Painting Guide and FAQ

Archive-name: games/miniatures/painting-faq Rec-games-miniatures-archive-name: painting-faq Last-modified: 10/22/1996 Author: tierna@agora.rdrop.com - with tips gathered from posts         on rec.games.miniatures and from readers of that group Comment: Available for FTP from rtfm.mit.edu in usenet/rec/games/miniatures          or from kewlaid.highfiber.com /pub/rpg/miniatures          or by email from tierna@highfiber.com or tierna@agora.rdrop.com.                         Frequently Asked Items  This document is presented to help the inexperienced miniatures painter get a grasp of the basics.  Most answers given were collected from months of discussion on rec.games.miniatures and represent the experiences and tips of a great many people.  The rest of the answers are Britt's, compiled from hours and hours of experimentation and practice.  Many answers are not absolute.  Painting is an art and in art there are few absolutes.  This FAQ is scheduled to be posted monthly, around the 20th of each month. An informal format is being used because it's easier.  NOTICE:  This document is Copyright (c) 1995 by Brenda Klein.           Use and copying of this information is permitted, so long           as the following conditions are met:            o  no fees or compensation are charged for use, copies                or access to this information beyond the Internet            o  this copyright notice is included intact           IMPORTANT CHANGE:  The email addresses of the FAQ maintainer are now:              tierna@indirect.com  and  tierna@agora.rdrop.com   NEW STUFF:  Section 6: "How do I strip paint" has been updated with new              information on plastic figures, and two new paint strippers.              Section 9.A.b: "How do I paint hair" has new and better              techniques for both blond and red hair.                                             Contents                          ================                     (* denotes changed entries)     1. How do I get started painting?      *  1.A. Are there books on painting available?         1.B. What kind of paints should I use?         1.C. What kind of brushes should I use?             1.C.a. How should I clean my brushes?         1.D. What other equipment do I need?    2. Should I prime?  (Also, what should I do to the miniature before       priming?)         2.A. Black, white, or gray?    3. What's the first step after priming?    4. What are shading, washing, drybrushing, highlighting and glazing?         4.A. How do I wash?             4.A.a. Why do my washes dry badly?         4.B. How do I drybrush?         4.C. How do I highlight?         4.D. What are inks, should I use them, and if so how?         4.E. What colours should I use for detail work?    5. What should I use for bases?         5.A. What's the best stuff to cover bases with?    6. How do I strip paint?    7. What kind of miniatures should I start with?         7.A. Metal or plastic?             7.A.a. My miniature came in multiple parts, now what?             7.A.b What is pinning and how is it done?    8. What is kitbashing?         8.A. How do I convert miniatures?         8.B. What kind of glue should I use?    9. How can I paint details?         9.A. How do I paint faces?             9.A.a. How do I paint eyes?             9.A.b. How do I paint hair?         9.B. How do I paint insignia?         9.C. How do I paint armour?         9.D. What other detailing can I do?             9.D.a. Can I use anything besides paint and ink for details?    10. What is an overcoat and should I use one?    11. How do I keep paint from drying out?    12. How do I use an airbrush for miniatures?    13. How/where do I get miniatures?         13.A. Is there a list of companies?                                                      Questions and Answers                        =============================     1. How do I get started painting?        Get some paint, brushes, miniatures, and a space to do your work.       There is no `secret formula' involved, and despite all the advice       and information you'll get from this FAQ and other sources, the       best method of painting is the one that works for you.  If you       prefer one type of paint to another, that's great.  Painting is       a hobby, not an exact science.  Pick and choose, practice, relax,       and enjoy yourself.  Take advice only if you feel right about it.       Be patient with yourself.  Most painters have a box of the stuff       they learned on, or have removed old paint and redone several of       their miniatures.  Good painting's a skill.  Remember: PRACTICE.       Try different materials and techniques.  Don't take anyone else's       word for it unless you're sure - and the practice will do you good.    *  1.A. Are there books on painting available?            There are several, though probably not all publications will meet           all painters' needs.  The best descriptions and information           available at this time are listed below:             Citadel produces a Painting Guide which is a $1 pamphlet.  It             was also reprinted in the back of _Golden_Demon_Awards_, which             covers the finalists and many entries in the 198? Golden Demon              Awards , and also in _Fantasy_Miniatures_, which is likely a             later printing of Awards.              Citadel currently produces a book for its games called              _'Eavy_Metal_.  The book retails around $20 US and has a lot of              excellent information, if you remember that the only standards you              need to adhere to are your own.  Some people love the way GW-             painted miniatures look, others hate them.  It's all a matter of              taste.              The first edition of _BattleSystem_ (TSR, trademark, blah-blah)             had a nice, though thin, intro to painting with pictures of a             work in progress.  (Thanks, Coyt!)           (David Lee McLellan is to be thanked for finding the next two titles.)            _The_Armory_Painting_Guide_to_Military_Miniatures._  A 24-page            pamphlet which costs $3.00 US.  They also do a painting guide            to horses which costs $2.00 US.  Both are aimed at the wargaming            audience.             _Building_and_Painting_Scale_Figures_ by Sheperd Paine, available             from Kalmbach Publishing.             (Steve Gill kindly listed the following from his personal library.)            _Making_Model_Soldiers_of_the_World_ by Jack Cassin-Scott            pub: John Bartholomew and son Ltd 1973, 1977            Quite a good little book, covers design, sculpting and casting of             figures as well as sections on painting. Due to it's emphasis on             54mm Napoleonic figures it has a very good section on horses.             _The_Encyclopedia_of_Military_Modelling_ gen ed Vic Smeed, con ed             Alec Gee   pub: Octopus Books 1981, Peerage Books 1985            Large coffee table size book: has sections on all the major             historical periods, the different types of figures available,             equipment, vehicles, dioramas and displays. Sort of a collection             of long articles from the Military Modelling magazine crowd.             _Buildings_for_the_Military_Modeller_-_Design_&_Construction_ by            Ian Weekley    pub: B.T.Batsford Ltd 1989            Covers Ian Weekleys building techniques, more is spent on describing            the subject than the techniques used, unfortunately, but very            inspirational.           (Gary Leitzell himself kindly provided the information about his           book.)            _Brush_Strokes_.  Has been advertised in Military History Magazine,            had reviews in MWAN and The Courier and had an article published in            issue 61 of Courier on painting.              Mail orders to World Games Network, P.O. Box 15834, Pittsburgh, PA             15244.  Include $12.95 per copy, which includes shipping and             handling, in check or money order.            There's also a magazine which might be of some interest to painters.            Forge has some general interest painting and modelling information            in each issue and is otherwise dedicated to Warzone.  It is $2.95            per copy and has a subscription rate.  It's produced by Heartbreaker            Hobbies.              Also, Renaissance Ink publishes a monthly newsletter that covers             painting techniques (12 issues $15.00). We also offer a pocket             miniatures painting guide with shadeing and highlighting chart for             paints and inks ($0.50).  To receive these publications mail:                      Renaissance Ink                      335 Torrance Ave                      Vestal, NY 13850            More information can also be obtained from Jay Worth, publisher of            the newsletter, at jwirth4702@aol.com.        1.B. What kind of paint should I use?            This question has sparked some vigorous discussion from two major           camps: acrylics and enamels.  First, a description of what these           terms mean:           Oil- or solvent-based.  These tend to be a bit thicker           than acrylics and require that you have thinner on hand for           washing, thinning, and brush cleaning.  These paints are often           referred to as enamels, but some acrylics can be enamels as well,           so when in doubt, read the label.           Acrylic paint is water-base and tends to be smoother, though if           it gets dry it can become grainy.  All you need to thin or clean           up with this stuff is tap water.  Discussion on the newsgroup           rec.games.miniatures has uncovered that more posters prefer the           acrylics to oils.  (This author uses acrylics.)  Again, a           matter of taste.           The basic colours from which just about anything can be mixed are           white, black, brown (you can mix this yourself, but it's a pain),           red, yellow, blue, and gray (same as above).  Metallics, various           shades and hues, practically anything you can think of is available           through one company or another.  Start with the basics and expand           as you feel you need it.  Soon enough you'll have more paint than           you ever imagined you'd need, and likely use every one.           Most like-type (acrylic or oil) can be mixed regardless of           brand, but be cautious at first as some brands are incompatible.           Companies which manufacture miniature-formulated paints:             Ral Partha  (acrylics and dragonscale metallic creams)             Floquil/Polly S  (acrylics and oil-base)             Armory  (acrylic)             Pactra  (acrylic enamels)             Model Master  (oil-base and acryylic)             Humbrol  (oil-base)             Dragon Colour (acrylic)             Citadel  (acrylics and specially-formulated inks)             Howard Hues  (acrylic)             Tamiya (fine acrylics, almost transparent)             Gunze Sangyo's Aqueous Hobby Colour (fine acrylics)             Horizon (acrylics for vinyl models - good on primed surfaces)             Accuflex  (acrylics - formulated for airbrushing, also makes a                        good primer)           There are other companies, of course, these are just the ones the           author could think of right now.  Most paints are available at           your local hobby or gaming shop, and places that specialize in           miniature railroad equipment often have the best selection.           Railroad paints are often oil-based, but primers and sealers           of that type are usually quite good at preserving detail.           Paints may be bought by the individual bottle (usually under $2           US per) or in sets.  If you buy a set, be sure that you can _see_           all the paints before purchase.  This way, you'll assure that you           get what you're looking for and that the consistencies are good.           SHAKE all paint before purchase, to make sure they mix up well.       1.C. What kind of brushes should I use?            Brushes come in a myriad of sizes and several different materials.           Sizes range from 1" to 20/0 or more.  The more 0s the smaller the           brush, generally, however companies vary in size so the only true           scale is to look and compare.           Materials are sable, fox, camel hair (which is actually squirrel           tail, BTW), ox hair, and nylon.  