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Painting Minis - Re-learning the Basics

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17 Aug 2023 19:07 #340274 by birdman37
A trick I learned with really tiny areas and thin strips was to over-paint the area, then simply (but carefully) re-apply the bordering colour(s) right up to the desired boundary on both sides. That works with eyes, too.

Great work, though - it's been fun to hear about your progress!
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20 Aug 2023 22:04 #340290 by Shellhead
I was pushing myself to finish these minis by yesterday, just in time for us to start playing Vampire: Chapters. But in the end, I realized that I needed to spend more time with the rulebook and I could continue to work on the minis later.

Here is my work in progress:

The imperious Venture and the rebellious Brujah:



All of the figures are bit too shiny, but I will finish them with dullkote sealant. The Ventrue is supposed to be wearing a suit, but the shininess makes his jacket look lighter in color than his pants. I have not yet experimented with tiny sponges to do the black plaid pattern on the Brujah's red flannel shirt. Otherwise I am pretty happy with these two.

The monstrous Nosferatu and the artistic (and non-binary) Toreador:



I am fairly satisfied with how these two turned out, except that I couldn't quite get the right color for the collar on the Toreador's bomber jacket.

The mystic Tremere and the anxious Malkavian:



I want to touch up the paint on the Tremere's book, if I can mix the right shade of off-white. The Malkavian's suit looks a bit too shiny, but the dullkote should help dial it down. His hair appears to turned out two different colors, so I need to fix that. But it's tricky because he is holding the side of his head, so I need to work carefully around those fingers.

The new Caitiff and the bestial Gangrel:



I am pretty happy with the Caitiff, but I hope that his knife stays a bit shiny after the dullkote. The Gangrel has large gold earrings that I haven't tried to paint yet. Her shirt is supposed to be olive green, but I impulsively painted it with the denim blue that I mixed up because I was loving the color. But now she looks too matchy-matchy with the Caitiff.

Beyond that, I still want to paint the bases, and I am leaning towards trying to mimic either concrete or asphalt. Maybe capture some minor terrain features, like a partial manhole lid or some trash. And then I will stipple some blood red on the ground on each base.
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21 Aug 2023 12:16 #340291 by Gary Sax
those look good, hard to paint minis that small with a whiff of what Barnes would call "bubble gum dispenser" miniatures.
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26 Sep 2023 11:51 #340639 by Shellhead
I did a bit of touchup work on those minis for Vampire: Chapters. Painted the Malkavian's shoes black. Changed the Gangrel's jacket to army green to avoid confusion with the Caitiff and his blue on blue color scheme. I don't think that I am capable of painting eyes, so I will leave them with slightly shadowy eye sockets. I still want to do the black/gray plaid scheme on the Brujah's red jacket. Then life got pretty busy for a while, and I just haven't gotten back to these figures.

Instead, I primed all the NPC figures for Vampire: Chapters, along with the minis for Masters of the Night. Last night, I finally started painting the Masters of the Night. This time I am using conventional Army Painter mini paint, and not the Speedpaint. Most of the game components feature a Sin City-style color scheme, all black and white like old-time television, except with red highlights here and there, like lips and blood. I started with matt white and progressed to darker colors, so I could more easily cover up mistakes made at earlier stages. (But I will probably makes mistakes at later stages, too.) So I have finished the white, light gray, and dark gray parts, leaving these figures looking very drab. Next sitting, I will do the red details and then black, then dip them all in Quickshade Dark Tone. I have never dipped minis before, so I should probably do a test dip with a non-essential figure like one of the hunters. (It doesn't make sense to play with the hunter figures, because you would need to constantly swap out the unrevealed hunters for the revealed hunters. Or you could just play with the two-sided hunter tokens and easily flip them over when revealed.)

Each of the seven vampires in the game has colored ring that clips onto their mini base, and it corresponds to the color scheme of their character card. So I am considering doing one or two details on each figure in their signature color, possible muted by mixing with gray. For example, Ishtvan the demon summoning vampire has a purple base ring and his otherwise black/white character card includes some purple lettering and a purple backdrop to the art, so maybe I will paint his vest a dark plum color. Lazlo's color is dark blue, so maybe I will paint his hat band a midnight blue.

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26 Sep 2023 17:07 #340643 by Shellhead
After working with Speedpaint for a while, I had a bit of a re-learning curve with the regular paint. Forgot that I needed to get the brush wet before dipping into the paint, to avoid applying a thick paint that would obscure details on the sculpt. A little too much water diluted the paint color and made application a little too sloppy. Once I found a happy medium, I found this paint easier to control and apply than the speedpaint, though I really appreciated the way speedpaint allowed for natural shading. Hopefully the quickshade dip will accomplish a comparable result.

My drab Sin City color scheme did not inspire me last night while I was painting. Around lunch time today, I got up and walked outside for a bit in the parking lot at work, and noticed that most of the vehicles were black, white, gray, or silver. And two were red. So, basically the same color scheme that I am aiming for with these Masters of the Night figures. Even my own vehicle is silver.

Speaking of silver, I think that I am going to break slightly from my Sin City pallet and paint a shiny silver on the sword and a couple of pieces of jewelry on these figures.

