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General Painting Tips

By Anthony Karl Erdelji


Some paints have a tendency to change color as it ages, especially if you store them in or near sunlight. Reds are very susceptible to this fading. Compare them to a new bottle of paint every few years and replace them if necessary.

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

Keep two jars of water on your work desk to clean brushes in. One for metallic paints and the other for non metallic paints. If you use only one jar for both, you may transfer some of the metallic flakes to your non-metallic paint.

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

Decals work better if you apply them to a gloss surface instead of a flat one. Brush some Testors Glosscoat Lacquer to the area and let it dry for several hours before applying the decal.

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

Drybrushing works best when you use the largest brush that you can. For large jobs like vehicles, I use a 1/2 inch flat brush.

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

Never twist the bristles of your brush when drying the off, it ruins the brush. Wipe your brush back and forth on a clean paper towel until no more paint comes out of the brush. 

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

Glosscoat sprays protect the miniature better than flat coat a spray. For the best protection without the shine, first spray with glosscoat, let it dry for a day, then spray on the flat coat. 

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

To remove the flash on the rib cage on GW plastic skeletons, lightly brush on some plastic cement. It will melt the flash. Be careful, don't touch the area until it is dry! 

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

Adding a small pebble or marble to your paint jars can help them to mix better when your shaking them. DO NOT use BB's because they can rust and ruin your paint. 

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

When your all done with your miniatures, but before you seal it, hold it up to mirror and look at its reflection. Sometimes you'll notice things that you missed when looking at them from a different perspective. 

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

For rust, use a wash of orange ink or  Rustall. Its available through hobby and railroad shop and gives a realistic look. 

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

This one is kinda silly, but it works. Imagine who or whatever you are painting is a real, living person, (or thing).  If you are thinking that your painting a real person instead of just a piece of lead, you'll pay more attention to the details and your results will improve. Kharn the Betrayer wouldn't go into battle looking like THAT, would he? 

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

The side sponsons on Games Workshops Land Raider are very delicate since the only support the joint has is the top plate. Rotating the guns can put a lot of pressure on the plate causing it to snap. You can reinforce the joint and take pressure off by adding a brass rod under the barrel of the gun near the front.

- Anthony Karl Erdelji

Pearlescent medium like Delta Ceramcoat's Pearl Luster can be used by itself to add a sheen to the lenses of monocles and eyeglasses; it's shinier than plain white but not actually silver.

- Brandi Weed

I have a good method for pinning.  Hold the joint together as you wish it to stay.  Then, using a fine marker, draw four lines (evenly spaced) across the joint.  Then, on each piece, connect the four marks and drill where "X" marks the spot.  Works every time.  You really can't screw this one up.

- Brad Grinstead

To get a very good look on metal, like for instance an Eldar jetbike's engine, have a black undercoat and then a coat of chainmail. It makes a very good engine or rusted sword. But with a rusted sword, you might want to use a little bit of bestial brown.

- The Eldar Lord

When you assemble your space marines don't attach the back packs, weapons and shoulder pads,  the back packs can be sprayed and painted on the sprue, weapons can be sprayed, cut then painted and finally the shoulder pads can be done separate by a special trick I came up with Glue a bunch of Q-tips with out the fuzzy ends or tooth picks to a long piece of card board, then put a little glob of blue tac or even play-doh, stick the shoulder pad and prime it, take off after about ten minutes and let it dry for another fifteen to twenty, then put a new piece of blue tac or play-doh and put the 'pad back on, finish painting, this helps keep the colors clean, stop constant layer after layer to make sure black primer does not stick through

- Edward "Manus Dei" Makowski

I've got a large number of figures that I painted with Tester Model Paints long ago.  Some 10yrs ago.  I've been using OOPS! to clean the lead figures and it seems to do okay.  I have to scrub and pick at the crevices, I'll have to try the easy off.  I have learned that OOPS should NEVER be used on plastics of any kind.  It melts on contact.  I lost a painting pallet this way.

- James Flanagan

When you get your model, leave it attached to the sprue. It is easier to paint and you don't have to touch the model. It dries quicker and is easier to assemble.

- Bill Clinton

I've tried to put an Orc arrer boy, undercoated and painted with citadel colors. At some places the mini had no paint (pure plastic), some places pure undercoat and some places undercoat + paint. I put the mini into a closed glass of acetone for one and a half hour. The results were awesome!!!! all the paint were gone in this short amount of time!! The only problem was, that the mini was about totally melted! In just few minutes, the bow was rough, and at last no real detail were left. So warn people, DON'T USE ACETONE SOAK!!! The only good thing about the mini, was that I didn't need it.

- The Grumpy Warboss

If you want to do colored eyes on 25/28mm figures, pick a shade that's darker than the eyes might be in real life. For instance, if doing green eyes use one of the medium to dark greens like Ral Partha's Shamrock Green.

It still is not *quite* realistic but it avoids the Batman: The Animated Series look and is a pleasant change of pace from all the brown and black eyes.

- Brandi Weed

Here are some gem painting tips that work with my gem painting article found here.

