Author Topic: Painting Plastic Minis  (Read 12617 times)

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Offline BanzaiCat

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Painting Plastic Minis
« on: July 11, 2016, 06:18:50 PM »
...specifically, I'm thinking of starting small (and staying that way most likely) and painting my Imperial Assault plastic minis. Any advice from you experts out there as to what brand(s) to use, brush sizes, extras, etc. that I might need to use?

Thanks in advance.

Offline Silent Disapproval Robot

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2016, 06:42:19 PM »
CSI has a bunch of out of print Star Wars miniatures from the WOtC game.  If painting isn't your thing (my hands aren't as steady as they used to be), they're worth a look.  They made hundreds of different types of models.

http://www.coolstuffinc.com/main_search.php?pa=searchOnName&page=1&resultsPerPage=25&q=star+wars+miniatures





Having said that, I used Tamiya paints for my Armada minis.  They work well with plastics.


Offline bbmike

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2016, 07:00:51 PM »
And then Banzai_Cat tripped and fell head first into the rabbit hole...  >:D
"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence."
-Sherlock Holmes

"You know, just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets."
-Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart

"There's a horror movie called Alien? That's really offensive. No wonder everyone keeps invading you!"
-The Doctor

“Before Man goes to the stars he should learn how to live on Earth.”
-Clifford D. Simak

Offline Nefaro

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2016, 07:53:10 PM »
I only started a couple years ago, and only do it in occasional spurts.  So I'm still working on improving.


There are a number of good name brand paints.   Just make sure you get some good acrylic paints and a decent primer to go on first.


I have a large amount of Vallejo brand acrylic paints, and a handful of others.  I prefer the Vallejo and further stocked my color range with those as time passed.

Oddly enough, my local game store sold individual bottles of mini paints cheaper, per bottle, than I could find sets for online.  For awhile, anyway.  Pretty sure they raised the prices since then.   :-\  Never know.. if there's a game store with a minis selection near you, it may be worth checking out their paint prices.  These things aren't cheap, so just start off with the basics and mix & match as needed.  You'll tend to mix white in with other colors regularly when you're layering for gradual light/shade effect.


Many people use spray primers, of all sorts, for the undercoat.  I've seen a couple types of plain 'ole spray primer, form your local hardware store, recommended for regular use by many. Since the temperature, and especially the humidity, varies so much here, from day-to-day, I started brushing mine on after having a batch of primer'd minis dry out poorly, with a rather sticky primer coat.  Got some different bottles of airbrush primer and tried them out for brushing (liked the Badger Gray and the Vallejo Black thus far.. they were thick enough for brushing).  Takes longer that way, however.



As for brushes, just pick up packs of the smallest Rounds you can find.  No need to buy the pricey hair/fur bristled brushes, just pick up some with passable man-made ones while you're starting.  I actually kinda prefer the extra spring of the non-natural ones, anyway, when it comes to some of the detailing.  Although they tend to wear out faster.

Don't think I've tried this set on Amazon yet, but it's the type of inexpensive sets I tend to pick up on occasion.  You'll tend to only use the #2 size and lower.  #0 and lower get the most workout for me, if the minis have a lot of detail (we always hope they do!).


One thing I was thankful to have started using is a Wet Palette.  Has not only saved my paints from drying too quickly, while I'm doing multiple models at once, but also helps keep it about the same damp consistency throughout.  You can purchase them or make your own with just a few items, but it is purely optional.   I hate to see even small amounts of paint get wasted so I eventually purchased a wet palette and was happy.  Before that, I just used a couple plastic palettes with small wells to drop a little paint into (cheap!).



Check out TY vids on the basics..

There are different methods for painting them, but I think everyone tends to mix and match different styles into their own method after getting familiar.  After a short introduction (easy to pick up the basic concepts by doing them a couple times), you'll find yourself experimenting.  Which is kinda fun.








As for Imperial Assault minis... check out this guy's big series on how he's painted those specific ones:


http://youtu.be/1ZUsfAtyEM0?list=PL6xOeNhrVj9to2nKZjk5H8OAQbG9izBrH






21 Mini series, showing each painting step on each mini.   8)

He goes into an extra step or two than my lazy ass currently would, for that extra bit of shading, but they look quite good for it too.


There are other Mini Painting Basics all over YT, which can give you the cut-down principles to start with. 


Offline Jack Nastyface

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2016, 05:06:18 PM »
oops...wrong quote, wrong thread.
Now, the problem is, how to divide five Afghans from three mules and have two Englishmen left over.

Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2016, 06:28:15 PM »
Thanks all! I'll check it out this weekend an see what's what.

Thanks for the video link, Nef. I hadn't seen those vids yet.

Offline SirAndrewD

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2016, 03:10:51 PM »
My method for painting is pretty simple and tends to get decent results. 

