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Painting Minis - Re-learning the Basics

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08 Aug 2023 11:29 #340194 by Shellhead

Robert Facepalmer wrote: How old is that Speedpaint set? The original formulation of those had a reactivation issue that might be problematic. (painting over the top of a Speedpaint layer could re-wet the Speedpaint, causing inadvertent blending)


I did some reading and learned that the original Speedpaint formula worked fine as a basecoat, but the paint would reactivate if you tried to paint over it. That's a serious issue, because you might need to repaint a section where you made a mistake, or even if you just wanted to add some details after the basecoat. A skilled hobbyist might adapt and use that to advantage for subtle blending effects. Or you could just lock in your basecoat with varnish, and then apply fixes and details and finish with another coat of varnish. Apparently Speedpaint 2.0 is pretty stable after 2 hours of drying time, and every stable after 24 hours. So I need to start doing some basecoat painting tonight, as most of these figures will have several colors in the base coat.

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08 Aug 2023 13:20 #340199 by Shellhead
My starter set just comes with 10 colors. Red, yellow, blue, green, purple, black, brown, bone, silver, and peachy flesh. I did some analysis of the 12 player character figures plus the wolf form for the Gangrel, and decided that I will need to purchase a few more colors, because I will be using them on several figures. Gray, white, gold, and warrior flesh ( for the black characters). There are a few other colors that I will need in small quantities, so I will just mix paints to get those colors. Orange will be easy, but olive/khaki will take some experimentation.

The biggest challenge will be figuring out how to paint blue jeans on multiple characters. Should I just blend blue and white? Or should I paint blue and then stipple in some white with either a dry brush or sponge?

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08 Aug 2023 18:07 #340201 by Robert Facepalmer
Yeah, Speed 2.0 is the new stuff, so that shouldn't have any fun 'surprises' for you.

Denim, maybe start with a darker blue (blue with a little black mixed in), a stipple of just blue, and a _light_ stipple of blue with a little white mixed in. It is real easy to blow out the white in denim, so I tend to start a bit dark and work up. If you get too light, you can probably take it back with a blue glaze since they are Speedpaints.
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09 Aug 2023 22:27 #340208 by Shellhead
I finally sat down to start basecoating my figures, and the painting project is now off to inauspicious start. I just wanted to paint the exposed flesh on the six caucasian figures in this batch, using the Peachy Flesh speedpaint 2.0. I shook the little bottle vigorously, slowly counting to 120 while listening to the little mixing balls rattle. Then I used the dropper to dole out several drops of Peachy Flesh into my white plastic dry pallette.

The color was unmistakeably a very dark red, somewhere in the vicinity of brick red and dried blood. There was nothing peachy or remotely caucasian about the color.

With fading hopes, I painted a little on the arm of one of my minis, which I had fully primed in matt black and then zenithally primed in ash gray. Now it looked a touch darker, a purplish-red.

So I got out my bottle of Holy White speedpaint 2.0 and shook it up well. Then dropped a couple of drops into the Peachy Flesh in the pallette. Still too ruddy looking, so I added a couple of more drops, then a couple more. The final color that I achieved looks like a slightly dark beige, which is reasonably okay for a caucasian in dim lighting, but just a little too dark for Canadian vampires. Maybe it will dry lighter. If not, I plan to some off-white highlighting later on.

The speedpaint texture was weird. I was pretty successful at controlling the initial application with the brush, but then it would flow every so slightly right up to the nearest hairline or collar line or cuff line on the figure. That part was great. But then it would tend to slide a bit off the most prominent features, like noses, knuckles, and cheekbones, which the opposite of what I wanted. So I dabbed on a bit more in those spots, and the same thing would happen, though to a lesser degree. It basically left dark spots in the exact places where I would like to eventually do a bit of highlighting later. Weird. Maybe it will all look better after drying.

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09 Aug 2023 22:55 #340209 by Shellhead
By the way, Holy White was not at all white. It was a light gray. And that's the supposedly the whitest white in the Speedpaint product line. I will need to buy some sort of Citadel white for the highlighting and mix it with a little Peachy Flesh.

