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Squeaky new painter.


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Well, I'm brand new to the whole world of mini painting. I've also been helping a friend out at his store, which has resulted in my collection of naked (i.e. unpainted) Reaper figs. ::D: All I know to do is to cut/file off any lines, or flash, wash them in warm, soapy water and then prime them. Which I've done so far for most of them.


I was all gung-ho to start painting, then I found these forums and started looking at everyone else's work and suddenly things went from shiney gung-ho-ness to "OMG! I could never produce something that beautiful! Maybe I should just let someone else paint them." :blink: Thankfully, there are WIP threads filled with tips, and color recipes! And after reading through the WIP threads, I have a sense of "Hmmm, maybe I could pull off something halfway-decent." :unsure: The stress level is still high, but I'm once again semi-eager to start something. Given the fact that I'm about to buy into the Warmachine game ... I need to get better at this. :wacko:


I had no clue that people added water (or any kind of retarder) to their paints. I've only painted 3 minis to this day, and I'm embarrassed to post them up. :blush: In the past, I've used those little acrylic pots that come in "paint by number" kits which is very thick, and as a result ... well, you can see the results.


I've started building up a paint collection of "Game Color" paints. I used white "Armory Primer". I've noticed people swearing by another primer that I've never even heard of before ... is there a huge difference in primers? As you can see, there is no such thing as highlighting. It's all pretty flat, or blotchy due to using thick paints. Of the 3 that I've personally painted, I want to repaint 2 of them.

  1. The Ranger I can live with. Aside from a few chips, I like how his cape sort of accidentally came out.
  2. The Swordgirl - I want to repaint her as a drow. Is it possible to strip the fig and start fresh?
  3. The Gnomish wizard - I started it, but foolishly allowed someone to "finish" her up some. ::(: She "finished" the hair, staff, sword/sheath. The hair isn't what I was hoping for, and her hand is shakier or something because she got paint in spots there shouldn't be. I'd like to redo this one.
  4. The Pigtailed sorceress - I absolutely love the fig, but again I foolishly let someone else paint her, ::o: and I want to fix her. I am happy colorwise, but neatness ... she needs help.










ps) I apologize if I posted this in the wrong place. Feel free to move me around :)

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Welcome to the forums! ::D:


Yes you can strip minis and start over again. If you look at the top of this section there is a stickied posting for stripping minis that is very helpful.


Painting minis takes a lot of practice to get right so don't feel put off by the fact that your minis are not as good as others have done. It looks like you have decent brush control already which is good, it just needs refinement, which will come with practice. Keep up the good work and keep posting!

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Your painting is very much headed in the right direction for having just started. Overall clean lines, I can't say enough about them & you have 'em. We all started with our "first minis" and improved from there. A few of us lived and painted in a vacuum for many years... so while it may not quite seem like a good thing, having this forum *is* a good thing.


You'll get good tips, community and encouragement.


Welcome to the board!!!!

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You're doing fine as a beginner, especially with thick paints and no instruction.


You can strip the minis (A long soak in Simple Green followed by an encounter with an old toothbrush should do the trick), but I actually suggest keeping the minis as they are. If you want to redo any of the minis, just pick up another copy of the mini if you can. By keeping the minis, you'll be able to have a reference point down the road to show how far that you've come.


As far as primers go, there are a number of choices and everyone has their favorite. From what I've heard, the Armory primer can be a bit variable in quality. The competition level painters seem to be very fond of Tamiya Fine Surface Primer these days. I've seen a few Tamiya primed minis, and the coat is very smooth. I personally like Duplicolor Sandable Primer, which is an automotive primer found in auto parts stores for under $5 with tax. Goes on well, is fairly smooth, and does fairly well with humidity (I've tried up to 65% which counts as low-mid humidity around here).


No matter what spray primer you choose, you'll probably also want to pick up some brush on primer for touch ups and priming when spraying won't work.


In addition to the instructions, the first 3 Learn to Paint kits are also great bargains. 9 MSP bottles (for the ones with "Now with Master Series Paints"), 2 minis, 2 burshes for the price of the 9 MSPs.


In any case, welcome! And, ask questions as they come up. We've all been at the stage where we were beginners and trying to figure out what to do.



