Sunday, March 13, 2016

Interregnum: Stain Painting a Squad on the Double

Not all minis need to be painted to a high detail, especially when you have a squad or two of troops and the game is the next day. Not every paint job needs to take a long time, nor be a masterpiece.

No one wants to field a unit of figures that are wearing bare metal of plastic. As everyone knows, painted minis fight better than unpainted ones, so any paint is better than none. A fast, simple paint job like this stain painting technique will allow you to quickly field a force, yet leave the possibility of further detail later.

These 28mm Ar-Men from Black Hat Miniatures (used as Vargr in my Traveller games) needed a quick painting, and they were done in just six steps.

Vargr pirate crew, ready to plunder!
1. Cleaned the miniature. They were washed in mild soap and water to remove any mold release, then checked for flash and mold lines. Quick work with an x-acto knife took care of that.

2. Primed the minis. I used a white primer and then let them dry for about an hour.

3. Stained the fur.  I used a mixture of 1 part Future Wash, 1 part brown ink, and 2 parts brown paint and just slopped it on the mini's fur with a large brush. I didn't need to be neat at all, I just wanted to cover the primer. This stain coat is like a heavy wash. It will slide off the raised areas of the fur and gather in the recessed folds and cracks giving some basic shading and highlighting. Any that got on the non-fur areas was covered over in the next step. Yeah, it's not as good as a proper job, but it's good in a pinch or if you have a dozen minis to paint. This stain coat was allowed to dry for about an hour.

4. Painted equipment flat black. I then went over each of the figures and painted anything that was not fur with flat black. Guns, belts, armor, helmets. straps, and collars all got a simple, quick coat. I did take a moment to pick out some details on the leader. I quickly painted the collar and belt decoration of the leader in red so I can easily identify him on the tabletop. I didn't take much particular care doing this, just made sure the paint didn't stray. I let them all dry for another hour.

6. Drybrushed with light grey. I grabbed and old, worn out brush and used it to drybrush all over the figures. Fur and equipment got the drybrushing, although I did try to go lightly on the fur and more heavily on the equipment, but it doesn't really matter. This highlighted details as well as gave more definition to the minis overall. You can see details on the guns and equipment as well as the multi-hued fur.

And that's it. Total time, about 6 hours. For most of that time, the minis were merely sitting and drying. Actual painting time was probably 10 minutes per mini. I could use these things on the tabletop and not feel too bad about them at all. From arms length, they look quite acceptable.Yet, if I get the urge, I can return to them and use what I did as a good starting point and give them even more detail.

It's easy to be intimidated when you have a dozen (much less even more) minis to paint before you play a game, but this quick stain painting technique can get you up and fighting in very little time.

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