A bright silver, like Citadel's Mithril Silver, works really well with 'cool' colors like blue, green, and purple. Sometimes blue over gold makes a rather greenish stone.

Also, red ink over copper paint (I used Ral Partha Copper) gives a deep, bloody scarlet stone.

Star sapphires and rubies can be done by using white, silver, or even a mix, and painting a small, off-centered asterisk (3 lines) on the gem. If it looks too light, a thinned mix of the gem's ink coloring will tone it down.

- Brandi Weed

This for everyone who is a black Templar General. I recently made a Templar army and realized that Skull White would not go over Chaos Black, but a thought occurred to me, for my basic tactical Marines I assembled all of the
marine but left off the shoulder pads, I sprayed the marine Black, and then I sprayed the shoulder pads (which should not be attached at this point) White. So now we have a nice white shoulder pad with no gunky build up trying to go over the black, now all we have to do is paint the shoulder pad trim Black, glue it on and your good to go.

- Alex

Just letting you know that there is a great product for decals called "Solvaset" that can be picked up at most local hobby shops. It comes in two bottles, a pre and a post application. You paint the "pre" coat on, then dip the decal in water like normal and put it onto the mini, then you dap off the excess water, then once the decal is set where you want it to be, you
paint the "post" on, it actually dissolves the decal so it can go around corners, in cracks, etc. with no problems. Works great!

- Ryan

On cleaning your brushes: Saturate a new, clean kitchen sponge with water, then with about a tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap or hand soap.  Place on a dish or paper plate to catch drips, and keep near your rinse cup.  As you finish using a particular color, swish brush in water, stroke across damp soapy sponge.  Rotate brush and continue stroking until no more paint comes off on sponge, then rinse in water again.  Use sponge or fingers to reshape point.

You can allow the sponge to dry out between painting sessions; a simple splash of water reactivates it for another go - in fact, itís often helpful to have one end of the sponge wet and the other dry.  When the sponge becomes too paint-laden, rinse under hot running water, then toss in dishwasher.  Good as new!

- Art Slave


Using a Jeweler's Saw can make a lot of mess when working with metal and lead (for those of us with mid-80's minis).  I use Silly-Putty, yes, Silly-Putty.  I use it to hold the mini I'm cutting on so the metal "dust" falls on the putty.  every so often I knead the dust fully into the Silly-Putty to keep any from escaping. Keeps the mess down to a minimum and Silly-Putty is fairly tacky, so it keeps all that nasty dust from flying around and getting into everything.

- Todd

When pinning I solved the age old problem of lining up the holes (since I could never get it quite right by eyeballing) by gluing the pieces together and drilling straight through the outer piece.  The pin can then be inserted without even moving the pieces!  Perfect fit every time, plus you don't have to keep cutting down the pin or drilling the hole deeper for fit.

This technique has some obvious drawbacks, but I think they're worth the extra effort.  I usually use a pin that's too long for the entire hole and just file it down, sometimes a bit of putty is needed to blend it properly before priming.  The only other major drawback is that you really can't use this for things like weapons, but they're easy enough to eye up anyway.

- Ed Chauvin

If you are using cyanoacrylate to assemble your model or miniature it is a very good idea to do one of two things.  A) Assemble the whole model then primer and paint. B) Plan ahead, try to picture in your head how many pieces can be assembled without being a burden in painting later.  The pieces you cannot get around do not assemble, though at the joints what I have done was taped the points where the model connects or the joints.  I then primer and paint the model and pieces still not attached.  When done remove the tape leaving the metal still exposed, and then able to glue metal to metal.  This is important, especially for you table top gamers that use cyanoacrylate on your miniatures.  The reason is that cyanoacrylate bonds the two surfaces it comes in contact with, hence without the tape all it does it bind paint to paint.  The best bond you can get is when you have bonded the original plastic or metal to the plastic or metal of the piece.  Paint is a very weak substance to bond to and you may find that pieces glued together like that fall apart easy.

- Andrew Hunt

I have found a great way of gluing and making sure they stay firmly attached things like Dragon Wings. It involved the use of Milliput and Superglue, or if you wish Green Stuff from GW...When gluing the parts together just add some putty as well and because the putty is porous it dries the whole thing Rock hard. I have dropped 28mm Dragons done like this and they have stayed in one piece. The other advantage is that you can fill in those nasty gaps in the model at the same time

- Steve

You Really don't need many colours at all to create a really cool squad, with my Dark Eldar Warriors (GW Warhammer 40K) I simply paint the whole lot black.

After that I paint both eyes red, the whole eye, no tinting in the corners or anything as mentioned in the Eye Painting section of this site.

Then I Dry-Paint the Guns Boltgun Silver, so that black shows through and any spikes or blades I Dry-Paint Gold, I don't believe there is a Gold available from Citadel, who supply GW but what I use is a Water Soluble Gold, not an Oil based paint such as Humbrol Paints. I can't tell you the brand name as I lost it and haven't got any more yet...

With this Formula of not using too many colours you can paint two whole troop squads quickly and effectively, I had 20 miniatures sitting above the stove drying in under 45 minutes of me starting.

- Richard Hemingway