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"What is your preference when painting?" Topic

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3,281 hits since 12 Aug 2015
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79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2015 7:03 a.m. PST

I do simple block painting. A blue shirt is painted blue. I get the "flesh" paint for skin, a rifle is brown, etc. Sometimes I will use a wash, but most of the time I do not. I produce the gaming pieces that my skill level allows. I don't have the time or inclination to paint to a higher standard and, if I could or did, the visual difference between them would be minimal as soon as they troops went on the table.

Pattus Magnus13 Aug 2015 7:11 a.m. PST

Lately I've been happiest painting my figs to a fairly good/fairly quick standard by using block-and-wash followed by some strategic highlighting (mainly on faces). And also using decals where practical.

For me that's a bit of a return to what I was doing 10 years ago when I got back into painting – and in the meantime I've tried the black undercoat with layers method and a few other techniques. Typical of me that I had it right (for me) the first time and then wandered around…

I'd say my technique puts my armies in the better looking 50% of the hobby, but they'll never win awards and I'm fine with that.

Codsticker13 Aug 2015 7:24 a.m. PST

If you are looking for good contrast (striking, really), clean technique and (relative) ease I qould go for Olicana's method:


Similar to the renegades but better.

Sgt Slag13 Aug 2015 7:24 a.m. PST

I block paint, then apply The Dip. All of my painting is done with this approach. It allows me to get them on the table sooner. I only have to satisfy myself, at arm's length. YMMV. Cheers!


A good looking base adds a great deal of visual appeal, quickly, and easily. I mix together tan and green sand, then add in some light brown RR ballast to the mix, to create a rough, grassy look. Works really well to jazz up the whole appearance of each miniature. I paint on some PVA, then dunk the based mini in, let dry, then apply Scenic Cement (watered down PVA) to secure it in place.

Pedrobear13 Aug 2015 7:38 a.m. PST

My tactics these days when trying to get figures to table:

1. Block-and-wash. Good return of value for time spent.





2. Palette selection. A limited palette ties a force together and provides a "cheerleader effect".


3. Use decals and printed flags where applicable. There are many good shield decals and banners these days that can really elevate the look of a unit.


4. Tufts. They scream 'class' to me. They just do. :)
I also use different coloured tufts to indicate different units.


5. Unit fillers or dioramic bases. I know you are not going for multi-basing, but they do add context to a unit and (although they can make a single figure look silly too…)



6. Catch light. Where appropriate, a dot of white on an animal's eye adds a lot. See the skavens above for illustration.

wrgmr113 Aug 2015 7:39 a.m. PST

This is my usual painting two or three color highlight depending on what part of the figure needs it.





Spending more time on the detail work for a command stand





Three color highlights.





Single color with a dry brush



Block paint with a single color highlight



I started a number of years ago doing the dry brush, then graduated to two then three color highlights.

Sgt Slag13 Aug 2015 8:05 a.m. PST


Colored sand can be found at hobby/craft stores, usually in the floral section, near vases. I also found it, for much less money, in the local dollar stores. There are a few shades of green sand available, as well as other colors (black, tan, brown, and less useful colors such as red, pink and blue). When the PVA-painted bases are swirled in the sand/ballast mixtures, it gives a random coating, similar to what you see in the Nappy photo's, above. Easy, fast, and inexpensive.

Here is an image of the mixture in a pan:


And here are some examples:



Garand13 Aug 2015 8:21 a.m. PST

I also do the block-and-wash technique, with certain sections or colors drybrushed to bring out a highlight (usually on flesh or metallics). The only time I go all out are on figures for small skirmish games (like Infinity).


rmaker13 Aug 2015 8:27 a.m. PST

I'm with 79thPA.

Lion in the Stars13 Aug 2015 9:00 a.m. PST

My 15mm troops are all block-and-wash. It's quick and gives a good result en masse. Even looks OK from up close, so win-win-win.

Any 28mm troops are painted to a much higher standard, because I'm usually painting less than a dozen of any one unit, and often a max of 3. Prime white, wash with black, base color, wash for shadows, re-apply base color as first highlight, series of mixes of base color and highlight color, then highlight color alone. Possibly topped off with ivory paint as the final highlight.

jambo1 Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2015 9:07 a.m. PST

79thPA gets my vote too!! And Sgt Slag that green sand looks great.

idontbelieveit13 Aug 2015 11:02 a.m. PST

Oh! You're going to paint your stuff the way we tell you to? I'll play! :-) :-)

I think it depends on the period you're playing. For WW2 stuff, other than camo uniforms, I'd suggest blocking and washing. I layer paint myself, but a couple of friends have done the block and wash for figures for me and I like their results very much.

For something like SAGA, I'd definitely put the effort in to layer painting as those figures deserve the extra care in my opinion. I do three layers but two often get very good results.

Chinggis13 Aug 2015 11:08 a.m. PST

Over the years I have realised that there are any number of different styles of painting from plain block right up to five or more colour highlights on every part of the figure. My advice would be to try some and see what you think. Are you happy with a black, white or brown undercoat and just block and wash or whatever. As you say they are your chaps so paint them how you want and adopt the two foot rule. If they look good enough at two feet away then that's the style to go with.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2015 11:09 a.m. PST

I do block and wash now, no highlights. I like how it looks and that's all that really matters. I am too slow to highlight so that's out.

Essexkiwi13 Aug 2015 3:27 p.m. PST

Add another vote for block colours and a painted-on wash.

