Saturday, April 25, 2015

Painting Miniatures the Vorpal Chainsword Way part 1: Gathering Supplies

Sometimes I've gotten asked: "How do you paint your miniatures so quickly? I really need a lesson on painting miniatures, I don't even know where to start..." Well this series of posts aims to answer that question. I am going to lay out for all of you new to miniature painting (and to those who are still nervous about it) how to paint minis like a boss. A boss who gets things done, that is. They may not end up pageant-ready, they may not win contests, but they will be painted. And that's really the goal you should be shooting for. Simply get them done. If you find a passion beyond that then you will automatically search out guides on how to paint non-metallic metals (NMM) or other fancy painting techniques, but this guide is purely for getting all those minis sitting in your closet painted. So get out your notebooks, because here's everything you need to know to get started painting miniatures the Vorpal Chainsword way.
The Vorpal Chainsword Way = You ain't enterin' no contests, so stop procrastinatin'. Just get them done already!
First, you need paint. If you head to your local hobby shop and try to buy all the individual paints you need to paint all the miniatures you got (likely from one of the Reaper Bones Kickstarters you participated in) you will quickly become overwhelmed with all the options, and quit. Well, fortunately for you, I have purchased every color of paint under the sun, from Games Workshop to Reaper Collections, and will parse it down for you. I can tell you that 99% of the colors you actually need can be found in the two Shadows of Brimstone paint sets from Flying Frog Productions. For real. Everything you need will be in there, even metal and gold metallic paint. So there's your first stop. Get both of those paint sets. The one other paint you need is black spray primer. Hopefully all three of these can be picked up from your local hobby shop, but if not just snag them off the interwebs. Buy these two paint sets and black primer and you are golden for getting every one of those minis painted.
Not as easy to find as all those Army Painter sets, but these have all the colors you'll likely need for painting anything.

Captain Reads-A-Lot-On-The-Internet: "But shouldn't I buy white primer for some minis, and black primer for others?" the overly-cautious mini painter asks. "I've read on Dakka Dakka that white primer is better for some miniatures because of highlighting effects and..."

Yes, okay, it is better for some miniature painting styles to base-coat with white. That is, if you're already painting minis and know how to properly shade and highlight separately. But you aren't already painting minis yet, are you? No, you're taking advice from a guy who likes to mix Monster Energy Drink and Rum while he paints, so take it from his drunk-yet-caffeinated ass (me). I've played around with white primer, and personally, I absolutely hate it. It makes painting a mini take four times as long, because there's no automatic shading of recessed areas when you use white primer. Black primer covers up your mistakes, or things you overlook and forget to paint on minis. So 'Always use black primer' is my motto. Things go much faster with black primer, no matter what you're painting.
Always bet on Black. ...Primer.
While you're buying paint, go ahead and get a few plastic paint trays (the ones with the little wells you can squeeze a dollop of paint into) and a grab-bag of small brushes from Michaels or Hobby Lobby or another hobby/crafting store. Again, you do not need the individually-priced $9 Hobby Shop brushes from Games Workshop/Army Painter until you've decided to take your painting to the next level. Instead, just spend $10 on a set of cheap brushes of various sizes, and you'll figure out later what you prefer to use and won't waste a bunch of money.
Buy the bag of the smallest ones you can find. That big brush will still be useful for drybrushing big minis though.
I love these things. Cheap as hell and last forever.
So go ahead and put in an order for all that stuff, and you'll have a solid set to start painting. In my next installment, I'll get into actually painting the mini and how to go about choosing the right colors.
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