Round and flat are also available.           Red sable is the painters' choice, usually.  A large brush for           primering and large areas, something between a 000 and 5/0 for           smaller areas, and anything from a 10/0 to a 20/0 for fine detail.           Drybrushing destroys good brushes so a couple camel hair for           drybrushing is a good idea.           Again, look at them before you buy.  Make sure the tips are smooth           and end in a point and the sizes are right.  A good brush retails           anywhere from $3 to $8, so it's a purchase to take time over.           Brushes are available at hobby and game shops, often at crafts           stores at a better price.          1.C.a. How should I clean my brushes?             It depends on your paint type, mostly.  For acrylics which are             water-based, a good careful washing with warm water and dish             detergent is fine.  Remember to re-form the tips into points             before storage.  For oil-based paints, your best bet by far is             to buy a bottle of thinner made by the same company as your paints.             Not all paint is formulated the same and thinner is often             product-specific.             Also, Badger brand "Air-Opaque ready-to-use- cleaner" for              airbrushes does a wonderful job of getting dried paint off of              paintbrush bristles, either acrylic or oil-based.  It costs $4 for              16oz. (Thanks to Bill Gilliland for that tip.)             While we're at it, there are three `nevers' to brush-handling.             Never let your brush rest in the water or thinner on its tip.               That's the surest way possible to lose a fine point.             Never scrub a good brush across either miniature or blotter.             Never let paint dry on your brush.  This'll fray the bristles             into an unusable mass.             When cleaning a brush while painting, gently rotate it against             the side of the solvent/water container until the bristles stop             exuding paint.  A gentle wipe across the blotter before washing             the paint out of the bristles both saves solvent/water from              clouding prematurely and helps get rid of traces of paint you             can't readily see.  A clear solvent/water container is desirable             so you can monitor its cloudiness and how clean the brush is              coming.               1.D. What other equipment do I need?            Not much.  Something to hold your water/solvent (two of them if           you're working with metallics, one for the regular paint and one           for the metallic - keeps flecks out of the other stuff, and change           often to keep from muddying your colours), a palette of some sort           (professional, ceramic tile, old plate, even the plastic bubble           from a large miniature or two - Coyt suggests the plastic lid from a           large margarine tub or the like covered with foil.  When done, strip           the foil off and discard), and GOOD LIGHTING.  Against a window is           ideal, if not a good overhead light or adjustable lamp is a must.           Paper towels or napkins - some for blotting your brushes on and some           extras for the inevitable spill or splatter.  Time - never enough of           that so learn to paint bits at a time (also good so that one layer           can dry before you put on another).  Ventilation, ventilation,            VENTILATION!  All paints give off noxious fumes, whether you can            smell them or not, and unless you like having headaches, you'll want            lots of space, open windows, even a fan or two.           The above are the _needed_ things.  Below are optional:           A magnifying glass - useful for seeing fine detail.            [A tip from Coyt D Watters which might be useful:            "I started using a magifying visor (jewelers) which gives me 2x and             flips up out of the way.  Gee what a difference!  Now I can easily             detail those little things like dart feathers, buttons, and laces.             My 0 brush looks about 5" around though.  They are a little              expensive, but a good quality one can be purchased from Micro-Mark              for under $20.  And, because it's on my head, I don't have to move              around to get a good clear view, nor is a magnifying glass in the              way of my brushes."]            An X-acto blade can be helpful, tweezers can be invaluable if           you'll be gluing, files and emery boards are used to remove sprue,           mold lines, and anything else you don't want. Nail scissors get           into places larger ones can't.           As you get more practiced you'll start finding other things to use           in your painting pursuits (such as toothpicks and small brushes),           so you'll acquire your own personal array in time.         2. Should I prime?  (Also, what should I do to the miniature before       priming?)        Yes.  Primer not only assures for good paint adhesion, but it also       brings up detail more starkly than on an unprimered miniature.       Now that that's settled, we go into another major area of controversy       among painters: how?  The only thing painters seem to agree upon is       that a spray primer is best, and the primers specifically formulated       for miniatures are better at retaining detail.  Some folks use Krylon       with very good results, but it takes a light and even spray to retain       detail.       Companies that put out good spray primers are Ral Partha, Armory,       Floquil, Model Master, Testors, and Citadel.  Krylon is the best of       the non-hobbyist primers, but other store brands are in the same       league.  If you use sandable primer, be especially careful to use       thin coats so as to not obscure detail.  (Many department stores       and most home improvement centers carry spray primer at much lower       cost than hoby and other specialty shops.)       BEFORE APPLYING PRIMER you will need to clean up any bad lines on       the miniature (use a small file, X-acto knife, or emery board),       making sure you get rid of the bump under the base, if your miniature       has a self-molded base (sandpaper is excellent for this), then       WASH it in a little soap and water.  Various substances are used on       miniatures to make them come free of the mold, as well as the fact       that hand oils get on the miniature as it's handled, and these will       interfere with paint adhesion unless cleaned off.  Now, use a little       white glue (or rubber cement - thanks Ed Sharpe!) and glue the miniature        to a base of cardboard, cork, wood strip, popsicle stick, ruler, plastic        bottle cap...  Anything you can safely handle without touching the        figure.  This assures that you can handle the miniature during the        painting process without touching wet paint.  Even a freshly dry coat        will rub off without the slightest provocation.       Methods of applying primer are spraying and brushing on.  If you're       using a brush-on primer, make certain it flows well without being       too thin and use a semi-large brush to brush over your miniature from       top to bottom.       If you're spraying, set up a large box enclosed on three sides in       which to place your miniatures for priming.  This will keep the paint       from going everywhere and also tends to give a better coat.  Make       _sure_ you have good ventilation, outdoors or in a window or set up       a fan.  Spray paint is nasty.  On the subject of technique, the best       advice I've seen came from Deep Six (sl9b4@cc.usu.edu), as posted to       rec.games.miniatures, and is edited and used here without permission:                      "First, be sure you shake the paint well. It says on the can you           should shake it for a full minute, so I do it for two minutes.           Shake during use, too.           The second thing is spraying the figures with the `good' stream           of spray. You do this by starting the spray before it hits the           figs and stopping the spray after it hits the figs. The spray           that comes out of the can when you first start spraying and when           you stop spraying is incomplete -- it has too much or too little           paint, and/or too much or too little carrier. What I do is put the           figs out on newspaper and start spraying the newspaper to one side           of the figs, when the spray has been coming out for a half-second           or so, I pass the spray over the figs, and when the spray has           passed over the figs, I stop. This assures that only properly           mixed paint is falling on the figs. It takes longer and wastes           some paint, but the finish is worth it to me.           Next, keep the can as upright as possible, and keep the nozzle           about 10 inches from the figs. Any closer and it's too hard to           control the amount of paint on the figs. Any further and the paint           starts to dry before it hits the figs.           And finally, IMO you should never use a whole can of paint (on figs           anyway). It seems like when the can is about 3/4 of the way empty,           the paint is really crappy, uneven and it comes out of the can in           spurts."           And Coyt reminds us to always make sure you get the underside           of the miniature as well, particularly if it's a figure in a cloak           or the like.  Spray upward and at an angle and make passes from            all sides to assure coverage.               2.A. Black, white, or gray?            A thousand answers exist for this one.  The best advice available           seems to be use what you prefer.  White primer makes colours go           on brighter and is best for anything on which you want that effect.           Black primer gives good shadows and is commonly used to base           modern military and skeleton figures.           Gray is rather neutral allowing for brighter light colours and           decent shading.           The best tip so far is to experiement and see what you like.           Also, and the author likes this effect, prime in black and then           drybrush raised areas in white before painting.  This allows for           the depth of the darker shade but gives the lighter base for the           brighter colors.     3. What's the first step after priming?        Pick the colours you want for the major areas (skin, each piece of       clothing and armour, hair, shield) and paint them on in layers.       Think of dressing the miniature.  Start with eyes, move on to face       and hands, then clothing, armour, hair, lastly weapons.  You aren't       going for massive detail just now, you're only setting each area's       base colour.  Make certain the paint goes on smoothly and remember       to paint from top to bottom.       Once you have this part done, it's time for detailing.  This is       achieved by many different techniques such as drybrushing, washing,       shading, and highlighting.     4. What are shading, washing, drybrushing, highlighting and glazing?        These are techniques to give a little realism to your miniatures.              % Shading and highlighting give the illusion that there is light       shining upon the figure.  Shading details the folds and shadows and       highlighting picks out the brighter, better lit areas.  Washing,       glazing, outlining and blending are all methods of shading.       (See below.)              % Drybrushing is a highlighting method, as is simply accentuating the       high spots with a bit of paint a bit lighter than the base.       (See section 4.B.)              % Glazing is done with inks, as can be washing and outlining.       (See section 4.D.)              % Outlining is simply picking out the line between two seperate parts       of the miniature (i.e. sleeve and arm) and painting or inking in a       fine line of either black or a darkened shade of the base in order to       bring out the division between the two sections.              % Blending is rather difficult and takes much practice.  To blend one       changes the tone of the paint as it crosses the surface of any       non-detailed section, as Mecha armour or unscaled hide.  Darker shades       are laid into any depressions and carefully thinned and blended into       the surrounding areas using a damp brush.  (This is NOT a technique       for beginners.  The author still has trouble getting her blending        to look good, and finds nothing wrong with not shading miniatures        at all.  Again, try it and see if you want to practice the technique        or not.  Another personal-choice situation.)       Some excellent advice from Coyt D Watters:  "If you're using          acrylics, you can pick up several TONING MEDIUMs, which alter the         brightness of the paint without the headache of black.  I've started         using a drop of white, a drop of black, and a drop of toning and         mixing all four with equal parts of the color I'm using, so I get          light - color - toned color - dark         My first attempt was on one of the mages in Partha's Forgotten Realms          set, and the cloak looks better than anything I've done, and I haven't          drybrushed or washed it yet."]         And a tip from Christian Widmer (widmer@avalon.unizh.ch):  "Use a         slower on acrylic colours. This slows them from drying but they         do still not cover if they didn't before.  Warning, oil colours tend          to lose their colours and go brown-grey when I try this."       Nick Fogelson (fogelson@ursula.uoregon.edu) shares his methods, which         are far better than anything the author could provide (used without          permission):  "The way I always do blending is to put a smudge of the          two end colors in a strip, separated about 1.5 inches.  I then use a          slightly moist brush to mix them together into a spectrum.  The colors          near the original smudge will be closer to that color, the colors in          the middle should be fairly even mixes of the two.  You then have a          nearly infinite palette of color to use.   You can do a nice blend         with only 5 or so shades that looks really good unless you magnify          it.  Alternatively: Say you want to go up red to yellow.  Paint the          entire area yellow.  Put a block of watery red on the top.  Slowly          draw a moist brush down the area, drawing the red pigment with it.  If          you're patient, this method will bring the best results (but if you're          not, you'll get a big mess)."       Kenneth Creta~ (kcreta@sedona.intel.com) also has two good techniques:         "This idea was suggested by Tom Harris and I added a little of my own          touches.  Let's say you want to fade from green to black.  Just paint          the whole darn thing green.  At the point where you want it to fade,          wash with a black ink.  When dry, wash again but a little farther down          and so on until the bottom is black.  The first ink is not a smooth          transition so when the washes are done, go back and dry-brush green          over the first ink line and this will smooth it out.  The washes may          be diluted to the desired consistency."         "Start by painting a band at the bottom in dark green.  While it's          still wet, add some white and paint the slightly lighter green band          above it.  Use a second brush and paint along the line between.  If the         paint is still wet, they should blend together pretty good.  I use a          slightly damp brush.  If you get enough bands, it's looks like a          gradual color change.  The hardest part is the blending between the          bands."       Here's another banding method from Roxanne Reid-Bennett          (reid@sfcpmo.enet.dec.com):  "I have a Water Elemental that was done          in this style (Rafm).  The typical way of handling this is to "blend"          two colors together (which I have a LOT of trouble with).  What I did          was to paint the base (bottom 1/2") dark blue (RP Paladin) then used          graduated shades of blue (about 5 different) up towards the top of the         figure where I used a light blue (Sky) for the upper torso of the         elemental.  After the bands were in place I went back and used mixed          intermediates on the band overlap areas.  I kept this up until the          graduated shading looked right. Some of the intermediates I watered          down some so they wouldn't go on very thick.  I really wish I could          "blend" like the books and FAQ say - by mixing the two wet paints in          the middle - but so far haven't succeeded.         "For finishing work I used a slightly darker blue for wash on the          torso to bring out the muscles.  I used white on the tips of the water          waves and washed in blue.  Just for final effect I washed the whole          figure in Pearl White (RP).  Gives the figure a nice wet look - even          with a flat seal cover.         "So the hard way is to literally to paint stripes on the figure in          shades close enough to each other that our (human) eyes can't see the          distinct lines."       And here's a rather advanced shading/blending/tinting method from         John Colasante (johnc@colossus.cs.rpi.edu), used without permission:         "Lets say you want to paint an orange tunic on a figure. Mix the         base color and plop a pile on your pallete. Next to it, plop down         a dark tint and a light tint. For orange, lets say dark brown and          yellowish-white. It doesn't matter what kind of pigment you use,          water base or oil base. Now, tint the base color with the dark         tint and paint the entire tunic, or even drybrush the tunic if         painting over a dark primer. When dry, paint the basecoat over the         dark tint, BUT NOT ALL THE WAY TO THE EDGES. Also, leave tinted         dark shade in the folds. Next, tint light and highlight the center         and highspots. Note: this is similar to drybrush except you are          painting color here, not actually drybrushing, so you get a certain         effect which it different than pure drybrush. In fact, it often looks         nice when there is a clear demarcation between the tinted shades on         certain surfaces, almost like color contours. Use more than three tint         levels for certain effects.          It sounds tedious but if you use the palette it's _very_ fast and the         results often look much better than the purely drybrushed highlights,         especially for larger, flat areas where drybrushing might miss."       4.A. How do I wash?            Washing comes before drybrushing.  Take a shade darker than your           base color and dilute it until it's about the consistency of milk.           Now, brush it across, gently.  It'll flow into folds and           crevasses.  Makes cloth look real good. Remember, you can always           add wash, so start light and work your way up.  Don't be afraid to           wash, then darken and wash again, until you've reached the effect           you like.  Wash yellows with yellow-orange or yellow-brown, flesh           with light brown, white with bluish-white or gray.  Experiment,           only you can set your style.           4.A.a. Why do my washes dry badly?                  It seems that once in a while, even though the inks and                 washes have been mixed properly, they end up drying, not                 in the low spots like they should, but on the high contours.                 It has something to do with the density of the wash and                 the slickness of the surface; on matte surface the effect                 is more prominent than on glossy surfaces. It happens                 because a pool of wash in a recess starts to dry from the                 edges, then the rest of the paint in the wash adheres to                 the already dry paint, producing a ring of paint around the                 recess. There are four methods that can help solve the                 problem:                    1) Add a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the wash.                       It lowers the surface tension, and dries faster.  This                        may be a drawback for some painters.  Some model                        railroaders have been doing this for a while now.                       (Thanks to Coyt D Watters for this tip.)                    2) Add a little dishwashing detergent to the wash.  It                       helps the wash stick better.  (Coyt again...)                    3) Use small amounts of wash, allowing each to dry                       before applying the next.  Blow gently on the wash                       after applying, from the top, to keep the pools                       in the recesses where they belong.  If the wash is                       thin enough, it'll dry with a minimum of blowing.                    4) Mix a new wash, thicker. It might work better, being                       thick enough to keep from creeping, or maybe with                       just little different density.       4.B. How do I drybrush?            First off, drybrushing is most effective when used with a colour           a shade or two lighter than the base.  White drybrushed over           black primer also makes for a very good painting base.  It also           looks good as a stand-alone colour scheme on some figures.           Take your desired colour and an old brush, as drybrushing wears           brushes out and tears them up (the author has had good success in           using cheap watercolour brushes for large drybrushing projects           with acrylic paints, but for smaller areas a better-quality brush           is still necessary).  Dip it into the paint until the tip is           saturated, then blot on a paper towel until no paint can be seen           on a dark brush, or a light one looks pretty clean.           Take the brush and gently draw it along the raised parts you want           highlighted.  A little paint will stay on the highest edges and           give great depth.           Many painters like to highlight in stages, lightening the shade a           little with each level.  This can be either overkill and a pain or           an excellent technique for brightening and preserving detail.           Practice yourself and decide.       4.C. How do I highlight?            Drybrushing is the best method of highlighting any large area or           area with repetetive detail, such as armour.  For faces, hands,           buckles and the like, highlighting can be achieved by taking a           slightly lighter shade of the base (mixed with white or a lighter           tone) and going along the raised areas lightly.  A fine brushpoint            is required, as is a steady hand.  For faces highlight the chin,           nose, and cheeks.  For hands go along the backs and each finger.           For other detail, pick the spots that should show up best and           give them the lightest highlights.  It's common to highlight           twice, each time getting lighter in tone and finer in line.           A bit of blending is required to keep things looking natural, but           this blending is easier than the large-surface technique.  Simply           keep a damp brush handy and brush very lightly toward the darker           areas.           Again, this technique takes practice, but is worth the effort when           the miniature is completed.       4.D. What are inks, should I use them, and if so, how?            Inks are just that, semi-transparent tones that can be used to add           colour and shading to a miniature.  If you wish to go beyond the           range of paints, you might wish to try working with them.           Unless using for outlining, inks should always be thinned           slightly for glazing and rather a lot for washing.  A milk-like           consistency is best for washing (or even thinner, since you can           always wash again if more is needed) and about 50-50 ink and water           is best for glazing.           If you do not get the specially formulated for miniatures inks           (the only brand known to the author is Citadel, and they're very           good), then the best information available comes from Wade           Hutchison (whutchis@bucknell.edu), as posted to rec.games.           miniatures and is edited and used here without permission:               "A tip about Inks.  If you go to the art supply store to buy               your inks, be sure and get _pigmented_ inks, not transparent               ones.  Pigmented inks, especially brown, work much better for               a wash than the transparent ones.  Red and blue don't seem to               matter as much.  