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How long does it take you to paint a CAV?


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Out of curiosity, how long does it take all of you to paint a CAV by hand? And how manysteps do you go through? I just finished my second, a Specter, the first was a Dictator. On each of them I ran a total of at least 12 hours, maybe a little more. Is that way out of line? Because I found myself asking if I was ever gonna finish the damn thing too.

My basic process is to do the base color which is the vast majority of the mini, then secondary bits like different colored plates and joints and things like that. Then the tiny things like painting missile heads red, then blacklining around all the plates and places where things come together. then I touch up any base colors marred by sloppy lining or whatever and then base it. For that I've just used railroad ballast glued to the base.

Anything sound odd or am I just too nitpicky? And I've also only completed about 14 minis total of any kind so I'm still fairly new.

So what do all of you go through? Thanks in advance for any input.

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I can usually get A CAV painted to a gaming standard in around 2-3 hours from Primer to sealer. Decals add about 30-45 minutes per model.


1) I always put basic basing materials (fine railroad ballast) on before I spray primer on the model. It gets an extra layer of paint to keep the stuff attached after the white glue is dry.


2) I do the bascoat over the entire model a shade darker than I want most of it to be. This allows me to quickly drybush the actual color on, and takes care of darklining between plates as there is already a a darker color in place. If you can, get a can of spray pint in your bascoat color to spray on top of the primer. It saves more time than you can imagine, and if it's a lighter color a quich wash over the entire model before painting will take care of the darklining for you.


3) Don't go nuts on the details. Gun barrels get a different color, as do some armor plates, missile warheads/covers, and cockpits.


4) I do very little highlighting. If the drybrushing worked properly all the edges will be brighter already. The one thing that ALWAYS gets a highlight is the cockpit glass because it is highly reflective.


5) Two colors on basing materials before flock and static grass. One base and one drybrushed highlight.


6) I have Grass material in three different colors premixed (about 40%/60% static grass/flock) put a couple of splotches on your painted base and you get a great looking effect of patchy foliage on open ground.)


7) Profit.


It also find that it helps things to go faster if you paint several models at once Because you're making progress on more thabn one thing. It may only be psychological, but I've gotten entire sections done in an evening (3-5 hours) before.

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Thanks for the reply. As far as actual painting I do about the same as you just without the drybrushing. It just takes me a long time to get the base color on, even using a #4 flat brush. I do about the same as far as any different colors on the model too, not to many. I dunno,maybe I'm just slow. ::D:

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It just takes me a long time to get the base color on, even using a #4 flat brush.

Try thinning your paint a little more. I can get a CAV basecoated in about five minutes or less, depending on the size of the CAV. No need to be really neat with it as other colors will go on to cover up any slips.

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Depends on the level of paint quality... obviously, right?


My fondest pieces took 3-4 hours. My good but quicky schemes ~ 45 minutes.


I am curious though... while painting your CAV's did your have a clear image in mind of how you wanted the model to look? I find that my lengthier paint sessions almost always result from NOT having a clear objective to begin with. It usually results in me second guessing and wasting time.



15 minutes to de-flash, file, assemble/glue the model

5 minutes to primer (allow 24 hours to dry properly)

1 hour for average paint work (+/- due to waiting for paint to dry between coats)

10 minutes to flock base and spray with protective clear matte.


My math has it at about 1 hour 35 minutes. Maybe add another 20-30 minutes for decal work.


Like I said, the biggest factor for me is knowing what I want it to look like before I start the work.


Hopefully you can trim some of that painting time so you can actually play the game too. ::):

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I am curious though... while painting your CAV's did your have a clear image in mind of how you wanted the model to look?

I pretty much had the color scheme in mind when I started on both of them, with a little bit of improvising.

I think I may take too long being careful about "staying between the lines" if you will. And what kind of brushes do you yall use on the big flat areas, flat or round and what size?

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Currently I'm working on painting my 3rd - 6th CAV (I'm doing four at one time)


1. white primer in a spray can (24hrs to dry)


2. base coat in a spray can (i went on ahead and let it dry for 24 hrs)


3. then I did the details on the guns and pretty much anything that was going to be silver and/or black


4. wash with deluted black (I'll be doing this tonight) I did all the silver metal stuff first so I can darken then in the wash


5. drybush base coat


6. more detail work and fixes (reminds me I need oliver green paint)


7. frock the base


8. matte finish


9. (nope still not done) freehand flames on the feet and lower legs (it makes them run faster)


10. matte varnish again


11. (yes Virgina there really is an eleven) decals (which I still need to design and get FPG to make)


12. go and blow up all of spartan's boys :devil:



Once I get a better handle over drybushing I'll be switching to black primer and drybrush the base coat


Over all so far its taken 3 hrs (on four models) and I'm halfway done :blink:

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What kind of spray paint do you use? I've seen Tamiya and Testor's spray enamels. Are acrylics available in a spray?

I've seen CAVs that MadPat does with spray for his demo minis and they look pretty sharp. This would help me save ALOT of time, as now that I think about it alot of my time spent on basecoats is trying to get a nice even coat. Spray should do this more consistently, yes? What I like for CAVs is really only one main color with misc. armor plates, barrels, missile heads, stuff like that being different. I can paint all those fairly quickly.

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Go to Michaels Craft store and buy Design Master spray paint. Its acrylic and works great for CAV base coats saves a ton of time if you look in the show off section and do a search for Papabees you can see some of my work while using it. Look for the section of 2 Gladiators, a Sov. III, and a Duelist. Great for table top quality.

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The spray paint I use is the testors model master line, the main reason is that the paint in the can is identical to the paint in the bottle. This is key to touching up spots the spray didn't hit.


If i have everything lined up right and the free time to do it, with my spray method i can do a group of 4 to 5 CAV's in one day.


My personal Sir Hawkins paint jobs are reaper pro and now master series paints this takes quite awhile to brush on my base coats and do the detail work. My next step is to take some tips Jester gave me at the RAC and work on airbrushing the base coats on.


Mad Pat

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