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Painting for beginners

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This will be a big post.  I've been painting Warhammer 40k for many years now so hopefully this will help since I also have a shaky hand, so good, detailed painting IS still possible.  Don't stress if at first it's difficult.

  1. Get a good black spray paint for your undercoat.  This helps give a smooth area for further paint to stick to and can help shadows look darker too.
     
  2. Buy a range of proper hobby brushes.  Ebay, art stores and hobby stores such as Games Workshop will have them.  You want a fine detail, standard, drybrush and wash brush to start with, ideally.  Also get a puffy-looking brush, moderately-sized to match the width of the model if possible, for drybrushing (this brush can get wrecked over time).  This might sound like overkill when starting out, especially given the prices of them, but trust me as it is worth it in the end when you do things like eyes and glowing orbs and such.  Also get a paint palette and if you can, some wine corks and Blu-Tac (or similar reusable adhesive strips).
     
  3. Research your paints!  I find the Citadel range from Games Workshop the most suited but they're what I've used for years.  Others will swear by Vallejo, others by P3.  Have some good high-quality images of what you want to paint, aka renders or good screenshots from the game, so you can match colours.  Always get one or two pots of black and white, as some colours might be darker or brighter than what you want and you can use these to adjust.  You'll not always find the perfect colour straight out of the pot.
     
  4. Buy some Simple Green.  You can get it from most hardware stores and it strips hobby paint without affecting details like a CHARM.  While you practice, if you screw up to an insanely unsatisfying level and you want it to respawn, bathe the model in that overnight and then get an old toothbrush and it'll all come clean.
  5. Start by using the Blu-Tac to firmly affix your model to a cork.  This gives you the ability to use one hand to turn the model around to attack other angles without having to lose your painting hand position.
     
  6. Painting time!  Paint a large base coat of your choice colour over your black spray, using your standard brush for this.  The paint consistency you want will differ depending on how you like, but I personally like to work with it quite thin and build it up over time.  You want to get enough paint and water (or thinner, I prefer purified water just as it's on hand) on your brush that you can do a streak of paint on your palette or a piece of paper without it looking too thick, leaving streaks or clumping in areas.  Conversely, you don't want to use too much water as the pigment in the paint will make it 'spotty', leaving some areas with built up colour and others being mostly transparent.  This can take practice.
     
  7. If your model has eyes, now is a good time to do it.  These are a pain in the behind if they're quite small!  Why do it now?  You only have one colour on your model as your base coat, so if you mess it up, you can fix your edges easily.  In fact, I tackle eyes using this method often with my shaky paint hand from focussing too much.  Get a thin, small amount of your desired eye colour onto your fine detail brush and try to do your best to keep within the confines of the eyes.  If the eyes look slightly off because one is maybe ever so slightly off, adjust with some extra white and if it messes up, as mentioned, rinse your brush and get some of the base coat onto it and see if you can tidy that edge up when it has dried.
     
  8. Once you have a base coat dried, feel free to build up the rest of your colours.  Otherwise, let's start a bit of detail with drybrushing!  Get some paper towel and a bit of paint, since we're doing highlights, use your base colour with a bit of white in it.  Literally, a bit.  This will take practice and personal preference to decide on but too much will look unrealistic.  Dab your drybrushing brush into it and wipe most of it off onto the paper towel until it seems like there isn't any touching the paper.  This is either too much or just right, if you lose too much, get a bit more and repeat the process.  When it looks like it isn't leaving paint, lightly skim it on your model in a direction that suits.  This differs on the position of the element you drybrush.  If you're going for a 'directional light' sort of highlight, then keep in mind where you want your light effect to come from.  If you want an all-round highlight to make the armour pop, go nuts but only in one direction at first.  Too much back and forth risks getting some of the highlight paint on the model itself if you left too much on the brush.
     
  9. Now grab some black paint and heavily thin it with water.  This is where we form the wash -  if you did the eyes in step 7, be careful here.  You want this to be a small amount of black, and lots of water, to the point where you can put some on your wash brush, put it on some paper towel and it just soaks it.  Then test on a piece of white paper and see if it's mostly transparent except a few areas.  This is the consistency you want.  Then load it onto the tip of your wash brush and dab it into corners, gaps and other recesses you want it to be in.  This will act as your shadowing.  NOTE - You can also do another base coat step after this, manually brushing carefully on certain raised surfaces to make your shadows have a 'harder edge' rather than gradual, but that will depend on taste.
     
  10. Back to the drybrush highlighting!  Chances are some wash might have darkened some areas you've decided need to be raised.  If not, skip this step.  If so, drybrush again using the method in step 6 using the same paint mix you used in that step.
     
