Miniature Prep and Priming

•March 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I thought I would start out my tutorial section with prep since it is the first thing you do before painting and is equally as important.

The tools, there are lots of tools out there for miniatures some of the most important are clippers (for trimming flash and excessive mold lines), a good set of small files, and either a scalpel or exacto blade. Other items I find helpful are fine grit sandpaper, superglue (not just for the assembly), sculpting putty (greenstuff or milliput) and liquid green stuff.

Some miniatures should also be pinned to help strengthen joints, but pinning could be a tutorial of its own so I will not go into detail about that now.

The first thing I do is remove the worst mold lines and flash with my clippers, after the worst is gone I will take the exacto blade and gently remove as much as I can with the remainder. Metal minis are harder to remove mold lines with just an exacto blade, plastic and resin will easily shave off with very little pressure. When using an exacto blade try to go in one direction when removing a mold line and if you are having trouble with it just leave it rather than destroy detail. There are other ways to hide it or even it out that I will touch on later.

After using your clippers and blades it is time to use your small files on metal minis metal files work best. On plastic try not to use metal files, sand paper or a plastic file will do a better job and leave less marks in the plastic. When filing a curved part of a miniature use a round file for flat surfaces a flat file will work best. It is also better if possible to file in one direction and try to keep the file level, this helps avoid damaging surrounding detail and removes the mold line with less files marks on your mini.

Once you have spent some time clipping and filing it is time to wash the mini. Molds leave residue on the miniature and it is better to wash them prior to assembly as the glue will not hold properly if there is residue left on them.  I use a toothbrush with dish soap and scrub the miniature under warm water. Before assembling make sure the mini is completely dry and there is no water hiding in the small crevices or joints that you will attempt to glue.

I use super glue to assemble my miniatures always apply less that you think you need as it will easily pour over details you would not want touched. After assembly don’t put that superglue away yet. If you have any stubborn mold lines that you couldn’t quite reach with the files use a toothpick and apply some superglue carefully to even it out. You can also use liquid green stuff for this. I recommend buying some I love it for hiding imperfections in the metal or for evening out mold lines. If you decide to try some liquid greenstuff squeeze what you think you may need onto a plate or palette as you do not want air to hit the greenstuff in the pot any longer than necessary. It will dry it out. After it is on your palette add water to it to get it to the consistency you need for the application you want to use it for. If you want to use it to fill a small gap use less water as it will maintain a putty like texture for gap filling. Using it for small imperfections or a mold line use more water so it will flow where you want it without ruining detail.



I try to assemble most of my miniatures prior to priming as it makes a nicer product without the fuss of trying to assemble without damaging what you painted. Some miniatures need to be left in pieces to be able to reach all the spaces properly. In this case I usually take some blue tac and test fit the mini to make sure it doesn’t need any gap filling and decide on the pose. I will leave the tac on the joints while priming and basecoating to protect them from paint as it makes them easier to assemble later if there is no paint or primer where you will be gluing. Some miniatures can be magnetized, especially warjacks and large figures  to make them interchangeable or to store them easier in pieces.

Choosing the right color to prime, black, white or grey. Grey is a good all-around primer color as it doesn’t obsure detail and can easily be covered by lighter colors. White will give your miniature more vibrant colors and works well for light colors and flesh tones. Black is useful for hiding those touch to get to cracks and crevices for easier shadows and black lining.

After you decide what color there is spray primer and brush on primer. I use both for different reasons. Spray primer cannot be applied in high humidity as it will get a grainy finish, but is easy to apply the rest of the time and covers easily and quickly. Brush on primer is great when you want part of your mini primed in a different color or for reaching hard to reach areas with Spray primer.

I usually attach my mini to a bottle by using carpet tape or blue poster tac prior to priming. You don’t want to get your oils from your fingers on your mini and this will secure it to something easy to hold. Some people use wine corks or pill bottles. Use whatever fits in your hand nicely and you can use while painting comfortably.  Once it is secured on something you should be able to turn your miniature in all directions without it falling off this will make priming it easier as you can turn in upside down to get coverage on the underside.

When you apply primer it goes on best when the can is warm. So keep it somewhere warm and make sure the can is warm when applying. It is ok to spray in cold weather outside just make sure the can is warm and the mini is warm then go outside and prime your miniature and bring it right inside.  Do not overprime the mini it will easily take over details remember the primer is just there to help adhere the paint to the metal or plastic not to completely cover it. It is ok to see a little metal through the primer, trust me it is better than a solid coating of primer that is too thick.

