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Overwhelmed New Painter


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I disagree about taklon brushes & walmart paints.. don't sell yourself short by starting out fighting with inferior tools. I think you'd be better off getting a few nice paints and good brushes (a kolinsky sable brush is going to last much, much longer than a synthetic brush), rather than getting a whole lot of junk.


I'd suggest getting the tanned & fair triads, an off white, blue liner, and maybe dusky skin triad for doing inhumans. (you don't actually need the full tanned & fair triads - the shadows from each, fair highlight, and maybe one of the others should let you mix and match enough to get a fair variety of skins to start).


Toss aside the junk models you don't feel inspired to paint and go pick up a blister of something, anything, that excites you. You're going to be much better off if you are inspired and your tools aren't working against you.



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Some other things to remember:


  • Always thin your paint. Better to be too thin than too thick. Too thin can be worked with. Too thick can really mess things up.
  • Paint... paint... paint. Don't get too caught up in looking for advice and reading/watching videos without doing it. I've been collecting miniatures since BattleTech 2nd Edition, reading about how-to-paint since 40K 2nd Edition, and painting... um... only about a dozen or so minis? Not a good way to do it.
  • Limit what you buy and use what you have. It keeps the cost down, and makes you paint more, rather than saying, "I'll paint that when I get that color/new brush/new tutorial/etc."
  • Develop a skin regarding your minis - everyone will have an opinion and criticism. Think of criticism like a buffet - there's a ton out there, you can take all you want, but leave what you don't want.
  • Learn to not be afraid of mixing paint. It'll be your best friend. Further, I'd recommend - if using layering - using a bit of the previous layer's color in each successive layer's color mix to maintain smoother color transitions.
  • If you're doing units/armies, test a scheme out on one figure first. It sucks to paint up a unit of 10, only to find out when you're done that you hate the color scheme.
  • Find reference photos - both of miniatures and of real-life subjects - that will help you see what you're trying to do on the figure.
  • Set up a place where you like to paint, and try to make it a permanent place. Nothing worse than itching to paint, looking up, and realizing you'd need to take some time to set up, and then looking at your gaming console/PC/book/other entertainment, and saying "Well, I could do that in a pinch, with less effort."
  • Paint what you enjoy. Don't force yourself to paint what you don't want to at the beginning. Or, if you have to, due to games rules, intermix models you want to paint with those you have to paint. Gotta keep it fun.
  • Last, don't toss your beginning models. Nothing more inspirational than seeing where you've been before and comparing it to where you are now.


Good luck, and welcome to the hobby!


My 2 yen,



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Okay. Tonight, I take my x-acto knife to my mini and then wash him. I'll survive without files for a while, I'm sure. Should be able to get some primer on him Thursday while it's still light enough out to see how thin/thick I cover him in primer.


I'm going to have to hunt for my old desk lamp to have something over where I'm working, after that. Should start seeing some paint on him Friday night, if I can get to staples for some poster-tack (I have a coupon!).


I'll try to post a step-by-step set of pics in the WIP forum, if that doesn't bother anyone? (Seems to be a place reserved for help with Ambitious and Awesome Projects... of which mine is neither.)

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Sounds like a plan! One thing to keep in mind while flashing with a knife is to shave, don't carve, pierce, or pry...all good ways to dull or outright snap the blade. Peel the little metal potato for best results. Big pieces you can bend back and forth to snap off, leaving less to shave. Spots where the mold halves end up slightly offset (as opposed to leaks when the seal isn't quite tight enough) are unfortunate...typically puttying or filing are the only options there.


Spraying primer isn't bad; a bunch of quick strokes and a couple thin coats are better than one really thick one. Come at it from a couple angles to get everything; some crevasses are hard to get into. Brush-on primer is great for the hard-to-reach spots, so you're not adding extra coats while trying to get the angle right. A can trigger [turning spraycans from 'push the button' to 'pull the trigger', usually less than $5] will work wonders for preventing cramps if you do a lot of priming.


I don't think anyone will mind if you post the pictures in this thread, as an option; I'm fairly new here myself, but it's a generally easy-to-get-along-with bunch. They've taught me more in a month than I've learned in the past couple years, and have never scoffed at my oft-stupid questions.

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The advice on the internet is endless. Sometimes it's better just to dive into the deep end of the pool, and learn from the doing. Once you get to a personal plateau, then is a good time to seek out more advice.


My one and only goal with my first mini was to "stay inside the lines." I bought a basic set of 8 colors of paints, plus a silver and gold too. I ended up buying some more browns and tan colors just because I had so many leather straps and pouches and scabbards so close together, but keep in mind at this point I wasn't even brave enough to mix colors more than half-and-half with another color.


Overall, it was a great first figure.


I had no idea this hobby is like crack. Honest.


Welcome to the club!

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"Like crack" is an understatement. I've already had visions of a diorama and kitbashing going through my head in order to make it happen. I always have to take a breath and tell myself that's probably a year or two down the road in terms of talent and money.


How can I be thinking these kinds of things before I'm even done painting my first mini?

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How can I be thinking these kinds of things before I'm even done painting my first mini?

Maybe you're starting to realize that it isn't really all that hard. ::): Oh, sure, getting a conversion-plus-diorama up to Jen Haley or dks levels is gonna take decades of practice, but getting it up to a level that'll impress the heck out of your buddies at the FLGS might take... a month or two. There's always going to be room to improve, but the flip-side of that is that as you're starting out you'll be able to improve dramatically in a short period of time.


Your starting toolkit looks solid. I'd suggest picking up something like Reaper's Green Ochre or Khaki Shadow, to add a yellowish colour to your mix; also Twilight Blue. Check out some colour theory links online for a few ideas of how you can mix the paints to move in a given direction -- maybe you want a warmer red, or a cooler green. In my experience, you can spend $100 on a bunch of paints and mix what you want from similar hues, or you can spend $20 on paints and $80 on colour theory books and mix what you want from a limited palette. ::): (I spent $180 on paints and books, but I'm a colour nerd.)


Your best investment off the bat is going to be painting time. I've followed your thread in the WIP forum, and it looks like you're doing exactly the right thing. Paint half a dozen miniatures or so, then pick up a good Kolinsky sable brush. They're going for $10 or so from Dick Blick or your local art store if it has a sale, which is not too far off from the cost of a single blister -- and the brush can last for years. If you're like me, you won't realize how much you hate your starter brush until you get to use something better. But for now it's not worth worrying about.


Also, make sure you have something to hold onto that's not your mini's base. Ron and Jen suggested a medicine bottle with blu-tak. I like spare chunks of plywood cut into roughly 1" squares, or if I can get it a short length of oak dowel. It doesn't really matter what it is as long as you can hang onto it and move the mini around to where you need it without your hands cramping up. Blu-tak is great for holding miniatures onto the things, but white glue will do in a pinch.


Good luck!

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