I prime with black, quick color spray enamel.  It can be had for $.90 or so at Home Depot.  It's a lot cheaper than most purpose built spray primers and does the same job.  Works very well on washed resin or plastic. 

For paints, my favorite is Vallejo model color, the kind that comes in the paint dropper type bottle.  The dropper system makes mixing and blending a lot easier if you want to go for advanced features like highlighting. 

I also use several of the Andrea Color paint sets for quick shading.

Washes are good for adding depth and quick shading.  Try looking for a few of those that are a shade or two darker than whatever base colors you want to work with.

Get yourself a good set of brushes. I use a white tipped Lowe-Cornell Size 3 for regular and size 00 for fine work.  You might want to keep a 3/0 on hand for the really little stuff.  Keep them clean with The Masters Brush Soap.  Brushes are pricey and you don't want to be running through them often.

I'm not going to call myself the best painter in the world, but I get decent results..










Offline Nefaro

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2016, 03:52:52 PM »
Forgot those.  Definitely the washes and the Masters Brush Soap. 

The latter definitely extends the life of brushes.  O0  The former makes shading so much faster & easier.

Andrew - do you use some kind of lacquer on your minis, normally?

Offline bbmike

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2016, 04:12:41 PM »
That's better than decent results!  O0
"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence."
-Sherlock Holmes

"You know, just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets."
-Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart

"There's a horror movie called Alien? That's really offensive. No wonder everyone keeps invading you!"
-The Doctor

“Before Man goes to the stars he should learn how to live on Earth.”
-Clifford D. Simak

Offline SirAndrewD

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2016, 04:35:36 PM »
Forgot those.  Definitely the washes and the Masters Brush Soap. 

The latter definitely extends the life of brushes.  O0  The former makes shading so much faster & easier.

Andrew - do you use some kind of lacquer on your minis, normally?

Yeah, that stuff is amazing.

No, I generally don't like the result from lacquer and sealers.  They have their place for sure, but I haven't had much use for them myself.

That's better than decent results!  O0

Thanks!  I sometimes am a bit hard on my own ability, especially because I have several friends who are MUCH better painters than I am.  One of them is a Golden Daemon winner from '04.  I feel like I do well with darker colors, skin tones and shading.  I'm average at best at freehand, and that's where my real roadblock comes in getting better. 

Offline Barthheart

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2016, 05:58:09 PM »
That's better than decent results!  O0

+1  :o

I could only wish to be that decent.....  :-[

I've got some Mercs Recon minis in the works.. I'll post pics when they're done but they won't approach those. My hands and eyes aren't what they used to be back in my model making/mini painting hay days.  :P

Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2016, 08:47:57 PM »
Echoing all the +1s so far...wow, that's great work!  O0

Offline Nefaro

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2016, 08:02:27 AM »


No, I generally don't like the result from lacquer and sealers.  They have their place for sure, but I haven't had much use for them myself.




I don't like how they affect them either.  Just wondering if you thought them important enough to use despite that. 

After hearing some horror stories about game minis' paint getting scratched off, or getting wet and running off, I tried some in the past.  Would rather go without but as these acrylics are so water soluble, I'm still unsure.   :-\


And I agree with the others; those are great paint jobs. 


Offline SirAndrewD

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2016, 02:09:03 PM »


No, I generally don't like the result from lacquer and sealers.  They have their place for sure, but I haven't had much use for them myself.




I don't like how they affect them either.  Just wondering if you thought them important enough to use despite that. 

After hearing some horror stories about game minis' paint getting scratched off, or getting wet and running off, I tried some in the past.  Would rather go without but as these acrylics are so water soluble, I'm still unsure.   :-\


And I agree with the others; those are great paint jobs.

I've rarely had problems with paint chipping or coming off miniatures, especially if they're plastic.  A good enamel primer will provide a strong base for the acrylic paints and you shouldn't need to seal it.  I can soak a dried painted mini in water and it won't do any damage.

Where you might run into some problems is when painting over metal or resin models, especially resin because of the post production oils.  Resin and pewter should be washed with soap and water and gone over with a toothbrush and left to dry before priming, this should help the primer get a better hold. 

I've actually had more trouble stripping the paint off models for a repaint than I have had with the paint bleeding or coming off on its own.

Offline Nefaro

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Re: Painting Plastic Minis
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2016, 03:42:29 PM »
Good to know.

I've only had to wash the occasional set of minis, due to excessive leftover oil.  The primers I use have been pretty good with the rest without a wash.

It's finding all the tiny flash lines, for filing off, that troubles me most in preparation.  While I find, trim, and file much of it off, there is often a small bit I only later discover after having primed and got into painting the details.  Can't win 'em all I guess.  :))