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The Good, The Bad, and The Craft Paint (open for anybody)


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The people who use it for airbrushing are using windex for a specific purpose, and not merely as a thinner. I don't recommend this. While anecdotally people may not express trouble with this, windex does react chemically with acrylic (which is why you're not supposed to use it on certain surfaces) and it's risky to use with paint for our purposes. It'll keep an airbrush needle clean on the cheap, yes, because its bad property with acrylics makes it handy for that task - but expanding beyond it to brush acrylics and especially with all the additives our branch of the hobby already employs, this is asking for trouble because there's a lot of surprising things that can go wrong depending on what's in the paint or your own additives.

 

Windex will eat Future, too.

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Ok, so a brief run down on this guy. I painted this entirely with craft paints except for a couple of washes that I keep pre-mixed. I started off intending to layer shadows, and highlights, but I got pretty tired of fighting the paint. I had a lot of trouble getting the paints to thin down thin enough for layers without going too thin. I eventually gave up. My bad.

 

All the metal was base coated with Craftsmart Dark grey. Then I put down two layers of thinned FolkArt Metallic Silver Sterling. I then washed with a pre-mix black ink wash, and dry brushed on highlights. The cloth is Delta Wedgewood Green. The fur is a mixture of FolkArt Coffee Brown and Moon Yellow to make a nasty mustard color. All the leather was done with the Coffee Brown. Nails and teeth were done with Delta Fleshtone. The wood on the shield is Coffee Brown mixed with the Wedgewood green. All non-metal areas were washed with a burnt umber pre-mixed wash, and dry brushed highlights. The base was a mixture of Craftsmart red and Coffee Brown and Moon Yellow with a black wash. Comments and critique welcome.

gnoll2.jpg

gnoll1.jpg

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Craft paints are good for the army painter who wants finished models on the table, not the competition or contract painter. I started out with craft paints on my 40k models and experienced the same things you did, but after a while you do find the sweet spot for thinning the paints. I achieved OK results and got the armies on the table (results can be seen at the bottom of this page). Now I mostly use Reaper paints because I can afford them, which wasn't always the case. I do still use craft paints for bases as there are a couple colors I really like for dirt and for terrain items because I squirm at the thought of using so much of my "good" paint to cover things like hills and buildings. I also use black craft paint for edging the bases of my figures because all I'm concerned with is covering the edge in black.

 

Another advantage is availability. I use Apple Barrel for my craft paint and it can be found in any Wal Mart, even when I was in South Korea.

 

Now, if you want to see something funny, this figure was painted with q-tips and craft paint in response to a challenge to paint a figure with only cotton swabs.

post-1821-1130617037.jpg

 

The discussion thread can be found here

Edited by Sergeant_Crunch
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We had a pretty big software upgrade to roll out today, so I worked through lunch. I ended up taking 30 minutes just to get away from the office. I drove to the nearest Wal-Mart mainly to see if they by a far distant chance had any .22 rimfire ammo, but mostly just to not be at the office. I was wandering through the craft department and saw that they have replaced a lot of the Plaid brand with Daler-Rowney. They have a small acrylics set that is "primary" colors with a cheapo brush for like 3 bucks. I realize the paints are probably total rubbish, but I'm half tempted to buy one, and just see what kind of results I can get on Bones.

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Just wanted to chime in on my own reactions to this.

 

For background:

 

 

 

I haven't done any miniatures painting in about 20 or 25 years, and back then, I went from some Testors enamel monstrosities, to a fair set of miniatures acrylics (I believe a small boxed set from Grenadier? It's been too long), where I learned basic dry-brushing over a black base coat. I never did catch on to washes, inks, or stains. Before I shelved the hobby for a couple decades, I was dabbling a little bit with some unusual paint choices, such as extra acrylics from my sister's cheap paint-by-numbers kits, and the transparent stains from bad fake stained-glass kits. I would rate the results of the last miniatures I did at the end as a little better than fair, though certainly not art. (Those old metal miniatures and paints are in storage a few states away, and decades old, so I'm pretty much resigned to starting over.)

 

25 years later, I chip in on the Reaper Bones kickstarter, with a little more free time on my hands on weekends, but not much of a budget, and I've got more white plastic than I will likely ever be able to paint.

 

My eyes are nowhere near as good as they were the last time I painted a miniature, and my hands aren't as steady, so I knew in advance that nature was going to work against me.

