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gunner1764

Buy list recommendations for new painters

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Hello everyone.  My wife and I have been reading a bit on the forums and watching the Miniature Painting 101 series on youtube, and we think we're about ready to make the jump and start painting some minis.  I am interested in compiling a buy list for new painters, with recommendations for actual products (not just "buy some brushes" or "get a fan brush for washes" or "citadel is the best," but rather posts like "the vallejo game color starter set *link* is a great value for beginners") in the hopes of saving other beginners the time it takes to research every possible brush/paint/varnish/etc. that's out there.  I plan on updating the original post to reflect some of your recommendations from the following posts.  I don't live on the forums, so thank you guys in advance for your help, and I will post again when I can.  

 

Here are the assumptions I would like to use for this list:

1. Very little to no painting experience.

2. Assume acrylic paint.

3. Don't want to invest a lot of money to get started, which would include no airbrush.

4. Looking for a good ratio of cost to performance.

 

 

The List of items to get (as I know it):

 

Minis: We plan on painting x-wing minis, which we have.  Not much else to say here.   : )

 

 

Stand/Way to hold mini while painting:

1) From Doc_H: attach pin to mini, insert to wine cork;  blue-tac on top of aerosol can lids and push peg into it (wrap tape around peg and female ship peg to protect when spraying); use standard base

2) From Gullwind: can attach minis to cheap (full) water bottles; weight helps them from tipping

3) From Dangonblane: can use the flying stand, just put on some masking tape to prevent painting it accidentally

4) From Malakai1939: Use a wine cork

 

Palette:

1) Pretty much anything you want, from xwing packaging to plastic ones from the dollar store/amazon, to wet pallets (see following posts) to white ceramic tiles (can be gotten from Home Depot/Lowes)

 

Brushes:

1) In general: 

     a) From Mr. Tough Guy: The brushes most decent painters use are kolinsky sables, the W&N 7 series is very popular and is often mentioned as the brush of choice of many minipainters,

     b) Mr. Tough Guy and Doc_H: Rosemary and Co series (0 and 3/0 for most painting) http://www.rosemarya...olinsky-pointed

     c) Parravon prefers Humbrol No4 for large areas and a 00 for details.

2) For base coat: good post by Malakai1939 below, too long to post here

 

3) For dry brushing: flat/wide brush; this will take abuse, so make sure you don't mind if it gets destroyed; try snthetic, as they are rigid and don't need to maintain a point

 

4) For details:  Dangonblane uses 0 and 00

 

5) For shades/wash:  fan brushes, or other long bristled brushes with good coverage if you plan to cover the whole mini;  if you are targeting specific areas, go for a smaller detail level brush  

6) For varnish:  Most brushes will do; recommend separate brushes from ones you do your painting with

     a) Many folks recommend getting spray varnish for better coverage and to save time

 

7) For metallics: recommended to use seperate brushes for metallics (Malakai1939)

 

 

Paint:

1) Primers (which I understand aren't really needed to prep the x-wing minis):

     a) From Doc_H:   Army Painter sprays and I also use Vallejo Surface Primers too

 

2) Paints (product line?  set or individual?): 

     a) From Mr. Tough Guy: recommends a set for primaries/secondaries, and any colors you may have envisioned for your fleet

     b) From Doc_H:  recommend the P3 starter sets. I like P3 paint, and if the sets contain the colours you're after then they offer a good discount over individual pots.

     c) From Malakai1939: recommends you buy individual paint pots to save money

     

3) Shades/washes:

 

4) Metallics:

 

5) Thinner:

     a) good ol' water

 

6) Varnish (spray?):

     a) Matte:

          i) Mr. Tough Guy: Testors dullcoat spray

     b) Satin:

          i) Dangonblane: Plastikote Krystal Clear http://www.plasti-ko...t/pccode---3620

     c) Gloss:

          i) recommended brush on for cockpits

 

 

Etc.:

1) Color wheel to help when mixing paints?

     a) Most paint ranges offer a shading/hghlight chart that you can find through website.

 

2) Hobby knife: no particulars

 

3) Cutting mat: "saves the desk or kitchen cable" - Doc_H

 

4) Practice models recommended by many: cheap aircraft models, plastic army men, etc.

 

5) Get smart on painting minis:  check out How to Paint Citadel Models book (via Sarcon) or the Miniature Painting 101 series on youtube (via myself)

 

6) Link to a color brand/comparison chart from Dangonblane: http://www.dakkadakk...atibility_Chart

 

 

Again, thanks in advance for your guys' help.  There are a lot of fantastic painters on the boards here, and your experience and knowledge is invaluable for us beginners.  

