Miniature Wargames

Painting miniatures – How to use paint

by Vlad, Quartermaster @ The Guild Hall

April 16 2020

Wargaming is a fun and exciting hobby and part of the fun consists of assembling and painting miniatures. Previosly I showed you all the useful tools for assembling and painting your miniatures. In this article we’re look at the differences between paints and how you can use them.
You just assembled your army, and now finally it’s time to start painting. If you are confused about where should you start maybe you will find this article helpful.

A short disclaimer I do not consider myself a professional miniature painter and I will always paint my armies battle-ready. But what does it mean, battle-ready? Basically it means if you take a look at the table one meter away you can safely identify units of minis easily, but if you take a good look up close you can clearly see that I only used 5 or 6 colors, at most 10 in some rare cases on a miniature. It depends on you of course if you’d like my approach or would like to learn to paint them in more detail.

Either way there are some rules that I recommend you should follow when you start to paint:

  • always use a primer before you apply your first coat of paint
  • always thin your paints on your pallet with water at least
  • it’s recommend that you use a palette to get that nice sharp tip on your brush
  • always apply thin coats of paints so you don’t clog the details on the mini.
When you look a stand with all the colorful paint pots you might feel a bit overwhelmed and not know which ones should you use. So lets get to look all the different kid of paint and they are for.
Sprays act as a primer that prepares your model for painting, as well as providing a strong foundation to build on.
Base paints are the foundation of painting. The high pigment count of these paints means they provide excellent coverage, giving you a base of rich color to paint over.
Shade paints make adding realistic shadows and lowlights to your models easy. They are designed to run into the recesses of your miniatures, providing excellent results with minimal effort.
Contrast is a 2 in 1 paint (base + shade) that makes painting simple and fast the downside is that it’s not consistent and it should be applied over a light undercoat.
Layer paints have a lighter pigment count than base paints, meaning they can be applied in multiple layers to help bring out extra detail on your miniatures. They’re great for edge highlighting.
Air paints use a thinner formulation that makes them work perfectly with your airbrush.
Dry paints are formulated to be perfect for dry brushing, with a thicker texture than normal paint designed to catch on the raised edges of your mode. This useful technique makes highlighting and capturing detail simple.
Technical paints let you add all sorts of special effects to your models. Cracked earth, gore, rust, and corrosion or spectral glows – each makes for an eye-catching way to finish your miniatures.
And below you can see on of my minis from 2019, that I’m actually proud of. Can you spot the difference? 😊

You can have a more detailed look at how to use paints and techniques on the Citadel website and check out these Youtube channels I really like:

You can find so many cool videos about this topic, here is just one to get you inspired.

Whenever in doubt just start painting and do make mistakes. That’s only way to get better at it. What if you messed up your first mini? You can always strip the paint down and start from the beginning. Just take a look at these two minis I painted.

On this picture you can see one of my first minis that I pained in 2007, I believe.

And below you can see on of my minis from 2019, that I’m actually proud of. Can you spot the difference? 😊
There is a very active wargaming and miniature painting community in Cluj at The Guild Hall and we’d love to have you among us! Check out the upcoming events below and lets connect at our Discord server.

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