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"Painting Reaper Bones Miniatures" Topic

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AzSteven24 Aug 2012 8:33 a.m. PST

Since I am taking advantage of the Reaper Bones Kickstarter and apparently getting a PILE of figures in March, I thought I should buy some and experiment.

Reaper claims the figures are ready to paint as-is, without any preparation or base-coating. I have found this is true, with Reaper paints. Vallejo paints won't stick to the plastic unless they are base-coated first. I dont have any of the other paints to test, so I dont know if the behavior is true of all non-Reaper paints, or only Vallejo.

I have also noticed that I cannot thin down a Reaper paint with water and then use it on a Bones figure (again, unless the figure is first basecoated).

Lastly, I found that the figures take spray-on primer very well indeed, and once they have that basecoat, they seem to behave like any other miniature on my painting desk. Which is to say, they refuse to magically transform themselves into expertly-painted figures after I have my fumbling way with them!

Anyone else have any observations? Is that Vallejo problem true for other paint lines?

religon24 Aug 2012 8:38 a.m. PST

I tried a similar test with craft paint (Apple Barrel) a couple of days ago. A runny black wash adhered fairly well as a base coat. I could easily paint after two washes, a few spots were still white. I may try spray primer in the Spring.

Rick181324 Aug 2012 9:56 a.m. PST

Vallejo definitley doesn't do well with Bones without prep.

My first step with bones is to take a wash made up of a mixture of 50-50 water and matte or glazing medium and some ink and apply it to the whole miniature. I use a large brush and really move it around on the miniature to keep it from pooling. It brings out the detail and paint goes on perfectly afterwards.

I'd also recommend brush priming with acrylic gesso. That'd be perfect for this material.

I'm just finishing up my Bugbear and Minotaur and I'll have painted all the currently available Bones miniatures, all using the black wash technique as a starting point.

evilcartoonist24 Aug 2012 10:12 a.m. PST

I've used a spray primer, but it left the figures tacky; What brand do you use?

For now, I just brush on black craft paint to base coat them- takes a little longer but works-a-dandy.

paulgalenpotter24 Aug 2012 10:17 a.m. PST

I had recenlty painted up 4 of the bones figs, I had to put on 3 coats of black acrylic as an undercoat befor it stuck. in the future I'll be using a plastic primer.
after coating the finished paint job with minwax I have bent the arms and weapons and the paint has stayed intact.


PJ Parent24 Aug 2012 11:22 a.m. PST

Has anyone tried gesso?

The Gonk24 Aug 2012 12:04 p.m. PST

Also interested in gesso, which has become my go-to primer anymore.

PatrickWR24 Aug 2012 12:11 p.m. PST

Huh. Interesting perspectives here. I watched over a buddy's shoulder as he painted up a Reaper Bone. He used regular ol' craft paints and everything seemed to go on smoothly.

AzSteven24 Aug 2012 2:12 p.m. PST

@Nathaniel "My first step with bones is to take a wash made up of a mixture of 50-50 water and matte or glazing medium and some ink"

Was that referring to the Reaper Paints Matte Medium, or some other product? Thanks!

CraigH24 Aug 2012 4:18 p.m. PST

Thanks for the tip / warning.

Anyone have experience with Testors grey enamel primer ? That's normally my weapon of choice for priming figures.

I may do the same as you though, pick up one package early to experiment with.

Rick181324 Aug 2012 5:12 p.m. PST

AzSteven: Was that referring to the Reaper Paints Matte Medium, or some other product? Thanks!

Many paint lines have a matte or mixing medium. Vallejo, P3, apparently Reaper as well.

I use a lot of matte medium in my miniature painting, so I ended up buying a 8 ounce (273 ml) bottle for acrylic artist paints. This one:



The 8 oz matte medium is three times the price of a hobby paint matte medium bottle, but you get 16 times the amount. Enough to last for a long, long time when it comes to washes and using it for thinning paints for highlighting (to make them semi-transparent so the base colour is still used in the process). I also use it for gluing flock to bases as it seems to do a way, way better job than white glue (though it is way more expensive).

The Reaper stuff will work fine. As will the Vallejo and P3.

50/50 water and matte medium and then a bit of black ink or paint. I use about 10 drops of ink per ounce of water/medium mix when I make a bottle of wash.

Rick181324 Aug 2012 5:13 p.m. PST

I will gesso prime my next bones miniature and report back. I expect it to work flawlessly as acrylic gesso has great tooth and remains flexible.

ordinarybass24 Aug 2012 7:30 p.m. PST

I used Craft paints (Folk Art, and another brand, IIRC) on my recently purchased Bones fig. They adhered just fine though the metalics took a couple of coats to cover right. I'm sure Gesso will stick great but I don't see the point.

I usually white gesso everything, but I'll be painting my Bones figures right on the figure from now on.

Reaper themselves have said that a watery wash will not stick well, but I did get a slightly watered down brown to work just fine, which is good for me as I use watery paints over brown alot to get a fake highlight effect.

Rick181324 Aug 2012 10:20 p.m. PST

The key to the wash is the matte medium. It's basically paint binder with no pigment. And high quality binder at that. But just watered down paint? Probably not a good way to go.

My gesso primed one is drying. As acrylic gesso shrinks so much as it dries, I'm probably going to wait until morning before painting it.

ordinarybass25 Aug 2012 4:04 a.m. PST

That is good to hear. A couple weeks ago bought some of the exact product pictured above to smooth out some of my thicker craft paints. I've used wet water before for washes (water with a bit of soap in it) but I'll probably use matte medium from now on, especially with the bones figs.

I hear Matte medium is also a good adhesive for flock and such, yes?

Greenfield Games25 Aug 2012 4:39 a.m. PST

Matte Medium is essentially paint with no pigment. So when wondering if it will work for something in particular just ask yourself if paint would work for that.

The Auld Grump25 Aug 2012 10:10 a.m. PST

Hmm, I have painted one with Vallejo and no base coat with no problems.

I have painted with Reaper paints and no base coat again no problem.

I have painted with cheap craft paints over a black spray primer with no problem. (I added metal tentacles to a purple worm, blended them in with green stuff, then primed with sandable automotive primer.)

I have used Army Painter coloured primers and paints again no difficulties. Painting to match a KoW army.

I always wash plastic minis before priming/painting, which might have something to do with it, or might not I have not tried it without washing the mini first.

The Auld Grump

Rick181326 Aug 2012 5:47 a.m. PST

The gesso primed one worked out fine. I did one of the kobolds and now can't tell which was gesso primed and which was not.

I think the reason matte medium watered down seems to be working well when paint wattered down doesn't work as well is that the matte medium is often a very high quality product while the paint might have other stuff in it already to reduce viscosity,, etc.,.

And it is great for sticking down flock and stuff.

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