 

The Bones are going to supplement the pre-painted plastic miniatures from Pathfinder Battles and D&D Miniatures for use as table-top gaming miniatures, so I figure that's the bar I'll aim for: as long as they look at least as good as the pre-painted stuff, I'm happy.

 

So, to go with the great bargain on unpainted plastic minis, I went shopping for bargain paints.

 

 

 

Armed with a couple sets and loose bottles of bargain craft acrylics from Walmart and Home Depot (Daler-Rowney, Folk-Art, Bella, Apple Barrel, and some nameless horrors in paint-by-number style little linked jars), a small set of cheap transparent sun-catcher stains, and a couple packages of cheap craft brushes sold right along side the cheap paints, I got started on painting up some basic rank-and-file monsters, such as goblins, zombies, and skeletons.

 

My initial conclusions:

  • This hobby isn't as easy as I remember it! (That's partly due to the deterioration in my coordination and eyesight over the years, and probably due to the cheap paints and brushes.)
  • Craft paint does seem more than adequate for dry-brushing bulk beasties for tabletop use.
  • I can get a couple miniatures a night painted up to at least commercial pre-painted plastic standards, while watching TV after a long day of desk work. Sure, that's not a particularly high standard to beat, but I think the results look better than the pre-painted plastics, especially from D&D Miniatures.
  • Craft paint doesn't seem to thin well, at all. If I had trouble with washes in the past, it's hopeless for me now.
  • Craft paint takes a little more work than I remember to apply as a base coat. I can't tell if that's can be blamed entirely on the cheap paint, or partly on the qualities of "Bonesium" as opposed to 1980's-era metal, or if it's just my memory playing tricks on me. But, straight from the bottle, the black Apple Barrel paint is a bit too thick to cover well without losing detail, and not easy to thin down quite right to cover effectively.
  • Craft paint looks much darker than expected drybrushed onto a black base coat. It seems to be a little more transparent than I remember the miniatures paint I worked with in the 1980's being. (This really threw off my original plans to dry-brush a medium tone over the black, and then dry-brush highlights over that - it worked just as well to dry-brush light colors directly onto the black, and then highlight with a second coat of the light color on top of the highest points.)
  • The craft paint quality varied wildly between manufacturers, and between different colors from the same manufacturer's boxed set. Some colors from the same set worked pretty close to what I remember from the miniatures acrylic paints from 20 or so years ago, some required a couple coats to show up correctly, some seemed soupy with weird clumps of pigment which looked awful wet but improved surprisingly well on drying.
  • The metalics worked a little better than I thought they would... a bit darker than I hoped, but effective. (Folk Art "Sequin Black" was too dark to do much with; it might make a better base coat for a mostly metallic miniature, such as an Iron Golem or heavily armored mook.)
  • Some of the oddball, offbeat colors that came out of the boxed sets were a treat to work with. For example, Bella "Star Dust" glitter paint was a weird, somewhat transparent whitish paint with multi-colored glitter embedded in it, which did interesting things when covered with sun-catcher kit stains: it makes a reasonably effective gemstone effect. I haven't had a chance yet to do much else with the sun-catcher stains; these are used for painting over clear plastic toys that hang in windows to give a kind of "stained glass" effect. I used such stains in the past for creating gemstone effects and painting eyes by staining over bright metallic paint - the results usually look glassy or crystaline, and from what I've seen so far, they seem to work just about as well as I remembered for these purposes.
  • So far, dry-brushing seems to be the way to go with these paints. But, with so much inexpensive paint and so many miniatures to work with, I might try experimenting more with washes and stains than I would have the last time I ever tried this, back when it was hard to find metal minis in a small town, and serious miniatures paint was expensive and just as hard to find: I can finally afford to experiment and practice until I get it right, if possible.
Who might best use craft acrylics?

 

 

 

Would I recommend craft acrylics for a beginner?

 

Sure! Why not? It's a fair way to get started in this hobby - start out with something like the less expensive Bones minis, or try your hand at repainting Mage-Knight or unpopular common D&D Minis, and you can't go too far wrong using these for practice. After getting the basics down and surviving the work craft acrylics will put you through, if you are still interested in the hobby, I'm sure it can only get easier and more fun once you graduate to better paints.

