Painting a mini before full assembly or gluing to its base...
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Thread: Painting a mini before full assembly or gluing to its base...

  1. #1

    Default Painting a mini before full assembly or gluing to its base...

    Hi all,

    I'm pretty new to painting, but as I am not painting to game, I'm already interested in doing some more intricate designs on bases etc. Also, potentially painting some aspects of the mini prior to assembly (where an arm, or similar, would be so close to the body it prevents access to part of the body etc).

    I've seen a few people post WIP pics where they have the mini connected to a cork or some other device for holding the mini, or head of the mini etc... and I wanted to ask how people do this?

    My assumption is that they grab a cork, grab some wire, drill a small hole in the base of the mini's feet (or similar) and then push wire into a cork and into the drilled hole... is that correct? If so, are there any particular tips or tricks to be most effective with this?

    Overall workflow guess... Best I can guess is that I should be blue-tacking the piece together to assess fits etc... Including feet to base... I can then glue whatever parts together that I wish to, then for any parts I don't want to glue yet, I can again blu-tack the model in place and base-coat. Once the base coat is dry, I can pull apart and paint. I figure that the blu-tack will leave the plastic exposed in relevant places (such as where the feet would connect on a base) that would allow me to paint around this and then, later, glue it together with the glue going directly to the exposed plastic for best meld.

    I'd really appreciate anyone reading the above and telling me where I am off or any other tips/tricks etc of the best way to achieve this for minimal issues in the process.
    | Ghastly Awards Judge | Collects 1st Appearances & Classic Cover Comics | Newbie Painter |

  2. #2

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    how the mounting on a cork is done: mostly by pinning the part, then sticking the pin into the cork, so how you imagined it. The only exception is, that the pin is glued into the mini, and kept for later when glued to the base.

    workflow:
    - glue together as much as possible (depending on parts some may need to be pinned)
    - gap-fill the joins
    - pin the separate parts
    - either now you'll need to do the gap-fill (helps if one of the parts is lubricated with petr.jelly or simply oil for example, so the putty sticks only to the other part) or after the parts are painted. I like to do it after as I need to fix the paint at the join anyway.
    - wash the pieces especially if you used some kind of lubricant.
    - now you undercoat - basecoat - paint the parts.
    - join them + do any needed fixes at the joins.
    - adjust highlights / shades as needed.

    If you did like you thought (first basecoat than take apart) it would damage the paintjob, so you'd just 'ruin' it (could be salvagable, varies case by case).
    Forgot, that it works again.

  3. #3

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    Thanks MAXXxxx!

    re: Pins, I presume there's a specific product just for this. I'll do a search online. Really appreciate it.

    re: Gap-fill the joins... do you mean something like "green stuff" from Games Workshop? If so, is there a different product you'd recommend I look at?
    | Ghastly Awards Judge | Collects 1st Appearances & Classic Cover Comics | Newbie Painter |

  4. #4

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    not really.

    For pins I use simple superglue and either cheap paperclips from the office or small brass rods (1m costs around 50c here, it's enough for a LOT of minis).

    yes, something like GS, but personally I like milliput(standard yelolow-grey) more for 3 reasons:
    - a lot cheaper
    - water-soluble, which makes it really easy to smooth out or to apply in thin gaps too. It even helps if I put the mini together after it's painted as with a lot of water I can wash off the excess.
    - sandable
    Forgot, that it works again.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dntfeedthemnkys View Post
    Thanks MAXXxxx!

    re: Pins, I presume there's a specific product just for this. I'll do a search online. Really appreciate it.

    re: Gap-fill the joins... do you mean something like "green stuff" from Games Workshop? If so, is there a different product you'd recommend I look at?
    You'll want to get a Pin Vise to drill the holes, brass rods are generally used for the actual pinning but I've seen people use paperclips as well (which would make me nervous about rusting, but realistically it probably isn't a concern.) A pin vise and rods can generally be acquired at hobby stores. Make sure whatever pin vise you get has a changeable collet (the part that holds the drill bit.) Army painter sells a rather generic one, look it up and you'll get an idea what you're looking for. Any pin vise that has a standard collet size will work as you can buy additional collets and use whatever drill bits you need. As much as I hate to say it, Games Workshop's current pin vise is actually pretty great, although like the other hobby supplies they sell, it is overpriced, even at the discount you can often get from buying their stuff online.

    Gap filler can be a lot of different things, with green stuff, gap filling superglue and plastic cement being some common examples. Green stuff is the better option, but can take a while to get just right. The superglue/cement options only work once you're ready to attach the pieces together (obviously.)

    Green stuff is the name for a 2 part epoxy made of yellow and blue parts that turn green when mixed together. Brand name is kneadatite. Green stuff can be acquired in hobby stores and hardware stores. It comes in either a ribbon or pair of cylinders (the ribbon tends to get hard, cured bits before you mix it, so get the cylinders if you can.) Games Workshop green stuff is no different then the green stuff you'll get at a hardware store, so find it at a good price and get it. To fill a gap with it, knead the 2 colors together, cut off an appropriately sized piece and push it into the gap. Sculpting tools work well to do this part but the back end of a paint brush can work as well if you don't have any. Wet the green stuff with water to stop it from being too sticky while you work it with your hands and wet your tools/the surface of the green stuff when pressing it so it doesn't get pulled out as you press it into place. It's a very versatile tool and can be primed/painted just like the miniature, often becoming indistinguishable once the mini is painted. The liquid green stuff games workshop sells is a different product that can gap fill, but really only works well to fill in tiny gaps or bubbles in resin since it shrinks as it cures.