For shading white, there is a really good ink               color called "Payne's Grey" whick is a kind of blue-grey.  It               does a much better job than black when washing white or very               light tans and greys."           Recommended also have been Windsor & Newton inks.           Inks are best used as washes, for outlining, and as glazes.           When washing with inks on a matt surface (or on any other,           actually), a gentle blowing of air from the top to the bottom           of the miniature helps keep the ink from drying back up into the           raised areas.  The author usually blows lightly until the wash           stops looking slick-wet.                      % Glazing is done with inks.  In this technique, a slightly darker           tone than the base is thinned and then brushed over the entire           surface and allowed to dry.  Glazing brings out a richness of           colour not possible with paint alone.  Glazing should be done           after highlighting and shading and tends to bring up detail of           these well.       4.E. What colours should I use for detail work?            Here's a standard chart on what looks good together (remember,           nothing is absolute.  Try new blends and develop your own           preferences):             Base colour       Highlight             Shade            -----------       ---------             -----            White             (none)                Gray or blue-gray            Light gray        White                 Dark Gray            Dark gray         Light gray            Black            Red               Red-orange            Red brown            Red brown         Orange-brown          Dark brown            Dark brown        Light brown           Black            Pink              Pink+white            Red            Human flesh       Flesh+white or tan    Red brown            Tan               Orange+yellow+white   Brown+orange            Black             Black+green or blue   (none)            Light blue        Light blue+white      Medium blue            Medium blue       Medium blue+white     Dark Blue            Dark blue         Medium blue           Dark blue+black            Purple            Purple+white          Purple+dark blue or black            Bright green      Green+yellow+white    Medium green or dark green            Medium green      Green+yellow+white    Dark green            Dark green        Medium green          Dark green+black            Yellow            Yellow+white          Yellow+brown            Orange            Orange+yellow         Orange+red-brown or red            Gold              Gold+silver+yellow    Orange-brown            Silver            (none)                Black+blue            Brass or copper   base colour+gold      base colour+black            NOTE: colour+colour means two or more colours mixed, colour-colour           means either a commercial shade of that name or colours mixed.     5. What should I use for bases?        This depends entirely on what you're using the miniature for.  If       it's a display model, then you can get fancy.  If it's for military       gaming, you'll want a durable, realistic look.  If it's for fantasy       play you'll want durability and likely not too much fuss.  Standard       materials for bases are: the plastic slottabases many companies both       supply with their products and sell seperately, pennies or flat       washers, cardboard (not recommended - bends too easily), tiles, wood,       sheet metal, matt board (available at art supply stores), and magnetic       strips (often bonded to one of the above materials).  Filler and water       putty have both been used with success, and someone also has claimed       to make his own bases out of hot glue.       The general rule, of course, is the more use the miniature gets, the       stronger the base material should be.      5.A.  What's the best stuff to cover bases with?             Again, a matter of how natural-looking and/or durable you want            the base to be.  For foilage, the hands-down favourite material            is the model railroader's groundcovering.  Woodland Scenics has            an excellent selection and it's inexpensive (particularly when            you figure that the small bags of the stuff can do 100 miniature            bases or more).  Bill Gilliland (skaven@u.washington.edu) uses            something called GRASS (es, all caps) from Life-Like Scenery,            which is ultra-fine sawdust which has been coloured.            Verlinden is another recommended brand, available in Europe.  A            product called Basetex, from Colour Party Paints, comes in various            colours and is available in the UK.            Other materials that can be used are sand, sifted clay cat litter            (not the scoopable stuff), aquarium bottom material, or sawdust.             First, paint the base a neutral-type or natural colour.  When it            dries, take an old brush (or a cheap watercolour brush) and paint            a 50/50 mix of white glue and water over the surface you want to            cover.  Painting the glue on gives more precise coverage than            simply squirting it on.  The base covering material may be applied            either by having it in a tray about 1/4" deep and dipping the            glue-covered bases into it or by shaking a spoonful over the wet            glue.  Give it an hour or so to dry and shake the miniature over            the container holding the rest of the base covering.  If needed,            just dab the bare spots with a little more glue and reapply the            covering.  Mix different colours or drybrush for an irregular            look, if wanted.            Apply details, like rocks and the like (also available from model            railroad suppliers) by dipping into the glue and setting in place            with tweezers.          Here are some specific methods used by gamers:          Bill Gilliland (skaven@u.washington.edu) contributes:            "It is handy is to keep a dry brush handy while you're doing this,             and if you get flock on wrong areas, flick it off with the second             brush.  Old red-sable brushes will work for painting the glue on,             but they're kind of soft and they can be hard to get the glue right             where you want it.  I use nylon brushes, they're stiffer.  And             painting the base before flocking is important.  I use  Citadel             Goblin Green which is the same color as the WD photos, but I've used            black before and that works fine as well."           Joshua Buergel (jbbb+@andrew.cmu.edu) adds:            "As for the sand method, I've used it on a couple of titans I             painted, as the bigger area you cover with this particular variety             of flock, the sillier it starts to look.  I use aquarium sand from             a pet store and do the above process, only dipping the miniature in            sand.  After waiting a couple of hours or more for the glue to dry             (if you don't, when you do the next process the sand starts coming             off), I use a heavily watered down woodland green and paint all of             the sand.  After again waiting a long time for this to dry             completely, I dry brush sunburst yellow on top.  "Dry brushing"             isn't entirely accurate, though, as I do not wipe the paint off the             brush completely.  Rather, I take one swipe on a piece of paper to             rid the brush of a little paint, and then use a dry brushing sort of            motion.  This makes the top of the sand yellow but leaves the             bottom bits clearly green."            Then back to Bill:            "I use this method on all my 28mm models and titan-bases.  The stuff            was white sand (I forget if it was coral or dune sand) and 3$ got             me about 4 kilograms.  I've also used sand from playgrounds, but             this is more irregular than aquarium sand.  Again, flick off sand             then let dry.            "Painting 28 mm bases can be done any number of ways.  For fantasy             I paint Goblin Green all over the sand and sides, then `damp brush'            (as Josh described, pretty much) `bilious green' on the top of the             sand.  This provides a neutral texture to accentuate the model            yet not detract from it.            "For 40K-types I do the same, but when I'm done I go over the side             with black paint.  This is because I started painting for space             hulk, and this looks better in the corridors, but on the table both             black and green edges look fine.              "Also, the best looking 28mm bases I've ever done were painted all            black to begin with, then drybrushed dark green-mid green-yellow             green-yellow, and the edges were kept black, but this took FOREVER             to do.            "You can also just paint the base black and have unpainted sand on             the top (sandbox sand looks better than white sand -- it's speckled)            I did this on all my Blood Bowl miniatures and it looks fine.              "But whatever specific method you choose, try to do the same thing             to all the models in an army, and at least the same thing to all             the models in a unit.  A simple unit with neatly done bases often             looks better than a well-painted unit with sloppy or completely             unpainted bases."     6. How do I strip paint?        There are several substances which will work, outlined below.  Other       than the top two (which are the author's personal default choices),        they're in no particular order.          a) Pine Sol for a 24-hour soak then brush off remaining paint with              a soft toothbrush.  Works great on metal.  Brian Lojeck             <lojeck@mizar.usc.edu> ran extensive tests on Citadel plastic             genestealers and Pine Sol for paint removal.  Here are his             results:             "I soaked the plastic genestealer in about 50-50 Pine Sol/water             solution for 7-8 hours (a nights sleep).  The plastic didn't seem              softer, the detail didn't seem any worse, and the paint came off              pretty well (as it always does with Pine Sol. it was hard getting              the paint out of the cracks (I soaked in acetone to do that)."             Then he soaked some unpainted Citadel plastic figures in another             50-50 Pine Sol/water solution:             "The figure survived whole, without softening or loss of detail.             The solution turned milky white about 30 minutes after the              experiment started, but had cleared back to golden by morning."             <Britt's note - that's the standard Pine Sol reaction in water,              does same when I'm cleaning the toilet.>  Brian left the figures              soaking another 48 hours and they didn't mar under the toothbrush             bristles, but he was able to stick his fingernail into the plastic             about 1/16".  It looks like the 50-50 mix is the key.  Certain              other pine-oil cleaners of less strength than Pine Sol are on the             market.  Anyone who tests these on plastic figures is encouraged             to send the author your results for inclusion here.          b) Chameleon model paint stipper from Custom Hobbyist, Inc. found in              model railroad shops.  Sort of expensive, but _reusable_, water              soluable, and really fast.          c) Floquil/Polly S Dio-Sol.  Also purportedly dissolves glue.             Won't harm your plastic as much as Pine Sol, but reportedly loses             detail due to the amount of scrubbing necessary for the recesses.          d) Brake fluid.  Won't melt your plastic, but might melt your hands...             2-3 hour soak _maximum_, usually works faster.          e) Dettol, the pharmaceutical cleaner.  Works much like Pine Sol, but              I have no information on its potential to melt plastic.  Though it             didn't melt the base on the test figure, bases probably aren't             polystyrene.  It did remove glue, though.  (Thanks to Steve Gill             for this bit.)          f) "The Sainsbury's home brand pine disinfectant (UK).             It actually gives pine oil as one of it's ingredients.  In testing             it works very well and costs roughly 99p per 750ml bottle."  (More             thanks to Steve Gill who found this product and tested it.)          g) Acetone nail polish remover.  Smells, peels skin, melts plastic,              takes paint off metal like a champ.          h) Isopropyl alcohol, the stronger the better.  Lab grade, if you             can get it.  This seems to be the safest product for use on plastic             miniatures, and also the most universally available.   "It takes              off acrylic paints in almost no time, but reportedly doesn't do as             good a job in crevices as Pine Sol does.  As for oil-based              paints...  "after several days of soaking, renewing renewing the              solution, scrubbing... the figurine I tested has still a good              portion of its paint on, mainly on the zones that I cannot access              with a toothbrush." - Magali Mathieu           i) Easy-Off oven cleaner.  And wear gloves.  It reportedly will not             harm metal or plastic minis.  Remember to use GOOD ventilation.             (Thanks to Richard Kurtin for this information.)          j) "Bix Paint Stripper.  Buy the sprayable, rather than the jelly              mix. It smells bad, is volatile, and will go after your skin if              you forget your gloves.  It will remove enamel paint with minimal              scrubbing, and does a pretty good job on acrylic. It _WILL_ eat              plastic, so don't even think about putting your Genestealers (tm)              in it. Also, you'll probably find yourself replacing your              toothbrush more often." - Pete Siekierski           k) "Methylene Chloride.  One of the components of Bix Paint Stripper,              MC is rarely available in its purest form (I've no idea where my              dad got his can, and neither does he!). It is extremely volatile.              Do not light up near a can of methylene chloride! It will also do              a number on your skin, making it wrinkled like you've been all day              in the bath. Wear gloves! Also, be sure not to wear metal jewelry.              Because of its high rate of evaporation, MC "chills" metal, and              this can be very uncomfortable if you immerse a ring in it...             On the plus side, pure methylene chloride is even more effective             than Bix, which contains only a small amount. It burns right              through any kind of paint that you'd care to put on a miniature,              and will reduce plastic Genestealers (tm) to shapeless lumps (big              deal, heavy flamers do that too!). It will "chill" lead or pewter              miniatures, so they will feel cold to the touch, but in a room-             temperature environment, this will wear off quickly. Like the Bix              stripper, you'll find yourself replacing your toothbrushes more              often." -  Pete Siekierski <psiekier@isc.jsc.nasa.gov>             (Archiver's note: Proper dental hygene suggest that you replace             your toothbrushes every other month anyway...)          l) Poxy Scum <shughe10@scu.edu.au> in Australia also offers this             info:  "I found that Rexona(tm) Sport pump spray, not the aerosole              works quite well, almost immediately on acrylic Citadel paints.               It is best used for spot cleaning as it works almost instantly to              soften paint and is quite safe on plastic and metal.          As you can see, there are a lot of products that will remove paint.  Most       are caustic.  The author recommends a non-caustic product.  Pine oil        cleaner will remove any type of paint (acrylic, oil-based, Rust-O-Leum,        fingernail polish, etc.) from miniatures with no loss of detail, no        caustic residue, and no hazardous fumes.  It's safe for metal miniatures       and will not dissolve the glue holding parts together.  Pine-Sol is the        best brand, as it's 19.9% pine oil, but any percentage over 5% pine oil        will strip paint (it just requires a longer soak in the less-powerful        cleaners).  It also works on paint that's been on for several years (the        author successfully removed 10-year old Testors from a metal miniature        with a 2-day Pine-Sol soak).       For plastic miniatures, Pine Sol in a 50-50 solution with water, else       isopropyl alcohol is your best bet.       Dettol, a product from the UK, seems to work as the US Pine-Sol does       in preliminary testing.  More information will be made available as       testing continues.       Simply place the miniature in a container which will allow full       coverage, pour in enough pine oil cleaner to cover, and let it soak       for 24 hours or more.  The longer the soak, the better the stripping       (the author has soaked metal miniatures for over a week with no damage       resulting).  If you're doing multiple miniatures, it's best to soak       them seperately, if possible.  Once the paint starts to dissolve, it       causes a sliminess that can get on the others.       After the soaking, take an old toothbrush (dry) and scrub.  A soft       bristled toothbrush is best, however using soft then stiff will get       most everything without special work.  The finest details are kept,       the paint comes off easily, and the smell doesn't try to knock you        out.  If some paint remains stubborn, another soak will do the trick.         (The tip of a toothpick is also good for crevasse-cleaning as are        standard pipecleaners.)  Do wear gloves if you're skin-conscious.  The       author doesn't and has never suffered for it, but others report peeling       and irritated skin.       NOTE:  Many people have complained about the pine-cleaner soak        darkening the metal of the miniature.  The author just finished       cleaning a lead miniature on which the acrylic paint had been for       two years.  It soaked for 24 hours and was first scrubbed with a       soft toothbrush then a stiff one until all the paint was removed.       Then the soft brush was washed clean and hand soap (the bar of       Ivory by the sink) was applied to the brush and the miniature was        brushed down vigorously, as one would do teeth.  It took about 5       minutes, but the lead shined up as good as the fresh-from-the-package       figures it ended up beside on the shelf.  So the `dark metal'       syndrome can be taken care of, if it's important to you and you       care to spend the time.     7. What kind of miniatures should I start with?        25mm is easier to detail than 12mm or 6mm, some miniatures are less or       more detailed than others.  Again, this is much a matter of personal       preference and what you want the miniatures for.  Look over as much       as you can before selecting starter miniatures, unless you have your       heart set on something.  Just don't pick something so fussy or detailed       that you'll get frustrated with your new hobby on your first project.       Also, refrain from doing that `special' one until you've had a little       practice.       Some offerings of types in the 25-30mm range are:          Citadel: tend to have large areas and broad features, and           are recommended `beginner' pieces if you can't find something           better.  Once you have the feel of painting, can be masterpieces.          Heartbreaker: Everything good about Citadel plus some of the most           excellent modelling ever done in this style of figure.  And costs           less, too.          Metal Magic: again, heavier features, thus good for the novice.          Mithril: pre-primered and a little above 25mm, broad detail          Ral Partha: tend to have sharp detail, good once you have the basics            down.          Grenadier: detail can be hard to follow, but that can be a plus.          Soldiers & Swords: Good variety in both individual figures and           quality.  Some are excellent, some aren't worth the purchase.          Simtac: Good figures with fine features and nice detail.  A little           difficult for the beginner.          Various military miniatures: varies greatly, use your own judgement.       7.A. Metal or plastic?            Opinion varies.  Some favour plastic because it's cheaper, some           prefer metal for better detail.  Choose according to your own           budget and preferences.           7.A.a. My miniature came in multiple parts, now what?                  Get the smallest file you can find, a pair of scissors, and                 some glue.  If it's a plastic miniature, you can use model                 cement or super glue, if it's metal use Zap-A-Gap, super                 glue, or any model formulated cryanoacrylate.  On plastic,                  first clip in as close as possible with scissors (nail scissors                 are excellent) then file.  On metal, carefully file the edges.                 The goal is to get the pieces to fit together as closely as                 possible.  Once they do, clean them with soap and water to                 remove all shavings, dry, and glue.  Hold for about twice as                 long as is recommended for the glue to set.  The innovative                 miniaturist can come up with a great many ways to clamp,                 fasten, or hold parts together until everything's dry.                  (Regretfully, the author has forgotten who posted this                    tip [likely it was Tom Harris], but it's excellent:                    "A little note, if you're working with super glue keep                     a wet teabag handy.  If you spill super glue on your                     hands wipe it on the teabag and the teabag will absorb                     it - teabags are highly absorbant of chemicals. It works                     great for me and I don't end up with shells on the ends                     of my fingers of dried super glue.")                   (This one comes from John F. Bailey <jfbailey@spk.hp.com>:                     "If you do become adhered to yourself or pieces via                      superglue (cyanoacrylate), most of them can be dissolved                       with acetone.  May take a little soaking, but it works.                        Unfortunately it also removes skin oils almost completely.                      Follow it with isopropyl alcohol to neutralize the acetone                      then lots of soap and water to neutralize the alcohol, and                      then a good moisturizing lotion to replenish skin oils and                      avoid those nasty dry skin diseases (eczema, etc.).  A bit                      of a pain, and it eats most plastics, but a whole lot                       better than surgery to remove that battle-axe.  A                       preventive technique is to use "barrier creme", not a lot                       of mechanics in this country use it even though it is very                      common in the UK, but I have obtained it by asking for it                       in pharmacies/drug stores.  You put it on like hand lotion                      before you get into something.  It dries to a thin film                       that protects your skin from most solvents, gas, oil,                       etc., and washes off with soap and water.")                 Note:  If working with cryanoacrylate, have the acetone (nail                 polish remover is the most available form) on hand and nearby.                 When you aren't prepared, you'll end up stuck to something.                   Murphy loves modellers.                  Once the glue has dried, take an X-acto blade or razor blade                 and carefully clean off the excess glue, if any.  A file or                 emery board will also do the trick.                 You'll have to wash the miniature again before primering, to                 remove hand oils and glue remains.                 After you've gotten the basics of gluing your miniatures,                  the best stuff you can use is epoxy.  It's permanent, filable,                 and works exceptionally well on miniatures that will get a                 lot of handling.           7.A.b. What is pinning and how is it done?                  Pinning is a method of securing multiple-piece miniatures                 by drilling small holes and inserting wire before gluing                 in order to reinforce the joint.  Required are a pin vise,                 suitable size drill bit, thin wire (copper wire, paper clip                 wire, anything like that) and either cryanoacrylate model                 glue or epoxy.  