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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Get Your Models Painted!

I paint fast, and I paint pretty well (at least to my eye, most days).  Despite not having a whole lot of free time, I manage to get projects done.  So for all of you stuck in procrastination land, fielding wave after wave of gray plastic miniatures, here's ten tips I used to get my models painted efficiently.

1.  Set time aside for painting.  Even if it's only ten minutes in a day, just setting aside a few minutes to get that first base coat of paint down on some models makes all the difference.

2.  Don't be afraid to make mistakes.  You shouldn't be working towards steely eyed, no quarter perfection on your first pass.  You can go back and fix things later.   That being said....

3.  Don't be intentionally sloppy, either.  Paint whatever part you're working on, and move on.  Don't hose down the model with paint.

4.  Have your paints ready.  I believe in the wet palette, which is a popular and approved way of working quickly with paints.  I also believe in pre-watering my paints in the jar, which is frowned upon by a lot of people.  It works for me (as long as I'm careful to not accidentally make a wash) and allows for quick access to lots of colors.

5.  Use washes.  Nothing makes a good model great in record time like using washes.  Instead of using six layers of paint to shade and highlight one of your six hundred rank and file models, try hitting it with a wash and then highlighting.

6.  Have brushes for every job.  I've got the general big three, and their names are Big, Medium, and Tiny.  One does the base coating, the next the general work, and the third the very fine details.

7.  Work in tens.  For your rank and file, use groups of five to ten (depending on your taste) to get things done.  One goblin at a time won't cut it for getting your army painted on the table.  Doing eighty at once may burn you out.  Small groups allow for progress while giving a good sense of accomplishment.

8.  Distract yourself.  Listen to music, or have a movie on, or try a new podcast.  Let your mind wander and you'll be amazed at the work your hands get done.

9.  Have your tools organized and cleaned.  Don't put yourself in a situation where in order to get any painting done, you have to look for your brushes and paints, etc. for half an hour.  Organize a bit, man!

10.  Have fun!  The day that the hobby becomes a chore, you need to pull back.  Relax, have fun, and make painting something you're having a great time trying to improve in. 


  1. Good general tips that I need to get back in the habit of following.

  2. Those are some good tips. Very handy for people who struggle to sit and paint often.

  3. Organization is big. Doing some multitasking has helped me too - moving whatever I'm working on at the moment into the kitchen to work on while talking with the wife/watching TV etc. has helped me get through a number of projects.