Montag, 7. Juli 2014

Miniatures in Tabletop quality from start to end - part 2: priming


welcome to part two of this article series. As mentioned in the last part this time it is all about priming your miniatures and setting up a wet-palette for the painting process. Simple steps you might think but if done wrong it can lead you in a completly wrong direction and you will loose the fun during your painting process. The devil lies in the details here....

Your miniatures are well prepared now, but they need to be primed before getting painted. The primer will ensure that your paint has a strong bond to the surface. A good primed miniature is quite robust against abrasion, even if it is not sealed at the end. For priming I can recommend vallejo black primer (see picture in the background). I use an airbrush to apply it on the models. If you don´t own one don´t worry. The primer is also suitable for application with a brush.
For sure you can also use a normal spray can with black primer (but do this outside as this can get very messy and smelly if done inside....). Don´t use just a black acrylic colour as a primer gives you a stronger bond to the surface of your object than acrylic colours do.

If you apply the primer with an airbrush or a spray can I recommend to put your miniature on a small piece of cardboard. This allows you to turn the miniature around to reach the backside during the priming process without the need to touch the surface. This would for sure destroy your basecoat or you would have to wait until it is completly dry before going on. Spray the paint in a 45° angle to your miniature.

Be carful at this step. Just dust the paint onto your miniature, don´t do it in one single strike as you will most likely pool your object and therefore will block fine details with paint. Better do it in multiple steps than in just one massive step with a huge load of paint. You can see it on the tissue in the picture below. I tested my airbrush in the lower part and you can see that there is just a fine dust of paint particles on it rather than a huge covering load of paint.

Be patient! (In my opinion this is the most important advice! Always stay patient. Better do it in 3-4 steps than to rush on and do it in one big step mistake.
Always stay patient and never loose control over your paint!

After you finished this step you will have to repeat the process on the underside of the miniature as there are for sure places you did not reach during the first run.

For this step I grab the miniature at the base and turn it around. You can also lay it down on your desk to reach all the areas not yet covered with the basecoat but this will be far more complicated. If you use a spray can make sure to wear protective gloves to protect your skin as the propellant and solvents are not very healthy at all (and it is far more easier to wash of airbrush paint than spray can paint).

We end up if something like this:

If there are still parts not covered with basecoat one should use a brush to fix this "problem". After the black basecoat I spray white paint from Schminke AeroColor (see first picture) on top of the miniature, or better from the direction the light source should hit the miniatures (for gaming pieces I always choose a source from the top). Any other white is also fine, advantage of this one is that the paint particles are ultra fine and one can spray a really fine layer of white dust over the miniature. What is it good for you might ask? Ok, first of all your eyes are able to see more because of the black/white contrast. Sometimes it is really hard to discover all the fine details on the miniature (a weapon here, a belt over there, some shoe laces, and so on....) when it is all black or shiny metall. The second advantage is that you get a first impression on where the light hits your miniature and where you have to place the bright parts and where the shadows; but more to this in the following articles when we talk about the actual painting process. The third thing is that the white dust supports you with a rough surface and therefore your paint will stick easier to it. It´s like placing a drop of water on freshly cleaned and shiny window. It will roll of quite easily but if your window is dirty because you didn´t clean it for serveral weeks (just an example, not out of my real life...*cough*) the drop of water will stay either much longer in place or won´t move at all until evaporated.

After spraying the white (sorry for this step you need a spray can or an airbrush. The brush is not usefull here) you achieve a result like this one:

Ok, perfect! Let´s start with the preparation for the painting work. I highly (and strongly) recommend to use a wet-palette. Your paint will stay wet much longer and you are able to close your palette at any time you want and your paint will survive quite a long time. 
For my wet-palette I use a plastic box with lid from a famous swedish furniture store. Any other, as always, is for sure also fine. Most important is a lid that closes quite tight. You also need:

- backing paper (I prefere white one)
- some foam that fits into your box
- a scissor
- tap water

As you can see in the picture I placed the foam inside the box and soaked it with water. Make it really wet. The water should pool around your fingers when you press onto the surface but it should not cover the top of the foam (otherwise you will pool your palette - again not good). Use the scissor to cut the backing paper into shape, I like to cut off the edges as it stays better to the foam for a longer period of time. Just try it without doing so, you will see what I mean after a while. Now take the backing paper and place it onto the foam. There should be no bubbles between the paper and the foam otherwise your paint will dry very fast at this spots.

So, this is not good! Get rid of the bubbles. Use your finger or a tool with a not so sharp edge (an old blister package) to squeeze the bubbles out of it. It should more look like this:

Much better but still room for improvement! Squeeze more but be careful not to rip the backing paper apart or pull it off and place it again onto the foam. It is easier when the surface of the paper is wet. I´m afraid I forgot to take a picture of the final result but I think one can imagine how it looked like in the end.

Ok, folks! Thats it for part two. We are ready for painting and this is what we will start doing in part 3. So stay tuned. Hope this is helpful for some of you. For the most of you I most likely tell anything new here but there should be (hopefully) people out there just starting into the hobby and than this article should proof quite useful....

All the best,

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