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Author Topic: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...  (Read 1035 times)

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Offline DhiTopic starter

If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« on: August 22, 2012, 11:35:03 PM »
Reaper Miniatures is in the final days of a Kickstarter project to help them transition from expensive white metal miniatures to resin/plastic, and to move operations to the US. The Kickstarter is already 5,000% funded, and doesn't need any more backers. But if you do back it at the $100 level, this is a picture of what all you will receive.

Spoilered for hugeness
]

That's currently 209 miniatures, which makes them less than 50 cents a piece. Why are they being so generous? It's because more freebies have been added to the $100 level every time a funding goal is exceeded. Since the Kickstarter is 5,000% funded, that's happened more than thirty times.

If you're not familiar with miniature painting, it's an art form dedicated to painting tiny, inch-high people from tabletop games and wargames. Here are some beautiful examples from among Reaper's sculpts from some of my favorite painters,

Derek Schubert:


Anne Foerster:


Jen Haley:


and Jen Kaufman:



Finally, I've painted over 600 miniatures myself, and I'd love to open the floor for any questions you might have about miniature painting. Are you thinking about getting back into it? Struggling with something and trying to improve? Need to know about brushes, paints, tools, techniques? I'm your girl! ;)

Offline Changingsaint

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2012, 11:43:32 PM »
I've donated to get the vampire level donation and I have to say its a pretty amazing deal. Its about 50 US cents per miniature at this rate, whereas the average mini from reaper costs $2.00 to $4.00 US. So thats a pretty significant discount.

Offline The Golden Touch

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2012, 11:46:43 PM »
Haha, I shouldn't have shown Sin. Now he wants to donate the $100 to get all those miniatures. They look fantastic really. ^ ^

Offline Chris Brady

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2012, 11:52:42 PM »
I wish I had the money, and the patience to paint minis.

Although I'd just want the Fighter's pack.

Offline Tamhansen

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2012, 06:33:15 AM »
These area tally quite nice models considering they're moulded as such. Although I usually prefer miniatures Supplied unassembled as it makes it easier to do detail work, I must say I'm quite interested in seeing these models for real. Might actually consider putting up 100$ for this

Offline Chris Brady

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2012, 04:50:34 PM »
So the idea here is to bring it all in-house and make it all plastic?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2012, 04:56:14 PM »
It's a quality product, costs less, can be done in the US affordably and is clearly in demand. 

Seems to me is they are trying to supply the customer with what they want.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2012, 05:19:49 PM »
I haven't seen any talk of canceling the white metal product lines, though I could speculate that they'll want to do so eventually. Currently it's just another option, like the P-65 Heavy Metal line was a low cost lead-based option.

The problem with the future of white metal miniatures is that Indonesia is continuing to drive up the price of tin. More power to them, they deserve to be paid fairly for their country's natural resources, but a few years ago the price of tin went up by something like 500%. This year they've greatly reduced production of tin in Indonesia in order to let demand exceed supply. Since white metal miniatures are made with tin, this affects the price of miniatures. Privateer Press has been in the process of moving to plastic/resin for the last couple of years. I imagine Reaper is going to want to make that transition too, if the alternative means charging $12 for a dwarf.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2012, 08:03:55 PM »
It's a quality product, costs less, can be done in the US affordably and is clearly in demand. 

Seems to me is they are trying to supply the customer with what they want.

For the record, I LIKE Reaper.  I wish it would have put out more in it's pre-painted line of plastics (I wanted more hero types) but I still peruse their site looking at all the pretties.

So if they're moving away from expensive metal ones, more power to them, I just wanted to clarify if that was the goal.

Offline Envious

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2012, 08:43:25 PM »
I've never painted miniatures, but I'd love to do this sort of thing.

Is the paint costly?

Offline Chris Brady

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2012, 09:13:15 PM »
I've never painted miniatures, but I'd love to do this sort of thing.

Is the paint costly?

At the local game story, I see them run between 3-4 bucks a bottle, which is about 2inches by an inch worth of paint.

Offline Envious

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2012, 10:02:11 PM »
Oooh, that'd quickly add up to a pretty penny. They have starter kits on the provided link, but they're only half ounce bottles. I don't know how long that'd last me.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2012, 10:50:43 PM »
Well, from what I've been told if you keep them properly they can last months, if not years.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2012, 11:27:13 PM »
The color I use most is a warm, dark brown called Walnut Brown. I use it for lining, for painting eyes, under metals, and a lot of places where black would be just a bit too dark. I've probably used a bit of it on nearly every miniature I've ever painted, and I like to use it as a measure for how long the 1/2 ounce bottles last.

A 1/2 ounce bottle will keep for about 3-4 years with normal use, and it's enough to paint roughly 200 miniatures. Once you discover how much paint you need for coverage, you will hardly use any.

I use six different brands of paint, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Reaper paints are great for wet blending and washes because they have a lot of flow improver. Their reds and yellows are poor, because the amount of flow improver makes it almost completely transparent. The reds and yellows in the HD paint line are better, but personally I would go with a different brand for those colors.

To save money, some folks use craft paints, stuff like Apple Barrel that you can get for $1 a tube at Walmart and Hobby Lobby. Those are cheap paints, however, and you may have problems with gunk from thick pigment, thick medium that obscures details on the miniature, or pigment flaking off when dry. It's an economical way to start.

I have a lot of paints, but you don't actually need more than a few. Meg Maples has won awards for her miniatures, and she doesn't use but 5 paints. Every color she uses, she mixes from those.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2012, 11:58:02 PM »
All my reaver whites are the consistency of dried glue.