Be sure the primer is dry for best results a few hours or overnight is best prior to painting. Now that your mini is prepped and primed you can begin the fun of painting.

Reaper Bones II Kickstarter

•October 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The new Bones Kickstarter is in its last few days. And I wanted to take a moment to post about it in case anyone is on the fence about backing it. The amount of miniatures in the core set at this point is a very good value and has lots of great sculpts in it. Also the variety of add ons is great and I would think that any miniature collector or gamer could find something that excites them. I know there are quite a few that I intend to pick up and even a few that I know will be great gifts.

I was a backer of the first Kickstarter and am quite happy with all the miniatures I received from it. Although the project delivered late much like most kickstarters I have backed the entire experience was great and I have no complaints. Out of all the miniatures I received only one was missing from the Vampire set and I received an extra of another so to me it was a wash. My only regret from the first kickstarter is not picking up all the add ons. However I owned two Bones figures prior to the first kickstarter and knew that the material was different from metal or resin. They take a little getting used to but are perfect miniatures for gaming as they are very durable and risk much less chance of breaking if dropped.

I have been painting my Bones for our RPG group and have found the experience rewarding and the material to be perfect for gaming. They paint up without primer and do not need sealed, just be sure to scrub them with soap and water first.

For anyone who has not seen the Kickstarter for Bones II check it out and see if there is something for you and join us in the madness of unlocking new goals.

And here are a few of my quick and dirty paint jobs of some Bones from the first kickstarter.

Bones Scorpions Sept 2013 (2)


Bones beetle swarm August 2013


Bones Rats July 2013 24 total painted


Bones Lysette Sept 2013

Gen Con Indy 2013 Part 1 – The Miniatures

•September 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Gen Con was so much fun this year I tried to schedule less events so I would have more time to enjoy things like the exhibit hall and auction. There were so many vendors I wanted to check out and people to meet.  I also tried to remember to take more photos, but I never seem to have enough when I get home.

The Gen Con miniature painting competition this year had so many great entries by many amazing painters; I could’ve spent so much more time just admiring all the pieces. The privateer press booth was also filled with an enormous number of entries for the P3 Grandmaster Competition, all of which were beautiful.  I luckily got to spend some time this year talking with Jessica Rich and I got to see her Best in Show entry up close prior to the competition. It was breathtaking and was a deserved win for her. Jessica is such a talented painter and all her miniatures are tiny masterpieces.

With all the amazing entries this year I was honored to place 3rd in the George RR Martin category with my Sansa building a snow castle diorama. As an added award Jim Ludwig of Dark Sword Miniatures asked me after the competition if he could purchase this piece for his collection.  It is a great feeling that some of my miniatures are part of Jim’s collection. I only wish I had better photos of this diorama as I had a terrible time taking photos of this piece as all the snow really messed with the white balance of the camera.



I also brought home a bronze medal from the P3 Grandmaster Painting Competition for my Morvahna the Autumnblade. I am slowly trying to build a Circle of Orboros army that I can field and hopefully look pretty on the table. Morvahna was my choice for my first 25 point list so I thought I would take the time to do my best while painting her up.

photo (21)


The speed paints were fun as always and I really appreciate all the hard work all of the MHE coordinators put in to making the Miniature Hobby events great. A special shout out to Debbie at the speed paints for all her dedication to making the speed paints fun and spending so much of her convention making them possible. I love getting a miniature at the speed paints and trying to up my game at painting in only 45 minutes.

This year I only scheduled two painting classes as I was trying to not have such a packed schedule. I took Rhonda Bender’s painting OSL (other source lighting) class and Dave Pauwels True Metallics. Some years I think it would be great just to schedule painting classes and take everything I would like, but then I wouldn’t have time for gaming events.  I took some classes from Rhonda last year so I knew it would be a great class and she did not disappoint this year. Rhonda’s ability to explain what she does and show us is great. She is a terrific painter and a wonderful person, her classes are a joy. I also love her handouts and hands on approach to teaching. I will be hoping to use OSL on my circle army soon and this class was invaluable for that.

Dave’s True Metallics class was a much needed class for me as I usually avoid metallic paint as I can never paint it smoothly or realistically. He was very personable and shared lots of tips for us during his class. He also gave us two of his washes that he uses on gold and silver metals. I can’t wait to try them out soon.

I also spent some time this year chatting with other miniature painters and really enjoyed meeting new people. I hope to do more of this next year. I can’t wait for next year and am beginning to toss around some ideas for another diorama.  Next August can’t come soon enough.