 

vr,

 

Gunner

 

Edit: I have tried my hand at some painting!  The results can be found here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/181953-gunners-beginner-repaints/?p=1683575

Edited by gunner1764

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One tip that I found awesome when I started painting - save your bottle caps.  Metal ones from beer bottles work better, but plastic ones from water bottles work as well.  Use these as mini palette things for mixing / diluting paints.

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This is not as much of a "what to buy" as it is how to setup and use an inexpensive wet palette.  Paints dry out very fast.

If you are doing a one-off and don't need to duplicate your colors, it's not a big deal.  If you are wanting to paint a set of x-wing, z-95's, etc. and you are wanting to do them over a few coats, you want to go ahead and learn this.  

 

Tabletop Minions (Adam Loper)

Personally, I found a glass container that I like better than the Ziploc, but that is a personal preference thing.

 

As for paint, I am not ready to attempt anything on my models.  I am still learning on my wife's Zombicide addiction, which gives me a helluva lot of practice before I branch out into trying to destroy a perfectly good paint job on a decent ship.  I still tend to paint too thickly, instead of painting thin and letting it dry and building up layers.  So I'll leave that advice to people that can perform better than I can.  

 

I will say I love Army Painter quickshades, but which one you should get for these, I have no recommendation.  If anyone is painting Zombies though... the Army Painter sets are a great introduction for specific use.

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Palette: I totally agree with grayfax, a wet palette is very useful and can easily be made from stuff lying around the house, I use some foam that came from old blisters instead of paper towels but otherwise I basically use something similar as described in the video. although not essential I painted for years without one now that I am using one I wouldn't want to paint without one.

 

Brushes:

The brushes most decent painters use are kolinsky sables, the W&N 7 series is very popular and is often mentioned as the brush of choice of many minipainters, I personally use the Rosemary and Co series 33

 

http://www.rosemaryandco.com/watercolour-brushes/pure-kolinsky-sable/pure-kolinsky-pointed

 

which is a good alternative, but TBH any brush that can hold a point will do, I've painted or years using cheap synthetic brushes and only recently switched to kolinsky sables. Also unless you're prepared to take care of your expensive brushes I wouldn't bother with anything too expensive.

 

as for brush sizes I do 99% of my painting with a 0 with a good point, I have a 3/0 for very fine detail, but I hardly ever use it, and I have a few bigger old brushes to transfer paint from pots to my pallet, drybrushing and basecoating entire minis

 

Paints:

Any range of the major brands will do, and while there are some differences it doesn't really matter which brand you use, so whatever is easily available is good. having said that some brands do have a few specific paints that can be useful and are better than other brands, I mainly use old citadel (80's-90's I completely swore of GW paints in the 00's, but I believe they're a lot better these days), coat d'arms, and Vallejo. As for which colours, that depends on what you want to do with them, I started with a starter set with all the main colours, and a few specific colours, but over the years the collection has grown. If you're planning on painting the entire fleet using only a few specific colours, you don't really need a full range, although it's always nice to have at least all the basic primary and secondary colours.

 

Varnish:

A coat of any gloss spray for protection, followed by a coat of Testors Dullcoat for a matt finish, and brush on gloss to pick out cockpit for that shiny look

 

etc:

A sharp knife to remove moldlines, I use a scalpel with a no.11 (or no.10) blade but as long as it's sharp, any hobby knife will do.

 

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There is a lot of advice and opinions surrounding each one of your points lol. You'll end up inundated with advice.

Instead of giving different views of methods I have seen. I'll just tell you what works for me. That of course doesn't make it the right way or the only way to do things.

Ways to hold mini's.

Depending upon what model I am painting and how I am painting it.

I have used wine bottle corks, if I have drilled and put pin in the bottom of the model. You then just push the pin into the cork. Now you can hold the cork so you don't touch the paintjob (not done this with X-wing models yet).

The tops off aerosol cans attaching the model with Blu-tac. I usually do this with models that are attached to their base. However I have used this with X-wing models, just pushing the peg into Blu-tac. I wrapped masking tape around the peg to protect it from overspray, maybe you won't need that.

IMG_20150613_131658_zpszymxxww7.jpg

Of course you could just use the standard base too.

I also used to Blu-tac based models to paint pots I wouldn't be using.

