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newb question on painting bones

bones paint

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#1 Kelvin

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 09:13 AM

Hello folks. Ive been painting my metal minis with some inexpensive craft paints from wally world, and thats been working out wonderfully. However I am worried that this will only end poorly when my bones come in in march, as I am a proud vampire+ backer ^_^ . The inexpencive paints in question are the Plaid acryllic craft paints, I've been using these because I couldnt afford to buy the reaper paints(also wife said no way those cost too much for so little paint :wacko: ) I just need to know if what I have will work or not so I can work on saving up for paints that will work. Thank you all in advance.
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#2 Wren

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 09:29 AM

If you start with a coat of primer or Reaper paint over the whole of a Bones mini, the experience of painting Bones should be pretty much the same as you have now with metal miniatures, with a couple of caveats.

The first is what kind of primer. My recommendation would be Reaper brush-on primer. I've also successfully primed Bones with Duplicolor Sandable auto primer. Of my test Bones, the ones primed with Reaper brush-on or with no primer (but using Reaper paints) experienced the least damage to the paint. These test minis took a lot of abuse, however, basic care with handling would likely have meant no paint damage to any of the three.

The second caveat is that it is possible the Plaid craft paint isn't as pliable as the Reaper paint. Bones minis flex some, so use of a brittle paint or primer can cause cracking or flaking.

It's also possible that you can paint the Plaid paint straight onto a Bones as you would with a miniature paint. If you have a local store that sells Bones, the best way to find out would be to buy a Bones mini and try out your existing paint. Or hopefully someone who has tried craft paints on Bones will notice this thread and pass along their results. (I didn't have any craft paints to try in my test.)

While miniature paints are more expensive per ounce, they are also purpose made. You will often find that you need fewer coats and get a smoother result. The paint is used in such small amounts (particularly if you try tools like a wet palette, which you can make from common household items) that you will likely find a bottle goes a lot further than you think. If you pledged for Vampire, you could update your pledge with the paint set #1 and/or #3 for paint that is 50% off retail price, and at that point pretty close to the cost of craft paint, and that would give you some paints to try and see the difference with a good colour selection foundation. Plenty of people achieve pretty nice results with craft paint, particularly for gaming minis, however!
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#3 Furongian

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 11:58 AM

The paint is used in such small amounts (particularly if you try tools like a wet palette, which you can make from common household items) that you will likely find a bottle goes a lot further than you think.


Seconded.You can paint a lot of miniatures with 1/2 ounce of paint. It may not look like much, but in the last seven years I've only had to replace two bottles of paint. Considering that Reaper paints are specifically designed for painting miniatures, this is really good value. Try buying just a few to start and gradually build up your paint collection over time; that way it won't seem like a big expense.

#4 buglips*the*goblin

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 01:47 PM

To add a little to what Wren said - if you use Reaper Brush-on Primer two essential things to remember are:

1. Wash the miniature first to get rid of any remaining mold release residue or the primer might not stick.

2. Make sure the primer is dry! My first Bones attempt was a disaster because I didn't realize my reaper brush-on would need a little more extra time on the Bones than it does on metal.

How long did you wait for it to dry, Wren?


**** Also, my brush-on primer is from the Reaper New Pro Paint (discontinued) line. I thought this was the same formula as the MSP brush-on, but I may be grossly mistaken there. I know it's different from the old pro paint primer. This may have been what actually made the difference.

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#5 Wren

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 04:13 PM

Um... I don't actually remember how long it took the primer to dry. I would agree probably a little longer than on a metal mini, as it seems like the first coat of paint in general on a Bones takes a little longer to dry. I used the RMS primer, though I do have a tub of the second generation Pro Paint kicking around somewhere.

#6 buglips*the*goblin

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:47 AM

Okay, so I gave mine about 30 minutes which was not adequate. It wasn't wet, but it was tacky and some of the paint laid on top cracked as a result.

I'm not sure how long is good - but for the time being if anybody asks then I'll suggest 24 hours. It ought to be plenty dry by then. Better, I guess, to err on the side of more than plenty instead of not enough.

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#7 ced1106

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:22 AM

Someone painted their werewolf Bones just fine with craft paints, but you'll also want from a craft store:
* Matte
* Flow Aid
* Sable brushes

You do not want to use paint directly from the bottle. Matte and flow aid will extend your paint by twice or more of the amount. Also, you can paint several miniatures withe ONE drop of paint plus matte and flow aid water mixture. See if you can do The Craft's Eye tutorial with craft paints. (I wuss out and paint highlights with hobby paint directly from the bottle...). I *would* purchase Army Painter's Strong Ink (dilute with at least equal amounts of flow aid and water mixture) since it's all-around useful for washes.

Next time, tell her you spent only $3.50 on hobby supplies...!

