Friday, August 15, 2014

The cycle of miniatures painting


  1. Receive a new load of unpainted miniatures from a game, a random purchase on E-bay, another Reaper Bones kickstarter, or from a gift (ha!) from a friend, and realize that the backlog is only increasing and the only way to make it manageable is to paint some miniatures.
  2. Select a dozen figures and think about how amazing they're going to look when they're completed. Contemplate possible paint schemes.
  3. Realize in the months since the last round of painting, several more bottles of paint have dried out or sealed their lids. Curse. Revise paint schemes to reflect available colors.
  4. Prepare the figures. When painting metal figures, attempt to prime them without holding the spray bottle too far away and accidentally dusting them. Fail. Decide that the sanding is on a non-critical part, like chainmail or a furry cloak, even if it's really on the princess figure's satiny looking dress.
  5. First pass at blocking out major areas with colors. Make sure to splotch dark paint on areas that will be later painted with bright colors. Realize the figures look like crap. Despair and contemplate a hobby more suited to innate talents and skills, such as counting lima beans.
  6. Second pass at blocking out major areas with colors. Go over previous dark splotches with light grey paint and then the bright color. Splotch some of the dark bits with light colors. Notice a flash line that should have been cleaned up before priming and try to clear it with an x-acto knife without destroying the rest of the paint job.
  7. Touch-up the major areas and do some preliminary dry-brushing. Notice that aside from the unpainted detail areas (belts, pouches, boots, gloves) and finishing the skin and hair, the figure actually looks pretty good right now.
  8. Go through the finicky process of painting the detail areas with a fine tip brush. Get slightly cross-eyed. Curse the finicky detail and once again vow that next time, all this stuff is just going to get painted black and to heck with proper contrast.
  9. Notice while doing the detail bits that there's an area under the figure's arm pit or leg that should have been painted in a color but that was left white. Swear again. Paint that little area, accidentally overstaining the adjacent areas and get an uneven color effect that is nearly impossible to fix.
  10. Apply the flesh tone base and wait for it to dry. Apply the flesh tone wash and wait for it to dry, which it does unevenly as usual. Apply the flesh tone dry brush and notice the figure is looking really good. Paint the eyeballs with white. Repaint the area around the eyeballs in flesh tone, thereby obliterating the wash and the drybrush. Use a technical pen to do the eyebrows and pupils. Notice the figure is a little cross-eyed but lack the patience to redo the entire face from scratch to fix it.
  11. Paint the hair with a dark base. Drybrush with a lighter highlight. Realize that there's almost no tint difference between the two and re-drybrush with an even lighter tone. In the process, accidentally strip off the not entirely dry drybrush and base coat, revealing the primer. Swear again. Repaint the hair's base coat. Let it dry. Drybrush again with a color that has too much tint difference and looks vaguely unnatural. Despair. Notice that some of the drybrush got on the face and despair again.
  12. Realize that the paint on the figure's toes got worn off during all the handling. Consider picking up another hobby like a normal person. Touch up the toes instead.
  13. Consider lacquering the figure now, but realize that its 100 degrees outside. Put it off until fall.
  14. Quickly base the figure with globs of green paint. Notice that the foot to base boundary is pretty uneven, and consider fixing it, but decide against starting an endless cycle of painting foot and base to get the lines perfect.
  15. Throw the figure onto a shelf with the other figures waiting for lacquering. Feel proud about how good it actually looks with all the colors complete, and then sad because it could look better if it'd been painted by someone with some skills.
  16. Contemplate starting another set of figures. Realize none of them are especially compelling right now. Get distracted by a video game or novel.
  17. Return to step 1.
Why yes, my Sentinels Tactics figures arrived this week. Why do you ask?

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