Complete instructions come courtesy of                 Bill Thacker (wbt@babel.cb.att.com): "Either adhesive, properly                 applied (that is, to _clean_ surfaces) will give you a joint                  strong enough to withstand normal handling.  Neither is                 guaranteed against serious abuse (poorly-packed figures                  rattling around the trunk of your car, or being carried `by                  the handful').  If you want a _very_ strong joint, get a very                  fine drill and some piano wire.  Using a shoulder joint as an                  example: drill a hole in the center of the joint, a quarter                  inch or so into the body of the figure. Insert the piano wire                  into the hole (you want a gauge of wire that fits well, but not                 so snugly that you have to force it in the hole) and, using                  side-cutting pliers, snip it off flush with the hole.  This                  will leave you with a chisel-point on the piano wire, just                  slightly protruding from the hole.                 "Now take the loose arm, align it to the figure the way you                  want it set up, and press firmly.  The chisel-tip on the piano                  wire will have left a nice gouge showing you where to drill                  the mating hole.  Remove the piano wire and discard it; drill                  the mating hole about a quarter inch into the arm (or as deep                 as the figure allows).  Cut another piece of piano wire, a half                 inch or more, and insert it into the figure; then attach the                  arm.  You may need to trim this down until the arm fits flush                  with the shoulder joint. Epoxy or superglue this in place and                  the joint will never fail.                 "This technique is rarely needed for something like an arm or                  hand, but for assembling large figures (dragon wings!) it's                  invaluable."     8. What is kitbashing?        Kitbashing is the colloquialism used by miniaturists to describe the       process by which a miniature is converted from its original form to       another permutation, such as taking a fantasy miniature and making       it into a figure for superhero roleplaying, or changing gender.  Most       properly, it refers to the instances when two or more figures are used       for components in the final version.       8.A. How do I convert miniatures?            It's an acquired skill.  To convert a miniature requires a lot of           imagination, steady hands, patience, and a few out-of-the-ordinary           tools.  Costumes have to be obliterated, faces changed, weapons           removed or added or changed.  In all honesty, the processes           involved are more numerous than can be addressed in this FAQ.           Therefore, only the most common modifications will be addressed.           Tools:  To properly modify a miniature, you're going to need:              files (round, triangular, square, flat), the smaller the better              X-acto knife and several replacement blades              glue, preferably Zap-A-Gap, possibly epoxy              nail scissors or tiny wire cutters              needle-nose pliers, the smaller the better              sandpaper and/or emery boards              a hacksaw, the finest you can get              any new pieces you want to add (weapons, etc.)                      % The most common modification is to change one weapon for another.           For purposes of explaination, a fantasy figure will be used, the           change being from sword to battleaxe, assuming the sword had been           molded as one with the hand.  First, clip or cut the sword off on           either side of the hand, being very careful not to damage the hand.           The new piece may be one cut from another miniature, or one           acquired from a weapons pack.  If it is the latter, you will need           to measure it against the hand and cut out part of the handle to           compensate.  The next step is to make holes in either side of the           hand where the handle enters in order to insert the new parts.           An X-acto blade or file may be used. A pin drill would come in           handy about now.           Once the holes are made, a drop of glue is placed in each one, then           the handles are carefully set in place.  The glue should show, as           the extra is needed to keep the parts in place.  Hold until set,           possibly reinforce with a little tape, a brace, or some sort of           clamping arrangement, and let set.  After the glue is thorughly           dry, a file or emery board can be used to clean up the excess,           Avoid using a knife or razor blade, as you're likely to take off           too much glue and the weapon will simply fall off again.                      % Another common modification is to make a miniature suitable for           superhero use.  The easiest way to do this is to file and sand           the clothing smooth with the rest of the body, then paint on the           costume of your choice.            A note on drilling, thanks to Andrew Reibman (alr@cbnewsh.cb.att.com)             "A useful tip for figure converters and folks drilling out              spears to replace them with wire. Before drilling (with              either pin vice or dremel tool)              dip the bit in Johnson's tube wax (what the pros in the              machine shop use), dryed-out  Simonize car wax (my choice),              or other wax. Even a bar of soap may work.               "Since a buddy of mine who spent his career              in  machine shop recommended this, I've cut bit breakage              down by a huge fraction, and starting and drilling are both much               easier. I use to break my .014 bits, used for starter               wholes in tough 15mm jobs, about once every ten holes -              well that's an exaggeration, but I did break a lot of bits...              The wax lubricates the bit, and "keeps the flutes from              filling/jamming", allowing the cutting end of the bit              to do the job more effectively."              Brian Oplinger (oplinger@ra.crd.ge.com) says that turpentine,              mineral spirits, and paint thinner also make good bit lubricants.              If things get hot, though...  And remember to ventilate.       8.B. What kind of glue should I use?            The common miniaturists glue is Zap-A-Gap, available at nearly all           stores which sell paints.  It's thick, holds well on both metal           and plastic, and fills gaps and cracks.  Also of this type are a           line of cryanoacrylates which come in various-coloured bottles,           each coded to its type, and a blank space for the local store's           name or Wargames West (in the US, of course).  Super glue is often            used to join pieces; it dries brittle and a good drop might snap the           connection.  Its redeeming feature is speed of bonding.  Epoxy is           excellent for permanent bonding and building up areas when           modifying.  The bonds it makes don't break when jarred, and almost           nothing will remove it once it has set (the author has never heard           of set epoxy being removed, but refuses to use absolutes and be           later proven wrong).  Epoxy also comes in different formulas for           different materials.  Duco cement is a good all-purpose bonding           agent.  White glue, such as Elmer's or Aleen's Tacky, is good for           adhering paper and groundcovering to plastic and metal surfaces.           White glue does fatigue, however, so if it is used, a sealing agent           overall will help keep your pieces together.           For building up areas and the like, nothing beats ribbon epoxy.           For more information on cryanoacrylate see section 7.A.a. above.     9. How can I paint details?        Finest brush you can get, a steady hand, lots of patience, and good       lighting.  Fine detailing includes (but is by no means restricted to)       faces, eyes, jewelry, shield devices and banners, small clothing       details, weapon decoration, insignia, and armour detail.  For many of       these, some of the highlighting/washing/drybrushing tips above apply,       for others a whole new range of techniques are necessary.       9.A. How do I paint faces?            Start with the eyes.  Then do the face in whatever shade you           choose.  Now add a touch of white to the flesh tone to get a           slightly lighter shade and go back over the nose and cheekbones.           A light orange makes defined but natural-looking lips.  Remember,           red lips are a product of makeup, not nature.           Some painters prefer to put the eyes on last, but others say it's           too hard to keep from making the effect pop-eyed when done last.           Try whatever method you prefer.           Moustaches are best if dry-brushed, paint beards a slightly redder           or darker shade than the hair and dry brush with the same colour           you use on the hair.  There's nothing wrong with a 5-o'clock           shadow on an appropriate figure, either.  Dry-brush it on in a           shade slightly darker than the hair.  Once you get comfortable           with faces, experiment with scars or tattoos.  You might amaze           yourself.          9.A.a. How do I paint eyes?                 Depending on the size of the miniature, there are a couple of                good methods.  On a 15mm or smaller miniature, don't try too                 hard for absolute detail until you've gotten a lot of practice                 in.  On 25mm and larger, though, eyes can be done rather easily                 (with practice, of course).                Below are several methods:                  % Before painting the face, paint the eyes white.  When                     that's dry, dot them black.  Then paint a slightly darker                     shade than you're going to use for the rest of the face                     around the eyes to define them (mix a touch of brown or tan                     into the flesh tone for this).  Then paint the rest of the                     face.                  % [This method is courtesy of Andrew Cameron Willshire                     (s921959@yallara.cs.rmit.OZ.AU) ]:  "Another easy way is to                     paint the white of the eye with a brush.  Let it dry.                      Then, take a tech pen (architectural or engineering) and                     draw the iris.  With another tech pen, dot in the pupil.                      Note that this requires a few different pens since you'll                     want a few different colours - say black, blue, brown and                     maybe green.                    "This is a really easy technique, and since the ink is                     water based if you muck up you can just rinse it off (this                     is assuming you use enamels for the rest of the figure,                     like I do)."  [Author's note: even if you use acrylics, if                     the white is already dry you can still blot the ink off                     with a damp Q-tip or the tip of a damp, fine brush.]  "It                     also works great on monsters, say orcs.  However, they tend                     to look better with `reds' instead of `whites' in their                     eyes, then having a white iris and black pupil - very nasty                     looking!  Tech pens may be a little pricey to pick up, but                     you can easily find sets with a few in them that are                     reasonably cheap.  They also work magnificently for such                     things as flag details, shield heraldry and so forth."                    % Steve Harvey (dwallace@wam.umd.edu) has some advice                    regarding affordable tech pens: "Most tech pens are                     obscenely expensive, but there are two brands of non-                    refillable tech pens that I am aware of.  Sakura makes                    an excellent series of tech pens called Pigma - these                     come in a variety of colors, in sizes ranging from .005mm                     to .8, and cost about $2 each.  I like these so much that                     even though I have a set of Pentel professional tech pens,                    I use these instead.  