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Painting with Oil Colors


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Hey guys,

I've got a couple of questions for you.


1. Where is there a good primer for painting miniatures with oil paints? I'm just starting.


2. What are the better oil paint brands for miniatures (I'm thinking fine pigments that dilute well)?


3. If you've got any other suggestions for someone starting to try oils please shoot them at me.


I'm a fairly salty dog when it comes to acrylics, so I'm not newbie. I'm just new to oils.


Cheers guys!



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Hi Sam,

I've been painting with oils now for around 5 years or so. If your just starting out I would pick up a cheap starter set at some place like Wal Mart of Georgian brand. They still work pretty good and your going to go through alot of it until you get the blending and consistancy down. Strip- redo-strip, ect.. :poke: You can also pick up a good low odor thinner there as well, some brand made in France I beleive.

As far a primer goes you can still use about anything that works with acrylics. The key with oils through is getting a smooth base coat. Any little imperfections or what ever are going to show through with the oils once you start working with them. I still even have a problem with this at times.

I still use the same brushes as with acrylics, most are going to be a bit bigger or the flate tipped ones. The oils seem to work best with larger minis since it gives you some more room to work with blending. Havn't used them a whole lot on 28mm but am trying it on some Shadow Forge female football minis right now, have a wip going if your intersted in checking it out.

Need to get to work in a bit so I you can think of any more questions let me know and I'll get back to you. Not many people on here that work with oils, myself and acouple others is all I can think of.




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If I may make a suggestion. I have been painting in oils for over 20 years. Basically I paint flats (zinnfiguren) and branched out into mini's in the last few years. Buy the very best materials that you can afford. The brand most used by "figure" painters are the Winsor & Newton paints. They are expensive but they are the best. I have hardly made a dent in tubes I bought 20 years ago. A speck of oil paint goes a long way. Do not buy student grade paints. They are inferior and have a lot of filler in them as oppsed to the pigment intense artist grades. A capped tube of paint will last longer than you will. Other well known brands are Rembrandt, Schminke-Mussini, Lucas and Sennelier. MIchaels carries W & N. Some of the online art stores like Dick Blick, Pearl and Art Supply Warehouse carry these paints and run speicals. W & N Series 7 brushes are considered the Cadillac of brushes. But any "good" quality Kolinsky sable brush works well. If you don't want a solvent smell, Turpenoid or a DIY oderless thinner work well as a thinner and medium. It helps if you put some of your colors out on an index card before you use them to soak out some of the oil. Soaking out the oil and the use of some thinner will help you get a matte finish. Oils do not dry matte unless you help them along. Baking your figure in a low temp crock pot also helps to matte them down. You will need to get 10 or twelve tubes to get started. Theoretically you can mix any color from the primaries but remember that you will need a cool yellow, a warm yellow, a green blue and a purple blue, a red-orange and a blue red plus a white. Mixing a black is simple and many painter don't use black in their higlighting and shading. When working in oils you need to learn how to mix your own colors. There is no such thing as a tube of "vomit green." Almost any standard white or light gray primer will work but it does need some "tooth" for the oils to adhere. I have undercaoted with Humbrol matte white enamel, Tamya matte white acrylic, and white Pelikan Plaka. They all wrk fine. As for tutorials which is a term that seems to be something unique to mini painters I would suggest that you check out the Timelines and Planet Figure forums. There is a ton of info including video on working in oils. To be honest I have tried acrylics and have always gone back to oil. You can do things with oil that I think are impossible with acrylics, enamal or or watercolor. The extended learning curve is worth the effort. I hope I have helped and feel free to ask any questions you might have.

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I have to agree with WN brand are much better quality for doing minis, and have some myself, I would still stick with some cheaper stuff to get started. You can get a starter kit of 8-10 tubes for around $12 compared to $4 to $6 for each tube of the WN if I remember correctly. You may change your mind and decide that you dont like using them. Kind of a lot of cash to throw down just to try something out I think.

On a smaller mini the poorer quality pigment isnt really that noticable IMO. The Georgian brand works fine unless you want to start getting into 150mm plus size resin kits, thats where I use the better quality oils.


Just my thoughts on this and a suggestion as far as what to pick up.

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Sam and any others that might be interested:




Go here and look at the very top of the page. The first block is a seven page article with photos written by Phil Kessling. Phil is one of the finast historical miniature painters in the US.



I'm having trouble finding the specific post. Is it in the painting section of the forum or is it the FAQ?



ps: I've been reading around a bit. I'm going to buy a 10 color palette of Michael Harding oils and give it a try this weekend.



edit: Sorry... found it now. Geeze I'm dumb.

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