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10 Aug 2023 00:14 #340210 by ZeeAyKay
Speedpaint is really meant to be painted on a white undercoat, and potentially a zenithal undercoat as long as it's still mostly white. Speedpaint is translucent so even a gray is going to make everything come out a lot darker than you want it to - I know because I made the same mistake and was frustrated at how dark everything looked. There's a bit of a learning curve but once you get used to it you can crank out some really great looking minis in record time. I honestly wouldn't even bother with doing Zenithal for now, and see how satisfied you are after the pure white undercoat. From there, you can start experimenting with different undercoats to see how it affects the paint.
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10 Aug 2023 09:32 - 10 Aug 2023 13:21 #340212 by Shellhead
I checked the minis in the morning. I managed to achieve a slightly tan caucasian flesh tone that actually matches my own current skin color. However, there is a dark undertone, because this is a flesh-colored glaze over a gray primer. And maybe that is okay, because these are vampires in the World of Darkness, so my goal was to have them look a bit shadowy. Now that I understand Zee's point about Speedpaint being a translucent glaze, I realize that primer color is a very crucial decision with Speedpaint. My best hope for getting accurate colors would be to prime in white and then apply the Speedpaints. But I looked at a lot of pictures of Speedpaint results, and the colors come out very bright, and I really don't want bright colors for these particular figures.

So I could continue on my current course, and end up with dark painted minis in time for the game in 9 days. Or I could potentially strip the paint and start over with white primer, which would be a setback for my tight schedule (which includes painting my basement floor on Saturday with epoxy to seal in an asbestos tile floor that is beginning to chip and crumble). What I can't do is just buy some replacement figures and start fresh, because this game is very expensive. So I think that I will stay the course.

The color issue is troubling. I have perfect color vision, and I was working under a daylight bulb, and I am telling you that this particular bottle of Peachy Flesh was very dark red. I got some on my fingers, and it literally looked like blood. And the Holy White was absolutely light gray and not white. I'm not talking about how they looked on the primed figures, I am talking about the colors as they looked on my white plastic pallette under a daylight bulb. I googled, and found a Reddit comment that asserted that the Speedpaint Holy White is indeed a light gray. I didn't find any comments about Peachy Flesh looking like dried blood, so I suspect that someone slapped the wrong label on a bottle of Slaughter Red or Murder Scene.

My next concern is whether I can paint on some highlights later on. I like the way the Speedpaint functions a bit like a wash, creating darker shadows where there should be shadows. But I dislike the way it is leaving bare primer in spots that should be lightest, like noses and cheekbones. Maybe I should switch to some Citadel paints for highlights, but will they adhere to the Speedpaint glaze? Or should I apply a light coating of clear kote spray before going for details?
Last edit: 10 Aug 2023 13:21 by Shellhead.
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10 Aug 2023 11:05 #340214 by Virabhadra
Doing the speed paints and then finishing with manual highlights is considered something like Slapchop+:

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10 Aug 2023 12:55 #340215 by Gary Sax
That's a great video.
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11 Aug 2023 13:01 #340228 by Shellhead
I have been pondering my options for a couple of days, while focusing on my floor epoxy project. One figure that I haven't even touched yet is the Nosferatu. She has stark white hair and almost albino white skin, so I was going to use holy white or maybe pallid bone instead of peachy flesh speedpaint on her skin. But now that I realize that holy white is just light gray, I will need a new approach. So I am going to pick up some white brush-on primer for her, and also to lighten the primed but unpainted parts of some of the other figures. For speedpaint, I will do her skin with a blend of a bit of blue and some holy white. I'm also going to pick up some Citadel praxeti white and eldar flesh dry paints for subsequent highlighting on various figures. Hopefully this will be my last trip to the game shop for this project.

The nosferatu: cf.geekdo-images.com/g49hnXUXnlm1-YAvWc5...icc()/pic7597897.jpg

My current focus is on the 8 player character figures available to the players at the start of the campaign, plus a wolf figure because one of those player characters can turn into a wolf. I have 8 days to get these figures ready, but I won't make any progress tonight because I am finishing the floor epoxy project in the basement tonight, in hopes that the fumes will be cleared by Sunday night when my Cthulhu players show up. After next week, I plan to paint at least 4 more miniatures for this game, for the 4 expansion player characters that will get unlocked later in the campaign.

Beyond that, there are another 30 miniatures for NPCs and monsters. I may or may not paint those figures, as it might be convenient to use the colorful cardboard standees for everything except the player characters. Especially since the game offers two colors of bases for the standees: black for vampires and monsters, and red for normal humans who contain blood that the player characters can drink. And if any of those normal humans witness obvious vampire activity or supernatural abilities, they will try to escape and notify the authorities, creating a breach to the vampire masquerade. This game has some kind of escalating response to breaches of the masquerade, including full chapters for the second and third breaches of the campaign.
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14 Aug 2023 10:46 #340247 by Shellhead
Finally took some yesterday to sit and do a lot of painting. I am ambivalent about my results so far, partly because my unfamiliarity with SpeedPaint has come with a real learning curve.

