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bugblatterbeast

Plans to paint on the cheap

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I have done my research. I can not afford to buy Reaper paints at this time. I am buying acrylic craft paint from Hobby Lobby. Current best recommendation is Delta Creamcoat paint. This seems like the best plans for a beginner on a budget. Feel free to critique my plans, but remember, I am trying to get quality results on a budget.
My plans:
  • Unboxing- I have a graphical checklist of all the minis to be sure we aren't missing anything. http://greg.botch.com/bones/table.html
  • Remove the mold lines that are really, terribly obvious. Tools: Xacto blade and sanding needles (medium or fine) http://bit.ly/1axuY7O
  • Straightening bent weapons and legs. Tools: nearly boiling water, colander
  • Cleaning- remove residue from manufacturing that could keep paint from adhering well. Tools: dish soap and water
  • Fill junction gaps between parts that join to make up the mini that look odd Tools: 2 part clay-like epoxy (a bit of an experiment) http://thd.co/14MHBtl [That epoxy was too coarse and cured too quickly. I'm keeping it around for household repairs. Kneadatite (Green Stuff) on eBay $6 for 6 inches shipping included sounds like a great deal!]
  • Basing- some minis have ridiculous bases and need to be based. I have hundreds of 1/4 inch thick bases cut from wooden dowels for this project. Tools: Xacto blade, tiny drill bit, straightened and cut paper clips, super glue, 2 part clay-consistency epoxy (for embellishing, building up layers, or filling gaps)
  • Priming- do many figures at once. Cheap craft store acrylic paints are too thick and need to be watered down to paint minis well. If craft paints are watered down, they will not stick as well to Bones without priming. Thus, I will need to prime. Tools: this craft primer http://bit.ly/16jHwwp [i couldn't acquire this primer anywhere locally. So frustrating! I decided to buy Krylon Paint + Primer spray. White seemed like a great idea, but it is hard to see what kind of coverage I am getting on the Bones. It takes a day or longer to fully dry. It is a week later and one mini is still tacky in a couple places.]
  • Color washing- give the mini a base coat of color to bring out the details and add shadowy areas. Tools: brush, watered down craft paint with a tiny amount of dish soap to break surface tension
  • Paint- use a "wet palette" to keep the paint fresher longer and make mixing and watering down easier. Image http://bit.ly/1axxmvq Tools: cheap plastic container, a large rag or sponge, parchment paper http://bit.ly/12e9cOG See example here: http://forums.brushthralls.com/index.php?showtopic=4806 And of course paints and brushes.
  • Finishing- I haven't decided if I will be clear-coating these yet. If I do, I will get some good quality spray for minis with for a matte (not gloss) finish. This is where I will splurge on costs, if anywhere.
  • Optional Painting party- I will have all the minis cleaned, primed, based, and color washed before I host it.

 

I have done no painting of Bones. I am not certain that any of this will work. However, after reading FAQs and how-to's all around the web, I feel confident this will work. My big concern is with the plumbing epoxy instead of Green Stuff. I have no idea if it will hold paint. I will test it before applying to the minis.

 

Let me know what you think!

Veteran painters- constructive criticism would be great. I don't want to waste money on a useless/misguided step.

 

Edit: reordered gap filling after cleaning at Godlike's suggestion

Edit: added recommended craft paint brand

Edit: my concerns were founded about the plumbing epoxy. While it does hold paint, it is too coarse. Also the primer I initially wanted is not locally available in my significant metropolitan area (850,000+ people) in our major craft stores. I didn't check at specialty glass or tile stores.

Edit: check post http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/49906-plans-to-paint-on-the-cheap/?p=738738 for my first attempt following most of these steps.

Edited by bugblatterbeast
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On Craft Paints:

 

I recommend Reaper paints as soon as you can switch over, you'll definitely see a difference. But, for the time being, if you are using craft paints then I'd suggest the delta ceramcoat ones. While not as nice as reaper paints, they're the closest you'll probably find on the cheap. They seem pretty stable and smooth. At least with those when you are able to make the transition you won't have to unlearn or relearn a bunch of things from wrangling with bad behaving paint.

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On Craft Paints:

 

I recommend Reaper paints as soon as you can switch over, you'll definitely see a difference. But, for the time being, if you are using craft paints then I'd suggest the delta ceramcoat ones. While not as nice as reaper paints, they're the closest you'll probably find on the cheap. They seem pretty stable and smooth. At least with those when you are able to make the transition you won't have to unlearn or relearn a bunch of things from wrangling with bad behaving paint.

 

I have seen the tutorials on stripping paint. I always have that option! But your are right, learning with crappy tools could teach me bad habits. However, I would prefer to have mediocre paint jobs than no paint jobs. This is what I can afford for a while.

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I'd recommend not doing any gap filling until after you have washed and unbent the figures. The mold release can interfere with epoxy adhesion just as it can with paint adhesion and the bending process can change the size and shape of gaps.

