Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dippin' Minis - How to paint a horde of gobs

Sometimes you've just got to get through a backlog of minis. Get them painted, get them done. Well, I finally opened up my Games Workshop Hobbit Strategy Battle game starter set box.

(Americans can probably find this guy in the "50% off bargain bin" of your FLGS like I did, since no one actually plays the Hobbit in the U.S.)

I opened it up and found myself faced with thirty-six little goblins to paint. 
Oh for the love of... GANDALF!
The hobbit and wizard minis were cool, but I didn't really want to paint a bunch of goblins, I don't really have an idea for where to use them for any upcoming games, or any reason to have them done, but it always behooves a dungeon master to be ready for anything. Especially ready to field a horde of monsters at a moment's notice. But how do you get them done in a short amount of time?

Why, you DIP 'EM, of course!
Dipping minis is perfect for giving a horde of models a decent tabletop-ready look without using up a lot of your precious painting time.

I took pictures at each step of my painting process I did for these guys this morning and am posting up a quick-n-dirty tutorial, to help others get their hordes of goblins or skeletons or whatever done and off the painting table.

If you've never heard of the "dipping" technique to speed up your mini painting, then this post is for you!


First things first. If you're going to dip your minis, then you'll likely want to prime them white. Don't worry, the dip will fill in the cracks and forgive any missed parts much like priming with black usually does. However if you prime black and then dip them the minis will just be too darn dark to look good overall. So prime these guys white.
Maybe I can just stop here...goblin ghost legion?
Next thing I do is paint any clothing, belts, satchels, or whatever. Since these are gobs, I'm painting them brown. You should use different color browns for a mini that has a lot of 'leather' stuff on it, so you can tell things apart (i.e. boots and satchel should be different shades of brown). But when dealing with a goblin horde, don't overthink it. You've got another thirty to get done after this one. Just get some brown on there.


Next I do the skin. Now, I already knew I didn't like the 'fish underbelly' skin tone that the Hobbit movie used for the Cave Goblins. In my thinking, all goblins are green. They could be different shades of green, sure, but green all the same. Since I'll be dipping these guys I went with a lighter color green, as the dip will darken them up. Here I used pleasant-sounding "meadow green," but any green you got will do. Just be aware that the dip makes everyone one shade darker.


Now I do the hair. Goblins are gross, and I figure they have stringy gray hair. So I painted the hair gray. Done and done.

Next the weapons. There are basically three choices for color when faced with a weapon: Is the dangerous part of the weapon wood, metal, or bone? Then you have to do the same coloring decision for the handle or hilt of the weapon.  For this guy I decided he had a bone sword with a wood (or leather-wrapped) handle/hilt. So I painted the blade "Tusk Ivory," which is basically "off-white" or a "bone" color.


Then I painted the handle brown since I wanted to differentiate it from the blade.

Now it was time FOR THE DIP!

Army painter Soft Tone Quickshade is my dip of choice.
Just dunk him on in there.
*Glorp!*
When you dip minis, they come out totally glorped up with the shade oil. You should have a cruddy cardboard box handy that you can immediately shake them off in to remove the excess dip. You don't want to let the mini dry while totally drowned in the oil, it'll lose all the definition of the mini.
Yup, just lower them down into the box and give 'em a vigorous shake.
*shake shake shake!*
Then set him on some newspaper and let them dry for a couple hours.
Already looking better (and hiding any sloppy mistakes)!
Dry and ready for last details.
Alright, so now he's dried and its time for the finishing touches. While you could stop here and go ahead and varnish it, the two parts of a monster that are worth spending a couple extra seconds of time on are the teeth and eyes. People will think you're some kind of master miniature painter if you just take a couple minutes to make the face pop, even if the rest of the mini is a green/brown slop-factory like this guy.

So I then dabbed the teeth and eyeball areas with the white/bone color paint.
White eyes and teeth to lighten them up and make them stick out.
Now you could stop here. You field twenty of these guys and no one is going to fault you. But I wanted these guys to have a little more scaryness to them, so I took brilliant red (bright bright red color) and painted over all the white I had put on the eyes. The white basecoat underneath the red allowed the bright red to shine more than it would if I'd just painted it onto the dipped green paint.

They had red eyes!
Now here, again, you could be done with him and go to the varnishing step. But I like pupils on my minis, in case any player is so bold as to pick the monster mini up off the table and look into their little faces, I want them to know that the goblin is looking right back at them. So I made little pin-pricks of yellow right in the center of the red eyes. I also then watered down the yellow and gave the white teeth a bit of a yellowish glaze, just to give them the 'poor dental hygeine' look.
Yeah, you can't even tell at tabletop distance.
I see you! Rarrrrgh!
Okay, with those three (probably unnecessary) eyeball steps out of the way, its time to get some of that overly-shiny gloss off of them from the dip and protect the paint job at the same time. To do that, grab your matte varnish and give the mini a VERY LIGHT coat of matte varnish. I'm talking a quick swipe of spray along all four sides and stop.
This really isn't an Army Painter commercial, you can use any matte varnish.
A very light coat allows for a little shine to remain. Too much matte varnish over-dulls the effect.
Ready to base!
So there you go. He's done and ready to be based (next post I'll show how to base them with "generic underground stone" dungeon bases). But first, I've got another thirty-five goblins to paint n' dip.

The total time I actually spent on this guy (minus allowing the dip to dry for two hours) is about ten minutes of actual painting, and that was with taking pictures. So you can see how this is actually a pretty fast process. After these goblins I've got a grip of skeletons that are long-overdue for some paint, and I think dipping them will be just the right answer!

Paint on everyone!

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