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04 Oct 2023 10:45 #340683 by Shellhead
Years ago, I remember somebody at this site talking about dipping minis. They said something along the lines of "you will be really nervous just before you dip your painted mini into the dark dip, but afterwards, you will be a man." So with trepidation, I took a painted vampire hunter mini from Masters of the Night and dipped him for a minute into Army Painter Quickshade Dark Tone. And, surprise surprise, he looks about the same except that now he is glossy.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/152016303@N05/53234283219/in/dateposted-public/

This is the before and after picture, taken on consecutive nights on my dining room table. I guess the two pictures are not ideal for comparison, as the auto-focus on my camera phone chose to focus on the base in the before picture and the figure in the after picture. The figure is deliberately dark, as I was going for a Sin City sort of color scheme for all the figures, which is why his exposed hands appear gray. I guess the after picture does look better, but I plan to tone down the glossiness by following up with a matte spray. I wanted the base to look like dirty city street, but maybe it looks to busy and cluttered. I did the same for vampire figures which I haven't dipped yet, only I added some blood spatters to their bases. Does it look okay? Or should I paint some more gray on the base to tone down the busy look?

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04 Oct 2023 11:27 #340684 by Gary Sax
It looks good to me. It captures what you wanted to capture. I think it definitely looks better post dip.
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04 Oct 2023 12:18 #340686 by Mantidman
It looks good. I would tone down the base as I would want the eye drawn to the miniature rather than the base. A base just painted as background or with, maybe, a single, small feature is what I prefer for my painted miniatures.
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04 Oct 2023 12:27 #340688 by Shellhead
I think that you're right about the base distracting from the mini. I will repaint all the bases with dark gray paint and then dribble a bit of simulated blood spatter on the vampire bases. Maybe as an in-between step, I will use a tiny sponge to stipple some black paint onto the bases. The black on dark gray contrast should still look pretty subdued and not distract from the minis, and hopefully the blood spatters will still show up.

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04 Oct 2023 14:26 #340691 by Mantidman
You had mentioned a matte sealer before. If you use it after the blood splatter, then you could go in with a very small brush and some gloss coat acrylic and just dot the drops or just several of the largest. They will catch the light and glisten a small bit.
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04 Oct 2023 22:39 #340694 by Shellhead
I decided to go with a medium gray mix of Speedpaint on those bases, mostly covering the busy spatter but allowing for the darkest black splotches to bleed through a little. Then I lightly stippled some black on the bases, and stippled again with some of the medium gray mix, to approximate the look of slightly grimy pavement. Then I went back one more time and splashed in a bit of red the color of fresh blood. One vampire is drawing or re-sheathing a sword, so I did his blood drops in an arc like maybe he flicked the blood off his blade after use. The little girl vampire got the smallest blood splashes, while the violent vampire with superhuman strength got the most blood on his base. I will take pictures tomorrow after everything has fully dried, just before I dip them all.

Maybe I got some beginners luck with my recent test dip, but I didn't have any excess blobs or even much spare dip to shake off. Maybe I was getting a slightly thin mix because I should have stirred it before using. The other thing I noticed tonight was that I was having no trouble applying the speedpaint with one of my larger miniature brushes, where in the past I would have used a tiny brush for the borders around where the feet connect to the base. I might actually be getting better at this.
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05 Oct 2023 17:31 #340697 by birdman37
Nice one. Brush control is a key skill, glad to hear you're getting the hang of it! :)
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06 Oct 2023 21:54 #340708 by Shellhead
I recently realized that I am starting to enjoy painting minis, partly for the results, but partly because the relaxed concentration is like a form of mindful meditation. However, I learned a couple of hours ago that half the process is coming to the minis in an already calm state of mind.

For many years now, I have held the belief that there is no such thing as beginner's luck, and that beginners can seem lucky when they are approaching a new activity with wide open eyes and also an open mind. My first dipping experience went well because I was probably very vigilent at every step of the process.

This evening, the dipping of the seven vampires was a bit of a disaster. I was ready to do it yesterday, but rain and wind conspired against me. Today was hectic at work, so I arrived home still a bit wound up. I put on some old clothes for the dipping, even though my recent first dip was immaculate. No rain, but there was actual windchill, so I soon realized that I was underdressed for the weather. But I already my disposible gloves on and didn't want to mess with a costume change.

Disaster! I dropped the first mini in the quickshade, and proved completely incapable of finding it with the tongs and pulling it out. Finally, I went back inside to get a Solo cup and slowly poured the wash into it until I could see and retrieve the mini. I got her, but she came looking like she had been completely smothered in a blend of black tar and motor oil. I thought that the excess might slide cleanly off, so I moved onto the next figure, which I also dropped in the quickshade. This rescue went faster, but then I looked at the first figure and saw that not much of the quickshade had dripped off. I got a papertowel and managed to get some of it off, but she is still too dark looking. I think I will do some touchup work with acrylics and just resign myself to the fact that she is overinked.

I dropped one more figure in the quickshade, but the rest went well. I will post pics sometime tomorrow and let you try to guess which ones got dropped in the quickshade. I am open to advice about cleaning up the first one, but realize that it is possible too late for any simple measures.

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07 Oct 2023 06:44 #340709 by Mantidman
Painting as a meditative experience is something I experience as well. If my "muse" is with me, then we accomplish a lot. If she isn't, then I don't pick up a brush.
I have not used the dipping method that you describe, but if the shade is water-based, perhaps a rinse bowl/bucket could be used to quickly remove the freshly applied shade.
If the shade is not water-based, a rinse bowl with paint thinner or acetone could be used to de-shade the mini. A quick rinse in water afterwards might preserve your painted details. Best of luck.

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07 Oct 2023 14:08 #340710 by charlest
You can also just paint the quick shade on. I would use an old brush though.
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