Easy, simple and effective. And if you want to you can add further detail later i.e. highlighting, drybrushing, further washes or glazes. Perhaps do this for characters or key models?

Make sure you use a white or grey undercoat. If you use black undercoat and do a single block colour and a wash, the colours will be dark and dulled. Go a shade brighter than you want the final result to look, and let the wash do it's job.

Great War Ace13 Aug 2015 4:33 p.m. PST

"Sand People" method. I repeat myself. Too lazy to go for the highlights and shading torture, except for individual "character" figures. Units, never….

leidang Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2015 5:46 p.m. PST

1. Block Paint (Clean, in the lines so to speak)
2. Ink Wash whole figure (Windsor Newton Nut Brown Ink), Don't dilute. Have a second brush to pull off unwanted ink so it just flows into all the small recesses.
3. Let dry thoroughly, then do a very, very, very light dry brush (No visible paint when you wipe the brush on a flat surface) with a very light tan (Almost white) over the whole figure.
4. Spray with testor's dullcote sealer (Don't judge this process until the dullcote is done… it pulls everything together).

Big Tip: No matter your method don't overpaint detail. By this I mean don't paint stuff that you wouldn't notice on someone seeing them passing on the street. You would notice their shirt, pants, shoes, maybe their belt or backpack. You wouldn't notice their sunglass rim color, the trim on the backpack, the color of the pen they were holding, etc.

Now the exception to this is uniform accuracy for Napoleonic, SYW, etc which you will get called on, but for mass painting a lot of troops with plain uniforms don't sweat the details. It just slows you down and nobody will notice anyway. Spend your time on making everything clean and doing your washes right.

SouthernPhantom13 Aug 2015 8:54 p.m. PST

Block-and-wash, with drybrushing and highlighting where appropriate. If I'm painting 20mm figures for Vietnam, for example, they'll wind up drybrushed to show faded uniform colors and perhaps some of that I-can't-believe-it's-not-Georgia red dirt.

Dexter Ward14 Aug 2015 1:11 a.m. PST

Block and wash for me (and a sandy brown undercoat).
Brown wash for 'warm' colours, grey/blue wash for 'cool colours'.
It's very quick, looks fine even close up, and looks great when viewed from a few feet away on table.

Henry Martini14 Aug 2015 3:13 a.m. PST

My 15mm technique hasn't changed for many years and won't: white damp-brush over black undercoat, then slightly thinned enamel paints for dark/drab colours, and full strength enamel for bright colours.

For 28mm these days, except for skirmish only figures, which still get the layer treatment, it's AP Quickshade over block colours using acrylics.

Andy ONeill14 Aug 2015 3:35 a.m. PST

I use several different techniques. Mostly I start off pre shaded and work up from there.
The foundry style gets quicker once you practice it a bit:


A "loose" style works pretty well on some subjects. Overbrushing a few layers loose then a more precise finish on details and highlights to bring it together.

And some modern 1/72


Ottoathome14 Aug 2015 4:00 a.m. PST

I do primarily Imagi-Nations from the Renaissance to the 18th century.

I paint as I have painted from the 1960's. Spray flat white undercoat, or RUSTOLEUM primer, and I use Grumbacher Oil colors. No wash, no drybrushing, no fine shading, no lining everything in black.

I want them to look like toy soldiers. They ARE toy soldiers. None of this grass or rubble on the base that makes them look like they're walking on cat-litter.

The Grumbacher oils last forever, I'm still using tubes I bought twenty years ago. Unlike acryllics which will dull and wear the Grumbacher on the figure doesn't. The colors are as vivid and fresh as they were 50 years ago. They wear like iron and protect the figure.

With the tube oils you can vary the intensity and depth of the color, use opaque, translucent and shimmering colors, and do all sorts of complex color mixing. Also if you hunt around flea-markets you can usually find sets that granny gave lil' Alphonse to try and awaken the artistic sensibilities of the little fiend,( and move his interest away from torturing small animals) and whose parents after a few years try and sell the set for a dollar. That'll give you more than enough color for a generation.

They look great.

Everyone has his own style.

Don't like muddy figures.

Ottoathome14 Aug 2015 4:01 a.m. PST

Oh yeah, I don't pay for a photo server. If you want pictures send me you snail mail at and i'll send you some back as an attachment.

Gozzaoz14 Aug 2015 4:38 a.m. PST


No need to pay for a photo server. Photobucket is free. Google drive, Microsoft Onedrive or Mediafire and others will host link-able photo files also for free.


Better than emailing photos.

Hobhood414 Aug 2015 9:11 a.m. PST

If you want a simple, quick but pretty effective method, try Simon Macdowell's method here:

Not all the examples work but check out the gallery. There are some good results on 28mm.

Hobhood414 Aug 2015 9:15 a.m. PST

There are some good examples from Macdowell here:


I often use a similar method.

John Treadaway14 Aug 2015 10:59 a.m. PST

In 15mm I block (including a spray colour primer for most of the heavy lifting), dry brush a little and then and Army Painter dip (followed by Dullcote)


I now haven't painted a 28mm in a decade but I used to black undercoat and do three colours up from that.

John T

freecloud16 Aug 2015 12:16 p.m. PST

Block, wash, drybrush, usually on a sprayed undercoat that is the colour of a major part of the uniform.

For modern infantry I often base & flock first and then spray the whole thing with a brown undercoat

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