One Method to Paint Miniature Figures

Orangeville, ON (James Doan) Although there are some modellers who feel it isn’t necessary, I prefer to prime the model. This is an undercoat of paint which will seal the surface, preventing contact with the air. For metal figures, use automotive primer (red, grey or white). Alternatively, use a base coat of white paint. The primer will also serve as a surface to which the following layers of paint will adhere.

I have found it easier and often better to follow the traditional method of painting figures, which starts from the skin and then works out through the layers of clothing and equipment. Do the face and hands first, then paint successive layers of clothing in order. It is better to paint the uniform first and paint the buttons, trim, and equipment after.

On the other side of the argument, there are modellers who prefer to do the uniform first and then cut in the paint for the face and hands.

Some collectors, working to achieve a “toy” style of painting, will paint their figures in solid colours without shading.

When using acrylics, using a base colour along with one highlight colour and one shadow colour gives a satisfactory effect. Be sure there is a contrast among the various shades.

When you have mixed your three shades, carefully lay them onto your figure. Start by painting the major sections with the appropriate base colour. Before the paint has set, apply your shadow and highlight colours to the valleys and crests of the area as appropriate. This is where some thought concerning the effect of shading pays off. Take your time, work carefully, and think. Each time you add a colour, ask yourself why you are putting it there. Is this area in light or in shadow? Why? The process may be tedious at first, but I have found that it soon becomes automatic.

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