Painting Scales on a Humanoid
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Thread: Painting Scales on a Humanoid

  1. #1

    Default Painting Scales on a Humanoid

    Playing a ttrpg and one of the races is humanoid, but with scales similar to a dragon (though obviously sized appropriately for a smaller creature).

    Using heroforge to create custom minis for characters, but they don't really have anything like this. Lizard folk and half dragon races always end up with big lizard heads, which is not what we are looking for.

    Any advice how one might achieve a dragon scale look on a mini that doesn't have the scales as part of it's texture?

  2. #2


    There are a couple ways I'd do this. I'd most likely just glaze in that texture. Basecoat the mini in your darkest scale shade, like a forest green, a dark brown, deep maroon, dark blue, etc. Then, get a paint that is brightly tinted, maybe even yellow or white, thin it down, and make very tiny strokes almost like dots with the very tip, starting from the front, and ending towards the rear where the scales are typically raised. Keeping in mind that the pigment will be heaviest where you end your stroke, you can create a lot of textured dimensionality this way without really changing the nature of the surface. You can always shade or glaze your texture to a darker, deeper hue after you've painted those little individual scales in. The key here is just to get some variety in the surface texture to give off the semblance of scales.

    If you are looking to create actual texture, the key is to get some sort of textured paint down, but very subtle, so that you don't mess up the figure. Most reptiles are, for the most part, rather smooth. You look at the closest thing we have to a dragon in nature, an alligator, they only have very pronounced scales in areas like their brow ridges and going down their backs. Most of the reptile, especially the underside, is rather smooth like skin. So if you can make some tiny dots of some liquid texture, like a fluid putty, on the brow ridges, perhaps the elbows, on the top of the back or shoulder blades, maybe down the spine, it'll give the impression of a heavily scaled creature, without having to create so many bumps. I know AV/Vallejo makes a liquid plastic putty. Citadel has liquid green stuff. GreenStuff World has a product called "crackle paint" that might be interesting, but I'd much rather be in a more firm control of the process. A few bumps, applied with a toothpick, combined with micro-glazing in the texture, like I told you above, will give you that reptile effect.
    Last edited by Beatnik59; 02-27-2020 at 04:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    Or as an adjunct to what Beatnik 59 has said spots of PVA glue placed on via a cocktail stick could give you the texture you need.
    Allow to dry then prime and away you go.
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