Palette

Well if you type paint palette into Google you'll find loads. I have a round plastic one that cost about £2 from a craft shop. However I mostly use the blister pack that my models come in as palettes.

I also own a wet palette, made by Privateerpress. I have also made a wet pallete from a model's blister pack. A long time ago I used cheap white wall tiles.

I prefer using the blister packs because I don't have to clean them, just throw them when they're full.

Brushes

The brushes currently lined up next to my paints are from 3 manufacturers.

2 Rosemary & Co. Already linked above.

1 Formula P3 base hobby brush.

One or two brushes from the basic Wargames Foundry set.

I think the brush descriptions will tell you what I use them for, losely.

As I have an airbrush I don't use brushes to varnish. But when I did, I had separate brushes for the sole use of gloss and Matt varnish. Just bog standard nylon brushes, nothing fancy.

I would recommend any of those brushes above. Especially Rosemary & Co. Excellent brushes for a good price.

Spray Primer

I use Army Painter sprays. They have a large selection of different colours. Are cheaper than games workshop. I have not had any issues with them. I am in the UK so rarely does our climate cause problems.

Although I have also used Halford mat car primer before too. Which you get more of for you money. I just found a bit more care was required with that though.

I also use Vallejo Surface Primers too. Admittedly with an airbrush, but you can brush them on too I believe.

Paint

I currently use paints from the following ranges. Formula P3, Vallejo (model, game, and air ranges), Wargames Foundry. I have been painting for a long time now and so have ended up with a fair selection of paints. Others include Coat D'Arms, Gwames Workshop, but not many. If you know what colours you want then shop around. If you're after starter sets then I would recommend the P3 starter sets. I like P3 paint, and if the sets contain the colours you're after then they offer a good discount over individual pots.

Washes/shades

I probably use mostly Army Painter soft tone, strong tone, and dark tone inks for my washes. I also have P3 inks and some old GW stuff. I have tried Vallejo washes but didn't like them, they dried with a white residue. I keep meaning to try some Secret Weapon washes though.

Metallic Paint

The previously mentioned brands all have suitable metallics. For gold I think I prefer Vallejo Model Colour Old Gold. Silvers I find P3 and Foundry to be similar. Although I highlight with a 90s pot of GW Mythral Silver, closest equivalent would be Coat D'Arms Enchanted Silver I think. P3 have an interesting colour with Radiant Platinum, which I do like a lot.

Thinners

Water is pretty much all I have ever used.

Varnish

I have no experience with aerosol varnish.

I do use Vallejo mat and gloss varnish with my airbrush. Before getting that I painted it on by brush.

Painting Resources

The Internet is flooded with model painting articles. This single link covers a pretty wide array of stuff, and is only the tip of the iceberg. Must be a pretty big iceberg eh ;)

Not a mixing chart as such, but a shading and highlighting chart for P3 paints which I have found useful.

yJmmKMR.jpg

Hobby tools

A sharp sturdy craft knife is all you need for X-wing models I reckon. I use an X-acto craft knife, random Googled link. I also have a cutting mat, saves the desk or kitchen table.

Right that's all I can be bothered typing now, hope it is of some use.

Edited by Doc_H

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You can also use cheap water bottles to stick the models/miniatures on. Don't even bother emptying them, the water gives it some weight so they don't tip over, and they make great handles for painting. Just stick the minis on the caps with some stick-um.

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Paint:

For first timers, stick with the major brands for your paint. Don't try and use some budget brand rubbish as it will inevitably give rubbish results. Personally I use enamel paints, but I feel I'm a relic when it comes to this. Acrylic is the way to go and much more forgiving for the newer painter. If you make a mistake, a quick swipe with a damp cloth and it's gone, and you can try again. Enamel isn't quite so easy. Plus with acrylics, you thin your paint and wash your brushes with water - easy!

Something everyone will tell you is to thin your paint. Straight from the bottle, it's usually too thick. Check out some videos on YuoTube for the best ways to do this.

One thing I'd avoid is never paint a mini with a gloss colour. Not even the bits you want to be shiny. The gloss colours are generally thicker, and don't cover as well, and thinning them doesn't seem to work as well as the matte. I paint everything with matt colours, and if there's some glass areas (cockpit glazing, windows) I carefully use a gloss varnish when the colour is done. Everything else gets a matte varnish to help protect the paintjob. With enamels you can use an ink wash, but with acrylics you can create your own with a darker colour thinned out. It depends on what colours you are using and how dark you want the end result.

