New to the Hobby - Some Questions
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Thread: New to the Hobby - Some Questions

  1. #1

    Default New to the Hobby - Some Questions

    Part 1 - So.. I am finally about to take the plunge into miniature painting, mostly because I have a couple board games that have been sitting in my basement for 2 - 3 years, unopened, and I want to do SOMETHING with them.

    A friend of mine tried painting, it wasn't for him, so I was given all of his supplies. After a trip to Wal-Mart, and a game store, I have some of the Vallejo Surface Primers, White and Black Respectively, as well as a home made wet - pallette (i think i made it right).

    Ok, so, this may seem kind of silly but how do I apply it? Do i just paint it on like paint? What is a thin layer? and how do I know when I have applied to much?
    I have not painted by hand in over 20 years, since when i was a kid, trying to build model cars. I have also never primed before.

    Any tips help, i'm a complete amateur looking to break into this wonderful artform.

  2. #2


    Hello Arkelsa! Welcome to our Passion...... I strongly recommend to get a Painting DVD to learn everything about Painting as a Beginner... You can get the whole set or "just" the DVD`s and paint your own Miniatures with the Techniques...

    This is the complete set so far, including How to Paint Miniatures on a High Level and Building Bases and Painting Freehands / Banners... Lots of terminology explained in these DVD´s as well...
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  3. #3


    Hi Arkelsa,

    As Matt says DVD tutorials are good things to get hold of. I haven't seen the Painting Bhudda ones. I can highly recommend Jeremie's vidoes available from I have part one and part two is on the way. I also have been through the Miniature Mentor ones these are a little expensive though. ANd there are several good ones available through the CMON store right here.

    In answer to your questions though. You will want to thin your paints down. Generally the consistency of skim milk is recommended. How much water/medium is required for this will differ depending on the paint you are using. Its part of the learning process getting to know your paints and how much you need to thin them.

    Yes just paint it on like paint. I recommend buying a good sable brush to do it with. Raphael 8404 series, Windsor and Newton Rosemary and Co all make pretty good ones. They are expensive compared to synthetic brushes but they last for ages if cared for, where synthetics tend to hook and become pretty useless after just a few models.

    As for thin layers and how much is too much. You want to avoid flooding details and having paint pool too much as this leaves drying rings that look awful and are difficult to correct. In general you want to have very little paint on your brush when applying a layer. I just dip the very tip of mine into the paint on my pallet and then paint a stroke or two on my thumb to make sure I have the shade I'm after and to unload the brush. Then I paint on the model itself. Its better to build up solid colour over multiple layers than to try and do it in one.

  4. #4


    while the painting buddha and JBT DVDs are super I don't think they are really good for a beginner. They are aimed more at the int-adv levels. Still they are worth to get to use later when you painted 1-2 models already and you want to up your game.
    - A really good entry-level DVD is the one from PrivateerPress. It tackles only the base techniquest (basecoat, drybrush, wash, basic layering), but explains and shows it really clearly. One of the few that's really aimed at beginners and is good at that.
    - One that you really have to stay away is the GW one. It's bad, really really bad. Not only in the way that it's not useful, but they 'teach' bad use of techniques, bad use of material, bad habits, etc etc etc.

    Generally the consistency of skim milk is recommended
    tell that to a lactose-intolerant person, like me I haven't seen milk since like ... forever.
    A good way to check was shown by reaper (books / Haley dvds): drag the brush through the thinned paint, if it flows back to place and the brushmark is disappearing, it's good for a basecoat. Or at least it helped me a lot.
    For layers I like to use the one shown either by reaper or hot-lead: similar to the basecoat, but if you apply the paint to a newspaper it should cover a bit, but the text should still be readable.

    Do i just paint it on like paint? What is a thin layer? and how do I know when I have applied to much?
    I'd say: a layer, that doesn't pool, so if you paint the surface and is even, then it's ok, if it starts to pool then you applied too much (depending on the thinning it's not as catastrophic as you think)
    too much: as said the paint starts to pool. Also if small details(panellines, small sculpted details) start to disappear (it indicates too much and not thinned enough paint)

  5. #5


    I'm with MAXXxxx, those painting videos are great (plus the stuff over at Miniature Mentor) but they are really targeting someone who's already got a handle on the basics and wants to take painting to the next level. You can find a lot of info and demos on youtube for free, of course the quality of those can vary quite a bit. Hey, you get what you pay for. Another good place for tutorials is tutofig. Again, a lot of that is going to be more advanced, but its a good source for free info. Maybe start with the painting section -> theory and tools -> basic techniques and see what you can find.

    For someone just starting out I'd say focus on getting control of the brush. Get the colors to go where you want them and not bleed over into other sections. And work for nice, smooth even coverage with the paint. Don't worry about shading or blending at the very beginning. If you want to do that you'll get there. But don't worry about making a masterpiece on your first attempt. Most of us on this site have painted many many many models to get to where we are today (and I/we've still got plenty to learn).