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You just don't want to wind up spending money on craft paint and then find out the kind you got is like the truly horrid purple I tried. But the Delta C stuff seemed okay. That purple, though, that was pure uselessness. You'd just be burning money with that stuff, so you should try to hit the balance between budget and useful.

 

If what you plan to try isn't Delta C, then only buy one bottle first (a fleshtone would be a good choice) and test it before you commit. If it's going to do any weird stuff, best to find out while your investment is still small.

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I'd recommend not doing any gap filling until after you have washed and unbent the figures. The mold release can interfere with epoxy adhesion just as it can with paint adhesion and the bending process can change the size and shape of gaps.

 

Fixed. Great suggestion!

 

Buglips- That makes a lot of sense, too. I will spend an extra $.50 per bottle to save on throwing away a bunch of useless paint.

Edited by bugblatterbeast

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We had a list of decent craft paints around here somewhere. I'll see if I can track it down...

 

[edit]Can't find it, but I did run across the http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/48762-the-good-the-bad-and-the-craft-paint-open-for-anybody/

thread again which had a lot of useful information.

 

From what I've heard on these boards, the main issue isn't so much craft paints persay as cheap craft paints, designed for student use. The brands I see mentioned as being good for miniature work are Apple Barrel & Delta Ceramacoat.

Edited by Laoke

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Americana brand and Delta Ceramacoat are going to be your best for budget craft paints. Buglips and I did a bit of a challenge, not so long ago, using nothing but craft paints. http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/48762-the-good-the-bad-and-the-craft-paint-open-for-anybody/ an interesting experiment, and I think you will find it useful in your current situation. Best of luck.

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yup. I hope you stick around too. This is a great place to be, with good people and a near endless stream of knowledge freely shared and support freely given.

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Also - have you considered the Reaper Learn to Paint Kits as a source of cheap(ish) paints? I don't want to say anything that makes you feel lke you shouldn't use craft paints, but it seems most people not on the forums are unaware of what a good deal the kits are especially now that they come with full size paint pots.

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Also - have you considered the Reaper Learn to Paint Kits as a source of cheap(ish) paints? I don't want to say anything that makes you feel lke you shouldn't use craft paints, but it seems most people not on the forums are unaware of what a good deal the kits are especially now that they come with full size paint pots.

I was going to suggest this myself. I know what it's like to be on a budget, but I really, really recommend mini paints for anyone getting into the hobby. (This is coming from an artist who has used acrylics, oils and watercolors for years.) Miniatures paints are different from all 3 and are designed for minis. You have no idea how easier and prettier they make everything until you try them.

I personally didn't have any mini paints when I got started, but after I bought all 5 Learn to Paint Kits from Reaper I have pretty much all the colours I needed to get myself started. Later on I bought a few triads and now I have a very wide selection.

 

Have you purchased the craft paints you intend to work with already? I ask because it seems odd to me that people are prepared to go out and spend money on something they may only use a few times before switching to mini paints. Sure you're not spending much now, but in the long run if you spend $50 of craft paints and $100 on Reaper paints later; than you've spent a total of $150 instead of just the $100 you could spend on Reaper paints now. If you already have some, or plans to use them for other things later than I get it.

I don't mean to belittle anyone's choices at all, and as I said I know what it's like to be money-conscious. (Right now I am very much unemployed while waiting to be offered a contract.) But Reaper paints are only $3.30 per bottle, I'm not sure what the prices of craft paints are in the States (I'm an Australian girl) but craft paints here are pretty much the same price.

Edited by Cassu
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OK, I don't know if you can afford it, but a bit of flow improver will really make your washes better. You can get flow medium in folk art brands in little bottles, BUT failing that, Future or Pledge floor wax is essentially a glossy acrylic medium with excellent flow properties. Check it out here. It can act as a flow improver, a wash medium, and a gloss sealer coat. It will let you mix paint into a transparent liquid that, unlike water thinned paint, is very consistent, doesn't drop pigment or separate (at least not quickly).

 

I have never used craft paints but in my experience with various uncooperative hobby paints, a good flow medium / thinner is invaluable. Pledge is both, AND a gloss sealer. Truly the Swiss Army Knife of [email protected]$$ painting.

 

@Cassu, I think in the US some of the craft chains run 40% discount coupons. Retail here in Oz is expensive across the board, I wouldn't be surprised if mainstream gear was half price there.

 

EDIT: randomly in another thread stumbled on a guy buying craft paints for 69c. Now that's cheap.

Edited by smokingwreckage

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Without coupons, in the US, craft paints run $0.79 - $1.49 or so, IME. With a coupon or on sale, less, of course. Good for terrain, but there are quite noticeable differences on minis.

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But Reaper paints are only $3.30 per bottle, I'm not sure what the prices of craft paints are in the States (I'm an Australian girl)

 

 

Reaper retail $3.29 for 1/2 ounce

Craft store retail $1.39 for 2 ounces

I have 200 minis to paint including two Cthulhus. The paint will quickly become the expensive part of this project.

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