Author Topic: Painting Plastic Minis  (Read 12449 times)

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Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #45 on: January 17, 2017, 06:59:00 AM »
Okay, dumb question, but what's the difference between using a black primer and a white primer?

Offline Barthheart

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2017, 07:01:34 AM »
How bright you want the final colours to be.

Offline Bison

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #47 on: January 17, 2017, 07:10:26 AM »
Basically.  And if you are painting light colors it'll take a few more coats over black paint to get the color you want, which can cause issues with details if you are not careful.  I generally don't like black, but some people swear by it.  I have cans of white and grey primer that I use on my minis.

Offline undercovergeek

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2017, 07:47:37 AM »
If you're mini is predominantly black go black primer - night goblins, once primed just need a face

Skeletons- white primer, then they just need eye sockets!!

Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #49 on: January 17, 2017, 07:52:13 AM »
Stormtroopers too. :)

Thanks for the answers. I'll stick with white for now. I just need time to paint the Shadows of Brimstone figs...gotta think of which one I want to start with. And if I want to futz with going to Michael's to get debris/tiny rocks to build up their bases or not.

Offline Bison

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #50 on: January 17, 2017, 07:56:55 AM »
And if I want to futz with going to Michael's to get debris/tiny rocks to build up their bases or not.

Cat litter works too.  Clean cat litter of course you sick bastard.

Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2017, 08:17:04 AM »
I way, way overdid it with the primer on these models. I guess I could look into stripping them but honestly I'm not going to play this all the time. Guess I'll paint one and see how it turns out.

Offline Bison

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #52 on: January 17, 2017, 08:20:04 AM »
Use one to practice removing the primer.  Like I said the first few minis you paint are at best experimental works of art.

Offline Ubercat

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #53 on: January 17, 2017, 08:45:15 AM »
I base my mini's (WHEN I base) with aquarium sand. The cheap bag I bought 20 years ago is still almost full after being used on probably 150+ models. I water down Elmers glue and apply it to the base and then sprinkle the sand on, tipping the model to let the excess fall off.

After it's thoroughly dried, I paint on several coats of a cheap, dark green acrylic paint that I bought at an art store. Next I drybrush Citadel goblin  green, and then a bright yellow. The GG is a somewhat heavy drybrush and the yellow is very light. The yellow makes it pop, and look a lot like real grass IMO.
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Offline Nefaro

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #54 on: January 17, 2017, 09:39:16 AM »
I generally don't like black, but some people swear by it.


I use black a LOT.  It's so easy to work with. 

You can get a good idea of where to put the brightest highlights, with an initial glance before painting, since the light reflects a bit better off a black-primered mini.  Hard to pick up all the detail subtleties with white.  But more importantly for me, you don't have to worry about missing some tiny little spot in the nooks & crannies later on.  If you miss something with a white primer base, you'll have a little white pinprick spot glaring at you from under an armpit or their crotch. Just saves the trouble of triple checking for little white spots where there should be darkness. 

I also tend to need less layers of the subsequent base color when using black.  The white tends to shine through more with a lot of colors, being brighter, so white can be some extra work here too.

Black works well when the mini will be primarily metal- or dark-colored and is a short straight & upward progression in colors for highlighting.  My default for military style outfits.

I would probably use brown more often, instead of black, if I had some.  But I already have lots of primer so best use it first.  Would work well on heavily fleshy & animal stuff, something with the darker end of yellow, and with earthy-colored clothing.

Unless it's something that's supposed to be mostly white-ish, or a bright cartoony style.  In which case I try to start with a gray or white.  I just find it easier to steadily work the colors up from black, and have some natural dark coloring in all the crevices by default, but if you want the colors to be bright then white is the way to go.  Again - cartoonish style minis for me.  But the most notable is.....