 

 

 

Would I recommend craft acrylics for tabletop gaming or miniatures army use?

 

I think so. It's probably not the easiest paint to work with, but in my clumsy hands the results compare well enough with commercial pre-painted minis to stand side-by side with them. They might get a little tedious to fight with for very large numbers of miniatures, but as long as you aren't aiming for perfection, craft acrylics will do the job, I think.

 

 

 

Would I recommend them for miniature-painting artists, professionals, and competitors?

 

That's a mixed bag. I don't think the average miniature-painting master is going to enjoy working with them. They can provide some unusual colors and effects that might be fun to work with. They seem to take a bit more work to get results from, but they do seem to be cheap enough to use for projects that require a lot of paint to cover. Craft acrylics are probably also going to be suitable go-to paints for painting scenery, backgrounds, bases, and that sort of thing that you might not want to use more expensive paint on.

 

 

 

 

In the end, I'd say cheap craft paints do have a niche to fill in miniatures painting: you will get what you pay for and won't be the best choice for set-pieces and cherished character models, but they are quite functional and effective for getting bands or hordes of mooks on the table reasonably quickly.

 

 

(Sorry I don't have any photos at this time, photography isn't one of my strong points - maybe later.)

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Why not use cheap craft paint as base coats (with minimal mixing) and then hit the upper layers with better paint? The right tool for the right job I say. Craft paints should have maximum binder and filler (cheap) and minimal pigment (expensive). I have a degree in painting (oil) and after awhile you learn it is rather important to understand what is in the paint so you can understand what you are doing. Mixing mystery paint (that has lots of fillers and binders) with "glop" and too much water should negatively affect the coverage of the paint. <p>

 

To add to this, some pigments are much weaker mixers than others- for example ultramarine violet will fail to most blacks- especially mars black (iron oxide) which is a monster! Pthalo green is another killer! Knowing your pigments will help one immensely- unfortunately craft paints probably do not list their pigments IIRC. It is possible that one part of a blue (Pthalo) can completely overwhelm twenty parts of another color. But another blue (Ultramarine) will mix with much more harmony. <p>

 

Another matter is fugitive pigments- ones that change color or fade quickly. Again, unless you know the pigment, it is hard to predict this. <p>

 

In addition, there are transparent to opaque pigments. Mars Black is super opaque and ivory black is semi- transparent (optical transparent blacks can be mixed or purchased as well). With the proper mediums one can bring these out further. Layers with transparent pigments will work much better than opaque, and I gather that craft paints tend to be on the opaque side (due to pigment or opaque increasing fillers). Mixing a transparent with a opaque can lead to interesting colors- a masstone of opaque color and a undertone of another (and when mixed with white another color). <p>

 

Also- mineral pigments and organic pigments react differently when mixed. Mineral pigments tend to grey out a bit when mixed while organic stay high chroma. Gamblin oil colors website should have more info on this-it is useful to know if you want to make a high key green, purple or orange, but are having trouble mixing it. <p>

 

Lastly- stay away from student grade acrylics- they are more suited to painting broad thick layers of color, not delicate thin layers on minis. Pro grade acrylics are fine as they have less filler and more pigment. Oil paints tend to be limited to few ingredients while acrylics often contain +/- 20!

Edited by papercut
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Like papercut recommended, I use craft paint to prime my Bones since my usual spray paint leaves them tacky. I use Apple Barrel for most and get excellent coverage without detail loss. I've also been using a cheap set of Rose Art acrylics (a dozen colors for ~$5). I usually have to thin them a lot, but the colors are actually pretty bold looking on the Bones and other plastics.

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Why not use cheap craft paint as base coats (with minimal mixing) and then hit the upper layers with better paint? The right tool for the right job I say. Craft paints should have maximum binder and filler (cheap) and minimal pigment (expensive). I have a degree in painting (oil) and after awhile you learn it is rather important to understand what is in the paint so you can understand what you are doing. Mixing mystery paint (that has lots of fillers and binders) with "glop" and too much water should negatively affect the coverage of the paint. <p>

 

To add to this, some pigments are much weaker mixers than others- for example ultramarine violet will fail to most blacks- especially mars black (iron oxide) which is a monster! Pthalo green is another killer! Knowing your pigments will help one immensely- unfortunately craft paints probably do not list their pigments IIRC. It is possible that one part of a blue (Pthalo) can completely overwhelm twenty parts of another color. But another blue (Ultramarine) will mix with much more harmony. <p>