  11. Time to paint the base of the model in whatever colour you like!  Alternatively, find some clippers or a pair of scissors (if resin models such as what the Dark Souls board game will have, you will need clippers or a fine modelling saw) and buy some perspex bases, so you can see the board game tile set beneath your models!  I personally like a solid black though.
     
  12. This step is optional, but if you want to protect them from wear and tear, get some spray varnish, matte if possible and you want a smooth finish, or a normal gloss spray varnish if you want them a bit shinier like chess pieces, almost.  This is down to personal taste.

I hope this guide has helped and makes people want to get right into the painting side of the board game!  I certainly will be, that was a massive draw card for me backing too.  I will post some pictures on the weekend when I get the camera out.

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This is a rather crude pic of one of the GW citadel paint charts. It might help anyone who's just starting out to get an idea of what colours to use.

 

You decide if you're going to layer, or dry brush. Start with your base coat, then work your way through.

 

 

PqKmYyU.jpg

 

edit - seems a bit easier to see if you click open in new window

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as i said before, nearer the time i will do some tutorials, but i think its better to teach people proper layering as opposed to just drybrushing the hell out of everything. when you are used to handling the brushes and stuff like that it isnt much slower and i think it looks so much better. a lot of people get stuck in the "drybrush phase" of things, i take paint class evenings here and there at my local hobby store and people seem to learn a lot quickly...hopefully i can demonstrate almost as well with pictures.

also to note faces\heads should be layered to bring out bone structure more accurately.

3.jpg

9.jpg

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46 minutes ago, Azgannar said:

as i said before, nearer the time i will do some tutorials, but i think its better to teach people proper layering as opposed to just drybrushing the hell out of everything. when you are used to handling the brushes and stuff like that it isnt much slower and i think it looks so much better. a lot of people get stuck in the "drybrush phase" of things, i take paint class evenings here and there at my local hobby store and people seem to learn a lot quickly...hopefully i can demonstrate almost as well with pictures.

also to note faces\heads should be layered to bring out bone structure more accurately.

 

I assume you did those? Very nice work!

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49 minutes ago, Ashraam said:

I assume you did those? Very nice work!

cheers, a few months ago, working on a 2k dark elves army for 8th 9th ed warhammer, still got loads to get on with before the DS stuff turns up

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Nobody is a dry-brush salesman here, it was a part of the chart.. so :)

It does have great uses though in certain areas like fur especially. It doesn't always have to be one or the other either.

9Z58BxO

http://imgur.com/9Z58BxO

That's a Thunderwolf I just started working on, it's nowhere near done. The fur on the wolf is dry brushed, the marine is in the process of being layered. I wanted a bit of a dirty look so I washed with Agrax. It still needs a lot of work but you get what I'm saying. You can use dry-brush and layering on the same mini.

With a kit as amazing as DS. I wouldn't "drybrush to hell" any of it. 

 

Very nice work btw and a good example. A dry brush would be too messy for fine facial detail.

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4 minutes ago, Juksar said:

Nobody is a dry-brush salesman here, it was a part of the chart.. so :)

It does have great uses though in certain areas like fur especially. It doesn't always have to be one or the other either.

9Z58BxO

http://imgur.com/9Z58BxO

That's a Thunderwolf I just started working on, it's nowhere near done. The fur on the wolf is dry brushed, the marine is in the process of being layered. I wanted a bit of a dirty look so I washed with Agrax. It still needs a lot of work but you get what I'm saying. You can use dry-brush and layering on the same mini.

With a kit as amazing as DS. I wouldn't "drybrush to hell" any of it. 

 

Very nice work btw and a good example. A dry brush would be too messy for fine facial detail.

yeah i know its more that i would rather teach other techniques first, tbh its not like i dont use it, but i just think it has pretty limited uses (one thing i use it for most is early on chainmail or chains) but also i tend to teach it later on as i tend to make people dive into the deep end first ;)

here is an example of some of my "clean" 40k painting (no objective light source painting and minimal damage etc)

3.jpg

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1 hour ago, Azgannar said:

yeah i know its more that i would rather teach other techniques first, tbh its not like i dont use it, but i just think it has pretty limited uses (one thing i use it for most is early on chainmail or chains) but also i tend to teach it later on as i tend to make people dive into the deep end first ;)

here is an example of some of my "clean" 40k painting (no objective light source painting and minimal damage etc)

3.jpg

Dude, that looks awesome! I want to see your tutorials and guide when you get them! I need to order myself paints, brushes, and sprays... i could practice on some old pewter DnD models i have... i never used them or played the game. My cousin got it for free and gave it to me as a gift. it was after TSM or w/e company started making the board game in the mid 90s. The pewter miniatures are pretty cool though

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Here is my portfolio of Arena of the Planeswalkers minis and terrain.