Bombshell Babes Miniatures Arrived

•April 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I had backed Patrick Keith’s project on Kickstarter for his new miniature line Bombshell Babes. I didn’t make a large pledge as I really wanted two of the babes and his sidekicks. After receiving the miniatures I will pick some more up at retail when he releases them for sale on his website

Here is a photo of my babes and sidekicks.

IMG_2397 (640x476)

The miniatures are really detailed and sculpted wonderfully. I will be painting up Dusty(the cowgirl) first.

Here she is before I did any work to her.

IMG_2394 (577x640)

Overall she is simple so I hope to paint her up next weekend and post her finished product. She will fit in perfectly with my Deadlands minis. Can’t wait to see how she paints up.

Reverend Grimme of Deadlands

•January 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The first official miniature I painted in 2013 is Reaper’s  Savage World Reverend Grimme (59001).  Since Reaper announced the line of Savage World minis, I have been purchasing every Deadlands miniature they release. I love Classic Deadlands and even though I am not playing it currently I hope to eventually paint the entire line.

I wanted something fun and quick to paint up for the New Year so when I looked in my Deadlands drawer I figured what other way to start then with the first one I bought of the line. The Reverend was a joy to paint as he has so much character in his face. I wanted to stick with the black clothes he is typically pictured in, and it also helped me work on painting black which is quite difficult. I spent about 4 hours painting him and probably another hour prepping him and making his base. I plan on having all my Deadlands minis based similar so I chose a simple desert theme for the base.

Reverend Grimme Jan 2013 Reverend Grimme Jan 2013 (3)


After looking at images of old bibles I decided to keep his book simple and paint it up like old leather with an embossed cross. I almost added words but felt it would look too busy so opted to leave it alone. I am quite happy with how he turned out and hopefully with get to paint a few more Deadlands minis this year.

Impact Miniatures Ice Hockey Miniature

•January 4, 2013 • 2 Comments

I painted up one of Impact Miniatures ice hockey miniatures for a gift for Christmas. My boss loves the Pittsburgh Penguins so I when I saw that Impact was making a line of  hockey miniatures I had to jump on it. So I joined Kickstarter and backed their project which was funded and orders fulfilled in plenty of time for Christmas. I got to work on paint scheme which was easy as it consisted of the Penguins home uniform.

Sidney Crosby Dec 2012 (5)

The freehand on the uniform was quite the challenge to paint small enough on the miniature yet still needed to look realistic to the real uniform. I think overall I succeeded with getting him to look correct. I enjoyed painting him up and after taking the pictures noticed a few areas I touched up before giving him away.

The best part was seeing the reaction of my fellow coworkers as they had never seen anything I painted in person, and pictures do not really show the scale or the detail put into miniatures. I hope to paint another one I may keep for my own collection in the future but for now I have the photos to remember this by.

Reaper Miniatures Forum Autumn Miniature Exchange

•January 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This was the 2nd time I participated in a miniature exchange and I do enjoy them quite a bit. I painted up Reaper’s Monterey Jack, Cowboy Mouseling sculpted by Gene Van Horne for my exchange partner as she really likes mouselings, and requested one for this exchange. Monterey Jack was Reaper’s 2011 Convention Special Edition Miniature and I happened to have two and thought it would be perfect to paint and give away as it is no longer available for sale from Reaper.

I really enjoyed painting Monterey Jack who I nicknamed Charlie Prince (shout out to 3:10 to Yuma). He was the first Mouseling I painted and I really must pick up some more and paint up sometime they have so much character and of course cuteness. I selected a warm color scheme for him as I pictured him in the dry desert area of the wild west. I even added a touch of freehand to his hat which was inspired by western art. The base was difficult as his tail is sculpted onto his base so I could not just cut it off. So I glued him onto a 1 inch square base and hid most of his base by sand and basing materials. Prior to sending him off to his new home I took a couple of photos, so here he is.


Also a quick shot of him with a standard d6 for anyone who does not know the scale of the mouseling’s Reaper produces.


And finally the mini I received during the exchange. I was lucky enough to be paired with Reaper’s own staff artist Martin Jones. The mini pictured below is Reaper’s Netikerti, Nefsokar Mage sculpted by Bob Ridolfi.


I absolutely love this mini and how he painted her for me. I am honored to have her as part of my miniature collection. For a better picture you can visit Reaper’s site here to see Netikerti in all of her awesomeness painted by Martin Jones.

And lastly I wanted to post up a personal thank you to Recruittons from Reaper’s forum for running the exchange and taking the time to put it together so everyone can have a great time and get a little piece of art in the mail as a surprise.


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