Newish painter with lots of questions!
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Thread: Newish painter with lots of questions!

  1. #1

    Default Newish painter with lots of questions!


    I say "newish" because I've dabbled a bit with WH40K painting before although it was really basic, and this was about 5 years ago and didn't really do much else. Over the past 6 months, I've been playing a lot of tabletop games such as X-Wing, Imperial Assault, Armada, and so on and although Armada, Descent, and Mice & Mystics models were making me want to paint again, I was hesitant because I don't have much experience with painting "organics" as my WH40K experience was exclusively Space Marines and Tau. I've just picked up a copy of Deadzone both because I want to play it but mainly because I think the Enforcers look awesome and that pushed me over the edge to do painting again. Click here to check them out.

    Anyway, I'm hoping to re-start painting and have bought a few stuff to arm myself properly this time. WN Series 7 brushes, brush soap, a P3 wet palette, and some Army Painter paints and primer. However, I believe I've been doing things wrong from the start so I'm psyching myself up to forget everything and start anew. So, on to the questions:

    I prefer to prime with white as I am looking for bright, vibrant minis. While I can appreciate the "dark, worn-out look" of most minis, I like mine shiny, fresh-out-of-the-factory look. However, when priming with white, I either get very patchy coverage or super-soaked minis. With the patchy coverage, dragging my finger over the mini gives a very rough texture feel, unlike the smoothness of the pre-primed mini. I'm worried that this will affect the final outcome of the mini with regards to paint coverage and overall texture. Am I worrying about something that isn't there? Is patchy coverage the best I can hope for with white primer? I've seen a lot of GW "for tutorial purposes" Space Marines and Fantasy stuff and the black primer coverage is consistent throughout.

    So far, I've tried GW and Army Painter primer. Are all primers created equal?

    Most of the time, after priming a mini, that's when I can better see the mold lines so I spend a lot of time priming, cleaning up, then priming again. This means 99% of the mini has lots of primer while a little bit has just one layer or two of primer. Should I even bother re-priming the mini just to cover up a mold line?

    This is the part that I enjoy the most. I thin my paints down so that means 3-4 coats for an even coverage. Unfortunately, this also means it takes a lot of time to do basecoating. However, I've drowned out enough Space Marine details so I'm not going back to out-of-the-pot!! However, is there a way to do basecoating colors? ie, do I start with the dark colors or the light ones? For my Enforcer minis, the color scheme seems to be black under-armor and light gray top-armor.

    This is the part I hate. At this point, I'll try to just "paint" the wash into recesses. I hate the cleanup bit. Is there a way to paint a mini without wash?

    I've yet to set up my camera and stuff so no pics at the moment.... If I'm lucky, I'll get a corner in one room to be my paint station, but negotiations for that is ongoing.


  2. #2


    Priming: whether you choose to prime black or white is really up to you. There is no "wrong" way to do it. Usually, most of us prime to whatever end-color we are going for. (ie: most dark colors we pre-prime black, and most light colors we pre-prime white). And no,.. all primers are NOT created equal. There are several good primers out on the market. I personally like "Dupli-color" sandable primer. It's available at most auto parts stores,.. though if you live outside the U.S.,.. some of these other guys may be able to point you to what's available in your specific country. Priming should be somewhere between a "dusting",. up to "a couple of quick passes". You don't want to "cake it on". Basecoat: there is no "right way" of doing this either. I tend to start at the feet at work my way up the model, others will start at the head and work down,.. some start with light colors, other with dark colors. In the case of your models, I'd say to do your dark under-armor first, as these will be the hardest places to get the brush. And afterwards, do your lighter armor color because it'll be easier to do. Washes: You can absolutely paint mini's without using washes. It just takes more time and a more "practiced hand". Usually the process is referred to as "Black-lining",.. or some other variation there-of. The trick with washes is to use them sparingly. Again, don't "cake them on". Do a few lighter coats, and see if that helps. Try to control where it goes rather then just gobbing it on.
    Last edited by Webmonkey; 04-28-2015 at 07:29 PM.
    It's only a flesh wound!!!

  3. #3


    I'm only going to answer the primer question here. If you're getting a rough texture it could be two things. Firstly, when you're doing this are you working in a clean environment ? If not it could be dust sticking to the wet paint and the paint building up on it therefore causing miniature lumps and undue texturing. Secondly, if you are putting the paint on too dry this will cause it to look more like sand, you might need to move slight closer to whatever you're spraying or move slightly slower with the can.

    You can help this with a couple of things, if you're holding the mini with your hand when you paint make sure there is nothing coming from your clothing to create dust on the mini. Make sure the can is really well shaken, people don't put enough effort into this, when it says on the can shake for 2 minutes they really mean it, that little aggertator ball has a lot of paint to get through and if the can has been sat on the shelf for a while it will settle at the bottom of the can and this really needs to be worked properly for optimum spraying and to act exactly like it's been designed.

