Help support TMP

"Painting Miniatures Psychology" Topic

11 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Wargaming in the United Kingdom Message Board

Back to the Painting Message Board

Back to the Blogs of War Message Board

Areas of Interest


1,162 hits since 20 Jul 2016
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

vexillia20 Jul 2016 9:11 a.m. PST

New blog post:

Just lately I've been working on my mountain (well hillock really) of unpainted lead. I have a habit of buying extra units, or figures, to bulk out a finished army and putting them away for an unspecified time in the future. You know the sort of thing: two more bases will make a unit more flexible etc.

Strange as this may seem this has recently brought about much heartache and mental torment. What follows is a short essay on the psychology of painting and how ones technique develops over time. There're no pretty pictures and, I have to admit, it's a weird subject. Read on at your own risk.

Read on …

Martin Stephenson
The Waving Flag | Twitter | eBay

Oberlindes Sol LIC20 Jul 2016 11:56 a.m. PST

Thanks for sharing those thoughts. I myself have miniatures that I painted a few years ago (like between 1976 and 2015), and in general I don't repaint them, because I want to be able to see the development in my own style. Yes, like Kurosawa or Picasso, I should have a retrospective.

I did say "in general", and there is at least one exception: I will strip and repaint for specific purposes. For example, I have a platoon of men in the same armor that I painted in the early 2000s as Traveller Sword World troops, and one man in the same armor that I painted in the mid-1980s as a Traveller player character. I just stripped the latter's paint, and will repaint him to join the Sword Worlds platoon.

boy wundyr x20 Jul 2016 1:39 p.m. PST

Interesting post, I don't really run into that problem, mine is getting things painted the first time and having the same paints available when there's a long gap in between starting and finishing a project!

@Glenn – what colour scheme did you use for Sword World troops? I have 6 and 15mm Traveller projects on the go, other than stealing a bit from Space Viking I don't have a scheme planned for them yet, so curious to hear what others did.


Oh Bugger20 Jul 2016 2:46 p.m. PST

That all resonates with me. The thing is while our eyes weaken our skill constantly improves for regular painters anyhow. Craft paints can be great.

vexillia21 Jul 2016 3:37 a.m. PST

Thanks for the comments guys.

It's probably worth noting two or three things:

[1] The technique I mentioned is that of flattening (and sealing) acrylic paint and how that affects the final finish. It's more about understanding the medium than controlling the brush.

[2] The amount of re-painting involved was not that great. I'd say less than 10%. Once I'd sorted the technique it was done in minutes.

[3] The reason craft paints dry flat is because they contain more filler and less pigment than artists' and modellers' paint. For dark colours this isn't really an issue. My guess is that the filler is most likely talc.

Martin Stephenson
The Waving Flag | Twitter | eBay

jwebster22 Jul 2016 2:59 p.m. PST


Very interesting. Thanks for writing.

I find that my painting style is evolving continously (having restarted about 3 years ago). I have made a "vow" that I won't go back and re-paint, repair is probably another thing. Given that my "vow" to not increase the lead mountain and plastic hillock hasn't worked …….

I really like to varnish figures. I started wargaming when I was 11 or so, and figures took a beating. So I wouldn't even consider not varnishing. I airbrush on Vallejo RC varnish – perfectly flat, so I have no real concerns about paint performance with respect to gloss/matt. I honestly think this is important because it simplifies the whole process


Timmo uk23 Jul 2016 11:18 p.m. PST

An interesting read and one that resonates with me having rebased and tweaked an ECW collection over several decades. I decided a slightly different route. All chipped paintwork and damage was repainted, sealed and varnished. All figures were rebased to a consistent style and standard and this did much to mitigate for the improvement in painting style over many years. I made an effort to create terrain I liked to purposefully shift the focus away from the figures. This works and the variety of painting styles really doesn't matter once the figures are seen en masse on the table top.

I was interested to read that you use cheap craft paints to get a more matt finish but since I you are varnishing why does it matter how matt the underlying paint is? I use Vallejo as I feel it's the best paint to mix and since I mix all my colours that quality is vital. I seal the paint with VJ gloss and matt with doctored Daler Rowney. Any variety in the matt qualities of the underlying paint are resolved at the varnishing stage.

vexillia24 Jul 2016 5:08 a.m. PST

Hi Tim.

I was interested to read that you use cheap craft paints to get a more matt finish but since you are varnishing why does it matter how matt the underlying paint is?

As I only use one coat of varnish, I need the paint to be sealed. For bright blues, greens, reds and red browns I find drying flat is a reliable indicator of whether the layer is sealed or not. For other colours it doesn't matter quite so much.

As I said earlier craft paints contain more filler, which I suspect is talc anyway, and this certainly seals the resulting paint layer.

I use Vallejo as I feel it's the best paint to mix and since I mix all my colours that quality is vital.

Me too but the craft paints I use are black, burnt umber, cream & taupe and these are all stock colours and are all used as base coats. As such they are also much cheaper.

Martin Stephenson
The Waving Flag | Twitter | eBay

Oberlindes Sol LIC24 Jul 2016 9:04 p.m. PST

@Chris / boy wundyr x

I painted the Sword Worlds Confederation troops Dark Angels Green, with a very dark green wash and yellow-green drybrush.

Web gear is black and brown, as I recall (I'm away from home at the moment), and I painted the weapons to make them readily identifiable, e.g., gray for gauss weapons, blue for lasers, etc. (tip of the hat to Kris Miller for the idea).

Some of them have a round patch on one or both shoulders, and I painted that white with overlapping red and blue Nordic crosses.

There are actually some pictures on the Tactics-0 webpage:

In the picture captions, they are called Gram forces (the Sword Worlds being a confederation of Gram, Sacnoth, Joyeuse, and other star systems).

Ottoathome25 Jul 2016 4:48 a.m. PST

Nice article.

However I can't relate. I use Grumbacher oils and the paint jobs I put on the figures 30 years ago are as bright and lustrous today as the day they went on. They also are as durable and pretty as back then. I wouldn't have an acrllic touch my figures any more. I had some and those were the ones I repainted-- in oils.

The thing I have had to do is repair physical damage, broken spears, dropped muskets, plumes etc. This of course necessitates repainting or at least touch up. Now I spend a lot of time in pre-painting prep. Cavalry figures all get a supporting strut of hard piano wire drilled into the body of the horse, lances and weapons are soldered on, or for sables I use plastic swords which will never break. I also do a lot of converstions.

Mac163826 Jul 2016 3:17 a.m. PST

Hi Martin,

As you know I paint most week day nights for ad lest a couple of hours I find it a good way to relax.

I find getting the figures on their bases as soon as possible (before undercoating) greatly reduces the amount of handling.

Overhauling old armies I have been doing this for years as my painting and basing skills have improved I find the results very satisfying, I have recently enjoyed painting and rebasing my old 25mm/28mm ECW armies some of the figures are over 40 years old (Minifige,Hincliff and Greenwood and Ball), I have been surprised how well modern painting and basing technique have worked out on old figures.

The flat mat black on armour, it would not be mat black the medium would have been linseed oil and this will never drys mat.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.