New Order – Procession
Basecoating is not the most enjoyable stage of painting; but it’s the foundation of the finished miniature. So it’s worth being thorough.
Rather than use this post to go through paint recipes, I thought it would be more helpful to discuss some general guidelines for painting complex miniatures.
Before you begin, I would recommend investing in a notebook, to keep a record of any paints used – because it’s easy to forget. You can also use the pad to sketch out freehand designs; or jot down ideas for bases.
It’s also worth using different kinds of brushes, for various painting tasks:
From top to bottom:
- Old brushes, with splayed bristles – used for stippling or drybrushing.
- New Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes, which are used for fine detail.
- Cheap brushes, which are used for painting larger areas; or applying washes and glazes.
- Another cheap brush, with flat bristles – which is used to paint large, flat areas/ drybrushing. I mainly use this for painting textured areas on bases.
And as a final preparatory stage…planning your colour scheme. This is not vital – because if something ends up looking wrong, you can always paint over it. But it is worthwhile giving some thought to it, before you begin painting.
A bit of research – or even the colour schemes suggested by Games Workshop – are good places to start, if you’re stuck for inspiration.
These were the colours I used, but I will go through them in more detail at a later date:
As always, the golden rule is to thin your paints: several diluted layers of paint are usually better than one heavy application.
But how thin? There isn’t really a definitive answer. Paints themselves vary in density – and sometimes don’t need to be thinned down: for example, when drybrushing.
As a rough guide though, I recommend a paint-to-water ratio of at least 2 parts paint to 1 part water. I mainly use paint of that thickness when applying the first layer – but then thin it slightly for successive layers; so it has a ratio of 2:2.
It needs to be watered-down further for washes (c. 1 part paint to 4 parts water), and at its thinnest for glazes (c. 1:8).
I can’t make diagrams, but I’ve demonstrated this below:
From left to bottom-right (ignore the top-right splotch of paint):
- Undiluted paint
- Paint thinned with water (2:1)
- Paint thinned with water (2:2)
- Wash (1: 4)
- Glaze (1: 8)
Ultimately, it requires trial and error: if paint is too thick, it obscures details, and looks rough. If it’s too thin, it runs uncontrollably – and will require inordinate layers, if you want to create a solid coat.
When applying basecoats, I start with the largest area; which was the armour here:
It usually takes 3-4 thin layers of paint, before it looks opaque.
I find it best to complete sections one at a time (e.g. an arm) rather than trying to finish the whole of the armour at once – otherwise it feels like you’re getting nowhere.
I would also recommend viewing the model from multiple angles, to make sure you haven’t missed any parts:
As you can see, the underside of the model’s right arm looks a bit patchy, and required more layers of paint.
When the bascoat colours are done, you can get a clear picture of what the finished model will be like (I know it looks as if Typhus is wearing brown shoes here – bear with me):
As before, really, it’s best to double-check/tidy-up the model at this stage.
Once you’re happy with it, apply an all-over wash of black+brown, in several thin layers:
This adds shading – but for present purposes, it brings out details; which makes it much easier to paint them later.
Ensure each wash has dried before adding another layer, though – otherwise it will remove any paint which is still wet. Extra attention is sometimes required for deeper recesses (like underneath the shoulder plates).
You may get a pooling effect in places – if so, just leave these to dry; as they can be painted over during subsequent stages.
Once all of this is complete, you can focus on the individual aspects of a model – I will go through these in the upcoming posts.