    Going slightly more extreme, temperatures can effect paint, if it's cold standing the paint in a bowl of warm water to warm it up can help. If it's too hot when you're doing it try working at a different time of day when it's cooler.

    Failing that, get an airbrush but that's costly and really not necessary.

  4. #4


    Thanks for the replies!

    Is there an "ideal outside temperature" for priming? I do think I am holding the can too far away and moving it too much. I know I go further out than the 20cm recommended on the can. I'm too scared of drowning out the minis!

    Also, I tend to stick the minis with blu-tac on a plank of wood, then spray.

  5. #5


    anything above 15-20C should be ok, and even a bit below should work. What's worse is humidity.
    distance... around 25-30cm is the norm, but ArmyPainter dries too fast, so there 15-20cm is ideal. To avoid drowning the mini you just have to be faster when going over the mini.
    The grainy texture is mostly because AP spray is sprayed from too far away and it dries before reaching the mini. But it's not necessary bad, as it helps the paint grip to the surface. So a bit of graininess is ok.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  6. #6


    Agreed,.. temperature isn't as much of a factor as humidity. If the humidity is too low, then the air is too dry, and when you go to spray your model,.. about half the particles dry in the air before they hit the models surface, they then get "glued in place" by the other wetter particles that hit the model. This leads to a general grainy-ness to the primer/paint,.. and is also the main culprit when your clear-coat comes out fuzzy and/or white-ish (a process that's called "frosting"). If you experience any of these,.. stop immediately and wait until the next day or so for the humidity to adjust before proceeding. If you do get a little clear-coat frosting,... try holding the can upside down and spray until just the propellant comes out. Then hit the model with just the propellant. It doesn't always work,.. but sometimes the propellant has solvents in it that will "melt" the frosting and get it to lay down correctly. As for applying the primer, I tend to start my spray strokes off to one side of the model,.. move the spray stream across the model,.. and end the spray once I'm clear of the model on the other side. Then I go back the other way. I basically do this in several short, controlled bursts,.. then turn the model and do the other side. (or let dry then turn model over and do other side).
    It's only a flesh wound!!!

  7. #7


    I can't really add a lot more to what's already been said, good advice all round really.

    The only thing perhaps to consider is each coat try and do in a different direction. I paint for pleasure and not for armies so it's a little different for me but I attached each mini to an old paint pot, this way I can spray each one and make sure they're well done. On a piece of wood in bulk is less easy, however if you're doing armies I'd say it's fine and also perhaps stop worrying about the finish so much if it's only for armies.

    Also, when you spray each coat, where it lands on the base or whatever is holding the figure, leave it to go off, then touch that area with your finger, if it comes away wet leave it to dry longer, if it comes away dry recoat and also if it leaves a finger print ( is still soft ) but is dry, that's the perfect time to apply the next coat, it's just tacky and that's perfect.

  8. #8


    The primer questions has been answered quite well and Ill throw my voice behind dupli-color too just to make sure you give it a go It's amazing stuff and what I was exclusively using before I got an airbrish.

    As for basecoating, if you're thinning just with water try out some other additives if you want to put on less coats. Liquitex makes an Airbrush Medium that is great as an additive to thin paint without losing opacity very fast. You can also look into flow improver. It will essentially help the paint flow better without having to thin it as much. If you're getting paint that is in pots, I would also recommend getting dropper bottles and transferring it as you'll be able to thin it more reliably.

    Regarding washes, if you don't want to do as much cleanup, or don't like the effect they are having, you can try thinning them with a combination of water/flow improver/medium with the goal of getting them to flow a little more readily so that they still pool but don't darken surfaces as much. Different brands can also behave very differently and would be worth giving some other company a try if you don't like what you are currently using. You can also make your own if there's nothing out there you're happy with. Pin washing using an oil based wash after you varnish the mini is great if you hate the cleanup part, but it has it's own downsides (just a google/youtube search will bring up plenty of options). All that being said, you don't need to wash to have a good looking mini. Washing basically just saves a lot of time by easily adding a huge amount of depth/shading, especially to very small details. Since you're already doing many coats for your basecoat, if you mixed in some black in your first layer of basecoat (essentially layering the basecoat), then avoided putting subsequent layers in those recesses you will get a similar effect to the wash. Also look into blacklining/brownlining, which mimics this effect as well. Essentially after the mini is painted you would put a black or a dark brown in the recesses/between different color boundaries. The major downside with blacklining is that it can be time intensive, especially if you make errors, as cleaning them up can be tricky if you've done any shading/layering.

  9. #9


    Thanks again for the reply. I guess when a mini has a grainy, rough texture, there is no way to fix it? Even if I put on more layers of primer sprayed from the right distance, it'll still be grainy?

    While I can see priming models individually, I can only imagine this if doing one or two models at a time. From my very limited experience of WH40K painting, that's how I came up with lining up models and spraying them that way. Also, I'm trying to paint models with legs/body separate from arms, weapons, and heads so I have lots and LOTS of small pieces!

