Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Things I wish I'd known

I found a very old copy of "How to Paint Citadel Miniatures" today, published in 1989. This little booklet was all the painting advice I had in my early painting career, long before the internet was around of course ;) I might put a few pictures of the guide up if anyone is interested in seeing some of the old skool models in there.

Anyway, it got me thinking about some of the things I didn't know when I first started out which I wish I had. Here's a few points:

You don't have to undercoat in white: This was the only colour I thought you could undercoat in at the time, and while there's nothing wrong with a white undercoat, I feel a black undercoat is a bit more forgiving.

Thin your paints: A lesson I still forget and end up with crappy results. Thinned paint goes on better and smoother. For a base you don't need to make it watery thin, I just thin it a little to improve the way it goes on to the model. For highlights, then you want it much thinner. Guides say you need to experiment with thinning, or it needs to be the consistency of milk whatever that means, which didn't help much when I was learning, but unfortunately it's accurate, you just need to try it to get a feel for it. The down side to thinning: you may need more coats to acheive an even colour.

You won't be able to paint like the 'Eavy Metal team: You look in White Dwarf, you look at pictures online, you see awesomely painted figures. You paint, it looks like a three year old has done it. Getting to any level of proficiency in anything in life takes time and practice. Each mini you paint you get a tiny bit better so keep going.

How many paints do you need?: Often painting articles will list dozens of paints used to finish a mini. Do you need all these from day one? Probably not, because at the beginning you should focus on simple neat paint jobs. I started out trying to do fancy colour schemes or detail and they just look pap. Get the colours you're going to be using for your army, or the most common paint colours (like black, white, metal, flesh colour, a basic green, a basic blue etc) then build up your paint collection as you need it.

I'm sure there are many other tips as well, if anyone would like to share.

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