Schwan/Stabilo also makes a series                     of pens called OHPen 96 (or at least that's what it says                     on the barrel of mine...) which also come in numerous colors                    and several sizes.  They are not as fine as a true tech pen,                    but they will write on ANYTHING - glass, plastic, etc.                     without the ink beading.  The one thing to watch out for is                     that they come with either permanent or water-soluble ink;                     the latter are popular as overhead transparency markers,                     but for miniature work, the permanent is what you want."                  % [This method is given by Allan Wright (aew@spitfire.unh.edu)                    and has been edited]: "I paint eyes on 25mm (and 15mm                     officers, standard bearers, etc) with a technique taught to                     me by a friend.                    1. Fill the eye socket with white.  I use an OOO brush, one                     stroke horizontally across each socket.  Be sloppy, it's OK.                    2. Paint the middle of the eye, Black, Dark brown or Dark                     blue.  Paint a vertical stripe down the center of the eye -                     taking up the middle third of the eye socket - don't worry                     about going over the top/bottom edges. Again I use an OOO                     brush. In both let the brush 'fan out'                    3. Eyebrow - paint with hair color of your choice.  Paint                     the eyebrow on the ridge above the eye socket in a slight                     crescent shape, cover the white and black from 1 & 2.                    4. Under eye: use tan or slightly darkened skin color (under                    the eye is usually darker or shadowed).  Cover the white and                    black from 1 & 2 with a slightly crescent stroke."  [The                    author has adapted this method slightly and finds it most                    effective thus far.  Suggest you try this at least once.]                   % Bill Gilliland <skaven@u.washington.edu> says:  "For humans,                    I paint the entire eye socket black.  Then, on either side                    of the center where the pupil is, I put a small white dot                     to show the whites of the eyes.  On character models, I                     paint the iris a solid circle (usually blue or green) with                     a highlight in an upper corner, then put a smaller dot of                     black in the center.  This method gives you outlining of                     the eye for very little effort.                    "For evil creatures (such as orcs) I paint the socket black,                    then put a white oval inside, leaving an outline all around.                    The white is then overpainted with red.  On characters the                     corners of the eye are spotted with a translucent yellow to                     accentuate the red pupil."                  % Derek Kingsley Schubert (dks@acpub.duke.edu) explains his                    method:  "Faces/eyes: Shade/highlight the face completely                     first.  Paint dark brown or black in an area just slightly                     larger than the eye itself.  Then paint white for the eye,                     and finish with a dot of dark brown or black for the iris.                      Colored irises don't look good unless surrounded by a dark                     ring to set them off from the white; but this is darn                     tricky, so new painters should paint only dark irises on                     figures that should have humanlike "white-and-iris" eyes."              9.A.b. How do I paint hair?                                  It's honestly not as hard as it looks, though you do                    need to both wash and drybrush it.  Base in a good                    neutral tone for the colour you want (a dark yellow                    for blondes [tan, dun, khaki, yellow], dark red for                    redheads, lighter for auburn, orange for strawberry                     blondes, any shade of brown for brunettes, and black                    or dark blue for black hair).  Then darken it or select                    something a couple of shades darker and wash.  Let that                    dry, then wash thicker and darker.  Let that dry and                     drybrush with the original colour.  Then a lighter shade.                    (For black hair, drybrush in dark blue and leave it at                     that, drybrush in dark gray, white or light for salt-and-                    pepper, or don't even bother to drybrush if you like                    the colour it ends up after washing.)                    Black hair can honestly be achieved with a dark, dark blue                    base, two black washes (one light and one heavy), then                    a very light dark blue drybrush.  A royal blue drybrush                    achieves a nice punkish-look.                    Blonde starts out best with a dark base then lightening                    with drybrushes.  Wash chestnut or light brown.                    Redheads are best if understated a little.  Don't use                    red unless you want something impossible to nature.  Dark                    red-browns are best (Polly S Demon Deep Red is great, too)                    washed in brown and highlighted with first the original                    shade, then something lighter in that line, then perhaps                    a dark orange or yellow-brown brushed very, very lightly.                     Here are some extremely good tips from Chris Pierson                     <cpierson@interlog.com> for specific hair colors:                    "Golden blond: Polly S Canine Yellow-Brown, drybrush with                     Polly S Griffin Hide (_don't_ use the "real" yellow as a                     base coat. That oughta keep it from looking like Loni                     Anderson. :) ) This one works well for elves.                    Ash blond: Sort of a Norse-type blond, very pale. Polly S                     Manticora Tan (a light tan), drybrush with Ral Partha Ivory.                    I've got three redhead styles:                    Auburn (dark redhead): Base coat Ral Partha Dark Brown or                     Polly S Kobold Dark Red-Brown. Drybrush with Ral Partha                     Red- Brown.                    Redhead (standard): Base coat Partha Red-Brown. Drybrush                     with Polly S Rust.                    Strawberry Blond (light goldy red): Base coat Polly S                     Rust. Drybrush with Polly S Manticora Tan.                    For the Polly S impaired, Rust = reddish tan; Manticora                     Tan = light sandy tan."  Griffin Hide = dusty yellow            9.B. How do I paint insignia?            Two good methods have been presented in rec.games.miniatures.  The           first comes from Steven Loren Lane (lanes@spot.Colorado.EDU), and           is used without permission:           % "Well, on top of getting the smallest brushes available, you can           always cut them down to an even smaller size.  I have several           brushes that have only a few hairs on them.  These are very useful           brushes.  I would also recommend for the very fine detail to set           the object up so you can use both hands to hold the paint brush           as still as possible."           And was followed up by Steve Gill:           % "Another useful tool is a 0.13 mm spirograph ink pen, a couple           of splodges of colour in the right place and you can pretty it up           with the pen. I used this technique for 6mm heraldry."           Yet another use for tech pens.  They are also very good for shield           devices and clothing patterning.               9.C. How do I paint armour?            For fantasy and historical, some suggest not priming the miniature,            then washing or drybrushing (or both) the bare metal, but to others           this looks sloppy and unfinished.  Besides, not much armour looks            like lead, and lead certainly doesn't make good armour (nor do any            of the alloys of which miniatures are cast).           Paint the armour a base-metal colour, usually silver or one of the           like tones, and let it dry.  Don't be afraid to use bronze, or gild           it, though.  Then take a black wash (ink is excellent for this) and           go over it carefully.  Let that dry, then take either your original           colour or a lighter shade and drybrush.  Remember to use a seperate           water/thinner for the brush you're working the metallics with, so           as to not get flecks in the other colours.         Steve Gill (steve@caws.demon.co.uk) shares his method of painting            chainmail:           a) If the links are sculpted clearly enough that you can see the            leather underneath then base coat should be leather (whatever colour            required by the figure). If not ignore this step only paint leather            around the edges where it should show under the links.           b) The links are painted in dark metal.           c) Drybrush the links in lighter metal.           d) Highlight drybrush in very light metal.           In general I would choose gunmetal as the dark metal, steel as the           lighter colour. Heroic figures could use steel with silver, but try            to keep this rare.           Darker chainmail is probably much more historically correct than the           usual hollywood style silver armour.         Dan Evans (evansd@bbs.ug.eds.com) has a method suitable for SF figures           as well as fantasy:  "I've come up with a way to get interesting            results with metallic colors.  (Maybe someone else has done this            before...)  Basically, the trick is just two steps:           1) paint your figure (or part of it) silver.           2) when it's dry, apply colored ink (I have the Citadel set) over            the silver.  The cool part is, you get unusual control over the            degree of tint by applying the ink straight from the bottle or by            watering it down (a wash.)  Another cool part is, you can blend one            color into another.  Suppose you have a warrior with a shield, and            you want it to fade from metallic blue at the top to metallic green            at the bottom.  Paint the whole shield silver first, and then when            it's dry, apply blue ink to the top half.  Next, apply green ink           to the bottom half, mixing it up with the blue in the middle.           "Yet another cool part is light-to-dark shading done this way:           Suppose you have a Space Marine and three shades of silver paint.           (The shades of silver may be sold as "aged metal" or "chain mail" or           "gunmetal" or "silver".  Use your eyes: buy a blackish silver, a dark           silver, and plain old silver.)  I'll just call them dark, medium,            and light.  1) Paint the entire figure with the dark silver and let            it dry.  2) Drybrush the entire figure with the medium silver and            let it dry.  3) Drybrush the entire figure again, concentrating on            raised details, with the light silver and let it dry.  4) Right now            your Space Marine should have a pretty nice shaded metal look.  Now            go over the whole figure with red ink, and you'll have a shaded RED           metal Space Marine.  Hey, you could even try technique B at this            point, maybe with purple or orange blended into the red."          There is a caveat to this, however. Be careful using inks with acrylic          metallics. There is often a reaction between the two which give some          nasty effects. At the very least allow the metallic to dry for 24 hours         before adding inks.  Some people have had only bad results from inking         over acrylic metallics...  Test it before you begin your masterpiece.       9.D. What other detailing can I do?            Get in the light and give your miniature a good look-over.           Usually a dot of paint or careful drybrushing will bring out the           final details.  Certain specialized questions have been asked, the           answers to which are given below:                      % Does anyone have a decent method for painting torches?           