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"Do you paint eyes?" Topic

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Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 2:10 p.m. PST

I do not as I primarily collect 15/18 figures, however even in my 25/28 mm armies I have had through the years I did not paint the eyes.
In fact, I hate the "painted eyes" look.
I view a wargame army -- not as individual figures -- but instead as units in mass.
I do not really see individuals, but entire units and armies.
What is your preference?

Russ Dunaway

Mister Tibbles31 Mar 2022 2:15 p.m. PST

No. Take an image of a typical person. Shrink it down to the size of a 28mm or 18mm figure. See what the eyes look like. You'll be hard pressed to see eyes, unless the person is bug-eyed.

I hate when sculptors actually sculpt the iris and other parts of the eye, only because their figures' heads are pumpkin heads.

Oooo, I am a bit opinionated on this, aren't I? 8-)

DrSkull31 Mar 2022 2:20 p.m. PST

I refuse to believe that painting eyes is even possible. Pure myth.

advocate31 Mar 2022 2:21 p.m. PST

I've tried and failed.

14Bore31 Mar 2022 2:29 p.m. PST

15/18mm and no

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 2:37 p.m. PST

I also think they usually look like fish eyes.

Russ Dunaway

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 2:45 p.m. PST

Very rarely.

Wolverine31 Mar 2022 2:48 p.m. PST

I usually do unless partially concealed by the visor or brim of the headgear. 25-28mm btw.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 2:54 p.m. PST

Not with anything smaller than 25mm. With 25's they sometimes look good and sometimes not. But it was a pain.

Gear Pilot31 Mar 2022 2:55 p.m. PST

+1 DrSkull

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 3:25 p.m. PST

Nope. Dark wash in the recess is fine.

Of course, monsters have eyes, but they're probably a red, orange, yellow, amber, green, blue or even black, with no pupils, irises or whites.

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 3:34 p.m. PST

Not often. Usually the figure has some sort of headgear that prevents one seeing the eyes anyway. I think I can paint eyes that don't look big-eyed, but it's a pain and usually reserved for personality figures like general officers.

But usually eyes on figures tends to give them the look of startled Pug dogs.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 3:40 p.m. PST

On the rare occasion they are particularly pronounced on a 28mm + figure. Otherwise no.

HMS Exeter31 Mar 2022 3:41 p.m. PST


Ages ago I played a game involving a whole slate of noobs, me included. The guy across from me had a 15mm ACW Union force on which he had painted eyes.

The whole army looked like they'd just had the biggest surprise of their lives.

55th Division31 Mar 2022 3:45 p.m. PST

i play in 2mm scale and always paint the eyes lol

cavcrazy31 Mar 2022 3:48 p.m. PST

Sometimes I paint the eyes, sometimes I don't.
I'm actually inclined to stop trying to paint eyes.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 4:01 p.m. PST

Rarely on anything smaller than 54mm.

Bandolier31 Mar 2022 4:04 p.m. PST

In 28mm I use a .05 pen for eyes.
Not technically painting.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 4:07 p.m. PST

Nope, not in any scale. Almost no one can do it properly.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 4:07 p.m. PST

If they are sculpted, I paint them.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 4:51 p.m. PST

Never – all scales!

JMcCarroll31 Mar 2022 5:05 p.m. PST

No. But my eyes do hurt when I paint.

Totenkopf Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 5:22 p.m. PST

Nope. No eye painting on anything that goes on the wargame table.

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 5:34 p.m. PST

Nope. A darker wash is enough for my taste.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 5:34 p.m. PST

Eyes painted all too often look like the guy is stoned, so I rarely do! I tend to use a fine art pen and do a line instead.

Personal logo gamertom Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 6:25 p.m. PST

The only time I attempt (note attempt) this is for individual figures for D&D or similar RPG. For mass units, no.

Borderguy19031 Mar 2022 6:26 p.m. PST

Only on skirmish figs. I did on my Saga and DMH figs. I really dislike the bug-eyed, surprised eyes. They need to be subtle and barely there.

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 7:09 p.m. PST

Cool! I thought I was the only one that did not paint eyes. I feel much better now.