    If your goal is to do higher level stuff then maybe start practicing with thinner layers. The common comparison is skim milk, but as MAXXxxx said, that's not always helpful or informative. For a base coat over a white primer, your paint should be thin enough that it takes 2 to 3 coats before you can no longer see the white primer under the paint. If one coat completely covers the primer, add more water to the paint. If it's taking you 5+ coats to get complete coverage you've got too much water. Experiment and you'll get the feel for it. Between coats give the paint a chance to dry. If the bottom coat is still wet the next coat won't get you anywhere. You can blow a little bit on the figure to speed it along, others use a hair dryer, or if you just paint other areas the original part may be dry when you get back to it.

    Hopefully that helps. Experiment some and then check back in here at the forum for more tips and advice.

  6. #6


    Welcome new painting dude.

    All good advice above but you could always do what I do and just slap the paint on and have fun
    1. 'Painting is a companion with whom one may hope to walk a great part of life's journey.' W. Churchill
    Thank you for asking but I don't do commissions.

  7. #7


    Yep, all good advice. Most important -- have fun!

    Another thought would be to check out your local game stores (assuming you have any.) I know that at least one of our local ones in the Kansas City area has many intro to painting workshops. Nothing like having someone there right as you are doing something to get some feedback from.

  8. #8


    Are you asking about how to prime or how to paint?

  9. #9


    Firstly welcome!

    Secondly, I'll keep this short as you've already had some good longer answers to digest. If I were starting out, I'd likely spend a bit of time hunting on YouTube for some tutorial videos (with good reviews) before buying anything. Most professional DVDs don't really cater for a brand new painter, the GW one is tailored to their paint range and painting armies but little else.

    Have a look through the tutorials on here, the stickied post and searching for things.

    Oh and post up questions as you go along (just avoid the "what's the best paint" question - dozens of posts already on that ; )


  10. #10


    Well without forcing you to buy expensive DVDs, thin paint layers classicly means that the paint is thinned with either water or water/extender (future floor polish works) to the consistency of milk. You may need to be patient and apply many layers to build the color up, but this is easily preferable to applying a layer too thick and obscurring the sculpted details of the mini. Best thing is to practice on some crummy minis first before tackling the ones you really want to work on.
    As for primer, I use black but it does make thin layers of colors tedious to build up sometimes.
    Glyn (Zaphod) Evans
    My painted miniatures...

  11. #11


    Hi guys, I'm also new to the hobby, thx for the links, it is very helpfull. Just got my first finished, post it later on. Cheers

  12. #12


    Seems like a lot of helpful information! I think quality paints with the accurate knowledge of exactly how to #1 get the paint into your brush bristles and #2 how to apply the paint from the brush onto the surface being painted is a good starting point. A paintbrush is "somewhat" like a pen or a magic marker. Swift strokes and slow strokes give different results. The slower you move the brush the more paint will flow from the bristles, just like ink from a marker or pen. A paintbrush is "somewhat" different than a pen or marker in that if you swipe "away" from you for example, there will be more paint "away" from you! In other words a pen, pencil or marker will fade with a motion like that, the medium like ink or pencil lead will in fact fade off into the direction which you swipe. Paint from a brush on the other hand will pool in the direction in which you swipe. I hope it all helps you enjoy painting. And I hope I got my point across :-)
    Last edited by shotgun; 04-30-2014 at 05:40 PM.

  13. #13


    Another new/back-in-hobby of painting miniatures here...

    Regarding primer ... spray on or paint on primer? I've been reading many-a-forum but have not found a good recommendation for miniatures. So am looking for advice here. These are for my new Wrath of Kings miniatures.

    Thank you!
    Player of Games

  14. #14


    I'd say spray. if for nothing else it saves a lot of time.

  15. #15


    Yeah spray on generally leaves a more even coat,except for those with the most advanced levels of brush control. Remember, spray at about 6-10", never stop or start spraying directly on the mini, keep it very minimal (I'd rather miss a few spots than over-prime it), do not spray in overly humid or cold conditions, etc...I hear good things about automotive primers, but I use Privateer Press' primer, which comes out in a triangular fan and covers wonderfully. At $10 a can its a bit pricey but I've not found a better primer.
    ​You are ranked 1 out of 9149 artists.
    BloodFather's Axis of Chaos

  16. #16


    Thanx guys. I will then go the spray soon as it warms up a bit.
    Player of Games

  17. #17


    During inclement weather, I often wedge my front door open and spray inside but towards outside. This way it remains room temp and I can avoid breathing the fumes and painting my floor.
    ​You are ranked 1 out of 9149 artists.
    BloodFather's Axis of Chaos

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