 

Paintbrushes:

I use Humbrol brand and have about three on the go at any one stage. A No.4 for larger coverage areas, a No.00 for fine work, and an old No.4 that is past it's prime is usually relegated to drybrushing work. Whatever you do, make sure you get good quality brushes. Much like the paint, if you buy cheap rubbish, you'll get rubbish results.

 

Undercoating and Drybrushing:

I tend to prime with a darker shade of what I'm using for the final coat. Then I'll panel paint the larger areas and drybrush the smaller areas with the final colour, before doing a light drybrush of a lighter colour to pick out the details. With this method, I don't use a wash but still get a good result that I'm happy with. When I finally transition to acrylics, I'll start doing more washes as it's easier.

The best way to practice successive drybrushing layers or washes is to go to your local model shop and buy a few small, cheap aircraft models to practice on. The level of detail is usually good enough and you can try things out before hitting your X-wing minis and learning the hard way.

 

Tools:

I usually have a small fine file, and a hobby knife to trim the excess plastics (mould flash) away. That's all I've used in the forty years or so I've been modelling. To hold the model, there are numerous gizmos out there, but I still use the two I started with - my hands.

 

The highlights again:

Get good quality paints and brushes, learn to thin your paint to the right consistency for the best coverage and practice on some other models until you feel comfortable with what you are trying to do.

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All,

Some good advice in here.  Thanks to those who have replied so far.  I have updated the original post with some of the information from your comments.  

 

There is a lot of good painting technique information in the above comments (which I'm thankful for), but I am really looking for your product information the most.  Anyone have a really good match to the stock FFG colors?  If you got a starter paint set was it worth the money?  Or do you think it will be more cost efficient to just get a couple colors you think you will use on your fleet?  Any bad experience with metallics?  Anyone using satin varnish?

 

Again, thanks much, you folks area  great wealth of knowledge!

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For metalics I only use gun metal, aluminium, or silver. Metalic colours just look terrible on such a small model. So if whatever I'm painting is going to be in raw metal, that's the only time I use metalics.

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Well it's probably more cost efficient to only get the colours you need, there are always going to be paints you'll be using more than others and If you are only planning to paint your fleet a few colours should be sufficient, although once in a while it can be nice to have that specific exotic colour for something special, and if you're planning to paint other things beyond X-wing minis it will be nice to have a bigger range. Also it depends on how you're going to paint your fleet, I can imagine an empire player that does a traditional fleet can get away with just black, white, a few greys, and maybe some reds.

 

As for Metallics, if done right they can look great, although I'm always struggling myself to get metallic to look great, and often prefer NMM (non metallic metals) techniques where you paint metal parts using non-metallic paints in a way to make them look metallic. I've not painted anything metal or metallic on my x-wing figures so far though.

 

As for brands for metallic I can totally recommend the Vallejo model Air range, which are paints made for use with an airbrush but they work fine with a regular brush too, but they're great metallic paints and having done some research  a few years back when I started painting metallica again after years of only painting NMM they seem to be the metallic brand of choice for a lot of minipainters

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More a useful resource rather than a "go and buy this" post, but you might find the following webpage useful:

 

http://www.dakkadakka.com/wiki/en/Paint_Range_Compatibility_Chart

 

Basically it lists what each of the various painting companies call their colors, so if someone says "Get Coat D'Arms vampire red!" but you prefer Vallejo Model Color, then you know to pick up a pot of Cavalry Brown to get the same color.

 

I've personally found it useful when one company I use stops a certain color, I can find a substitute from another (in my case it was the Citadel Bronzed Flesh - now I'm using Vallejo Dark Flesh instead)

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But to answer the op's question:

 

 

Stand/Way to hold mini while painting:

I personally just use the existing flying base and bury it in masking tape  ;-)

 

 

Palette:

A left over bathroom tile (white satin finish one in my case)

 

Brushes:

1) In general: 

I'm using Citadel brushes at the moment, but that's purely because I got them as a gift.  The best rule of thumb is if they cost cheap, then they are cheap (and hence poor)

 

2) For base coat:

No real wrong one here, but not anything too small or your basecoat could start drying before you finish which will lead to paint ridges appearing in later layers.

 

3) For dry brushing:

Any brush you don't mind destroying.  That and flathead/widehead brushes will pick out details on X-Wing minis better as they're better on large flat surfaces.