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Welcome to the forums!! Yeah, we all painted haphazard minis back in the day...keep yours and just get another one of the figures you really like, would be my advice. My Three Big Tips for new painters:


1. THIN YOUR PAINT! Just doing this alone will give you soooooo much better results.

2. Very little paint on the brush! Load your brush with paint, but then wipe a bit off on the side of your plate/palette/whatever you're using to hold your thinned paint, so that the brush can retain its normal point. It will make it a lot easier to hit the fine details and your paint won't run everywhere. ::):

3. Good materials. Once you have learned to thin your paint a bit and if you take decent care of your brushes, invest in one very good brush for detail work, eyeballs, fine highlights and such. This will reduce your frustration level exponentially, as you can have great brush control (which you do--meaning you get the paint where you want it and not where you don't want it) but be frustrated continually by a brush with a poor tip.


And I'm gonna add a TIP FOUR:


4. RELAX! This is fun! You should never feel stress when sitting down to your hobby! Just take it easy and enjoy yourself, because with every mini you paint you *will* get better. ::):


--Anne ::):

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I really can't say much more about it than what Anne has said.


One thing I will add---as I'm having to go back and fix some "bad habits" now---


Don't get caught up in the hype over layering/highlighting and such too early on. Just work on getting good, clean, and tight basecoats. If you're base is right, the rest will come SO much easier.

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Welcome to the forums! Your examples remind me of my own first efforts. My friends encouraged me to keep going, because what I was doing was pretty good for the amount of time I'd been painting.


Sounds like you are already light years ahead of the competition when it comes to prepping your minis. You know to clip, file, and wash before priming. Your minis look nice and clean in part because you've learned how to get a nice base to begin working from.


You might make a screen print of what Vaitallia said. She has extensive experience with teaching. Hearing her teach a class at Gen Con was my inspiration for begining to teach classes myself.


Primers do make a difference. For my "really good" stuff I use Tamiya or Floquil White. For everthing else (army stuff and Paint and Take figs) I use either Duplicolor Sandable White or Rustoleum Painter's Touch Sandable White. I rarely use black or gray primers.


Since you are just getting started and only painting a few minis, I'd pop for the good stuff. Having a good base for your minis makes it much easier to paint. Tamiya can be bought at a store that sells modeling supplies for railroad and other hobbies. Just don't loose it when you see all the toys those railroad guys play with. You'll have to hang on to your wallet with both hands... ::):


If there isn't a Railroad or Model hobby shop convenient to you, your friend in the store can order Floquil White for you from one of his suppliers. Both primers are expensive, but with the number of figures you are painting even a small can will last you a while.


A couple of tips on priming:


1) Warm the can about 15 minutes in hot tap water, then shake well.

2) For now, it would be best to prime one mini at a time. Using cheap superglue to stick them on a bottlecap works pretty well. You can hold the bottle with the mini on top to help you prime.

3) It's best to prime in two or more thin layers.

4) Stroke the spray across the mini from a distance of about 8 inches. Use short bursts from a couple of different angles.

5) If the primer looks really thick and glossy, you're spraying too long and too close. If it looks more like dust than paint, you're spraying from too far away.


Don't stress about how well you are painting. You're doing just fine, and you'll get better as you go. Keep a couple of your first attempts to remind yourself of how far you've come.

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Welcome!, I painted with cheap 75 cent a bottle hobby paints for alot of years, still have a huge collection because they last for ever it seems. Some I have are over 10yrs old. Problem though is the quality of the pigments which varies alot and they tend to get graininy after awhile and your picking little specks of stuff off the mini with an exacto knife afterwards. :wacko:


I recently started buying Reaper paints and am very impressed with them. Point being the brand you use will make a world of difference. If your going to do it might as well make it eaisier on your self and get the good stuff, not to mention better for following paint recipies since most are a drop by drop mix on this forum.

I reinforce the comments on good quality brushes as well.


Don't compare your work to everyone else either, when you get down to it you should be painting for you and for the enjoyment of the art. As long as you gave it your best effort and your happy with it, thats all that matters.

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And to elaborate on what the others have said, relax and enjoy painting.


I've been doing this for just a little while compared to lots of folks. I've been to ReaperCon and I've taken classes from the best. I never hope to be as good as them and I'm not trying to paint like them.


What am I doing?


I'm trying to paint to a level that makes me happy. I don't want to spend the incredible amount of futzing time it takes to try to bring something to competition level. My goal is to be able to consistently paint to a high tabletop quality. And that's my definition of 'high tabletop' and no one else's.