 

Another matter is fugitive pigments- ones that change color or fade quickly. Again, unless you know the pigment, it is hard to predict this. <p>

 

In addition, there are transparent to opaque pigments. Mars Black is super opaque and ivory black is semi- transparent (optical transparent blacks can be mixed or purchased as well). With the proper mediums one can bring these out further. Layers with transparent pigments will work much better than opaque, and I gather that craft paints tend to be on the opaque side (due to pigment or opaque increasing fillers). Mixing a transparent with a opaque can lead to interesting colors- a masstone of opaque color and a undertone of another (and when mixed with white another color). <p>

 

Also- mineral pigments and organic pigments react differently when mixed. Mineral pigments tend to grey out a bit when mixed while organic stay high chroma. Gamblin oil colors website should have more info on this-it is useful to know if you want to make a high key green, purple or orange, but are having trouble mixing it. <p>

 

Lastly- stay away from student grade acrylics- they are more suited to painting broad thick layers of color, not delicate thin layers on minis. Pro grade acrylics are fine as they have less filler and more pigment. Oil paints tend to be limited to few ingredients while acrylics often contain +/- 20!

 

 

Wow, there's a science to this - I had no idea! Thank you for the information! I agree: if you have better paints, there's no reason I know of that the cheaper ones couldn't make fine base/primer coats, to put the better stuff over the top of.

 

 

 

I just took a glance over the paints I've got, and yes: it seems that the craft acrylics generally do not include contents on the labeling. the exception is Daler Rowney, in tubes: these do list the contents (but, unfortunately, generally aren't the easier craft paints to use).

 

After a painting up three or four dozen Bones with craft paints, I've gotten a bit more comfortable with using them.

 

 

 

Details about my experiences with specific paints so far:

 

 

 

 

