10 Things Beginners Can Do To Improve Their Miniature Painting (Part 3 of 3)

The Big Mek

4. Modelling 102 – Addition and Subtraction –  

Again, we start with another modelling tip, which is however a vital part in a decent paint job. Most models will have things that need to be added, and things that need to be subtracted. I don’t mean conversions, I mean flash, mould lines, and gap filling.

These need to be removed. Seriously.
These need to be removed. Seriously.

I remove mould lines by dragging my hobby knife BACKWARDS over the line. If that is confusing to you, let me know and I’ll make a video for you. Metal models sometimes have a variant version of these called flash.

Wait, that isn't right...
Wait, that isn’t right…
There we go!
There we go!

You can remove flash pretty much the same way you remove mould lines. Then there’s filing and sanding, to make sure it is smooth, and then, and ONLY then, is it ready for priming. But what about addition? Well, sometimes, models are imperfect, and there are holes when you put them together. You would then take a product like green stuff, or even LIQUID green stuff, and fill the holes.

Holes are filled, and just need a little sanding.
Holes are filled, and just need a little sanding. OK, a lot of sanding. And another layer. Probably to be washed too. Sheesh.

Sand that, make it smooth, and it is ready for priming. Whether it is a car, a plane, or a tiny scale model, smooth surfaces = smooth paint.

 

3. Use Quality Equipment –

I am well known as a man who likes to save money on everything. But sometimes, it pays off in the long run to spend the money. Painting terrain? Sure, use cheap brushes and craft paint. Actually, using Behr Ultra samples from Home Depot is even better. Paint and Primer in one $3 container that will last forever? Sounds awesome. Painting models? Use a good quality paint, and a good quality brush. Do you need Windsor & Newton #7 Kolinsky sable brushes? Probably not. I have a Raphael 8404 that I hardly ever use, but I’ve also found surprisingly good results with golden taklon brushes like these (not an affiliate link). I also used $5 flush cutters I bought from Wal-Mart for years, until I woke up and spent about $10 on a pair of Xuron 410 Micro-Shear Flush Cutter and I will never, ever go back.

xuron
Magic!

2. Take Care of Your Brushes

If you’re going to spend good money on decent brushes now that you’ve read Tip #3, you need to take good care of your brushes. Paint brushes, unless they are made specifically for drybrushing, should come to a tip. If every hair on your brush doesn’t come to a tip, it may already be time to reassign that brush to another duty, like paint stirring, dry brushing, or even just cutting the hairs off, creating both a stippling brush AND some static grass for your bases.

brush

You never want paint to get past the belly of the brush, and into the heel. If paint gets into the heel, it will make its way into the ferrule, or the metal part, which will mess up that lovely point at the tip of your brush. So don’t put too much paint on the brush.

Personally, I just use water to clean my brushes. Some people use and swear by brush soap. I just run water on it, gently squeeze it dry with my finger tips, and repeat until the water runs clear. Paint snobs might say that this is wrong, but they can suck it. 🙂

1. Use The Wet Palette –

A great way to extend your mixed paint’s life is with a wet palette. A wet palette is basically a box with a sponge, some wax paper, and water. It keeps your paint… well… wet. If you aren’t exactly sure what one is, there are lots of Youtube videos showing you how they work, and how they are made.

wet

Remember, when your paint is exposed to air, it dries. If your paint is drying on your brush, you are both potentially damaging your brush, and leaving micro-clumps (a scientific term, I assure you) on your miniature. By keeping your mixed paint in a damp container, you extend the life of the paint, and the quality of your paint job. Disclaimer: I do not use a wet palette. As I previously mentioned, I tend to paint using such small quantities, and have a steady enough hand that this does not become an issue. Sometimes I might waste a half a drop of paint in my dry palette, but that is better than a clumpy paint job. When I am painting larger items, or doing blends, I use a product called Drying Retarder, which is made by many reputable brands. I also have “developed” my own Drying Retarder made from organic materials, but that’s a conversation for another time.

Conclusion –

I hope you have enjoyed the series, 10 Things Beginners Can Do To Improve Their Miniature Painting. If you have any questions, comments, or just feel like telling me what I did wrong, feel free to do it below. Be advised, however, if I do not like your comment, I have been known to feed commenters to the squigs.

Go Back To Part One 

Go Back To Part Two

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