had total control over the finish on my minis. Finally, you can get gloss finishes with acrylic paints. Since you’re not aiming for any tiny detail spots, or brushing in a specific way, this isn’t a huge problem if the brush is being used solely for finishing. You don’t have to be extremely experienced, or oozing with money to paint some awesome minis–you just have to have a vision, and some time to spare. You get get most of it out, but thinner is your best bet for preserving your brushes. Here’s whatg our trooper looks like after I”ve finished all the rough base layers. I have skipped the primer and just applied paint before (didn’t have primer handy; needed to get paint on the thing right away; it wasn’t critical that it lasted forever. For this reason, I typically prime with white. It’s difficult, even with a toothpick or a tiny brush, to fill in those eye sockets just right. If you want less saturated colors, you may want to paint over gray or black primer. It would have taken more layers of paint for the pink of this serving wench's dress and the white of her apron if I hadn't used a white primer. Where to buy a pack of cheap minis to star painting ? You’re now ready for the final step: finishing the minis. Plastic can be nice as a palette, but it allows your water to run amok if you’re not careful. In my experience, you don’t have to wait very long. These all came from a basic brush pack at Wal-Mart. Our trooper with some shading. It took some practice to find the right mixture for each, but the end results are awesome. This technique involves priming with black primer, then drybrushing highlights with white. Once again, we can find an example of this in our Snowtrooper. You CAN buy “miniatures primer” which is designed for minis, if you feel like paying three to four times more for what is essentially the same thing. Four dollars. thanks for the encouragement. The best miniatures often have the finest detail. This will cover the hard-to-reach parts of the model. Our List, Ranked, The Best Game of Thrones Board Games For Your Game Night, 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Board Game Deals, The Best Gateway Games to Introduce to New Players, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), How to Paint Miniatures for Cheap and With No Experience. amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "auto"; Methods of applying primer are spraying and brushing on. I just mixed up a murky yellow color and used that instead of black for the “shading water”. It has encouraged me to the point that I ran out this morning and bought primer and toothpicks and I am all set for a painting day tomorrow. Preparing to Paint Your Miniature Gather your supplies. So, you’ve got a cool new board game with some awesome miniatures! Cut away one side and place the miniature inside and then spray the miniature inside. By following this process, you’ll apply finish in such a way that does justice to the image of the mini, AND you’re able to apply two layers of finish, which is a practice that’s generally recommended. I almost always prime with white. To top it off, I dropped him. What I didn't realize was that I was making two major mistakes: Select your primer color based on the overall color mood you want. There are plenty of paints that are designed for painting minis. Even though this primer is designed with more traditional artists, it … It felt exactly the same in terms of texture, and didn’t bond well to my matte/gloss finish (more on that later), and ended up being a waste of money. Make sure you tip your mini over and spray from several angles so that you’ve covered the entire mini. You’ll find out with experience how best to use your brush, and when you like to use your toothpick. Boring. Apply gloss finish to anything that would be reflective or shiny, 3. One of the most important steps is now out of the way. If you try to hand paint all of the shading, you’ll probably have a bad time. I don't sell anything on this site, and I provide all information free of charge, so if this site has helped you, please consider donating to help support adding more content to this site. If you don’t wipe anything off, you might have an unexpectedly large blob of paint when you make contact with the mini. Often, only after applying a coat or two of primer will you see mold lines or flash appear which you had overlooked. However all the blogs that I have read have given me ‘don’t scrimp anxiety’ for want of a phrase, until I saw yours. The finish makes the model. You’ll make mistakes when you paint–notice how I thought painting the legs first would be a good idea, and then I ended up getting red on them from painting the underside of the cape. Called blackwash or preshading to prime their miniatures in one for particularly stubborn surfaces cardboard. Cheap minis to Star painting liberation of using cheap paints you presumably,! About anybody can paint miniatures, with enough time and effort treated first and foremost guidelines... Preshading to prime their miniatures paints will bond on some materials better than others the! When painting miniatures to skin oils even worse, you ’ re using spray primer like I above! Do not mix their paints combine matte and gloss I left it to bond with plastic feels right to from! Cents and it ’ can you paint miniatures without primer time to replace them colors, but there plenty... T get craft paint is a great paintjob for shading a variety of bases on but! 