    Gap filling superglue is a thicker then normal superglue that can fill in gaps as the parts are pressed together. It's not as good as green stuff and is hard to fix if you get it wrong. It also has a tendency to craze, so I wouldn't use it when you are attaching painted parts. The real advantage it has is that it is very fast and works on pretty much everything since it is just a thicker formula of superglue. If you're trying to make an army with time as a priority, it can work well.

    Plastic cement can also serve the function of gap filler as it fuses certain plastics together, leaving no gap. It works on hard plastics, which are usually polystyrene. It won't work on acrylic, PVC, Resin or Metal.
    Last edited by Splurch; 03-14-2016 at 05:52 AM.

  6. #6

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    MAXXxxx, Splurch,

    Thank you so much. Really, really helpful and interesting content.

    I experimented last night with a small skull... I used a model-drill to drill a small hole in the skull where I planned to glue it to the base and then inserted a paperclip and used this to paint it with a lot of success.

    I'll re-work that method with some of the above tips moving forward. Again, thank you - a lot of effort in the posts and it's greatly appreciated. This community is unique in how positive, supportive and helpful it is to newbs like me.
    | Ghastly Awards Judge | Collects 1st Appearances & Classic Cover Comics | Newbie Painter |

  7. #7

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    I paint to tabletop, so mostly use Vallejo Plastic Putty. No kneading involved, and you can just paint it on then file or paint right on it. May need multiple applications, though.

    Whenever the gap's obvious, I'll use some milliput, especially when I'm working on more than one model.

  8. #8

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    Some great advice here.

    A couple of things to consider.

    When You'll want to use the same pins or holes in the mini's feet to mount it to the base. So its best to build you base and measure and drill the holes in it for your pins before putting paint on anything. The pins you use for securing the mini to a cork are going to be longer than you want for final mounting and they may get bent and mangled in the process of pushing them through the cork. So use minimal amounts of super glue to secure them into the minis feet. Once you are done painting you can trim them to length carefully with clippers. Or if they are really messed up give them a quick twist with some pliers and remove them to be replaced with straight pins of the right length. By using minimal glue in the first place you won't have to clean up the surface (it will all be inside the pin hole) around the pin hole (been there done that its delicate removing super glue from a painted mini without damaging the paint).

    If you are going to paint in pieces it's well worth doing multiple dry fits (without blu tack) and adjusting (filing or sanding) the joint surfaces until you have as close a fit as possible (which is why you leave the blu tack out). This will help to minimise the amount of filling you will need to do on gaps between painted parts that you assemble later. You can use GS to fill the gap before assembly also. this takes a bit of skill and care (not something I've done personally though). You would need to pin your parts and glue the pin into one side. Let the glue fully cure. Then you push them together with GS in between (you have to coat one side lightly in vaseline). Shape the GS to fill the gap and them let it cure. You can then pull the parts away from each other. The GS won't stick to the vaseline coated part but will to the other side. You can now carefully clean the vaseline off, use blu tack to mask then paint the parts and when you go to put them together you should have virtually no gap at all.

    As others have said the another option is to fill after paint (I tend to do this when assembling in parts). My advice is to avoid this as much as you possibly can. Build your sub assemblies so that you aren't leaving gaps.

    This guy for example has some perfect joints for painting separately and never having to worry about filling, they are pin and socket and this hides any separation once they are together or it looks like part of the sculpt. Note the blu tack in the arm sockets on the side of his barrel. Also note the note so great looking fill and sand job on the barrel around the shin. I could have painted that barrel in two separate pieces but then I would have to fill that gap (it looks better after I put some more detailed painting on the area.).

    Sometimes you won't be able to avoid having to fill after painting. Make sure you are comfortable with the paint and methods you used to lay it down on the bits either side of the join. Write down the recipe for the area if necessary. Because you are going to have to match it up.

    I don't have a pic that really shows it. But I painted the wings on this guy separately and there were some massive gaps at to roots of them (2-3mm in places). I sculpted new bits of membrane and rows of fur. Hopefully if you zoom in on his shoulder spines you won't be able to see it (the gap is just behind them in the fur of the mane). I used GS here. But you as mentioned by the other guys plastic putty, superglue even PVA can be used. But the choice depends on the gap to be filled.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAXXxxx View Post
    not really.

    For pins I use simple superglue and either cheap paperclips from the office or small brass rods (1m costs around 50c here, it's enough for a LOT of minis).
    My go-to for pinning is ... straight pins! (like for sewing)
    They're smaller diameter than paperclips and better quality metal so no worries as far as rusting. Also much stiffer than brass. And they are cheap. You can buy a pack for a few dollars and it will last for years.

    The only complaint is super glue doesn't adhere to them very well, but that's sometimes a good thing when you need to pull the pin out of a separate piece after it's painted.

  10. #10

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    Epic post Stewsayer. I'm sorry for the cheap reply - the post deserves more, but great tips, thank you. (Also, rad images)
    | Ghastly Awards Judge | Collects 1st Appearances & Classic Cover Comics | Newbie Painter |

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