PROS: SpeedPaint has a very nice consistency and texture that makes it very easy to apply. It something between a glaze, an ink, and a paint, so it's easy to see how you could quickly do one coat and be done. The paint containers all come with an eyedropper lid for very controlled dispensing, and contain two small metal mixing balls for very convenient and thorough mixing. The metallic SpeedPaint is brilliant, somehow delivering a metallic shine along with a decent color in a single coat. Mixing colors of SpeedPaint worked well.

CONS: SpeedPaint is just liquid enough to have a bit of flow to it, so you want to be careful about how you hold a figure while you paint it, to make sure that it doesn't flow into adjacent areas that you are not painting. Despite my lack of painting experience, it felt like second nature to slightly tilt a miniature this way or that to adjust for flow while painting. Unfortunately, that same flow tends send more of the paint into crevices, just like an ink, and tends to leave the high points barren or just a translucent glaze.

The most serious issue was the color of the various SpeedPaints. The Army Painter guys apparently suffer from a collective form of color blindness. Every SpeedPaint color is inherently dark. Really dark. Peachy Flesh should be renamed Bloody Red. Forest Sprite is supposed to be a light leafy green, but comes out of the bottle as a very dark forest green. Holy White is light gray. Gravelord Gray is a dark charcoal color. Satchel Brown is a darkshade of brown that is not quite black. Warrior Skin is apparently the color to use on dark-skinned people of color, but it is even darker than Satchel Brown. Zealot Yellow comes out of the bottle as a bright red, though I was able to mix with with browns and grays to finally get a light khaki color. Hive Dweller Purple is a deep purple that is nearly black.

To make matters worse, I didn't prime in white, I primed in black and then zenithal primed in light gray. I did go back and touch up some of the characters with brush-on white primer, but wasn't entirely happy with the way it went on. So I mixed at least 50/50 Holy White with all of these colors to lighten them, and they still went dark on the figures, except that I successfully lightened Highlord Blue to the color of slightly faded denim and again for an even lighter blue for the shirts of a couple of characters.

Over the course of a few hours, I applied colors to most of the surfaces of the nine miniatures. Skin, hair, pants, shirts, jackets. It's all basically functional-looking, but nothing to brag about. But the faces are a shitshow. The black (African-Canadian sounds awkward) Ventrue is so dark that you can't make out facial features without holding him right in front of your eyes. The rest of the characters all look blotchy in the face, with the SpeedPaint pooling a bit too much in spots and fleeing noses, foreheads, and cheekbones.

I'm ready to move on from the basecoat stages to doing details with regular paints. I picked up some Citadel Eldar Flesh so I can go back and re-work the faces of most of the characters. I also picked up some Citadel Praxeti White so I can do the exposed flesh on the albino Nosferatu, including her face. Then I plan to do some stippling with Praxeti white, give the wolf more natural-looking fur coloration, and to try to make the denim look more naturally faded. Then I am going to use a tiny sponge to dap on squares of translucent gray and black onto the Brujah's red flannel jacket. I will practice that on paper first. Then I am going to use a metallic gold paint to pick out a few small details, like bracelets and the Ventrue's gold-rimmed glasses, which might bring some visual interest to his excessively dark face.

It's tempting to maybe do some highlighting, but the SpeedPaint is useless for that, so I would need to buy more dry paints and mix them with a bit of white to try to bring out some highlights. But maybe I should embrace the darkness.

Finally, I need to do something with the bases. I had a bit of speedpaint overflow while doing the shoes and boots, so there is a bit of black or brown on these bases. I could just go with solid black, or maybe a dark gray. Maybe dark gray, and then little blotches of color to represent trash on the ground.

Clock is winding down. I spent a few hours painting two coats of epoxy on my basement floor, and a lot more time moving stuff out of the way and taping all the boundaries. I have until Saturday at noon to get these figures finished. I might post pictures of my work in progress, in hopes of guidance before I finish. I wish that I had started a couple of weeks earlier and by practicing on other minis.

