I could probably do with pictures in this thread to illustrate the points I want to make, however, as I am currently going through a major painting project to be unleashed upon my gaming fraternity I don’t want to spoil the surprise for them. After all, seeing my with a fully painted army is likely to cause many of them to slip into a coma, or at least have some kind of seizure.
Today though, I’d like to follow-on from the army construction post with one about how you go about actually painting things. One of the problems I encounter is that I get easily distracted, normally I have a load of stuff on my painting area and therefore have no coherent plan for everything and skip back and forth between bits and pieces. Sometimes it has even gotten to the point where I have the whole army on the table and therefore never finish a unit but see the whole force in a state of non-completion. Therefore I have decided to clear my table of everything but that which I am currently painting, this is to focus my attention so that I can really force myself into finishing something.
Previously I have also built the entire army at the start so that I can then play with it too, this is probably not the best approach either, if I were to not assemble everything I may well be more into getting each unit/model painted before building and doing the next one. This is something I am keeping in mind for the future to facilitate me towards getting armies that are 100% painted.
However, none of that is what I actually wanted to get into debating today. What I really wanted to write about was the actual process whereby a model gets its colours. You may think that you just pick a part and apply some paint, you may have a favourite way of doing things but I’ll provide some options that I am aware that may help if you’re perpetually unsure about where to start once you’ve cleaned, assembled and undercoated your models (if you’re not undercoating your models before painting then may I strongly suggest you start, an undercoat provides a medium for the paint to adhere too, if you don’t perform this critical step you will find the paint will come off very easily once dry).
The first method I want to go through is the way that I am currently painting my models. The premise here is exactly the way it sounds, you start at the lowest level on detail on the model (usually the skin) and then work your way up. The major problem that can be encountered here is that one slip can ruin work already performed but provides a great way of building up decent shading through the separation of the layers of the model. If you are a fairly neat and competent painter you shouldn’t have any real issues using this method. It also allows you to touch up areas where you have gone astray as you will normally be working on the layer where natural run off will go as you paint.
This is the opposite to Inside Out, you start off with the outermost layer and work down, I’ve never tried this method so cannot comment on it however again there is potential for you to muck up a completed layer as you strive for details, especially on things like faces.
Painting Metals First
This is actually combined with one of the previous methods (or one of your own) but involves getting all the metals done on a model, these are then varnished before starting on the rest of the model. If you have models with a large amount of metalwork (Knights or warjacks for instance) you might consider doing this method. Any overrun can be easily wiped off without destroying the metalwork already completed.
This is the method I’ve used to great failure in the past. Grab a model, paint some bits, move on etc… This has never really worked for me I have to admit, hence trying to move to a more structured method that may see some results. I wouldn’t really recommend anyone to use this method at all, without a proper plan there is little motivating you to get things finished.
That’s just a quick brief about the different ways in which you can go about getting paint on a model. Actually getting an army painted though is another matter. You’re going to need to plan out how you’re going to get each piece painted as well as things like colour schemes, basing schemes and the order in which you want to do things. As a part of this current project I am trying to do unit > character > unit > character in order to break up having to paint large batches of similar figures. Effectively rewarding myself with a single model after painting a unit of models. I am also trying to do a conga line whereby I do a coat of a certain part of one model before moving on and doing the same piece for another model of the same unit. I realise this isn’t going to work for single models but I am hoping that it’ll mean I can complete the units quicker than I otherwise could.
Having a plan like this is really crucial if you plan on finishing what you start. I really need a painted army at this point, nothing I have is really finished and for all the years I’ve been doing this I should have something to show for it. Hence my current push to try and get this done. Structuring the project is helping me to stay on track, although with Christmas rapidly approaching I can already see things slowing down a little while the inevitable family visits and shopping trips come along.
There you have it, a brief intro into how to go about painting things, I’d be interested in hearing comments about how anyone else goes about these things.