  10. #10


    You can try scrubbing it down with a toothbrush and some warm water, but layering more on top will only make things worse. Strip 'em and try again is best or work with what you have. Badger makes a primer that can be brushed on or sprayed through the AB. Same with vallejo. Painters touch has a good grey and white primer and a decent matte black if you want spray cans. Automotive primers are good too. Test a bunch and find one you like. Price doesn't equal performance due to all the factors listed above already. Welcome to trial and error. Also, check out how to prime properly here:
    No reason to lay it on thick.
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

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  11. #11


    Quote Originally Posted by Pintura View Post
    From my very limited experience of WH40K painting, that's how I came up with lining up models and spraying them that way. Also, I'm trying to paint models with legs/body separate from arms, weapons, and heads so I have lots and LOTS of small pieces!
    First,.. please don't limit yourself to just 40K models. I know that it's the "gateway drug" that drags most of us into this hobby,.. but there's so many more beautiful models from so many other vendors,.. and it's a shame to pass them by, or not at least acknowledge their existence. As for your priming style, I'm a big fan of painting separately and assembling afterwards. It really allows you to get color and depth in places on the models that would be hard or even impossible if the figure were fully assembled (ie: the gun is in the way of the chest or some such). My brilliant suggestion is,.. wait for it,.. wait for it,.... "the shallow cardboard box!!!".(walls of an just an inch or two high) Just lay your pieces out flat at the bottom, spray them all at once,.. let dry,.. then flip the pieces over and spray the other side. The point for the shallow edges is two-fold. First, they are tall enough to catch any little pieces that might be light enough to get blown away by the force of the propellant. And second, they are short enough that if you have a complex piece that requires some sort of "side/angle shooting" of the primer, to get down into certain recesses,.. then it allows for that too.
    It's only a flesh wound!!!

  12. #12


    Yeah, I'm still on the gateway drug stage. These Enforcer models are my first non-GW models to paint and that makes me excited. However, my disappointing results with GW stuff has made me scared as well.

    I did use the cardboard box method before but what happens is that some bits flip over causing the primer to be messed up, that is why I mount it on a bit of wood now. Basically, instead of mounting each mini individually, I mount a number of them on this length of wood and secure them with blu-tac and spray. The wood allows me to rotate the models as well so I can prime from above and below the models.

  13. #13


    Also, I am in the UK so some primers are not available here. I cannot find any online P3 primers that are on my side of the pond, and this is the white Duplicolor primer I could find. For the price, it's almost half the cost of the Army Painter primer I got so that's good!

    One of the guys here recommends Humbrol but I've yet to find out which one exactly he is using.

  14. #14


    I know people will hate me, but despite the cost (and that it's not a true primer, but more like spray paint) the best results I had were with GW's black and white sprays.

    Actually AP is good too, it just should be handled a bit differently.
    1. shake time should be closer to 3-4 minutes instead of the usual recommended 2.
    2. Instead of the normally recommended 20-30cm it should be sprayed from about 15cm
    3. like all primer sprays, start off the figure, quickly pass through, then finish again off the figure. With AP your hand movement should be a bit faster than with regular primers. When wet AP-primer will look like the details are gone, but as it dries it will look ok.
    4. generally true to all primers: you don't have to achive a completely opaque black/white. All you need is a bit on the surface to help the paint get a grip on.

    edit: yes, the one you found should be the one recommended by the others.

    for quality I love the Vallejo/Tamiya/Mr Color ones too, but they are expensive compared to... well any other.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  15. #15


    Good choice on the enforcers imo, Mantic makes some great miniatures. As for the primer you found, not sure if that is the right one as the labels here in the US are drastically different. Their sandable primer ( is the correct one. If you can't get ahold of that, you might have luck with other automotive primers (I've heard good things about Rustoleum but have never used it, and not sure if it's availabe in the UK.)

  16. #16


    Regarding washes: If your goal is display level painting, then you will almost never apply a wash. You will apply your shadows just like you will apply your highlights, by carefully painting on super thin layers. By thin, I mean thinner than a "wash" would be normally. Let me make something clear here tho: when people say wash they often mean many different things. First, they often mean they are using a paint called a "wash" type of paint, which is normally an ink or a GW shade type paint. And it also means that they are flooding the surface of a mini so that the paint draws down into recesses. Well, this is sloppy, and I wouldn't do this even if I were painting a whole army for rough playing. Nor would I use an ink, shade, or wash type of paint to shade in most cases, because they tend to be glossy or satin finished.

    So instead take a color you want to shade with. Water it down decently. Paint it on, stroking towards the darker crevice or area away from the light source. Once this had dried, pick a darker version of the same color and paint inside the area you just painted. Keep getting darker and smaller as you go. Remember to wipe the brush on a paper towel before applying it, so that the paint doesn't run AT ALL. Let layers dry before applying a new layer. That's it. Painting mastery.
    ​You are ranked 1 out of 9149 artists.
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