It’s all very well having shiny metal playing pieces for your games, but there comes a point where you may decide to make them your own and get your paint on.
Starting can be intimidating though, so for this edition of Geeking Out I’m going to talk about simple customization of bases and the basics of miniature painting.
Get to grips with green stuff, first of all. It’s worth saying that simple changes can make the most impact. Green stuff, or Kneadite, is your friend for filling gaps, or indeed a little bit of sculpting. I decided that I wanted one of my penguin thugs to be wielding his baton overhand, so glued it in position and filled the gap accordingly. Having mixed up a little ball and having some left over (once mixed, it will dry hard so must be used) I squashed them into rough bag shapes, which you can see on the base below. Though it can seem expensive – £7 from your high street war-store for a pack of 2 10cm strips – I used about 3mm, so it lasts. You can also, of course, have a bit of fun ;)
If you’ve ever used fimo, the consistency is similar. To keep it pliable, a little vaseline goes a long way. Cheap sculpting tools are readily available, though you can get specialist tools also. There are other two-part putties – milliput, most notably – but I would advise you to start, at least, with a green Kneadite.
Likewise, for basing, the Knight models come with a nice rough textured base. However, you could add detailing with almost anything – my wife dreads the phrase “ooh, that’s an interesting bit of plastic” as we walk down the street – and broken kids toys are particularly handy. Craft, bargain, and pound shops are also good, especially after Halloween for oddments. Also, for reference, the models are 1/43 scale (though 1/47 work also) if you are inclined to use traditional model kit parts (1/32 feel a little large, 1/56 a little small, though it depends).
For painting, you need to start with a good primer for the paint to adhere to. I am a big fan of basic black car spray, such as from Halford’s – it’s cheap, coverage is excellent, and it will happily live in your garage and so not be as susceptible to vagaries of temperature.
I’m not going to try to condense all the painting advice in the world here and now. YouTube has many excellent tutorials that can give you far more than me. But here’s some advice: invest in good sable brushes and good acrylic paint. Yeah, obvious. But a couple of pointers: I recommend using Vallejo game color paints (about £2 each) for your main colours. This Spanish brand is well worth investing in, they are in dropper bottles so easy to control quantity. Games workshop paints are more readily available, and their washes are particularly good, but a few key colours will do you well. Be aware that the black from this range is very gloss, however – model color black may be more suitable. It also thins well with a little water, to create a good black wash to shadow cloth.
A technique that’s worth learning from the outset, regardless, is dry-brushing. Essentially, you load up a big brush with paint (eg Vallejo Dead White) and then wipe it off. By running this over the surface of the model, it highlights all the raised surfaces.
Of course then, you could add a layer of dark blue to the cops. And maybe some Medium fleshtone.
I’d also advocate getting a Sakura Pigma Micron pen, an artist’s acrylic ink pen. Black should do, handy for all sorts of things. I like 0.05, the smallest, because I’m fairly cack handed. Then you can do fun stuff like this:
With Vallejo black, dead white, stormy blue, gory red, leather brown, medium fleshtone (plus some patient blending) and GW reikland fleshshade to shade brown, red, and of course skin, I ended up here.
So, hopefully I’ve shown that you can – without a huge investment – get yourself to a point where you have a gang of fairly attractive, fully functional homicidal artists. Remember to like, comment and share for a chance to win the rulebook till the end of the month! Till next time, Bat-fans: A beginner’s Bat-Rep, for the not-so Long Hallowe’en.
Addendum – the excellent folk over at critskillpeople.com have produced an updated, plaintext version of the Batman Miniature Game rules – well worth a look!
The Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
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