#8 smokingwreckage

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 09:04 AM

I second flow aid, matt medium, and sable brushes. I'd also say you should really try to convince her to allow you some hobby paints "just for the really tricky stuff". So, some skin tones, a mid steel metallic, a mid gold metallic. Gems may also be a bit hellish with coarse paints.

If that's not going to fly, definitely flow aid and matt medium. They will improve the way the paint "handles" and stop (well, reduce) it from dropping pigment when thinned. Consider picking up some Future floor polish to make washes and for use as a gloss sealer, with experimentation you can make a cheap version of the "Army Painter Dip".

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#9 Wren

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:52 PM

Okay, so I gave mine about 30 minutes which was not adequate. It wasn't wet, but it was tacky and some of the paint laid on top cracked as a result.

I'm not sure how long is good - but for the time being if anybody asks then I'll suggest 24 hours. It ought to be plenty dry by then. Better, I guess, to err on the side of more than plenty instead of not enough.


I'm trying to remember if I did two coats of brush-on. If I did, I didn't likely wait more than 5-30 minutes between coats, as I did it during one work session. I more meant minutes when I was saying it seems like it takes the first coat of paint/brush-on a little while longer to dry on Bones.

Since I was prepping minis a few different ways, it was a couple of days before they were all ready and I started painting. The Duplicolor remained a little tacky for at least a month, and may only now just feel not tacky due to having been handled so much. (I didn't paint the bases on them, partly for time, partly to be able to keep checking on the Duplicolor.)

#10 Kelvin

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 08:51 AM

thank you all so much. I have snuck out and bought a couple skin tones, and i have some fantastic metalics in the crafting paints. they go one really well, and ive become pretty adept at mixing steel with my silver and grey ^_^. i will go out and get new brushes soon, im getting sick of the cheapies from walmart. i will go out and buy a bones mini to test on. the primer thats been working on my metals is a spray on from the hardware section at walmart.

@Smokingwreckage, floor polish as a clearcoat/sealer? never heard of that, ive been using a clearcoat spray, again from the hardware dept at walmart.

any further sugestions would be most welcome

#11 ced1106

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 09:58 AM

Speaking of metallics, see this thread before hitting the craft stores!
http://www.reapermin...etallic-paints/

Cheapie brushes are still useful for drybrushing.

Michael's has a 40% off coupon RIGHT NOW for art supplies!

Personally, I wouldn't worry about sealer until my art improved.

Good luck and have fun!

#12 Kelvin

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 04:39 PM

Personally, I wouldn't worry about sealer until my art improved.


I dont think you were trying to insult but thats how that came across. My art is fine, pretty good actually concidering I'm on a teeny tiny budget. I do need to seal my minis, as they are first and formost gaming minis, and used as such. So if I dont seal them the paint rubs off during the couse of normal gaming. Again thanks to everyone for all the helpfull advice.

#13 smokingwreckage

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 01:32 AM

Kelvin; I normally use an ordinary aerosol gloss clearcoat from the hardware, then some Testor's dullcote to kill the shine. I have doodled about with various other techniques including Future.

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#14 buglips*the*goblin

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 02:50 AM


Personally, I wouldn't worry about sealer until my art improved.


I dont think you were trying to insult but thats how that came across. My art is fine, pretty good actually concidering I'm on a teeny tiny budget. I do need to seal my minis, as they are first and formost gaming minis, and used as such. So if I dont seal them the paint rubs off during the couse of normal gaming. Again thanks to everyone for all the helpfull advice.


I think ced meant it'd be easier to strip if you wanted a re-do, not that you need a re-do. It can be easy to find offense on this board depending on how you read things, but I've found it best to give the benefit of the doubt. I mean, everybody here from fresh painter to legendary master is still learning every day - and it's very rare (even extremely rare, possibly never) that I see somebody giving an insulting criticism to somebody's effort.

I'm comfortable with my midlevel (even sometimes primitive) painting and work hard to help create a welcoming atmosphere for all levels, gaming to award-winning. I think pretty much everyone here feels the same. What's important is that you like what you do, and have fun doing it. That's my non-negotiable Rule Number One. There's no pressure to be the next golden demon master. If you want to go after that, there's plenty of help to be had. But this isn't frothers, and nobody's going to tear you down because they don't like something you did. If they do, Buglips will back you up. I don't like to see things like that, I've seen too much of it elsewhere.
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#15 smokingwreckage

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 04:16 AM

Future is nice and cheap. You can use it as a flow improver, and you can mix colours into it to create a "magic dip" type wash. I'd be reluctant to use it to varnish or seal a piece I'd worked my butt off on, but it should be fine for tabletop, where wear and tear is the big killer. I can't test it on Bones right now, sadly, so you'd be forging into new territory!

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