Go ahead and strip the paint off these minis if you want. Or buy new ones and set these aside to remind you of where you started. I'm too cheap to go that route so I take pictures and then send them swimming.


I use the Tamiya primer and couldn't be happier. One of the model railroad hobby stores in town sells it so I can get it easily. But the Reaper brush on primer is just fine if you can't find the other stuff. I still use it at times, normally when I don't want to bother with spraying.


Ditch the craft paints for figures. They're great for terrain so don't toss them completely. While you can make them work why not start out using a product meant for the hobby and save yourself a lot of headache?


The Learn to Paint kits (LTP you'll see all over the place) have some great instructions and they should all have Reaper Master Series paints by now. These will take you through the basics of the layering/highlighting/darklining/washing/glazing techniques you read about here. They're not as scary as they seem.


Get a good brush as soon as you get the chance. Reaper has their sable brushes (black handles) and they're just fine. We might rave about our artist brushes but once I switched from my synthetics to sable I noticed a definite improvement in my painting. And that was switching to a Reaper sable. Quality tools really do work better.


You don't say where you're located but if possible find other painters near you. It helps to see what they're doing instead of just reading it on the forum. If you can get to conventions take painting classes. But don't deal with people who insist on doing it a certain manufacturer's way. There is no 'right' way to paint. There's only painting to achieve a goal you set.


Don't compare your painting to anyone else's painting! That's a sure way to get discouraged. I know I can't do freehand like Paintrix (Jen Haley) or get my skin tones as sweet as Vaitalla (Anne). But I can look at how they do it and try to make their techniques fit my painting style.


One last note. The camera is a very harsh critic. We all hate our cameras, even if we don't say it. A mini that looks just fine in person will turn into a hideous mash of colors when the camera takes a look. And that's OK! The camera magnifies things well beyond where we would see them. Use the pictures to get an idea of what went horribly wrong (hrm - the pupil ended up in her ear somehow?? that's not right... ) and move on. If you like the mini when you pick it up and look at it, you done good.


Keep us informed on how you're doing! And welcome to the addiction of little pewter people!

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Thanks for all the welcoming comments, and great tips! I will definitely look into the Learning to Paint kits. Thanks for that advise.


I've noticed a few comments on spray primers and humidity. How humid is too humid to spray prime? And ... what is the problem with spray priming in high humidity? I live in central Illinois, so during summer months, our humidity can be really high. I never would have thought of humidity as a factor in painting, but it makes sense that it would affect the outcomes.

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The problem with spray priming in humidity is that you get fuzzy primer. Basically, it doesn't go on smoothly because the particles partially dry before they hit the mini. You may want to invest in some good brush on primer. For spray primer I actually just us Games Workshop Citadel White primer. Or Tamiya is the good stuff but more expensive. GW is a good inexpensive primer to use though until you are creating competition master pieces. Then start investing in bottles of Tamiya.


The learn to paint kits are very helpful. You can probably take away a lot from them. Also, if there is anything you come across that doesn't make sense while using the kits, just post here and we'll give you our $0.02!

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The "too humid" problem applies to anything that you normally might spray on minis: primer, paint, and varnish (aka sealer).


The tolerance of sprays to humidity varies. I've found that I'm generally okay with priming and varnishing up to about 65% humidity (Duplicolor primer and Krylon varnish) though the Krylon UV Resistant Matte goes on more satiny if the humidity is higher (I think).




PS: Here is a list of the MSPs in the first 3 Learn to Paint Kits:


LPTK-1 Armor and Fur


-9003 Blood Red

-9014 Grass Green

-9017 True Blue

-9136 Walnut Brown

-9029 Earth Brown

-9047 Fair Skin

-9039 Pure White

-9037 Pure Black

-9054 Polished Silver


LTPK-2 Skin and Cloth

-9135 Carnage Red

-9008 Sun Yellow

-9011 Leaf Green

-9055 Breonne Blue

-9110 Oiled Leather

-9044 Tanned Skin

-9049 Ancient Bronze

-9037 Pure Black

-9061 Linen White


LTPK-3 Non-Metallic Metal


-9070 Mahogany Brown

-9074 Palomino Gold

-9083 Highlands Moss

-9057 Ashen Blue

-9110 Oiled Leather

-9038 Rainy Grey

-9139 Blackened Brown

-9037 Pure Black

-9039 Pure White



As you can see, there is some duplication, but they really are a very good bargain.

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