White primer, or a good white base coat of paint, is essential for something that will be red. Red paint just always seems to come off darker than you'd think.  So even if I've used a darker primer, and only need to color one piece of clothing red, I will still put a white undercoat of regular paint under something that's supposed to be a crimson red or brighter.  Even then, I still often force myself to use a slightly brighter range of red paints than initially expected.  Otherwise it will come out as three shades of old blood; too dark.  The same could probably be said of Orange and brighter Yellow too, although not quite to such an extent.  But if I've already primered with black or gray, I just add some white layers to brighten the later red. 

First saw mention of this in some 'painting tips' vids.  It made sense since my previous experience with red proved too dark.




Offline Bison

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #55 on: January 17, 2017, 09:42:43 AM »
Red is a hard color to work with sometimes.  I'm not sure why, but it is.

Offline Nefaro

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #56 on: January 17, 2017, 09:53:42 AM »
Red is a hard color to work with sometimes.  I'm not sure why, but it is.

Orange, and to some extent yellow, is more troublesome for me.  At least... getting the layering looking good.   

Offline undercovergeek

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #57 on: January 17, 2017, 10:01:10 AM »
Red orange and yellow flame pattern on the rim of a black primed night goblin hood, lots and lots of going over and over

Offline Ubercat

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #58 on: January 17, 2017, 01:50:54 PM »
I use black a LOT.  It's so easy to work with. 

Same here.

A black undercoat gives you a ready made dark area dividing different sections of lighter colors. Just make sure that you leave a thin black line between areas. A white undercoat would require you to carefully paint black lines everywhere yourself. Also, I recommend painting mini's with a couple coats of fairly watered down black paint after priming. This is a quick step as it requires no finesse. The black paint makes the model less sticky in your hand and also covers any spots that the primer missed or where it was too thin.

What I just described is how I've been painting for the last 21 years. I still find it a slow process, though suitable for when you don't have 100's of mini's to get through on a dead line. A few years ago I experimented with another method which has also given me good results, though different than what I normally do.

Here it is. Simply paint the different areas in a flat coat of the appropriate colors, no shading, high lighting, or black lining required. When you finish this step, the mini will look like juniors first paint job. Bland. Next, paint on a coat or 2 of Minwax Polyshade or other varnish of an appropriately light shade. These will take longer to dry than acrylic paints. There are some that are designed specifically for mini's, though I had good results with Minwax Polyshade: Antique Walnut Satin. The varnish provides natural shading to the recessed areas and also serves to protect the paint job, saving yet another step. Use older worn out brushes for the varnish step, or buy crappy cheap ones. Mini's done this way are fast, easy, and look good but will never win any awards.

The method is called dipping, though I doubt that anyone still literally dips their mini's in an open can of varnish.
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Offline Nefaro

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #59 on: January 17, 2017, 02:28:35 PM »
Also, I recommend painting mini's with a couple coats of fairly watered down black paint after priming. This is a quick step as it requires no finesse. The black paint makes the model less sticky in your hand and also covers any spots that the primer missed or where it was too thin.




I actually brush on some airbrush primer when doing just a few models at once.

Initially started doing so when the humidity & temp here changes so regularly that my drying spray primer would sometimes get sticky like that.  Plus I'd have to go brush on some more in the places the spray missed anyway.  Said "screw it, I'm just going to brush on the primer and get all that done at once." 

May take a little extra time but it all gets done evenly and in one pass.  With the ones I use, by the time I get done priming three minis, the first is usually dry enough to start painting. 

I will still spray a large number sometimes, in one go.  Usually when there are quite a few of the same model/mold.  I'm not so worried about little bits when there are a bunch of repeats to do... best to get through them ASAP because that kind of repetition isn't so enjoyable.



Been wanting to grab one of those little travel-size hair dryers with the cool blower option.  Not to primp my luxurious mane, but to help dry my minis faster at certain points in painting.  Because I use washes in between some layers and their much higher water content makes them dry more slowly.  Don't like waiting when I got more to put on before it's finished!  >:(