Painting Tips

I won't even pretend to have all the answers to how to go about slapping pigment on little metal men. There are as many different painting techniques as there are painters. And I intend to expand my ideas on figure painting, scratch-building and terrain modelling on this site whenever I get the chance. Or can find the time.

Just to show how much things can change over a long career in the hobby, I offer photographs of some of the very first French napoleonic units I ever painted. Alongside some of my more recent efforts.

NOTE: The 20mm Airfix figures displayed above are made of soft plastic, were painted over twenty years ago and have NOT been repainted since. They were instead coated with Varathane brand plastic urethane liquid - a high-impact sealant designed for protecting wood surfaces. And despite two decades of hard and (mostly) valorous service - have experienced very little chipping or flaking. If you collect plastic figures, I recommend you seal your paint jobs with varathane in the strongest possible terms!

I've edited and expanded my first 'Gettin' Good' articles since I originally submitted them to the historical miniatures news group. I hope that the photographs of finished mounted figures in sections 8 & 9 will prove helpful in illustrating my method's effects.

  • Gettin' Good: An introduction, explanation and disclaimer.
  • Part 1: How to get good at painting? A professional's opinion.
  • Part 2: How to get good at painting? Dissenting opinions are heard.
  • Part 3: The selection, care and feeding of brushes.
  • Part 4: Questions and answers from the gentle readers.
  • Part 5: A primer on using stains and washes.
  • Part 6: Ragged Rebs (or painting irregular units in a regular way).
  • Part 7: Painting Ponies I. Just what sort of beast is that, anyway?
  • Part 8: Painting Ponies II. Your basic black, brown and chestnut horses.
  • Part 9: Painting Ponies III. Fancies - whites, greys, duns and finishing touches.
  • Part 10: A primer on stripes, checks and tartan plaids.