 

4) For details:

A 0 and a 00 in my case.  Painting detail is more about paint consistency than what brush you use (in my humble opinion)

 

5) For shades/wash:

Something with long bristles for washes, I use a combination of basecoat/detail brushes for shading depending on what it is I'm trying to shade

 

6) For varnish:

As others have said - use a different brush, but there's no real wrong one.  My personal preference is spraycan varnish though.

 

 

Paint:

I use Citadel paints almost exclusively.  Mainly because they're the easiest to get for me.  Again as others have noted they're a LOT better than they used to be, and they've a much higher pigment count now (meaning you need less coats to get even coverage of color)

 

 

Etc.:

1) Color wheel to help when mixing paints?

Use you eyes - it's what nature intended them for.  Any color wheel is dependant on the quality of the surface it being viewed on (PC monitor, tablet screen, piece of paper, on top of a lightbox) as such they can only ever be a guide.  You're doing this for your entertainment and self satisfaction, as such if it looks right to you, then it IS right.

 

2) Hobby knife:

One with replaceable blades - and don't be afraid to replace them either!  ;-)

 

3) Cutting mat:

Heck yes.  Or an old tile with some masking tape over the top to make it a bit more non-slip.

 

4) Practice models recommended by many:

Hell yes.  Get a cheap aircraft kit from a carboot/ebay/mate - they large surfaces they have will let you get used to how the paints work etc

 

5) Lighting:

Painting in a cavern will make your colors look dark as you paint them, potentially leading to problems.  Best place is next to a big window not in direct sunlight.  Other than that one of the daylight LED hobby lamps are very useful too.

 

6) Rest:

I'm pushing 40, been painting for 25 years, I'm not good and would never go pro, but I have learnt a fair bit over the years.  One thing I have learnt with the passage of time though is that painting miniatures takes a lot of concentration and causes a lot of eyestrain.  Rest.  Make a drink while the undercoat and basecoat dries, yell at the kids once in a while, the distractions will actually help you stay more focussed and produce better results when your brush is making contact.

 

7) Freebie tip:

When painting real small detail areas, do as snipers do and exhale slowly as you paint - you'll find your arm/hand is much more steady.

 

 

Welcome to the club :-)

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Someone once mentioned on a forum that VMC Deck Tan was a good match for an X-Wing's base colour. I bought some but have yet to get round to testing it.

 

Let me know when you get around to testing it.  I'm assuming up front that i will need to do some mistake cover ups whenever i work on something that isn't a full repaint, like just doing osl on engines.

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But to answer the op's question:

 

 

Stand/Way to hold mini while painting:

I personally just use the existing flying base and bury it in masking tape  ;-)

 

 

Palette:

A left over bathroom tile (white satin finish one in my case)

 

Brushes:

1) In general: 

I'm using Citadel brushes at the moment, but that's purely because I got them as a gift.  The best rule of thumb is if they cost cheap, then they are cheap (and hence poor)

 

2) For base coat:

No real wrong one here, but not anything too small or your basecoat could start drying before you finish which will lead to paint ridges appearing in later layers.

 

3) For dry brushing:

Any brush you don't mind destroying.  That and flathead/widehead brushes will pick out details on X-Wing minis better as they're better on large flat surfaces.

 

4) For details:

A 0 and a 00 in my case.  Painting detail is more about paint consistency than what brush you use (in my humble opinion)

 

5) For shades/wash:

Something with long bristles for washes, I use a combination of basecoat/detail brushes for shading depending on what it is I'm trying to shade

 

6) For varnish:

As others have said - use a different brush, but there's no real wrong one.  My personal preference is spraycan varnish though.

 

 

Paint:

I use Citadel paints almost exclusively.  Mainly because they're the easiest to get for me.  Again as others have noted they're a LOT better than they used to be, and they've a much higher pigment count now (meaning you need less coats to get even coverage of color)

 

 

Etc.:

1) Color wheel to help when mixing paints?

Use you eyes - it's what nature intended them for.  Any color wheel is dependant on the quality of the surface it being viewed on (PC monitor, tablet screen, piece of paper, on top of a lightbox) as such they can only ever be a guide.  You're doing this for your entertainment and self satisfaction, as such if it looks right to you, then it IS right.

 

2) Hobby knife:

One with replaceable blades - and don't be afraid to replace them either!  ;-)

 

3) Cutting mat:

Heck yes.  Or an old tile with some masking tape over the top to make it a bit more non-slip.