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14 Aug 2023 12:34 #340249 by Shellhead
I have a few additional thoughts on SpeedPaint 2.0. It really is a fast way to paint minis, but quality results will require additional detail work with non-SpeedPaint. It dries fairly quickly. I didn't time it, but maybe 20 minutes or so. Mistakes should be addressed immediately, and I found dabbing away with a bit of paper towel worked fine. It is essential to prime in white unless you want dark colors, unless you use SpeedPaint medium to dilute the dark colors. In theory, you could also dilute with water, but I think that would make the SpeedPaint too liquid for any control of application, and really more of a wash. I wish that I had known about SpeedPaint medium before I did all this painting yesterday. Clean up of brushes, palette, and hands was easy, using ordinary dish soap. It is intended to be a one-coating application. Because of the way it flowed a bit after application, I found myself applying a second or even third coat in spots, just to get some color on the primer again, and that slightly undermined the ink-like qualities of SpeedPaint.

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16 Aug 2023 11:36 #340269 by Shellhead
God help me, I'm starting to enjoy painting minis, at least a little bit. Stopped at the local game shop to pick up some regular Army Painter paints for some detail work: red, black, silver, and gold. Peering at the little bottles, it appeared that these were accurate colors. I also looked at their SpeedPaint for Fleshy Peach, and that stuff looked very dark red in the bottle, so I didn't get a mislabeled bottle, they just have a weird concept of an appropriate name for that color.

At home, I finished speedpainting the figures, and am ready to soon attempt some details like jewelry and faces. Due to my innate lack of artistic ability, it was hard to get started on this project because I was afraid of messing up these minis. But I finally framed this work as 3D Paint by Numbers, more or less, and that made it less daunting. And I will be able to live with the results. These figures will probably end up a bit too dark, and that's fine because they are vampires, creatures of the night. Their faces may end up looking a bit monstrous because I will mess up the eyes or something, and that's also fine because they are monsters. I got this.
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17 Aug 2023 09:08 - 17 Aug 2023 10:41 #340271 by sornars

Shellhead wrote: I finally framed this work as 3D Paint by Numbers, more or less, and that made it less daunting. And I will be able to live with the results.


When I was painting this was my perspective and the standard I sought. I found it relaxing to paint and since doing creative work is not my forte I was happy to enter that flow state and enjoy the act of painting even if I wasn't very good and was just following a guide ala 3-D paint by numbers. As a I progressed through a Tyranid army I could see my technique improving from model to model and that started to snowball into its own sense of fulfillment.

I think going to the gym and holds a similar appeal; I'm not the best and never will be but each time I try I get a bit better.
Last edit: 17 Aug 2023 10:41 by sornars.
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17 Aug 2023 10:07 - 17 Aug 2023 10:09 #340272 by Shellhead
Last night, I reached the limits of my ability to paint tiny objects, and managed to push a little bit past that point. I was attempting to paint the wire rim glasses on the Ventrue, and they are tiny. I had a nice metallic paint from Army Painter and the tiniest brush available, and came in with just a spot of paint on the tip. And somehow it went on the figure three times as wide as I wanted. I quickly wiped off the paint and tried again, and after several attempts, managed to make just the slightest contact and move the brush in a straight line. I don't have steady hands, I have quick hands, so this was a real challenge. The final results are okayish. I can't quite seem to trace the glasses back to where they hook over the ears, and the front center of the glasses is painted a bit too large, leaving the wire rim glasses looking a bit more like steampunk goggles. Which might be cool for a character, except that this guy is wearing a three-piece suit and necktie. Oh, well, steampunk it is.

I also stippled the denim on some other figures, going with a very light blue for now, to get some uneven fading. My initial brushmarks didn't look right, but I got better results by waiting a few beats and then smearing the paint a little. I plan to come back with some additional stippling in white.

The nosferatu has stark white albino-like skin, and speedpaint doesn't do white. So I added more gray to my light blue mix and finally achieved a very pale bluish-gray, and applied that. I will come back to her with a glaze coat of white, hoping to get a mostly white look with a faint blue undertone.

My final stage will be attempting to paint the faces. I might be able to do eyebrows now, but they will need to be even thinner than those wire rim glasses that I struggled with. I don't know if I can do eyes, so I might cheat and instead apply a thin dark glaze for shadowy eye sockets.

I will need to do something with the bases. I think that I want to paint the side of each base in a different color, to help make the player characters stand out from the NPCs. Like the Brujah will have a base with blood-red sides, while the Ventrue will have dark blue sides. But what should I do for the top of the bases? Gritty charcoal asphalt? Gray concrete with bits of color to resemble litter? Just solid black? I am open to suggestions.
Last edit: 17 Aug 2023 10:09 by Shellhead.

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