Korvessa31 Mar 2022 7:50 p.m. PST

I think it makes them look like this:


Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 7:57 p.m. PST

I like just leaving a deep wash in the figurines eye sockets-- as mentioned by others here,

Russ Dunaway

Rich Bliss31 Mar 2022 8:09 p.m. PST


Titchmonster31 Mar 2022 8:33 p.m. PST

Hells to the No'

Zephyr131 Mar 2022 8:52 p.m. PST

For 28mm & 1/35, I make my own eye decals. The trick is to cut them to a thin sliver so as to avoid the deer-in-headlights look… ;-)

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2022 9:55 p.m. PST

Most of my armies 25mm and larger have eyes. I think the exception are any 25mm Minifigs because the sculpts are a little too primitive for such things. Anything less than 25mm gets the brown wash for eyes.

I've found painting eyes to be reasonably easy after all these years. The key is a good brush. Using Micron pens can make it even easier, although it is not really painting as previously mentioned.

It is not for everyone, or apparently most people who have posted. You can see some odd looking results as others have mentioned.

Grelber31 Mar 2022 10:11 p.m. PST

Eyes are usually sculpted on for 28 mm figures, so they get painted. Basically, head painted skin color, then a slash of white for each eye, then touch up with skin color. Shade around the white with a brown or black 005 Micron pen, and then appropriate colored dot with a Micron pen for the iris/pupil. Smaller scales: just make a dot with the Micron pen.

Yes, over the years, there have been some "unusual" looking eyes, but most look fairly good.


Striker31 Mar 2022 10:13 p.m. PST


Martin Rapier01 Apr 2022 12:00 a.m. PST

Only 54mm and up humans and 20mm and up horses.

Irl you can't see people's eyes from any sort of distance, just deep shadow in the eye sockets. So slap on some dark brown wash and don't worry about it.

UshCha01 Apr 2022 1:23 a.m. PST

To me figures are Just 3D playing pieces and my 1/44 figures are almost always prone. I have realiesed that on 1/144 figures a simple splash of colour is all that is needed. So painting eyes, no not even on 1/72, the guys have helmets shading their eyes, so you neve see them on the battlefield from above.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2022 2:18 a.m. PST

Very rarely & generally on larger animals not people.

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2022 2:24 a.m. PST

Rarely, I've used the Micron pen for a dot some times and my LotR Goblins have a red slash in the eye socket. 90% have just a wash.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Apr 2022 4:26 a.m. PST

Always on 15mm+. Sometimes its frustrating, mostly not. Nothing like painting equipage. Ugh!

huron725 Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2022 5:42 a.m. PST

I stopped a long time ago on the cannon fodder. Then I only painted eyes on the command of my 40mm AWI then I realized that I was spending a huge amount of time on getting the eyes just right compared to the time to paint the whole figure.

Now I don't paint eyes at all. And most of what I've seen is not a good look. Leave it to the professionals.

BBT202001 Apr 2022 5:45 a.m. PST

I always paint eyeballs and eye brows.
If you are going to compete in the SAGA Grand Melee, you have to do the painting.

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2022 5:55 a.m. PST

Yes. That is why, generally speaking I limit myself to 28mm figures.

Martian Root Canal01 Apr 2022 6:25 a.m. PST

Sort of. I leave the sockets shaded to a darker flesh tone, then add a small pupil using a .01 brown marker. No whites (or grays actually – white is too bright) or any other detail. I sometimes do a thin line for eyebrows. I typically do that in a shade slightly darker than the hair color I've chosen. Mind you this is in 28mm. 15mm? I let the wash or original base color stand as is for eyes.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2022 6:35 a.m. PST

Depends on the mini- for anything smaller than 25/28mm, no – but for the 25/28mm (OK – 28mm) if the eyes are sculpted I paint them; if not a wash with something like the GW Earthshade which fills in the recesses nicely; when I paint eyes I tend to use a black artist's pen over white

Long Valley Gamer Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2022 6:54 a.m. PST

No! Most who paint the eyes make them look google eyed.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2022 7:19 a.m. PST

No, except on a very, very few 28mm specialty figures such as a force's commanding general.


Pauls Bods01 Apr 2022 7:23 a.m. PST

I used to..

Personal logo chicklewis Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2022 7:38 a.m. PST

Yes, always. I collect 28mm. As my own eyes age, painting eyes on figures has become increasingly problematic.

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