Painting miniatures can be a great hobby to adopt, enabling you to transform a boring miniature into an individual and extravagant gem. Many individuals additionally collect miniatures, enabling you to turn your hobby into a viable business which collectors will offer many dollars for. Here at Best of Machinery, we have put together all of the information which you need in order to paint your miniatures, whether you are a complete beginner or somewhat of an expert.
Each step in the process of painting your miniatures is important in order to achieve the best possible finish. A great tip is to practice first on some miniatures that you are not too bothered about keeping so that you can learn and adapt your technique.
Preparing Your Miniatures
Before painting any miniature, you must first clean the item and ensure that any old paint is removed. Failing to complete thorough preparation will achieve lackluster results. The best way to remove old paint is to take a large bottle of Pine-Sol cleaner, utilizing the pine oil component which actively strips the paint. This works for all types of paint such as oil paint, acrylic, primer, or enamel, and can also be used if you have made a mistake on your favorite miniature. For the best results, fill a glass jar with a sealable lid with Pine-Sol, placing the miniature inside and sealing the lid tightly.
Leave your miniature inside of the glass jar for a full 24-hours and then remove, scrubbing away at the old paint with a tough toothbrush. For tougher surfaces, you may need to repeat this process again. Ensure that you complete this task within well ventilated areas, however. If your miniature is made from either plastic or resin, then be sure to only soak your miniature for around an hour in the Pine-Sol.
However, even brand new miniatures need to be fully prepared; you cannot simply open a pack of miniatures and start painting as the paint will not stick very well at all. When manufacturers create your miniature, they cover it in a release agent so that the miniature comes out of the mold effectively without any issues. This leaves an oily or powdered substance across your miniature which needs to be removed.
To remove the release agent, simply use a good liquid soap and lots of warm water, scrubbing the miniature with a tough toothbrush to ensure that the release agent is banished from all crevices and corners. Be sure to be gentle with fragile miniatures or with areas of the miniature which may break, such as a sword or spear. Additional details will be revealed after you have completed this step, which will ensure that you love you miniatures even more.
The next stage of your preparation involves removing flash lines and mold lines. A flash line is slight spurs left on the hands or feet of the miniature as a result of the casting process. To combat this imperfection, take an Exacto knife and slice away the excess, using a jeweler’s file to complete the process and achieve a perfectly flawless finish. Alternatively, a mold line is the joining line left behind when a miniature is cast in a two-part mold. For minor mold lines, take a jeweler’s file and file away the imperfection gently.
Applying a Primer
Applying a paint primer to your prepared miniature is a very important step prior to painting your items. Completing this step will enable the paint to stick to the miniature much better, and it will ensure that an undertone is achieved for the true color. Additionally, if you are going to use acrylic paint for your miniatures, a primer is vital to ensure that the acrylic paint will actually stick as without a primer acrylic paint simply will not stick to metal, resin, or plastic.
Ensure that your primer is applied lightly as a thick coat of primer may destroy finer details of the miniature. Remember to choose the color of your primer depending upon the range of colors you will use overall for your miniature, considering whether you want to create a light or a darker ambiance. However, using a white primer will ensure that your subsequent colors will appear much more vibrant and exciting.
Attaching the Base
Once this step has been completed, you will next need to attach the base of the miniature, enabling your miniature to stand. The best way to attach your base is through using strong glue to enable your miniature to stay in place. If you do happen to get glue in places where you did not want the glue to go, then simply take a de-bonder such as a cyanoacrylate De-Bonder. A great tip is to make sure that whenever you buy your glue to ensure that you also buy the corresponding de-bonder, ensuring that you are always prepared.
Painting Your Miniatures
Once you have chosen your color scheme, you are ready to paint. An expert tip from us here at Best of Machinery is to never paint a miniature straight out of a bottle; you must always dilute the paint and build up several thin coats of paint. One thick coat will simply hide details and spoil your miniature. Start by painting the deepest crevices first and work outwards to envelop the more accessible areas. A great technique to learn when painting your miniatures is learning how to ‘wash’ your miniatures and create a stunning shadow effect. This process involves running a thin color mixture, which is a darker shade than the base color, through the cracks and creases of the miniature.
After you have finished painting your miniature, you should then drybrush your miniature. Drybrushing involves highlighting the raised surfaces, applying a tiny amount of paint to your brush which happens to be a lighter color than the already painted area. Drag the brush across the grain of the texture for a perfect look. A flat brush is great for dry brushing.
Finally, add finishing touches to your miniature, applying finer details when required. Once completely dry, cover your miniature in a household white glue for a shiny finish.