I just wanted to improve the figures from their basic single color plastic to a acceptable board gaming standard. Which still ended up very impressive to me with their bright and surreal colors and custom terrain to match. For paints I used these acrylics not really intended for plastic, and a clear primer to seal them off. I couldn't layer with the paints I had and I wasn't that concerned with the quality of the models. I have gone back and improved the look of the Walkers since then and added more terrain but haven't gotten around to taking pictures. I didn't do any highlights just coats of paint and drybrushing. For those who might be in the same boat as me when this game comes out this is a wonderful technique as it takes very little time to paint varying miniatures at this level of quality. As for the durability of the paint I haven't had any wear and tear over the course of 6 months with 2-3 games a week and excessive travel in unprotected plastic boxes.

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Hey guys, I've been looking into painting my DS miniatures once I get them, but it will be my first time. I've been looking at the Army Painter Mega Paint Set as a starting paint set, and I would like to know if anybody has any experience or comments on them. Also, any recommendations on small and cheap sets of minis for starters? I was looking at the reaper bones learn to paint kit and I may end up getting it, but I would like to know your opinion if you guys know anything else. Basically, I'm looking for a good starting point without having to spend a fortune.

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Lol all the drybrush hate on page 1!!!!  There is absolutely nothing wrong with drybrushing, period.  You won't get the trendy popular shading effect most "I want to paint like Games Workshop" tutorials end up with.... but that isn't really a bad thing.  Some things honestly should be drybrushed.  This 52 layers of thin shading does not look right on metal weapons for example, it is perfectly effective for pulling detail on say teeth or bony things like horns, and you can always follow up your drybrush with a light wash to cut some of the hard edges if needed.

The thing painting tutorials never tell you and all novice painters should be told is 1: You are not going to be a pro with any kind of speed.  It will take dozens of models and 100+ hours of painting to start to really get good at it.  2: Never take a tutorial as anything other than a bunch of tips.  You should always try to find your own style and look for your models.  Don't worry about looking like youtube mini painter X's models, do what looks right to you. There is nothing wrong with going your own way or using colors different than what people expect.

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3 hours ago, Artemisth said:

Hey guys, I've been looking into painting my DS miniatures once I get them, but it will be my first time. I've been looking at the Army Painter Mega Paint Set as a starting paint set, and I would like to know if anybody has any experience or comments on them. Also, any recommendations on small and cheap sets of minis for starters? I was looking at the reaper bones learn to paint kit and I may end up getting it, but I would like to know your opinion if you guys know anything else. Basically, I'm looking for a good starting point without having to spend a fortune.

I have the Mega Paint Set II and it's incredible value.  The paint is very high quality, mixes very well, and the dropper bottles make for good seals and protective storage. There's a ton of value to be had with this set , and it's around half the cost of the comparable Citadel starter set.  Mine came with the bonus Flesh Wash included, which works fantastically at turning a base skin tone into something lifelike.  I found Testor's Model Master to be my paint of choice for skin tone bases (better than what's in the set), so a trip to a hobby shop would be worth it to add some affordable new colors to the set.I would also highly recommend buying a set of better brushes because the set that comes with the paints is not good for detail work.  I bought a set of Atlus brushes that were very cheap and have much better, defined tips at the end of the bristles, which is crucial for small detail work.  

There's really no better deal for a huge selection of high quality paints than the Army Painter Mega Paint Set, IMO.  

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I got my Reaper Paint Set along with some figures i purchased to practice on.    I am waiting for a couple of more items, but I might be able to start as soon as this weekend.

Quick question.   Are paints always this expensive?   They seem to range from $2.5 to $5 per color...

Are there ever any specials?  Like Black Friday?   Please excuse my ignorance....

20160519_200704.jpg

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4 minutes ago, xmositox said:

I got my Reaper Paint Set along with some figures i purchased to practice on.    I am waiting for a couple of more items, but I might be able to start as soon as this weekend.

Quick question.   Are paints always this expensive?   They seem to range from $2.5 to $5 per color...

Are there ever any specials?  Like Black Friday?   Please excuse my ignorance....

20160519_200704.jpg

Awesome! You should start a new thread and put up pictures off all the minis you got and then post pictures of your progress! I am excited to see more! :D

Did you order from reapers mini's website? or did you go for amazon?

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7 minutes ago, xmositox said:

I got my Reaper Paint Set along with some figures i purchased to practice on.    I am waiting for a couple of more items, but I might be able to start as soon as this weekend.

Quick question.   Are paints always this expensive?   They seem to range from $2.5 to $5 per color...

Are there ever any specials?  Like Black Friday?   Please excuse my ignorance....

