Alpha Galaxy employs a utilitarian scheme of desert tans with blood red highlights.
Step 1: Prep 'n Prime
Here’s some fun stuff.
If I repeat a bunch of jazz that my esteemed compatriots have already said, only cause it’s worth repeating. So, pay attention!
How do we get to the pretty polished metal Lancelot above?
Just some of the MOST IMPORTANT steps of mini painting.
File down those mold lines! Lots easier to do BEFORE assembling. Don’t scimp here…please. There is no more terrible feeling than kicking ass on a paint job, only to see a mold line that draws attention away from your work. File away! I totally agree with Dak, that filing is an artform in and of itself. It’s also very cathartic.
Once you’ve got all those mold lines filed into oblivion, go ahead and put that bad boy together. I recommend pinning the arms and legs and various other parts that you think have any chance of falling off when your 3 year old knocks your georgeous mini off the table.
Now comes a little gem. Once you got “the best mini ever” all put together. Give it a gentle brushing with a small wire brush. The brass ones work the best, but you still have to be careful if you are working with a lead figure. The tougher steel brushes even work on the current IWM minis. These cheap little brushes are found at Wallmart or Home Depo in the paint section. The brushing gets all the gritty grime off the mini, and leaves a nice polished mini.
Wash that mini in soap and water. Use a toothbrush. Your oily, sweaty hands have left behind a “natural” barrier that will prevent your primer from binding to the mini. Get rid of it. Wash! This should be the last step before priming. Please wash. In fact, this is good advice for those of you attending GenCon or Origins as well.
I’ve sprayed primer, I’ve brushed on primer….I can’t tell the difference unless I totally botch up the spray job. Spray that thing. It’s fast and easy. I’m embarassed to say, but I use Rust-oleum clean metal primer/automobile primer for “the ultimate finish.” “STOPS RUST” Testors can’t claim that….Well, do what you want. As long as you don’t “go nuclear” on your mini with the spray and eleminate all detail, or stand two feet away, leaving a snowy rough surface that will vex you forever. You can do it!
Step 2: Base Colors
Now we’re painting minis!
Paint on a base coat with thinned down Vallejo Game Color Khaki. I use a flat brush for this and just try to keep the paint from going on too think. You can always add another layer if needed to cover the primer.
Black in the feet and cockpit. I almost always paint the feet black…just a preference. Not mandatory
Still looking like crud. Here I used some Game Color Scar Red to pick out some panels with my little detail brush. And Used some Game Color Gunmetal Metal for the joints/barrels/vents.
At this point, I almost want to cry as I have about 2-3 hours of work in on this mini and it still looks like a first grader’s work…..
Step 3: Wash
I know everyone wants to know: “What’s the magic ratio for a good wash?”
Bah! Not that important. What is important is that you make it in the right order to not separate the ink. I use ink, water, and Future Floor Wax.
1. One drop of ink (Game color Black Ink)
2. 7-12 drops of water (Start with 12 and use less as you get more daring)
3. 5-8 drops of Future.
Add it in that order and you’ll love your results.
What’s this? Oh wonderous detail! Return to my mini!
2 coats later…..
There! A fine looking mini. I spread the wash all over the mini and let it get all over.
DON’T LET IT POOL or BUILD UP!
Look at the upper outer right leg of the Lancelot…Bad Pendragon! Big pool of ink…Grrrrr.
Usually at this point I save my work with a quick spray of Dull Coat. I use Krylon Matte Finish for this part. Testors Dull Coat is too expensive for using at this stage in the game.
Well, geez! That looks pretty good just like that. For the beginner and army builder that may be just about all you want to do. Maybe add some detail to the cockpit and blacken the tips of the barrels and we have a wonderful mini.
If you are happy, then skip to Step 6 to see how to quickly add a sharp base to your mini.
Step 4: Layering on Highlights
WARNING: This ain’t for the faint of heart or the shaky of hand.
But the payoff….priceless
Game Color Khaki
Game Color Bonewhite
Game Color Dead White
So, pick a panel on your mini. By now, your base coat has been darkened by your multiple coats of black wash.
So adding back some of your base coat color of Game Color Khaki, actually highlights the panal.
I thin all my paints just just using a wet pallet, no additives. Gets them all to a consistent thickness.
To do this right, you have to imagine where your light source is coming from. The easiest for me is to imagine that the light is coming from above the mini…and slightly from the direction of the viewer’s eyes….that is, from the direction in front of the part of the mini being viewed. So, above and from the front. Gonna have to play around with it and get comfortable with the different panel shapes.
To quote Savage Coyote,: “Essentially we are going to ‘jewel’ each panel.”
Here, a bit of Game Color Bonewhite has been added to the edges of the panel.
Here, Game Color Dead White has been added to the extreme top and outer edge.
I hope the pictures illustrate, cause it’s difficult to explain.
Now…..just do that with each “Tan”panel on the mini
Nice and slow and take your time.
Step 5: Details
Now do the same with the red.
Game Color Scar Red
Game Color Bloody Red
Game color Hot Orange
This is layering on the highlights. Essentially you have a 4 color layer.
You will find that as you get comfortable and each lighter color is added to the highlight, the paint almost blends together cause the lighter shade is added before the previous shade has completely dried.
Now add some details like jeweling the cockpit, add antenna, darken the weapon barrels, and add some Game Color Smokey Ink to the recesses of the GunMetal.
Step 6: Basing
Now for the base.
Make sure that hex base is smooth and filed. No sense distracting from your well-painted mini with a half-assed base.
I like a neutral base like black or olive for the hex base sides.
Glue on some basalt and small rocks. Take care not to have the material (or glue) run over the sides. Let this dry for at least an hour. Then add a heavy (dark) brown wash to the entire base.
Fill in the spots that are bare of tiny stones with some grass.
Bring the color of the brown back up using increasing lighter shades of brown, just drybrushed.
Game Color Earth
Game Color Khaki
Game Color Dead White
Here’s the finished mini!