  • Apple Barrel Black (20404) seems to work fine for base coats, touch-ups, and for a light "wash". One 8oz bottle of this will go a long, long way, too.
    • For a base coat, I thin it a little (I'll wet the brush a bit and wipe it lightly on a paper towel before loading with paint) to help with coverage, and it doesn't stick well to the high areas, but that's just fine for dry-brushing, as the high areas will be highlighted in lighter colours anyway.
    • Seems to work well for layering different dry-brushed colours - for example, I use it for a base coat, dry-brush the skin, use it to touch up the edges of clothes where I accidentally got skin paint on the clothes, then paint the clothes, and use it to touch up belts and pouches over the clothes, and so on. (Good consistency out of the bottle for this purpose; seems to dry a bit more of a very dark, flat charcoal grey than black unless contrasted against something lighter, but that seems to be OK)
    • I have taken to thinning one drop of Apple Barrel black paint with about 4 or 5 drops of the water I've been cleaning my brushes in (it's usually a very dark, greenish-brown as a result of all the mook monsters I've been painting), and brushing the mix over the final dry-brushed mini. This seems to smooth out the layers of paint, dull out bright colours, and pool in crevasses to add depth and contrast - works great for rank-and-file monsters like Orcs, Goblins, Undead, and the like. I've never been especially comfortable with washes and that sort of thing, but this wasn't as bad as I remembered.
  • After the black base coat, I've probably gotten the most use out of the unlabeled strips of what I've been calling "paint by number paint" - some sort of cheapest-of-the-cheap paints I picked up in Walmart's crafts section. Quality varies and there are lots of colours I have no use for, but there are some good ones. I don't remember who manufactures it, but I did save the colour guide from the back of the package, and I've had the most use for these colours:
    • Bright Red - Orc and Goblin eyes (good consistency, stays bright against a black base coat)
    • Ivory - my go-to paint for fangs, bones, and zombie skin highlights (good consistency, just right against a black base coat)
    • Spring Green - it's very close to the green of Pathfinder Battles Goblins, and I've used almost half a bottle for painting Goblins (good consistency, slightly transparent against black base coat so additional highlights can be drybrushed on top)
    • Country Tan - in many cases, highlights for leather, it's roughly the same colour as buckskin clothes as worn by explorers and American Indians from the movies (fair but slightly grainy consistency, can be somewhat translucent against black base coat, which gives it some flexibility)
    • Territorial Beige - highlights for fur and leather, somewhat darker and slightly redder than Country Tan (fair consistency, stays bright against a black or dark brown base coat)
    • Nutmeg Brown - wood and leather, I've found that this works best for things like Orc boots and belts, looking old, dirty, and worn, reminding me a bit of some old military surplus leather gun slings I'd gotten once that had seen a lot of abuse, oil, and grime in their lifetime (the paint has uneven consistency, somewhat transparent, and looks different dry than it does wet - this paint requires some faith to use; looks dark and uneven when wet and looks translucent when wet, but dries a little lighter; it still looks darker when dry than it does in the bottle)
    • Country Grey - a light, flinty grey that I use for highlights of stone and Orc skin (good consistency, stays bright on a black base coat)
    • Burnt Umber - a dark brown that I use as a base coat for lighter browns, and for touching up the creases and edges of leather, hides, and so on (good consistency but very dark and somewhat translucent, so it's not very visible by itself on a black base coat)
    • Pewter Grey - a dark grey that I use for the middle coat of stone and Orc skin (good consistency, keeps its colour over a black base coat)
  • FolkArt's metallic paints work great when dry-brushed onto swords and that sort of thing (good consistency, keeps its color well over a black basecoat); I've been making the most use of:
    • Antique Copper (666) for earrings, bracelets, sword handles, copper knives, rivets on Kobold armor (mixes roughly with the cheap browns and reds to make a rough metallic rust colour, which I faintly dry-brushed onto the harder-to-reach areas of Orc armor and weapons)
    • Silver Sterling (622) for weapon blades (this mixes well with Apple Barrel black for a darker iron colour that works well as an undercoat for Sterling Silver dry-brushed onto highlights; Sterling Silver can also be dabbed/stippled straight down with a rough brush onto flat surfaces like sword blades or plate armor for a nice weathered look)
  • Bella paint seems to be fair to work with, but the package of paints I got are in some bright colours that aren't very suitable for the monsters I've been painting, where muddy earth tones seem to work best. (Somewhat translucent, but good consistency)
    • Forest Green and Everglade - dark greens, handy for lizardfolk and troll skin when used as an undercoat and highlights (somewhat translucent, but good consistency, and, though dark over black boase coat, works well for drybrushing if additional coats are used as highlights; Forest Green might make a suitable base coat in its own right in place of black)
    • Lime Green - Kobold eyes (seems to be good consistency, and seems to keep bright after drying onto a black base coat)
    • Princess Pink - mixed with beige or ivory, highlighted onto the rat-like Kobold tails and ears (mixed roughly with other paints; the result looks fine to me for what I used it for, but might not work well over large surfaces)
  • The cheap, translucent "suncatcher" paints have come in useful for painting gemstones (over a metallic or Bella "Star Dust" base) on a couple monsters' swords, broaches, and armor (very translucent, may require a second coat for the colour to show up well, but this stuff really, really stinks - a very distinctive chemical smell I can't quite place, which leaves me uncertain of how well it would mix with other paints)
  • Daler Rowney paints in "tooth-paste" style tubes; the only cheap acrylics I've used so far that have the pigments listed on the label; have been generally difficult for me to work with (a heavy, paste-like consistency, doesn't seem to thin well, seems to work best when dry-brused, but these paints all look very dark when dry; may work better for painting on canvas? My least favorite "craft acrylic" for painting Bones, in any case)
    • I've thinned the Brown out for a base coat for the rat-like Kobolds; it seems to pool heavily in the lower areas, and dry thickly there with some loss of detail, while the higher areas were nearly transparent, but dried into a nice red-brown over the white "Bonesium" material, and other browns seem to dry-brush fairly well over it. Otherwise, it seems fairly uneven, and I haven't found the best use for it yet.
    • Dark Green and Light Green were drybrushed onto troll; even the "Light Green" looked dark over the black base coat.

 

 

 

 

 

For painting those mook monsters for tabletop use, I think you can't go too far wrong with Apple Barrel black, a large set of the cheaper "paint by number" style paints, and the FolkArt metallics (copper and silver).

 

 

I actually took a series of photos of the most recent Orc I've painted at various steps - I'll try posting those later, along with a comparison to some pre-painted minis for comparison.

