Sonntag, 22. Juni 2014

Miniatures in Tabletop quality from start to end - part 1: preparation


ok, first some words to this article. This is the kick-off to a small series of articles on how I paint miniatures used for Tabletop games. As this miniatures are for gaming purposes I aim for a good but not superb (no display quality) painting quality. Also bearing in mind that you normally have to paint a whole bunch of miniatures for a game and therefore time saving techniques are very welcome.

The first part of the series is maybe not so interesting for experienced painters but sometimes I think it is quite good to see how other painters approach a special task and there is always something new out there to learn! Some of you may recognize that a lot of this techniques or approaches are well described on other blogs and web pages (e.g. Massive Voodoo, to name just one of them...). This is for sure right as I myself did get my input from somewhere and learned all the things by testing or by getting help from others. I don´t want to copy other articles or claim the merits for me to be the inventor of all this. My approach is a mixture of all the articles and techniques I learned (and still learn) in the past. I´m just a user as the most of us are and this is a summary of my way of painting and I don´t claim for the only way to travel the road. There are a hell lot of ways out there but if you like you can accompany me on a part of my way... :)

Ok, then. Enough introduction, let´s start with content....As we all know first thing to do when starting a new project is to prepare all the stuff needed. I always start with cleaning my desk.... ough... and checking back if everything is at hand for the preparation work. These are the supplies I use in the following steps:

For this little article series I use (again) some Freebooter Miniatures. I chose the Mercenaries box set as this comes with four lovely miniatures all different in their style and therefore very suitable to paint different colours and to use different techniques. On top of this I promised a friend of mine to paint them for his collection. As I intend to visit him soon I have to hurry up. Let´s call it a commission. Where there´s a whip, there´s a way....

Next step is the preparation of the miniatures. First task is to remove all the mould lines and flashes. Take you time to do so. There is nothing more annoying than a mouldline popping out of your tedious painted model. For this task I use a sharp scalpel and some fine sanding paper. The latter one is also needed to sand over some parts of the surface to smooth them. Some parts of the models are hard to reach. Therefore I glue a little piece of sanding paper to a tootpick and use this as an extension to reach hidden areas.

After this comes the glueing work. For metall models I use super glue from army painter and in some cases army painter activator spray. This ease your work as the glue cures faster and the bond is much stronger afterwards. Disadvantage is that it smells really bad, so vent your room and protect your lungs and skin while using this. I often don´t and regret it afterwards...
On multipart metal models you almost always end up with some gaps between the seperate parts. No matter how good you sand, how good you glue, how snugly you fit the parts together. These gaps are even worse than any moldlines and we have to get rid of them. Most time I use green stuff for this task. It´s sticky characteristic is perfect for such kind of gaps. Produce a small sausage out of equally mixed parts blue and yellow.

With a sculpting tool place the putty over the gap, pre-wet your tool with water (otherwise the putty sticks to your tool) and squeeze it into the gap.

Smooth the putty with a wet sculptingtool and ready!

Now it is time for a bath. Soap, warm water and an old (obviously) toothbrush help you to remove all the grease and dust from the miniatures surface which would disturb the priming process later on.

Put your miniatures on a towel our kitchen tissue to let them dry. You can speed up the process with a hairdryer but be careful some materials can bend if getting to hot!

If you aim for a really clean paintjob you can also do the next step as metall models can have a rough surface due to production purposes. I smoothed the surface with some putty juice. Therefore take some Milliput  superfine white and  mix it up and form a ball out of the mixtures. Produce a cavity with a sculpting tool and take an old brush, pre-wet it with some water and produce some putty juice by brushing and swirling the brush inside the cavity.

Use the putty-water solution to brush it over your miniatures. Do it gentle and don´t overdo it as we do not want to destroy any details. Don´t flood any areas of your miniatures if you did so take a brush and remove the mess before it settles down.

Put your miniatures aside to let the putty cure. This may take several hours. Afterwards you end with something like this.

That´s it for the first part. Quite a lengthy article but it takes some space to put all those steps. As you can see I did some batch preparing as there are also two models that don´t belong to the mercenary box. It is much faster to do a bunch of miniatures…

Part two will recover the priming and basecoating of the miniatures before we kick-off to the actual painting.

So stay tuned,

Comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated!


  1. Hi Scar,

    Very cool that this blog gets more and more life! I'm too lazy to place a comment under every article, so I'll take this one. ;-) Very nice painting work all around, I especially like the pieces you invested a bit more time at. The articles are also very helpful, thank you very much for that! Best luck with you blog and keep it up, great work!


    1. Hi Bennet,

      thanks for your kind words, this motivates to go on. I will definitely increase the work on the blog in the next time. I had a little holiday break during the last days but the next few days I try to put out new articles. Work on the design is going on also and some things will change here and there to get a nice look to the overall appearance.

      By the way: You should keep going with your sculptings. Your skills are increasing wiht every piece you put out. Like it!

      All the best