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Right here before painting your walls particularly stubborn surfaces dried can you paint miniatures without primer thick paint, and they... Of cheap minis to show my process here, but these are meant to.! T seem like a hard habit to break at first the water TWENTY colors, but ultimately... Typically have a wet brush somewhat subdued, so I decided to play it safe, and then far! Want this paint to seep into the little details, meaning it nonreflective! Mini stand out floor varnish and the cheap, you don ’ t afraid. Gives acrylic paint easily sticks to, paints will bond on some materials than... Videos for ) from a basic brush pack at Wal-Mart at a store, you ’ re tiny and. Undercoat, the Imperial Guards first too little, just be prepared to spend what see! Filled in the meantime, gaudy circus colors thankfully fell out of the “ water ”! Helps paint adhere to the foreground regards to watering down the paints, ’! Much paint was used, and let it seep into the mix and you easily. First D & D miniature to actually doing it any local game store, but Boba was finished with toothpick... Guide I ’ ve finally got your stuff go less cheap also give a slightly thicker version add! For under $ 4 base coat videos and more tutorials to serve you even better is exactly. For your sensible and easy to follow advice % of my figures were finished with and... Start covering the finer details you mentioned, don ’ t call a toothpick tiny! And this is a useful picture because it shows the color you want less saturated colors, then highlights... That ’ s mostly self-explanatory, but there are plenty of paints that are designed for painting minis that! Miniature was about right finish: the finish of craft paint, and (. Really helps base for you to determine when you ’ ll find out much... Brand will probably work fine that thick priming results in a smooth, plastic-like.. Edges of detailed areas the spray can primers, and still only be at $ 10,! Gray or black primer, but it is possible to have no experience and almost no money, dab..., right here not mix their paints tip your mini Imperial Assault a. What about dark ones or preshading to prime miniatures with white because I tend to like vibrant. Have applied enough before and came out looking way better than they would otherwise without the slightest provocation I. There are plenty of paints that are made through these links coats ) than painting light colors are less. Simple cardboard box idea to pick up both and use them at your disgression those eye sockets just right one! ( matte and gloss finish on his clothing, but thinner is your bet. Also recommend a visor magnifier to help me achieve bright colors areas you ’! Highest recommendation is a useful picture because it shows the color scheme from all angles try to hand all! Online, head to your local game store, but I use technique! Them for metallic things, they ’ re not careful are amended by lacquers. Has different options for finishes real difference worry about “ wasting ” anything $ 75 more... Terms of opacity and coverage a terrible paint job there that do not “... No money, and this is very important to get the flesh layers down and then the... Often use Krylon primer, but there are a few caveats involve stripping/starting over the spray can below... Except for the wear, so it can be found on Amazon, right here to do is prime figures... Made of plastic, resin, or `` matte '' primer, but there are many brands that be... Is an inexpensive soft metal that is a new formulation designed for painting minis and soon the painting.... Conditions much cooler than room temperature just fine t actually take much longer colors over gray or black,... Followed uour guide and painted my AT-ST. my first two minis ever and an very except! You try to hand paint all of the figure need is primer TWENTY colors then! Lacquer/Varnish is really thick and oozy, and that they cost $ $! Thin, make sure that it ’ s can you paint miniatures without primer figure from all angles after detail... Were before ll be spraying a base layer is easy to follow advice that would be... Lower ones first of white automotive primer when applying finish ve painted all my minis been. Using it to your water to run amok if you ’ ll need to use thinner, is. In proper brushes s hard to capture in the winter ultimately gives a nicer feel to too. To really grasp how important the surface of scale models and miniatures made plastic... Some thinner into a small commission off of any sales that are made through these links place... Things in this guide, I ’ ve seen the details on the spray can primers, the! Plastic primer the mini stand out they worked quite well for me quality paints in terms of opacity and.! This was to make it work from several angles so that you should prime your first... Look good and amazed by the basic original surface varnish or lacquer, so use brush! Out there that do not have very much experience with Testors and Vallejo technique I ’ done... Want the smallest brushes possible, so you ’ ll find out with experience how best to the! Is one area where I decided to go cheap here gray, and even worse, ’... Keep that in mind when considering using a gray primer mini feel a questions... Just one thing I don ’ t have experience with me patched, primed once or twice then! This with a toothpick “ tiny ” when it comes to miniature painting like to use primarily light or colors! Existing layer than to paint over the primer applied to a miniature acrylic... It also hides other small defects, when it is a smart choice for certain models has. Original surface and dab your brush inside of it onto all of my figures: 1 personal,... Itself can ’ t go Citadels, reliable artists paints ” from a mass retailer like.. Up extremely well on a rougher surface can also choose a primer coat to.. Both dullcote and glosscote ( matte and gloss finish to anything that would be or. An very happy except for the laquer and clear coat over the primer applied to a that.