Most videos and articles you see on the internet when it comes to the realm of painting miniatures as a beginner are done by some extremely talented individuals. I recently got into the hobby myself. Sure I have painted miniatures before as a kid, but as an adult I really want to try my best to make my miniatures stand out. It becomes daunting to get into when such good results are all that we see out there so I wanted to approach this not as a well seasoned veteran of painting miniatures, but as a beginner and let you all see what I did and how I managed to get to where I am with my own painting.
The Courage to Start Painting Miniatures
The biggest stopper for me from getting into painting miniatures was the entry cost sometimes associated with painting. But after getting settled now with my first few miniatures out of the way, I have come to find it’s actually rather affordable. There is no need to necessarily settle with lesser paints.
My first miniatures I ever painted as a kid were HeroScape models. Not knowing anything about what I was doing I did not prime, I did not cover the mini with 1 color, I painted over the top with Testors model paints. Here is what my results were back then.
Though the results were not up to my own standards, the fact that I got started was what was important.
Choosing Your Miniature
Choosing a miniature for a first time painter I would recommend starting with something that you do not care about deeply, and use it to get an idea of how the consistency of your paints and your brushes behave. This should take stress off getting it absolutely right the first time, and make it a more enjoyable experience.
It’s also good practice to wash a miniature with soap and water and a toothbrush before painting to make sure any chemicals are not on the miniature that might make keeping the paint on them harder to do. HowtoPaintMiniatures.com has a good article on this.
Choosing Your Miniature Paints
My issue with paint now having learned a little more, is that the paint may be cheap, but it really did nothing to boost my confidence in painting. Just starting out, I really want to boost my own confidence level so I am willing to push myself to get better.
The confidence is key and I feel the biggest barrier to the hobby. What I ended up doing was watching a fantastic video on the miniac’s channel going over base sets. Now this did not mean much to me when it gets down to the nitty gritty as a new painter, but it did show what all these starter sets on the market had to offer and which one might fit what I want to do. Be sure to subscribe to his Youtube channel, he makes fantastic content that will always get me in the mood to paint.
I personally went with Vallejo. They were actually pretty well priced and for what a starting painter gets the colors are varied enough to paint just about anything. One thing that I also noticed was that Vallejo has different starter sets based on what you are painting. From WWII miniatures, high fantasy miniatures and so on. You can check them out with our affiliate links.
I personally purchased my paints at my local hobby store since I didn’t want to wait but will be buying the high fantasy set soon as it will better fill out my color pallet range.
Choosing Your Brushes
Let’s face it, these are miniatures, the brushes have to be small. When I went to my local hobby store I picked up a set of model brushes. Testors, Atlas Set NO. 58, and a very fine tipped brush by Flexifile. Before getting into this, skip the Testors brushes. They are trash. I wouldn’t even say you are paying for what you get. They have not performed for me at all.
That being said, the atlas brushes I feel are a really good choice. The issue that I have with my set though is that I only use the smallest brush and occasionally use the middle brush. Still they are working well for me and are a good place to start with as a beginner.
For the fine details every mini painter is going to need a very fine brush. I thought the Flexifile 5/0 brush I got was moderately priced and I use it for my detailing when finishing up the miniatures. You can get a set of them here.
Miniature Painting Techniques
Any veteran will cringe at this segment, but this for other new people like myself. I found that using the Vallejo paints and brushes I purchased that my mini’s turned out table ready and looked pretty decent by just painting on the mini with small amounts of paint with little to no watering down.
Yes watering down paints when done right is the right thing to do. But that is a technique I will learn as I go and painting as is was working fine enough for me to produce a model I am happy with a willing to share. Just take a look. [new model painted]
Priming is up to the painter. The Vallejo paints stuck to my fantasy flight miniatures just fine with no work done to the mini’s before hand besides gluing them together.
Washing Your Miniatures
I almost guarantee that when finishing painting a miniature, that washing it will make it look 10X better than before. Wash is like instant skill in a bottle. Personally I have two washes and they are Citadel Nuln Oil and a more brownish one for dirty appearance or animal furs called Agrax Earthshade. Yes they are both Citadel paints by Games Workshop.
Just drop this onto you mini where you want. I do it in excess which can be wasteful as I blot out the mini with a brush when done and boom, the miniature looks so nice now! Good job!
Sealing the Miniature
Beginners may not make amazing paint jobs, but I as a beginner take pride in my miniatures and want to make sure they last as I do use them! Getting a basic acrylic matt varnish will do the trick, I use a bottle of Vallejo’s varnish to accomplish this. It will keep your miniature from getting sticky as well as protect your hard work on your miniatures for longer.
More experienced miniature painters would say use a gloss varnish and then a matt varnish, but I think a beginner can get by with just what they prefer if they want it to be shiny or matt.
So there you have it. A beginners guide to getting into the hobby of miniature painting. Watch some Youtube videos. Pick your products and go for it. The hardest part is starting and taking that scary risk on a miniature. Pick a miniature that you do not care deeply about and test out your stuff on it and see how it turns out when you are done.
If you found this article helpful please let me know. Once again, this is based off my experience and my painting ability as a beginner. As I learn more the more I paint I will share that information with everyone in the future. Until next time, happy gaming everyone.