 

4) Practice models recommended by many:

Hell yes.  Get a cheap aircraft kit from a carboot/ebay/mate - they large surfaces they have will let you get used to how the paints work etc

 

5) Lighting:

Painting in a cavern will make your colors look dark as you paint them, potentially leading to problems.  Best place is next to a big window not in direct sunlight.  Other than that one of the daylight LED hobby lamps are very useful too.

 

6) Rest:

I'm pushing 40, been painting for 25 years, I'm not good and would never go pro, but I have learnt a fair bit over the years.  One thing I have learnt with the passage of time though is that painting miniatures takes a lot of concentration and causes a lot of eyestrain.  Rest.  Make a drink while the undercoat and basecoat dries, yell at the kids once in a while, the distractions will actually help you stay more focussed and produce better results when your brush is making contact.

 

7) Freebie tip:

When painting real small detail areas, do as snipers do and exhale slowly as you paint - you'll find your arm/hand is much more steady.

 

 

Welcome to the club :-)

 

Dangon,

Thanks for the tips!  You mentioned you prefer spray can varnish.  Which product do you prefer?

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Hello everyone.  My wife and I have been reading a bit on the forums and watching the Miniature Painting 101 series on youtube, and we think we're about ready to make the jump and start painting some minis.  I am interested in compiling a buy list for new painters, with recommendations for actual products (not just "buy some brushes" or "get a fan brush for washes" or "citadel is the best," but rather posts like "the vallejo game color starter set *link* is a great value for beginners") in the hopes of saving other beginners the time it takes to research every possible brush/paint/varnish/etc. that's out there.  I plan on updating the original post to reflect some of your recommendations from the following posts.  I don't live on the forums, so thank you guys in advance for your help, and I will post again when I can.  

 

Here are the assumptions I would like to use for this list:

1. Very little to no painting experience.

2. Assume acrylic paint.

3. Don't want to invest a lot of money to get started, which would include no airbrush.

4. Looking for a good ratio of cost to performance.

 

 

The List of items to get (as I know it):

 

Minis: We plan on painting x-wing minis, which we have.  Not much else to say here.   : )

 

1. Are you completely stripping the paint and doing a complete repaint of the model or are you hyst touching up some colours?

 

 

 

Stand/Way to hold mini while painting:

1) From Doc_H: attach pin to mini, insert to wine cork;  blue-tac on top of aerosol can lids and push peg into it (wrap tape around peg and female ship peg to protect when spraying); use standard base

2) From Gullwind: can attach minis to cheap (full) water bottles; weight helps them from tipping

 

 

2. Use a wine cork. Holding a bottle of water while your painting will make your hand shake.

 

Palette:

1) Pretty much anything you want, from xwing packaging to plastic ones from the dollar store/amazon, to wet pallets (see following posts).

 

3. Go to a DIY shop like Home Depot or Lowes (US). Ask for ceramic tiles. Bathroom tiles. They're cheap, they can be used over and over and it's very easy to blend colors on them allowing you to control highlights and shades with more subtle or stark effects. Make sure to get white.

 

Brushes:

1) In general: 

     a) From Mr. Tough Guy: The brushes most decent painters use are kolinsky sables, the W&N 7 series is very popular and is often mentioned as the brush of choice of many minipainters,

     b) Mr. Tough Guy and Doc_H: Rosemary and Co series (0 and 3/0 for most painting) http://www.rosemarya...olinsky-pointed

     c) Parravon prefers Humbrol No4 for large areas and a 00 for details.

 

4. All very nice brushes. Great quality and perfect for intermediate to expert level painters painting miniatures with detail that X-Wing minis don't posess. Go to Michael's (American Arts and Crafts Store). You'll find a large selection of fairly inexpensive brushes. You're going to need them. New painters go through brushes very quickly. You'll find two different basic types of brushes there: Non synthetic bristles and synthetic bristles. Non-synth bristles are of a better quality than synthetics. They hold paint better and paint flows from them more smoothly than synthetic bristles. All of that being said at this scale synthetic bristles have their uses. Synth bristles are hard and not nearly as pliable as natural bristles. That's ok though. Need a small dot of color on an insanely tiny scale model? Synth brushes will hold their tips long enough for you to have about two painting sessions with them. Then they are crap. They're cheap and they served that purpose, but don't throw them away there are always uses for brushes. At this time seperate any brushes you've used wth metallic paints away from the normal acrylic ones. Small metallic flakes can find their way onto your model from a previously used metallic brush that you thought was thoroughly cleaned.