20160519_200704.jpg

15-18 ml of paint often come out to that price.  My FLGS has Citadel paints for over $5 per bottle.  As far as sales go, I found using Camelcamelcamel.com to track amazon prices and set up alerts great to get my preferred paint set for $74.  

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Just now, Gervill Froad said:

Awesome! You should start a new thread and put up pictures off all the minis you got and then post pictures of your progress! I am excited to see more! :D

Did you order from reapers mini's website? or did you go for amazon?

I went through reapermini.com since i wanted to buy some minis and Amazon was going to charge me taxes anyway....  So ultimately it would have been a wash even though amazon had the paint set at ~$35....   I placed the order 4 days ago and arrived today so I was surprised at the process/shipping speed....

 

I've never painted anything in my life so I am sure my first ones will suck.... maybe even first few dozen...   But I will take some before and after pictures...

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5 minutes ago, TheAugust said:

15-18 ml of paint often come out to that price.  My FLGS has Citadel paints for over $5 per bottle.  As far as sales go, I found using Camelcamelcamel.com to track amazon prices and set up alerts great to get my preferred paint set for $74.  

Which Paint set do you get?  

Do you think that due to the PVC material on the DS minis that another brand might work better than the Citadel?  

I just bought the reaper paint set to practice... If i enjoy painting minis, i will definitely go with a better paint when I do the DS ones.....

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10 minutes ago, Gervill Froad said:

Also @xmositox i can see the sword on one of the characters looks bent.... i was doing research a while ago and found this video on how to fix bent minis before you paint....

 

The sword was bent and a couple of figures were falling forward.... I will definitely try that...  I can actually do that tomorrow while I wait for my last supplies to arrive...

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For those still considering the metallic route for invaders there is the option to use a metallic medium to create a red metallic in the colour(s) you would like to use. Not all paints respond well to that treatment though.

Another option comes in the form of candy Colours like Apple Red. These are mostly used on cars but have seen some great work on larger minis with it too.

Neither of the options are likely to produce exactly what you see in the computer games though.

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internet tutorials will not teach you how to paint. To learn how to paint one should head to Local Game Store or fantasy club [place where people play games] and ask them directly for tips for beginners. Then, one should head to store and paint single minature, some brushes, primer in spray [used black but nowdays i prefere white] and basic colours [or just but beginner kit from Games Workshop and you will have all apart from primer] and then paint, paint, paint and one more time, paint. 

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6 hours ago, Delnaran said:

For those still considering the metallic route for invaders there is the option to use a metallic medium to create a red metallic in the colour(s) you would like to use. Not all paints respond well to that treatment though.

Another option comes in the form of candy Colours like Apple Red. These are mostly used on cars but have seen some great work on larger minis with it too.

Neither of the options are likely to produce exactly what you see in the computer games though.

My advise if people want their invaders to have the red to black color but a metallic shine would be to paint them with a primer of black, then build up red maybe to orange highlights while avoiding all metal paints.  Once you like your mini's color and shading look for a "varnish" paint, games workshop should make one.  It is just a clear paint that when painted onto a mini makes it look shiny and metallic while allowing the original color to show through unaffected. 

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7 hours ago, xmositox said:

The sword was bent and a couple of figures were falling forward.... I will definitely try that...  I can actually do that tomorrow while I wait for my last supplies to arrive...

I had to boil every single mini for my Level 7: Omega Protocol game. They were all leaning, had warped bases, hunched backs, etc. The boiling trick worked wonders on that soft plastic they used.

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8 hours ago, xmositox said:

Which Paint set do you get?  

Do you think that due to the PVC material on the DS minis that another brand might work better than the Citadel?  

I just bought the reaper paint set to practice... If i enjoy painting minis, i will definitely go with a better paint when I do the DS ones.....

I bought the Army Painter Mega Paint Set II, which includes 34 paints, 8 ink washes, and an anti-shine varnish. This is a water-based acrylic paint set, just like GW's Citadel paints, which means you can thin the paints with water and don't have to buy an acetone or alcohol thinner for mixing, and both work perfectly with plastic figurines. 

Also, @xmositox @Gervill Froad @Ashraam I found 8 second under a hot hair dryer works much easier than having to heat water. Just blow the miniature with hot air (it will become incredibly pliable in seconds), move the bent plastic to the desired position, then dunk into ice water to set it. Just like that video recommends, I repeat this process a few times to allow the plastic to form a "memory" to its shape. 

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@TheAugust Yes, I think a blow dryer was mentioned as a fix for my minis also. It was just a little riskier because it's harder to regulate the temperature.

Also, because the minis were supported by the water they returned to their molded shape on their own, without my needing to bend them. That could just have been a property of the kind of plastic used, though. I'm not sure what polymer they are, to be honest.

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