Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Road to Golden Demon 2011, Part 2

Well, what a difference a few weeks can make. Still on a high from John stories from Baltmore 2010, I started out planning the roadmap to Chicago 2011 and trying to make it through the first cut at Golden Demon there. I started out happily (here), but now, being swamped with work and frustrated at slow results, I am doubting it...already.
Here's the model, I finished it up (not the base) as a test model but it took will power to not toss it in the garbage.
Obviously the range goes from enchanted blue through white with blue and black washes for shading. I tried to make red the 3 point spot color. I tried shading the kneepads which actually worked out allright, the photo doesn't show that.
OK, here were my problems. Maybe all of you have tips or similar experiences:

1. my white primer is kind of grainy. right from the start if you look close, it looks unsmooth and after I had primed it there was not much to do about it. Should I gloss coat it first? use a specific one?

2. my paints are older and really dry. I bought slowing medium but it still started to look like drybrushing really soon after I applied the paint.

3. I have a lot of problems analyzing the next shade of color and density, esspecially after I start on the model the next day and I have to remix the paint to try to get to the shade where I left off. I messed up my previous work multiple times because I misjudged the shade of color and instead of blending lighter, it was actually darker or vice versa.

4. if I add too much water, like they say in the White Dwarf, it suddenly takes over the entire surface, I panic and wipe all of it off with my hands...

5. I wonder if plastic is easier to paint on then metal, it doesn't seem that smooth of a surface.

On this guy I didn't really keep a coherent lighting effect, I just played around with different effects. In that respect, the helmet came out allright.

For my Hordes of Vormon I am painting the winged vampire and while this model is too difficult for me yet to really do a good job on, the wing is manageable and I will practice more blending on that part, here's the basecoat on that part.
It's snakebite leather with Devlan Mud and the purple and red washes for some accents. Now I will work my way up to bleached bone.
Sorry for the whining.



  1. Personally I think he looks wicked :)

    But, Let's see if I can offer any help at all point by point :)

    Sometimes that Just happens. It can be down to the weather, the paint, the distance you hold the can from the mini, a lot of things. most commonly though, a powdery finish is caused my particles of paint drying on the way to the mini, was it hot when you primed? wait till it's cooler, or hold the can closer.

    I would eschew a slowing medium in favour of a water/flow aid mix for dilution. if your paints are really very dry, then saome water/matte medium added to the pots should bring them back to life. I use Liquitex mediums

    If you cant complete a colur in a single sitting a wet palette might help. a quick google should show you some you can buy or build. they can keep paint wet for days

    get in the habit of unloading your brush on a peice of kitchen towel after every trip to the palette. the easiest way to mess up a mini is with an overloaded brush. make your habit, to dip in paint, the wipe of excess.

    It shouldnt make any difference, as you should be painting on primer, not plastic or metal :)

    you will find however that primer will adhere better to metail due to the slightly rougher surface. and an old mini that might have oxidised slightly will have a powdery surface to being with. a bit of a rub with gentle wire wool should sort that though.

  2. karitas: thanks for the advice. I wonder if using plain old ace hardware primer is the culprit as well. Talking to John (SCWH), he also has problems with the graininess of white primer.
    wet palette: yes, I will do that


  3. Second vote for Flow Aid (Liquitex) for improving paint flow. However I don't mix water/Flow Aid, just use the Flow Aid. A lot of Flow Aid will create a glossy sheen that straight painted matte medium will reduce. (Matte varnish is another option, just started that myself, but its a bit trickier to use.)

    Wet palette as the previous commenter said as well, will save you a ton of time.

    When it comes to spray primers - they are too touchy (same with spray sealers). If the model has got to be really nice and you don't want to run the risk of ruining it before you begin - or when you end - paint prime with non-diluted gray/white/black Gesso and paint seal with non-diluted well shaken Matte Varnish. I love the convenience of sprays myself, but for army commanders and characters I take a spray-less approach.

  4. 1. Krylon White Primer from Canadian Tire or another hardware store - I've lived by it a lonnnng time and never gotten the sandpaper surface I got with other brands.
    Remember never to prime in cold air (it dries mid-air and lands rough) and never in dusty areas.

    2. Revitalize your paints! Add some water, stir them with sticks until they're alive again. Throw some nuts/screws/ball bearings in them to help them mix as you shake. Once your base is alive again, you can choose to thin them as you use them with either water or 3rd vote for Liquitex floating medium.

    3. If you have problems revisiting shades, maybe paint a section at a time? aka, do the arm from dark to light, then a leg, etc. (I don't actually recommend this, as I prefer to do a single colour/shade at a time.) Maybe try thin washes between each layer to help blend. I also _always_ paint with a wet brush so that I'm never painting solid colour on. Takes longer, but blending gets more gradual.

    4. Just as I always wipe excess paint off my brush to remove globs, I also wipe excess water on a paper towel.
    Clean Water -> Paint -> Paper Towel -> Model.

    5. If you use the right primer, there's no difference.

  5. 1) I use gesso to undercoat miniatures. It's the undercoat you use for proper acrylic paintings. (Using Google Images for 'Gesso warhammer' brings up some good examples). You can buy Gesso in black or white; and thin it with water as with regular acrylics. Or you could just use regular white acrylic paint and thin it with water. I based my miniatures that way for years.

    If your paint is too grainy, add a bit more water. I find the best consistency for acrylic paint is the same as milk. If the overall finish is a bit chalky, try glazing (i.e. very thin paint - the same consistency as water. Add paint to water, rather than vice versa).

    2) Buy new paints: if you're really pushing for a special project, then there's no point being stingy. Go at it wholeheartedly.

    3) Pre-mix your colours, and store them in an empty paint pot (one which is clean). Or else, keep practicing your blending.
    A colour wheel may be a helpful reference guide. Or just mix your blend on top of the previous day's until it's the same.

    4) Don't panic! Be patient and calm instead.

    5) If the metal's not smooth enough, use a file carefully. Undercoating properly should make the surface smooth though. Several thin layers are better than one thick one.

    There are lots of good sites for inspiration, Mike. My favourite is the Finnish painter Vesa Makela's:

    Here's a brief tutorial specifically on blending:

    And the Citadel books on how to paint miniatures are helpful as well. I refer to Mike McVey's old one all the time.

    Other than that, there's no substitute for practice and study.

    Best wishes.