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Painting progress using my collection of cheap craft paints, cheap brushes, mediocre skill hampered by almost a quarter century of neglect, shaky hands, and bad eyesight:

 

 

Getting started, I used 25mm round bases from Proxie Models - these look quite close to the plain round bases used by commercial pre-painted tabletop minis (D&D Miniatures and Pathfinder Battles), which is exactly what I was looking for. Any cuts for conversions were made with some small side-clippers I had bought from Games Workshop to assemble some plastic Warhammer minis once, and an exacto knife (the long sword was swapped from another sword-wielding Bones Orc). Assembly was done using a cheap Krazy-Glue rip-off from Walmart ("Super Glue" is apparently the brand name,)



Orc_IMG_1057_zps5b34495a.jpg
Primed with Apple Barrel brand Black, using the larger of the three main brushes I use (a cheap Plaid brand #10 flat brush found in the craft section of Walmart).

After this step, I generally use the finer of the three main brushes (Plaid #0 pointed) unless I'm drybrushing a fairly large, flat surface where I don't need to be very careful (in those cases, a Plaid #3 pointed is used - this brush was only used for plate armor and swords on this Orc).

Orc_IMG_1058_zps634734f3.jpg
Lowest layer: skin, an "undercoat" of dark Pewter Grey craft paint dry-brushed onto most of the skin surface. I did, actually, forget to paint his hands!

Orc_IMG_1059_zpsd4f2fc69.jpg
Lowest layer: skin, highlights in lighter Country Grey craft paint, drybrushed onto the higher parts of the skin. (Also, playing catch-up on the hands I forgot in the prvious step - they still need to be highlighted.) The eyes and gums and teeth are touched up with Apple Barrel black; it's OK to get outside the lines with the Black here. Apple Barrel black was carefully painted at the edges of any clothing, armor, or gear, to help give a 3D shadow effect.

Orc_IMG_1060_zps1f5d7159.jpg
Touching up the face, by adding Bright Red eyes, and drybrushed Ivory teeth. Finally, I carefully drybrushed light Country Grey over the very top of the lips, nose, and eyebrows, and then drybrushed Country Grey again so that the paint looks a little lighter, and stands out a little lighter than the surrounding features. Nutmeg Brown is drybrushed onto all leather, hide, fur, and wood - this dries a fairly dark brown, not very visible yet. Nutmeg Brown is not a very intuitive paint for me to use, but looks fine after it dries, especially when highlighted with lighter browns.

Orc_IMG_1061_zps8a599567.jpg
Fur highlighted lightly in Territorial Beige. FolkArt Antique Copper drybrushed onto the short sword hilt, buckle on shoulder strap, jewelry, and a couple other places. A light, Country Tan dry-brushed in light, rough, close, vertical streaks onto the handle of the long sword to simulate a grain to the wood or bone handle, followed by light, close vertical streaks of Ivory (a similar process was performed on a horn trumpet strapped to the Orc's back, not visible in this picture). Apple Barrel black was carefully painted at the edges of any outer-layer clothing, armor, or gear, to help give a 3D shadow effect.


Orc_IMG_1062_zpsf145c05b.jpg
I forgot to take photos for the next couple steps! He looks a bit shiny, because he's still wet from the black paint wash. These steps followed one after the other fairly quickly - I think I did about 20 minutes of work before realizing I forgot to snap photos a couple times. FolkArt Sequin Black (a very, very dark metallic black) was drybrushed over the chainmail, platemail chest plates, boots, and bracer, followed by highlights in Sterlng Silver - for the swords and plate armor, a #3 pointed brush with the bristles cut to a flat surface were used to roughly dab silver onto the flat surfaces, leaving a rough, grainy, eroded look to the metal surfaces. The jewel at the neck was highlighted in FolkArt Sterling Silver over the Antique Copper, giving it a somewhat antiqued, tarnished look. The gemstone in the jewel was painted first in an almost painfully bright, Bella brand Lime Green, then dabbed in Bella Star Dust glitter paint (a sort of translucent, pearly paint with multi-colored bright metallic glitter suspended in it), then painted over that with a little translucent green suncatcher paint - the result looks like a green gemstone (like an emerald). I did a little touching up at any points where I got a little sloppy, edging things in Apple Barrel Black, and drybrushing highlight colors again where needed. Finally, I used a mix of one drop of Apple Barrel brand Black, with four or five drops of the water I wash my brushes in (now a dark, muddy, slightly earthy black), washing down the entire Orc, and photographed before he dried.