 

2) For base coat:

 

5. Your base coat brush is one of your most important brushes. Spend some extra time looking through several. First though this bit is applicable to Large, Base Coat, Standard/Medium, Detail and Fine Detail brushes so we'll just get this out of the way. If you can take the clear plastic cap off of the tip do it and examine the bristles. Is the brush holding a point? This may sounds gross but you'll get over it. Put the tip into your mouth, hold out your palm and drag it along it. If the bristles spread at all it's garbage don't buy it. Do this a few times. Don't wreck the brush or anything, just apply as much pressure as you would while painting and if it holds up it might be a good, cheap brush. Remember we're not specially ordering sable from Poland here. We want to spend a buck fifty on a brush. No after you've played with the brush a bit and think you might want to buy it put the tip into your mouth again and twirl it letting it make a tip once more (honestly do this after you finish using and cleaning all of your brushes for the night). Look closesly at the tip. Is it still sharp? Look at the body. Does it look like the bristles maybe ballooning out in a pear shape way? If so it failed it's last test. The bristles are dry and will seperate soon. Keep looking. This is especially important with Base Coat brushes. Now all of these sizes are relative to what you're painting. But we'll just use the terms for the sizes Citadel nearly made standard instead of the numeric system.Anyway basecoat brushes have a tendency to be worked very hard. I know I've been guilty of it. You're using this brush to paint the largest part of the model..not necessarily the most fun thing about painting. It's tedious and a lot of us want to rush through it. Base Coat brushes are larger and have more bristles of course. This means we have to spend more time cleaning paint out of them. And noone is perfect. Base Coat brushes can easily get dried paint caught in the core of it's bristles. This will ruin the brush. Paint won't flow evenly over those large surfaces anymore. Brush strokes become visable. At this point it's time to move onto another brush and repurpose this one.

 

 

 

 

 

3) For dry brushing:

 

6. Drybrushes do not last long at all. Even the best Drybrush bites it fairly quickly. Drybrushing is very, very rough on any brush and even when you become an expert painter you will more than likely still use brushes that are not as expensive as the nice ones that you've worked up to. Now depending on what your drybrushing (this is X-Wing so we'll assume small ships. However if it's a Tantive IV you're gonna need a different brush). Anywho all of those cheap brushes you've been retiring? Well now they can finally serve a purpose once again in your drybrush collection. Yes the bristles are frayed and no tips to speak of but that's what you want. These guys can live again (for a short while) as perfectly servicable drybrushes that you will be pleased with the results. Remember though, these repurposed drybrushes still need to be segregated from the brushes that were used for metallic paint. That's any brush. One last word on drybrushing. If you have something that you really want to drybrush well try a synthetic brush. You're most likely going to be looking for a flat one but it really depends on yout mini. Take the time and look at the texture of the model. What will pick out all of those raised areas best? A flat synthetic or a round synthetic? So why synthetic? Because the bristles are rigid and there isn't as much "give" in them as a natural brush.

 

4) For details:

 

7. For detail brushes you can see above in the base coat brush section. One thing when using your detail brush. Clean it often and don't let water sit in it after you've swished it in your water cup. Lay the bristles on their side without bending them too much on a cloth wrag, Not a paper towel. This soaks up the excess water, put it in your mouth, twirl it. check the point, then dip back into your palette. Your standard and detail brushes are probably the brushes you'll be using the most. Make sure you find a brush whose handle you feel comfortable holding. Not too skinny, fat, short, long or odd shaped. This applies to all brushes but you can get away with a wonky feeling drybrush. A standard and detail brush not so much.

 

5) For shades/wash:

 

8. Are you asking what kind of brush to use for washes? It depends on what kind of painter you want to be. Two schools of thought really. You can drench them in wash then pick out the base color once it dries. Or you can be neat about it and add wash only to the areas where you want them. Both have their plus and minuses and sometimes it's best to use one techinque over the other. But for me personally I try and keep it neat so I tend to use smaller brushes for putting the wash exactly where i want it. For bathing minis in a wash you will need to use a larger brush. If you are asking about washes as in brands or types that's a big conversation. I was about to completely change the way I washed minis before when I stopped painting. One day I'll try that technique, and if you're interested PM me. I can send you the link on youtube. It seems pretty advanced but who knows.

