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Just Started Painting Minis?

If you’re new to the hobby side of tabletop gaming, you may feel stuck, perhaps even a little intimidated, trying to paint your new minis. Don’t let the process get you down! Here are 5 tips from the Den Master himself, Joe, to help you along.

1. Clean those mold lines.

Once you’ve assembled your minis, you’re not quite ready to start painting. Mold lines are the result of casted minis, and they tend to linger. And nothing looks worse on minis than one that’s fully painted, with mold lines showing everywhere. Here’s how to get rid of them:

  • Either before or after you remove mold lines, wash your minis with soap and a soft toothbrush or semi-stiff paint brush to remove oil residue from the molds that your minis were cast in.
  • Games Workshop makes a mold line remover that doesn’t damage your mini. It’s basically a hand tool that scrapes away the lines. Ideal for newbies, and it’s fairly easy to use and blunt enough so you won’t cut your fingers.
  • You can also use the non-bladed side of a hobby knife. Though trickier (watch your thumb!), it’s certainly effective.

2. Make sure you have even coats of primer on your minis.

Do not over-prime your mini because you will lose all the detail. An even coat means that the plastic or metal is completely covered, with the primer appearing smooth. Surfaces that aren’t covered properly with primer will have a different texture when you apply the paint. An uneven coat will also alter the color of the paint you use.

3. Thin your paints!

Don’t be afraid to use multiple coats of color. It’s actually better to use several thin coats instead of one or two that are thick, so you don’t drown out the detail.

To thin your paints, you can use water, paint extender, or flow improvers. While there are other mediums, these three types are the most commonly used.

Stick with a 50/50 mix, depending on the thickness of the paint itself. Thin the paint more if you are trying to make a glaze (meaning you still want a bit of the color underneath to show).

4. Use the right tool for the job.

Make sure the brush you’re using is the proper size, shape, and hair type. Here are some quick tips:

  • Use larger brushes for broader strokes. Use the smaller-sized brushes for detail work.
  • Round brushes are generally ideal for painting minis. You can use them for base coats, layers, details, edge highlighting, and washes.
  • Hair type in a brush is actually very important! I recommend Kolinsky sable or a red sable for layering, glazes, base coating, and washes. They are both soft-hair brushes that hold a lot of paint. I do not recommend nylon-style brushes because they tend to lose shape and can’t regain it back like the natural-hair brushes.

5. Clear-coat your mold.

After all the time and work you spend painting your minis, you don’t want the paint to rub or drip off. Use a satin or matte spray to create a hard shell on the model. Then if you want, you can use a flat anti-shine spray to remove the glossiness.

Time to put some paint on those minis!

These tips should get you moving in the direction of painting some impressive minis. Remember that your minis won’t be perfect your first right from the start. It takes time, patience, trial and error, and the desire to keep painting for your minis to look the way you imagine them.

If you want to get some hobby tips from fellow gamers, and also from Den Master Joe, every Tuesday is Minis Paint Night from 6-9pm. Bring your projects and gather with other hobby enthusiasts while you paint and socialize!