Use Washes to Save Time Painting Miniature Figures

Orangeville, ON (James Doan) There is a growing section of the hobby which now concentrates on painting and gaming with smaller scale figures (1/72, 28mm, 25mm and even smaller). Rather than spending an extended period working on just one figure, they are contemplating the decorating of potentially thousands of these miniatures.

To complete a task of this scope in a reasonable period of time, the modeller can no longer consider each model figure as a blank canvas, upon which he can lavish attention to detail. Instead, he is looking for a method whereby he can complete as many figures as possible in a period and yet still achieve a significant amount of detailing.

Since most model figures are three-dimensional, it is easy to use washes of about 9 parts paint and one part thinner to stain the figure.

When you paint a figure with the wash technique, the wash will automatically take care of most highlights and shadows. It is the technique of choice for 1/72 and similar sized figures. The thinned washes will travel by gravity and capillary action to automatically fill in the hollows or deeper areas with more colour, leaving the more exposed areas with less colour.

To begin, paint the figure with the lightest colour you will want to use right out of the bottle, followed by one or more additional washes of the same basic colour but a shade or so darker.

The wash technique has the added advantage that you can remove it before it hardens and start over with a lighter or darker wash.

The figure is completed by applying small dots and streaks to accent the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, nostrils, buttons, zippers, and similar sharp details.

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