Orc_IMG_1064_zps1c9f1a2d.jpg
Dried Orc, from the back.

Orc_IMG_1085_zps2471da9e.jpg
I'm a monster - RAWR! A close-up for detail. I was afraid the gemstone wouldn't photograph very well, but it seems to glitter quite nicely here :) Thanks to the close-up, those of you with sharper eyes might see some places where I got a little wild with the Sterling Silver when highlighting armor, and I could touch it up, but it's not very noticeable to me and good enough for tabletop use so I can live with it.

Orcs_IMG_1067_zps9726c605.jpg
An Orc fashion show! An older (c. 2004) WotC D&D Miniatures Orc on the left, a newer (c. 2013) WotC Dungeon Command Orc in the middle, and one of my Bones Craft Paint Orc on the right. The two [re-painted Orcs on the left are my minimum standard: if my painted minis look at least as good as Wizards of the Coast's prepainted work, I'm happy - I think the Craft Paint worked out better than it should have.

 

For those interested in that sort of thing, here's some of my homework:

 

 

 

 

First, I wanted to paint my Orcs in roughly the same colours as the bulk of my existing collection of Orcs, mostly Wizards of the Coast D&D Minis - see the "Fashion Show" picture above.

 

I thought all this time that the WotC Orcs were an olive drab green - they looked greenish under the yellowish standard incandescent light. But, under the bright white desk lamp I bought for painting, WotC's Orcs turned out to be grey, which was fine with me (I've already got Goblins and Trolls painted in green, so a different colour is a nice change of pace.

 

Aside from that, I didn't really feel comfortable with the Proud Warrior Race Guy direction Orcs have gone in - my basic idea of what Orcs are like come from the likes of these horror films:

 

don_peake_hills.jpg

 

The deformed, troglodyte, mine-dwelling atomic mutants from The Hills Have Eyes, and Leatherface's family from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre...

 

 

the_descent.jpg

 

The creepy, albino, cannibal cave-people from The Descent...

 

 

1803311-morlock1_super.jpg

 

The albino, cave-dwelling Morlocks from that wonderful old 60's version of "The Time Machine".

 

 

So, within the limitations of the WotC paint scheme, I would ideally like to see twisted, deformed, feral, cave-dwelling, cannibal, post-apocalyptic, albino mutant Orcs - living messengers of incomprehensible violence hidden just beyond the ruins of civilization.

 

The Bones Orc sculpts are perfect for this vision! Give those hippy Morlocks a haircut, slap some home-made armor on them, round them up into a rough army under threat of violence, and put the smarter cannibal mutant hillbillies from The Hlls Have Eyes in charge of them, and I'd say you've pretty much got something that looks a lot like the Bones Orcs.

 

And then, I was delighted as I went along when the choice of greys I used came out much lighter than WotC's dark grey - the excellent sculpts of these Bones minis, combined with the albino grey, worked out just perfect for what I was looking for! (I think that the only thing I have second thoughts about now is the dark red eyes - the WotC Orcs have similarly dark red eyes, but now I think I might prefer the Morlocks' bright glowing eyes better.)

 

 

 

 



With a couple dozen craft-painted Bones behind me now, I find the craft paints easier and easier to work with - I'm quite happy with the results, which should serve just fine for tabletop use. Actual work on this took a lot less than an hour, but ended up more like an hour and a half, due to delays while photographing, and distraction while watching television or stopping to cook some dinner.

I believe that even below-average painters can get about the same results I did, which, I feel, look a little better than professionally-painted mass-marked pre-painted plastic miniatures. I believe the cheap paints should work quite adequately for anyone on a budget.

 

 

(Edited to add conversion info to beginning, and correct a typo or two.)

Edited by YronimosW
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You're not the only one impressed with Buglips. That he was not only quite willing to give this a go, but very open about the fact that certain things actually changed his stance somewhat shows there is more to that Goblin then meets the eye, or nose.

 

 

I've acquired a taste for Santa's flesh.

 

You and Oogie Boogie. :D

 

Sorry, couldn't resist. One of my all-time favorite movies.

 

 

I did have one question regarding this thread: when "water" is mentioned, is it tap water, or distilled? I know that paint like Reaper's and Vallejo works much better with distilled, and it seems that craft paint does, too.

Edited by Whiteraven_2001
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