Miniature painting tools

If this is the first time you are considering the art of painting miniatures, you should know a series of essential elements that you will need to get started, such as airbrushes, brushes of different sizes, glues and a wide variety of paint tones so that the level of detail is as professional as possible. Now get some essentials miniature painting tools.

Accessories for painting miniatures

In the same way, you should also get a set of files, blades and pliers that will be very useful when preparing the miniatures for priming and painting, as well as to separate certain pieces that need to be painted separately. 

Also, do not forget to work in a place with good lighting and always have different bottles of water and clean rags so that the color does not mix in the brush, which would delay your work.

How to paint miniatures?

Painting miniatures is a hobby in which you will progress quickly and that offers great doses of fun and personal satisfaction when you see the result. But what do you need to paint miniatures? Read on to learn all about miniature painting tools.

First things first: Assembly of miniature paintings

Although the assembly of today’s miniatures is becoming easier and easier, this is a section you should pay attention to. Removing the pieces from their dies and removing burrs with blades and files will be your first step before joining them with specialized glue, depending on the material of the pieces. 

Using a glove is an option, and always have absorbent paper handy for excess glue.

In this step, it is good to make use of a hand drill and pins for larger pieces or those whose dynamic posture makes them only support the base with one foot.

After assembly, don’t forget to clean up!

Once the miniatures are assembled with all their parts well glued, you should proceed to clean them (especially the resin or metal ones). With a little degreaser, an old toothbrush, warm water and let dry very well is more than enough.

It’s time to prime

Next, it is time to apply a coat of primer (acrylic) to our miniature. This coat prepares the piece to receive the paint and improves its adherence. Although it can be done with a brush, it is advisable to apply it with an airbrush or primer spray, so that the layer is uniform. Different colors can be used to prime a miniature, according to taste and way of working. 

A common practice that I find highly recommended is to prime in black and then apply a spray of white in the direction of the light that we want to represent, to facilitate the understanding of the volume of the miniature and to know where to apply more intense lights.

There are three ways to apply the primer: 

  • With a brush: we apply it as if it were just another paint.
  • Spray: it is easier to apply, and several minis can be primed at the same time, but be careful with the amount of primer applied so as not to cover the details.
  • Airbrush: very similar to the spray and with better results, but we must carefully measure the intensity of the jet and apply it at a certain distance.

Add color

Once you have decided what colors you are going to paint the miniature, choose an element of it and start painting the base layer of all the similar materials that you can find. 

For this, it is advisable to start painting from the inside out, to minimize the risk of damaging parts that we have already painted. That is to say, paint the deepest and less accessible parts first.

Regarding the color and lighting of the miniature, a base color is painted to work on it, applying lighter and darker layers in the areas exposed and hidden from the light, respectively. 

A very common technique is to use a very dark base color, apply some layers of lighting, then reinforce some shadows and, with colors or watered down inks, I outline the shadow of the different elements that protrude from the figure before continuing (so I don’t spoil the final lights if I make a mistake).

At this point, sometimes glazes are applied to create a transition. In general, it is important to paint with a fluid acrylic or even something diluted so that the layers are not thick and applying them successively does not spoil the relief and resolution of the miniature, in addition to generating a smoother transition between layers.

Then, you can give the last lights, with more saturated colors and finally brighter, highlighting very small areas that will increase the contrast of our miniature.

In any case, this is only one way to proceed, but it is quite common and recommended for anyone who starts painting miniatures.

Apply the layers

When successively more luminous layers are applied, the previous color is lightened according to the aspect of light that we want to achieve (it does not necessarily have to be with white). 

The new layer should cover a large part of the previous one (which contains it), without covering it entirely. The more layers you apply, the smoother the transition will be (more intermediate colors) and the more realistic the result will be.

Not all parts of the miniature will present the spectrum we have created from the darkest to the lightest color: areas that are in shadow will reach a less luminous layer and the contrast of lights and shadows will be below, while areas exposed to light will have little surface covered exclusively by the first layers, but a higher contrast.

What do you need to learn to paint miniatures? Miniature painting tools

Regardless of your level as a miniature artist, you need to know the best materials for making your sculptures. By this, we mean that you should know what kind of materials are the easiest to work with and have a better finish.

Choose the best type of paint

While we would mostly use acrylic paints on miniatures, some oil paints on miniatures are worth considering. Unlike acrylic paints, miniatures painted with oil paints will offer a much longer working time. With oil paints, miniatures can take longer to dry and therefore prolong the time it takes to paint a miniature. One of the best miniature painting tools.

While some people may look specifically for airbrush paints for miniatures, we are happy to say that you can put almost any of the paints below through an airbrush with the right amount and types of thinner. 

Adequate lighting for painting

A good lamp that illuminates the work area well is required, with a daylight bulb that provides a neutral tone if we do not have indirect natural light.

It is also possible to use a strip of leds that provide a good light. With a good illumination, we will be able to appreciate the colors of the painting in the minis in a more real way, since the light will not be too cold or too warm. A must miniature painting tool. 

Work surface

Glue can drip, paint can spill or splatter and make a mess, so protecting your work surface can save you the hassle of cleaning up.

On the other hand, newspaper works well to protect a large surface, but it can stain your hands and therefore your miniatures, so it never hurts to put some other type of paper on top. The best thing is that you can pick it up and throw it away.

Palette

Any smooth surface, preferably white, can serve as a palette. Why white? For two reasons:

  • To make the paint colors show up better and improve the paint mixtures you make.
  • To get an idea of its consistency (paint thinning level).

So that the paint does not dry, or takes longer to do so, it is always a good idea to make a wet palette with a plate or other smooth surface, kitchen paper or a cloth, water and baking paper.

We will make the palette with the flat surface or container to which we will put on top several layers of wet kitchen paper or a cloth and, on top of everything, a sheet of baking paper.

Palette

The secret lies in making the palette wet with a material that lets the humidity through, but not the paint, thus keeping it wet for a longer period of time. For this purpose, baking paper is a perfect and cheaper option than the cloth, although the cloth will keep the humidity for a longer period of time.

Use a glass of water

You need water to dilute your paints and rinse your brushes between colors. You can use a single cup or glass jar, or several:

  • One for painting: “dirty” water in which to wash the brush.
  • Another one for “clean” water: to dilute the paints.
  • And a third one for “metallic” colors: so that the metallic paint does not contaminate the clean water cup.

Miniature painting tools – Brushes!

Natural fibers tend to be more expensive, synthetic fibers tend to be cheaper, and both have their advantages and disadvantages.

It is advisable to use quality brushes for painting details, as they will last longer without opening or breaking, and cheap or poorer quality brushes for applying primers, bases and varnishes.

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