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Hello everyone, my brother and I have recently decided to pick up miniature painting for our Pathfinder games so we have a little more control over what our characters look like. I currently have 3 miniatures being shipped and we are also waiting for the LTPK to arrive as well. Definitely looking forward to learning the art and I've been watching videos and reading the pinned topics at the top of this page to get an idea of what to do in terms of painting.

 

Now I have decided to post here to ask the more experienced (and by that I mean you have actually put paint to miniature unlike myself :P) what are some things you wished you had known or done before you started your first miniature. Maybe some tips or products that you didn't think about being useful then, but now you couldn't do without. Even some paints (or paint brands you might recomend to buy or stay far away from) that are really important to have in a collection (I already know about browns being useful for the obvious reason of skin and what not)

 

Any tips or help would be greatly appreciative and I'm definitely looking forward to getting into this hobby.

Edited by Jmail1189
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I think you'll hear a LOT about buying good brushes. Cheap brushes are more expensive in the long run because they wear out faster. You'll be glad for the money spent if you spring for some decent brushes early on. Than and they are better for painting with to boot!

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Thanks Inner Geek, I'll definitely add good brushes to the list of supplies I need to buy. I'm assuming you would recomend natural brushes over synthetic.

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Prep sucks. But spend more time on prep anyway.

 

Once you start putting paint on the figure, any mold line you missed or gap that should have been filled is a huge problem. Not so much beforehand.

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I always wanted to skip straight into the painting part, so I used to skimp on prepwork- sanding, removing mold lines, converting weapons, etc. But if you don't start with a nice smooth clean surface, it really hurts you in the end. So make sure you wash the mini with soap and water and an old toothbrush. Clean the mold lines with an xacto knife or file. Sand the surface if you're feeling up to it at that point and the painting frenzy hasn't set in. Prime the figure. Attach the figure to something that you can hold without damaging your painted surface (I learned that one the hard way) Then you get to paint!

 

I've gotten to the point where the evil prepwork takes me at least an hour. It's torture. I just want to paint! But it doesn't have to take that long. Do whatever you feel like! Stop when your fingers are itching for the brush!

 

Good brushes meaning natural sable hair- like a Davinci, Raphael or Windsor Newton brand brush. The really nice ones cost between $10 and $25 depending on size. You actually want a larger brush because it will be less likely to dry out on you while painting. Say a #1 or #0. It will still have a nice enough tip to do fine details. The brush makes all the difference in the world. Also good lighting is key. Have a full spectrum or daylight lamp nearby (I use 4 now)

 

All of the main miniature paint lines are designed to work well for what you want. I've never used the P3, but people speak well of them. I love both my reaper and vallejo paints. They each thin differently and I used them for different tasks, but they're essentially interchangeable. I used to use artist acrylics long ago- they also work, but the thinning is a bit different. I really can't give an educated opinion on craft paints since I haven't really used them since painting those model ducks... they worked great for that, though!

 

Most of all, have fun. Enjoy! Post progress on the forum here so we can give you thumbs up and help in any way you want. Welcome to the madness of the hobby!

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Another one: On miniatures, you can't trust to the ambient lighting to provide your highlights and shadows. You have to paint them in, and they need to be stronger than you think. (No, even stronger than that. ^_^ )

 

I can explain the physics if you care about it (I do care, but I suspect most people don't), but you really have to paint them.

 

Higher highlights; deeper shadows!

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I can explain the physics if you care about it (I do care, but I suspect most people don't), but you really have to paint them.

 

Wait, there is physics behind this? I want to hear it!

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You've already hit the primary thing I wish I had known when I got started initially, that these forums are a great place to ask for advice. Seriously. There are many, many talented people here, all who have an abundance of great information. Some of the information you get here might be more or less applicable to your style, but it never hurts to try something. If you want a honest critique ask for it. This board is primarily supportive. Don't over think things in the beginning, you will learn a lot just by getting paint on the miniature. And the best starting advice I can give anyone (since Doug stole my thunder about highlights and shadows) is to thin your paint. Welcome to the boards. Have fun.

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Also, when you are doing the Learn to Paint Kits, read the open threads and post in them (LTPK1, LTPK2, ...). You will find not only other beginners to share their own pitfalls, but also experienced painters who are generally happy to share their experience. Plus there are a lot of pictures of what the minis should look like at various stages.

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Prep work. It's been said but it needs saying again. Get some files and new knife blades and smooth out those mold lines.

 

Get a task lamp or two for your workspace. They needn't be expensive. Good lighting only makes painting easier.

 

Finish the base, too. You don't need to do a full on mini diorama but put some thought into the base. A neatly painted base will add to the figure, a sloppy one will detract from it. For heaven's sake, don't paint it bright green. Use a realistic green-brown groundcover color.

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Thanks yall for the tips. It seems prep work is slightly on the important side. I'll have to take my time there especially since I already have the files and new hobby knife.

 

I'll definitely have to look into getting a lamp or two now that you all mention it since the lighting in the room I'm planning on using is lacking (only one light source directly above.

 

Special thanks Pragma, I have not seen those posts about the LTPKs and I for see them coming in handy a lot.

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I'll definitely have to look into getting a lamp or two now that you all mention it since the lighting in the room I'm planning on using is lacking (only one light source directly above.

 

About lighting: Get some simple Architect's lamps that can be fitted with standard GE bulbs and then put 75W equivalent 5600K (light temperature) Compact Fluorescent Lights in them. Cheaper than an Ott Light and just as good.

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Oh! One other thing. I don't know your age or eyesight situation, but here is something that I learned. Even with 20/20 vision, you may start to lose the ability to focus really close up as you get older. Depending on your age, a cheap pair of 'reading' glasses from the pharmacy might help. I kept thinking that minis were getting smaller until I realized I was just holding them farther and farther away to focus on them! A friend gave me a pair of old reading glasses and I sort of laughed it off at the time. Then I put them on and suddenly it was like painting when I was a teen again.

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I also recommend getting some magnification. It's really helped my painting a lot. This allows you to see the smallest of the details on the minis, be able to get the eyes right and show you some of your imperfections. I currently use this and find it was pretty dang easy to adjust to and paint with, it's adjustable to glasses-like or a headband, has extra lighting, and quite a few options for magnification.

 

EDIT: Ninja'd by Inner Geek!

Edited by ub3r_n3rd
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I've got one I wish I'd known that hasn't come up yet:

 

When you finish a miniature, do not store it in direct sunlight or under ultraviolet light (including extended display under flourescent lights).

 

It'll change colours like Zartan on a hot sidewalk if you leave it long enough. Preserving your hard work after painting is equally as important as doing it in the first place!

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