Offline Envious

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2012, 04:05:36 PM »
Very helpful posts! It's given me some new angles to consider.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2013, 02:54:39 PM »
The first sale is long over, but a second wave Kickstarter began last week. It promises to be just as big as the first, so if you missed out previously, if you didn't like the particular miniatures being offered a year and a half ago, this is another chance.
Here's a link to the Kickstarter, which is already 4,700% funded:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1513061270/reaper-miniatures-bones-ii-the-return-of-mr-bones

And here is a current image of the core set:
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

This year my partner and I set up a painting room so I can relax and enjoy some of last year's Bones miniatures. In truth I haven't done a ton of painting over the summer, but I did get a few finished! As it gets cold and rainy outside, who knows?

I've also begun to work with a new brand of Kolinsky brushes, the Da Vinci Maestro. This is the brush I picked up:
http://www.dickblick.com/items/06759-1001/
The Kolinsky bristles have a great flow, which helps me with my wet blending, a technique shown in the video below. What's different about the Da Vinci brushes is that they also have a shorter tip, which causes the bristles to sweep back less as pressure is applied, giving me greater control. It's especially nice when doing eyes and freehand.


Something that I've noticed, when watching others paint, is that men tend to "choke up" on the brush, and grip it quite close to the ferrule. Most of the women painters I've known hold it closer to midway down the brush. I think that's kind of interesting!

Offline Oniya

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Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2013, 03:06:54 PM »
Something that I've noticed, when watching others paint, is that men tend to "choke up" on the brush, and grip it quite close to the ferrule. Most of the women painters I've known hold it closer to midway down the brush. I think that's kind of interesting!

Does that translate to pencils as well?  If so, then I apparently have a 'masculine' grip for such things.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2013, 03:27:53 PM »
It's only something I've noticed for miniature painters.

It may not be a masculine or feminine thing. As a gay woman my brain activity is said to resemble that of a straight man, so if it is masculine, perhaps I should be holding the brush near the ferrule as well.

Maybe instead it's a learned behavior. Maybe female painters have mostly learned from female painters. I know that I have looked up to the women in the industry and paid close attention to how Anne Foerster paints.

Online Thorne

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2013, 04:40:05 PM »


I use six different brands of paint, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Reaper paints are great for wet blending and washes because they have a lot of flow improver. Their reds and yellows are poor, because the amount of flow improver makes it almost completely transparent. The reds and yellows in the HD paint line are better, but personally I would go with a different brand for those colors.

Which brand, I wonder?

I too have a lot of different paints, and a lot of different brands; miniature-specific ranges from Reaper to P3 to Citadel (I like Citadel's metallics, I'm not sure about the others), and artist paints; generally Liquitex acrylics and the odd bottle of cheap craft paint.
 
Interesting thing to note. Liquitex dries shiny, and the miniature-specific paints all seem to dry matte. For me, it is largely moot, I seal them with something that dries matte anyway, and use a little clear gloss for anything I want to be shiny, but I thought I might mention it.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2013, 05:29:34 PM »
For reds I'd recommend the Andrea Color Red Paint Set, although it's quite expensive. Any of the Andrea reds go on very luscious, but the red set is designed to provide shadows and highlights without straying into colors like orange and pink, which are not visually the same color.

The other way to highlight with red is by applying highlights and allowing the color to turn pink, and then applying a glaze (a very thinned, watery solution) of red ink to bring the color back to red. To be effective the glaze has to be repeated for 10-15 coats, and that takes a very long time, in addition to all that time you might've spent layering up a translucent red. So for me, Andrea reds are worth it.

For yellows I tend to use Vallejo. They have a thicker pigment that needs to be thinned, but it retains its color and opacity very nicely.

I remember using Liquitex when I first started. I had some lying around from when I did acrylic on canvas. Out of the bottle they were much too thick, and I outgrew them after finding that they obscured a lot of details, particularly hair and eyes.

I did find one use for them, though. Ink has an extremely bold pigment, but is much too thin to paint with. Liquitex has a decent pigment but is much too thick. Mix them together, in equal amounts, and you end up with much bolder colors than you will find elsewhere. Paint a Liquitex+ink black on any of the common black colors, and the basecoat will look drab by comparison.

It isn't perfect, though. Large amounts of ink will stain and harden the bristles of a brush, so I would never do this with any of my Kolinsky brushes.

Online Thorne

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2013, 08:27:53 PM »
Hm. I'll look into that. Thanks!

I tend to dilute the Liquitex stuff myself, and only use it for areas that need coverage - it's good for that. Not so much for detailed areas, for pretty much all the reasons you listed.
It's not bad for dry-brushing, though. I'm finding it does that better than the Reaper paints.

Ohhh, a trick I stumbled over. People who do scrolls with text? You can do that with a marker - I use Microns, and a light hand. Works beautifully.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2013, 04:42:12 PM »
I just wish I could find something suitable for my tiefling wizardess.. vestigal wings and robes are not common. :d

Online Thorne

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2013, 02:59:52 AM »
I just wish I could find something suitable for my tiefling wizardess.. vestigal wings and robes are not common. :d


Sounds like an excuse for a miniature-mashup. Have a suitable robed tiefling, add your vestigial wings from some other miniature. You might have to pin them, which is annoying, but not difficult. Or make them with Green Stuff (actual name. No kidding), or Milliput and then stick them on.

Offline Skyguy

Re: If you've ever thought about painting miniatures...
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2013, 09:37:37 AM »
I haven't played a game where I could use those in years and it's still tempting.