 

6) For varnish:  Most brushes will do; recommend separate brushes from ones you do your painting with

 

9. Save yourself some time and spray varnish your models. Gloss varnish first because gloss protects better than any other varnish. After it's dry hit it with a coat of Matte varnish to take that shine off of it. I've noticed that the X-Wing ships have gloss cockpits. Just brush on, and yes seperate your brushes. Oh and check the consistancy of the brush on varnish to make sure it's not too thick and goopy. ruin your paint job.

 

Paint:

1) Primers (which I understand aren't really needed to prep the x-wing minis):

     a) From Doc_H:   Army Painter sprays and I also use Vallejo Surface Primers too

 

10. If you're on a budget spray on primers from DIY stores are very good and very cheap.

 

2) Paints (product line?  set or individual?): 

     a) From Mr. Tough Guy: recommends a set for primaries/secondaries, and any colors you may have envisioned for your fleet

     b) From Doc_H:  recommend the P3 starter sets. I like P3 paint, and if the sets contain the colours you're after then they offer a good discount over individual pots.

     

11. I like Vallejo GAME color. I've never used P3 paints but I've heard good things about them. I don't suggest buying sets of paints though. Buy individual pots. You know what you need and you never, ever need every pot of paint in that set. 

 

 

3) Shades/washes:

 

12. Actually Citadel had a good line of washes for a while. Don't know if it's still the same formula as they change up their stuff a lot, but they were nice. I was about to get into oil washes before I quit painting. Overkill for X-Wing.

 

4) Metallics:

 

13. I love Vallejo paints, but never liked their metallics. Citadel has/had good metallics. Wether they still do I don't know. My knowledge of metallics is limited because I found a brand I really liked and stuck with it. I would be interested to hear how Privateer Press' metallics are.

 

5) Thinner:

     a) good ol' water

 

6) Varnish (spray?):

     a) Matte:

          i) Mr. Tough Guy: Testors dullcoat spray

     b) Satin:

     c) Gloss:

          i) recommended brush on for cockpits

 

 

Etc.:

1) Color wheel to help when mixing paints?

     a) Most paint ranges offer a shading/hghlight chart that you can find through website.

 

2) Hobby knife: no particulars

 

14. X-Acto blades seem to be sharper and on small miniatures like this (I also played a 6mm game called Epic) hobby knives are important.

 

3) Cutting mat: "saves the desk or kitchen cable" - Doc_H

 

4) Practice models recommended by many: cheap aircraft models, plastic army men, etc.

 

 

Again, thanks in advance for your guys' help.  There are a lot of fantastic painters on the boards here, and your experience and knowledge is invaluable for us beginners.

 

vr,

 

Gunner

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Made some updates to the main post.  Again, thanks for all of the useful tips and suggestions.  I ended up getting an Army Painter starter kit, mainly because it seemed to hit the quality/price ratio I was looking at, and several other items from varying manufacturers.  When I find the time to break it out and get down to business I will post what I think of them.

 

- Gunner

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So I have tried my hand at some painting!  The results can be found here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/181953-gunners-beginner-repaints/?p=1683575.

 

At some point in the next few days I think I will edit the first post with a compiled list of everything I used to get started.  Thanks all, for helping us get started!

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One thing that no one has mentioned is the Master's Brush Cleaner.  It's a fantastic cleaner for paint brushes.  Even my kid's art teacher uses it.  It can be used to save that crappy craft brush that is just right.  It can be used to help reform the tip of your brushes when they start to spread out.  It's affordable and easy to find.  Look at any local art store or on amazon.

 

I've found the WN Series 7 to be very specific.  I'm used to painting 28mm and I don't like them for that.  The point tip is too fine.  Of course, X-wing minis it's another story.  Still...if you want to spread paint across a big ship, you will hate using a Series 7.  I do prefer the Rosemary & Co brushes, though. 

 

One thing to use to keep your paints from drying out is Acrylic Medium.  All paint is particals floating in something...the medium.  This stuff is the medium that will revive an old paint pot like nothing else.  I've had people pull out 20 year old Citadel paint pots and have them come alive again.  There's not one brand and you can find affordable generics at some Walmarts, even.  It's not the best to use on a pallete, though, as it can thin it out too much.  A little goes a long way. 

 

Wet palletes are best if you are mixing your own colors as it saves them for later.  Otherwise, it is good if you put too much of one color on your pallete and can't use it all at one time.  I've found I just pop open the citadel pot and paint directly from that if I'm using a straight color.  No worries about drying if I use the medium. 

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