This answer came from D.R. Splatt (edd440u@nella02.cc.monash.edu.au):           "The best I've personally seen was to paint the flames red at the           base, orange for highlights, yellow for the bulk of the flame and           a light drybrush of white (or black for a smoky flame).  Try to           get the flames predominately yellow, eg:                      |   <--------- White                    | |                   |   | <--------- Yellow                  | ._| |                 |  | |<-|--------- Orange                  \_(o)_/                     !------------- Red             Also a 'ragged' orange layer looks good."                        % From Kent Reuber (reuber@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu):            "People doing micro-armor have been using this sort of thing to            simulate burning tanks for quite a while. Paint the torch itself            black. Then tear off a small bit of cotton, paint the upper part            grey-black and the lower part red-orange. Glue this bit of cotton            onto the torch."          9.D.a. Can I use anything besides paint and ink for details?                                Of course you can.  The simplest are decals, which are sold                 by the sheet and have many different styles to choose from.                Technical pens can be used for a lot of intricate work, as                can fine tip permanent markers.  There's a catch to the                markers, though, they can bleed when overcoated.                Alec Habig (ahabig@bigbang.astro.indiana.edu) has a good                  remedy: "I used some fine tip permanent markers to do letters                   and lines on some minatures.  This works well, giving better                   results than painting the same sort of stuff.  The problem -                   the marker would bleed when I coated the minis with the                   obligatory DullCote lacquer.  The solution - I rubbed a                   little bit of good old Elmer's white glue on the spot that                   I'd lettered with the marker.  Just a bit, and rubbed it                   around till I couldn't see it anymore.  This stopped the                   bleeding, without altering the finish in any noticable way."                Mariano Flores (mflores@SU1AG.ess.harris.com) gives these tips                  for decals (used without permission):  "For best results of                   decals adhering to the surface of your miniatures:                  1.  Spray miniature with a shiny gloss coat (I use                      Testors Gloss Coat).  You will find that decals                      adhere better to smooth surfaces.                  2.  Let gloss coat dry, maybe an hour or two.  I                      usually let the coat dry for a whole day.                  3.  Apply decals to model.  It is suggested to use                      distilled water, since tap water is not that                      pure and may contain some contamination (i.e. iron).                  4.  Let decal dry for a day.  The wrinkling effect on                      decals is usually caused by applying the dullcoat                      or semi-gloss coat to a decal that still contains                      some moisture.                  5.  Apply dullcoat to model.                  These procedures seem a bit drawn out, but patience is                  a virtue.  These procedures work for me."                There are probably dozens of other common and unusual detailing                 tips out there that the author hasn't heard of yet.  She'd love                 to have them sent in for inclusion here.    10. What is an overcoat and should I use one?        An overcoat is a coat of clear paint that protects those colours you       so carefully put onto your miniature.  Even an unhandled figure will       begin to dull after awhile, and one in regular use will lose its paint       even faster from hand and carrying case friction.  So you should put       a protective coat over the miniature to make sure the paint remains       unmarred.       Overcoats come in three (possibly four) types: gloss, matte, flat, and       lusterless.  Though four types are named, one company's matte is       another's flat, flat and lusterless are often interchanged, and matte       occasionally is labeled semi-gloss.  When in doubt, test or ask.       Overcoats also come in two different applications, brush-on and spray.       Spray is easier to use when you want a uniform coating, brush-on is       good for when you only want certain parts covered.  Spraying overcoat       on a miniature is much like spraying primer, though 3-5 coats is       recommended for maximum protection.  Remember to begin and end the       spray beyond the miniature in order to get the cleanest application.       Gloss is just that, shiny.  It is most usually used on cars and other       items that should shine.       Semi-gloss (satin, sometimes called matte) is low-luster, and very       durable on a figure that will be getting a lot of handling.       Unfortunately, it tends to look artificial on humans and some animals.       It's excellent on scales, however, and hard leather.       Flat (also sometimes matte) is nearly without shine.  It's a good       all-around people coating, exceptional on animals, where it simulates       fur's natural shine.       Lusterless is absolutely flat, it doesn't even look like it's there.       It's perfect for people and cloth and anything else that should have       no shine whatsoever.  Several coats can be applied and it never shows.       A good method of overcoating a realistic-looking human/humanoid is to       use a spray lusterless overcoat and put on 3-5 coats, then after the       last coat is dry, use a brush-on matte or gloss to go back over all       metallics, jewelry, eyes, lips, and anything else that should have a       shine to it.  This is the author's favourite method.       Companies making overcoats are (+ denotes brush-on, = is spray):          Armory (water-based acrylic):  Glass  -  a high-gloss +                                        Matte Sealer - low gloss  =         Floquil (oil-based enamels):   Flat Finish  -  completely lusterless +                                        High Gloss  -  very shiny, looks wet +                                        Crystal-Cote  -  not quite as shiny +                                        Al-Pro-Cote - flat finish +                                        Glaze  -  a lovely matte/satin finish +                                        Figure Flat - a low-shine matte =         Floquil Flo-Stain (oil-based,                for wood or over paint): Glaze  -  as above  (I use this) +                                        Crystal-Cote  -  also as above +                                        Al-Pro-Cote  -  flat finish, no shine +         Humbrol (oil based):           Dull Cote - flat finish +         Krylon (spray only)            Clear Matte - low gloss =         Model Master (oil-based):      Lusterless  -  another lusterless =                                        Gloss Finish  -  high-shine =         Pactra (water-based enamels):  Flat Clear  -  lusterless +                                        Gloss Clear  -  shiny +         Polly S (water-based acrylic): Gloss Finish  -  high shine +                                        Flat Finish  -  lusterless +         Ral Partha (acrylic)           Spray Clear Matte Sealer - low gloss =                                        Clear Sealer - matte finish +         Testers (Oil-based enamels):   Flat Finish  -  again, lusterless +                                        Gloss Finish  -  shiny =                                        DullCote - absolutely flat =        There are others, of course, these are only what the author knows about.           11. How do I keep paint from drying out?        Shake or stir them often, put plastic wrap between the cap and bottle       on paints that come in glass jars.  Acrylics reconstitute fairly well       with the addition of water and a good stirring.  Oil-based do same       with thinner.  Try and keep your paints in a place where temperature       remains fairly stable.       Users of both Polly S and Humbrol have had good results from storing       their paint upside-down.  The paint itself augments the seal and       keeps all air out.    12. How do I use an airbrush for miniatures?        The best paints for airbrushing are Accuflex and Humbrol, with Polly S       and Testors each selling an airbrush thinner for their paints.       That's the bulk of what the author knows on the subject.              Some excellent information was posted to rec.games.miniatures by       Mike N. Tassano (miket@netcom.com), much in regard to advising       a novice airbrush painter, and is reproduced here without permission       and with minor editing:       "I've done a lot of airbrush as well as regular airgun painting, so       maybe I can get you pointed in the right direction.       "There is a relationship between the airpressure used and the rate at       which the thinner evaporates.  Ideally, the carrier or thinner is still       liquid when the paint strikes the surface to be coated, but not so       liquid it runs off.  Inks have a really slow thinner, relatively, but       since you're doing a wash, you don't care if it's really wet on       contact.  The idea is to puddle ink in the low spots anyway.       "The primers usually have a fast thinner, allowing a good coating       without running. Spray cans _usually_ are balanced between pressure       and range and thinner and particle size.       "Second, the pressure in the air-cans varies wildly as you use it up.       And as the temperature changes.  (So does the moisture content from       condensation caused by cold air)  Even the best airbrush will behave       in a cranky way with canned air.       "Third, the type of paint or ink used may not be too friendly to       airbrushing. Particle size needs to be pretty consistent for spraying.       A lot more consistent than brushing requires. If you intend to stay       with airbrush priming, I can offer some possible helps:       "1. If you can ONLY use canned air, shoot for shorter sessions. Let       the can warm back up a little more.       "2. Try an alternate air source, a compressor or an innertube filled       at a service station.  You want as little pressure difference between       your air source and the spraying pressure as you can manage.       "3. Use a primer designed for spraying.  There are some hobbyist       brands around that might be available where you are.       "4. Practice, practice, practice!"        And a word about priming, thinning and cleaning from       Ed Sharpe (esharpe@hsc.usc.edu), which is also edited and used without       permission:       "After carefully cleaning, washing and drying the figures, I prime       them with Testor's flat white mixed 50/50 with airbrush thinner by       Testors.  I apply the paint using an air brush.  It usally takes 2       to 4 coats.  Take your time and do not rush any of the steps.  I use       the Testor's air brush thinner only to thin the paint.  I use general       paint thinner from the hardware store to clean my air brush."    13. How/where do I get miniatures?        Game stores are, naturally, the best choice.  Some comic and hobby       shops deal in miniatures, so ask around.  And a lot of companies do       mail-order for those who live bereft of their product sold locally.       The yellow pages is where to start, after that you get the feel of       where to look.      13.A. Is there a list of companies?            Thanks to immense assistance from many, many readers of and           posters to rec.games.miniatures, there is.  It was kept by           Keith Lucas for awhile and will be again, is currently kept by           tierna@agora.rdrop.com, and is posted sometime near this FAQ           to rec.games.miniatures.  It is on archive for ftp at            ftp.indirect.com in /pub/rpg/miniatures and also by email from            tierna@agora.rdrop.com (yes, that's me again) who would be glad to            send it out to anyone who wants it.   --   Descriptiones habeo catapultae novae quae saxos multos separatim et simul       iaciant.  Si illas prehendat, sit finis terrae qualem cognovimus.


1 Response to “FAQ”

  1. 1 source September 24, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    very good information

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