Painting Miniatures Figures Made Quick And Easy
Preparing Your Figure For Painting
Take a pair of wire cutters and remove any large pieces of lead. I see this most commonly on the feet of cavalry figures. Then, take a sharp hobby knife like an X-acto and carefully clean up any bits of flash or other lead that is still hanging onto your figure. Sometimes there is still some unevenness after you've removed the excess lead. This can be pared down using a knife or if it is a larger surface, use a small file.
When you are cutting with the hobby knife, be careful to always cut away from yourself. If is also easier if you remove excess lead bit by bit instead of getting it all in one try.
Once you've cleaned your figure, take another close look at it under good light to make sure you've gotten everything. Even minor lines will show up after the figure has been primed. It's easier to take the time now than later when the figure is already partially painted.
This is also the best time to drill out any gun barrels you may have. First, take your hobby knife or a scribing tool and score a little hole in the center of the gun muzzle. Then, grab the pin vise and drill a couple of millimeters into the gun. The small hole you made with hobby knife will help ensure the pin vice doesn't slip and stays in the center.
Prior to priming, wash your metal figs with soap and warm water, rise them well with HOT water as this will get all the mold release material off the figure and will make the primer adhere much better. Wait until the figures are dry before you prime them, double-check figures with deep crevasses to make sure they really are dry.
I just wanted to make a couple of quick observations on cleaning and figure preparation based on what I've seen during my current splurge of buying second hand miniatures. I've been seriously shocked at what you'll get from other sellers. OK, as washer glued to the bottom of the figure for weight ... I can live with that. But I've seen figures where the slotta base is nearly split down the middle because the original owner tried to force a too-wide base into the slot. I've had to clean up tons of very obvious tabs where the original owner simply twisted the plastic pieces off the sprue. Overglue is an interesting problem, especially when it melts other parts of the figure. Then there are the models with very obvious flash and mould lines that the original owner decided not to do anything about. I'm certainly not OCD about mould lines, but all it takes is a couple of seconds per figure to scrape off or file down the tabs and most obvious mould lines, and your figures will look tons better when you're done.
Once the figure is cleaned and prepped, glue it into the slottabase. Often times, there will be gaps where the figure's tab didn't quite fill the slot or there is extra space between the base and the figure. I use spackling putty to fill this gap. It's cheap and easy to apply. Spread some spackling putting into the bottom of the base until it comes out the top then use an Xacto knife to scrape off the extra. Let it dry and you're ready for painting.
Larger gaps may have to be filled with an 2-part epoxy putty. Mix a small ball of putty, break off a small bit and roll it between your fingers until you have a small sausage. Use a toothpick or a modeling tool to push the putty into the gap you want to fill and texture it somewhat.
If you're working with plastic figures, you'll notice that they feel very light, compared to the metal figures. I like to glue a nickel inside the bottom of each base before I start to paint. All it takes is a little bit of white glue. It'll give your figures some nice added weight and help keep them upright when they're placed on difficult terrain such as hills.
At this point, proceed to Priming Your Miniatures, but return here to finish prepping your base.
When the primer is dry, add a little bit of sand to your base. Take an old brush, dip it in some white glue, and then swish the base around in your tub of sand. I typially add a few drops of water to my white glue to make it flow a little better. Adding the sand before you start painting is nice because it won't scratch the paint and you won't accidentally get glue on painted parts. If you end up with some errant grains of sand, simply knock it off with a toothpick or something.Additional contributions and tips by Dennis Bolin
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