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"Thinning Paint for 15mm Miniatures?" Topic

13 Posts

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17 Nov 2016 9:27 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board
  • Crossposted to Scale board

806 hits since 1 Jun 2016
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Mako11 Inactive Member01 Jun 2016 8:25 a.m. PST

So, was thinking about this, and wondered, after applying your primer to your figures, do you thin your paint for the base coats/colors, or do you just apply it as is?

I suspect there are a number of variables that might affect this, e.g.:

1. acrylic vs. enamel paints;
2. manufacturer of the paints and thickness or thinness of them;
3. base colors vs. other colors added over the base color;
4. if you are adding multiple layers of different colors over the same area, e.g. starting off with a darker shade, then medium shade, and finally a lighter one on top;
5. whether you'll be using a dark wash, or have primed the figures black;
6. painting figures vs. vehicles;
7. and, other variables as well, e.g. doing a bit of drybrushing, etc..

Might as well make it a poll suggestion, I guess.

Do you thin your paints when painting 15mm figures?

1. Yes, always
2. Sometimes
3. Never


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jun 2016 8:51 a.m. PST

It depends on the paint, not the figure/scale/primer/technique.

Vallejo Model Color – absolutely.
Vallejo Game Color – nope.
Derivan Minis – nope.
Coat d'Arms – nope.
Asdrea – usually.

Garand01 Jun 2016 9:15 a.m. PST

Almost always. And it does not matter what scale I paint in either. I thin and do multiple coats as well, with an eye towards opacity in 3 coats. May take longer, but it ensures details are preserved.


Yesthatphil Inactive Member01 Jun 2016 9:16 a.m. PST

Figure scale makes no difference ..

Enamels – always (unless dry brushing); watercolours – obviously; oils – generally (unless rubbing down); Vallejo acrylic – frequently but it depends; Coat d'Arms – not so far …

Other than glazes and washes I generally like a nice opaque solid colour so only thin to keep the flow and application smooth.


Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2016 9:36 a.m. PST

As noted, the degree of thinning required is dependent on the type of paint; manufacturer; variance within manufacturer's line; and intended application (basic coverage; glaze, layering). The figure itself is irrelevant, except to the extent that certain applications may or may not be practical due to size.

James Wright Inactive Member01 Jun 2016 10:42 a.m. PST

Also, for me, thinness depends on the boldness of the miniature's details. Really simple figures with bold detail will get less effort at thinning paint, subtle details get progressively thinner paint as a result. It really just depends on what I am painting.

Mako11 Inactive Member01 Jun 2016 11:57 a.m. PST

I think the figure scale could make some difference, for very fine sculpts with intricate, but not overly deep detailing, and/or crease lines. Don't want to cover those up.

That's probably less of a concern with much larger figures, which have deeper engraving, and/or larger surface details.

I do get your points though, and appreciate the info, and replies/opinions.

Timmo uk01 Jun 2016 12:39 p.m. PST

I thin my paint whatever scale I'm painting. Depending on what I'm doing will effect how much I thin it. I can't imagine trying to paint without doing so.

I use Vallejo, Derivan (now OOP) and Humbrol acrylics and Humbrol enamel.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jun 2016 1:14 p.m. PST


But for terrain pieces, I often thicken paint with wood glue and ballast/fuzz/etc.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2016 1:19 p.m. PST

I find myself thinning Vallejo acrylics because I have to keep the pool of paint in the pallette from drying out.

I only thin most other acrylics when I'm trying make a wash, tint, or improve flow over tiny details.

- Ix

Anthropicus01 Jun 2016 1:44 p.m. PST

Vallejo model color. I rarely dilute less than 2:1 thinner:paint even when base coating and if I'm shading it's more likely going to be 3:1 or 5:1. I also keep a mix of thinner and distilled water handy in a dropper bottle to thin with, works better than straight tap water or (ugh) water from the wash cup.

The trick is to wipe your brush a lot before applying it to the miniature, so that it goes on evenly.

But it also depends on the opacity of the paint. Yellow is always a troubling colour and sometimes I've given in and done it straight from the pot.

abelp0101 Jun 2016 1:47 p.m. PST

I'm with Extra Crispy on this.

Mute Bystander Inactive Member02 Jun 2016 4:46 a.m. PST

Hell, no.

I want a decent one coat coverage for gaming figures. I am not painting museum pieces!

Henry Martini02 Jun 2016 9:36 p.m. PST

With my 15mm technique (two stage undercoat: white damp brushed over a black undercoat) the best effect with dark/drab colours can often be achieved by thinning the paint a little; instant shading and highlighting. With bright or light colours full strength is generally better, and reds and yellows might require two coats.

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