Best Tips for Painting Miniatures

  1. Match up all your parts before gluing to avoid building a miniature with switched arms or legs. I haven’t made that mistake but it has been close. Build it without glue first then line them up separately in order of how you want to put them together.

2. Apply the primer in thin layers to avoid bumps. It is always better to build up than to have to shave down and run the risk of shaving too much into the plastic structure of the miniature.

3. It seems tedious and takes longer but when brushing on paint it is best to thin the paint with water before applying. The layers are thin but eventually you get a better, more even spread. This helps keep the details of your miniature so that you can paint them in with more accuracy. It also means your paints last longer.

It is important to apply even watered down layers of paint to achieve the smooth look of skin.

4. Dry-brushing is key. It is so easy to add depth to your miniature by adding a secondary dry brushed tone. Sometimes I even add a third dry brushed tone, especially when painting terrain like stone or hardened lava.

I used a dark grey brush over this hardened lava as well as a lighter white dry brush for the most recent layer ash.

5. I love washes and shades! They are your friends. I have an Earth shade from Citadel Paints that adds a really cool muddy effect. I really use the Shadow wash from Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures: Monster Paint set and the Dark tone from Army Painter (the Dark Tone is shinier than the Shadow wash).

6. When basing, apply any brush, plants, large rocks or wood pieces first before applying the ground cover. This ensure that your plants and other accessories look like they are embedded in the soil, sand or snow. This also saves more of the basing for you to use later.

7. Apply basing glue and ground cover liberally. I usually “bury” the base I’m trying to cover, in the basing material container or bag. This helps ensure an even covering of the basing material over the space. I use Army Painter Battlefields basing glue.

8. When sealing I prefer a spray version. If you are comfortable brushing sealant on go right ahead. The first rule for spray painting is to do this outside. It is a wider space that prevents fumes from building up. A well ventilate room might be alright but I always go outside to be safest. Always test the spray first before applying any coats. Aim it away from yourself and anyone else. When applying, sweep over the area with a light even spray.

9. It is best to seal items when it is hot outside so late spring and summer are the best season to do this. It does limit your time for sealing but I prefer doing it this way. Otherwise, you can use brush on sealant indoors during the cold seasons. It just takes longer to cure due to the lower temperature.

10. If applying brush on sealant, I would brush on the front of the miniature first, then the back after letting the front cure. If any seams do form, they will be on the sides of the mini and less noticeable as most are observed from the front.

This is the front of the miniature with some rocks for added cover in battle.

Following all these steps will ensure you have a beautiful evenly painted and sealed miniature. Details will be more noticeable and your miniature will look more realistic. This can enhance game play with an added sense of realism. If you have any other tips to share or photos of your favorite painted mini, comment below! I would love to hear from you.

I painted, based and sealed this Minsk and Boo miniature. I added brush where I thought it flowed well.

Published by dndwife

My husband and I run a dungeons and dragons table together and I write about our crazy adventures both in and out of the story. My husband DM's and I am the table artist. I paint minis for everyone at the table and provide crafted gifts like dice boxes, bags, and artwork.

2 thoughts on “Best Tips for Painting Miniatures

    1. Yeah it’s the best and super portable with the strap. I use a few lights but my favorite are these directional led lamp lights I bought on amazon. They have 3 different light setting and a brightnest adjustments too.

      Liked by 1 person

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