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Author Topic: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome  (Read 4933 times)

Offline Revfan

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NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« on: December 24, 2014, 08:33:32 PM »
Hey Guys.

I just joined the forum here... as my 10 year old son  stumbled upon my old D&D books last month and wants to learn how to play.  For Christmas, I got him the Pathfinder Basic set as I heard its a little easier than my old AD&D 1st edition stuff...


The miniatures of my youth are long gone, so I acquired a hand full of adventurers and a few "monsters" and was going to give painting them up a go.  Back in the day when I played, I mostly used unpainted minis... because my attempts at painting them made em look like ass.  So I would have rather used unpainted ones, than have my BAD ones on display.

I'll say upfront, I don't know how to paint.  I have probably been doing it wrong and borrowing from what I already pm'd Pacarat...

I bought 2 Vajello sets - Game Color Flesh Tones and Model Color Folkstone Basics.  I got a few 00, 0, 1 and 2 brushes and away I went.

I really don't know what I am doing.  I have an idea of what I should be doing.  Layering colors and building the up, but I catch myself painting what I want to see... and that is almost a backwards approach to what you guys are doing.

What I mean is, A figure needs a red shirt.  My instincts are to paint all the shirt area red.  But that looks like ass.  So I then go over it and paint the folds of the cloth black.... shadows!

But that really looks like ass too.  What I think is happening, is you guys paint the figure a dark "shade/shadow base color first, then add the red shirt color on top of that, then go over that with a highlight to make the base red shirt pop.

That is what I think is happening...    and you guys seem to do that with everything you paint... not just the shirt, but the pants, belt, hat, face, hands and 20mm auto cannon the guy is holding.

To me, its seems like it's almost "impressionism"... on a micro scale.  

I get frustrated because they don't make a small enough brush for me to do the detail... I FEEL i need a 00000000 size brush to do what you guys do...

Now before you say, RTFM, or see "how to paint" post, threads and vids, I am trying to digest them as fast as I can.... but I needed to have painted figures for my son tomorrow (the 25th Ho Ho Ho...) so I spent last night painting these up... they are not finished, but finished enough to stick out with Santa's other loot.

First up is a set of 4 Gnolls...  Not sure what exactly they are, but the bases say Ral Partha Phil L 1991

If you want to see how bad your painting is... take good photos of em.  Sheesh.  I don't have enough light, big enough magnifying glass, or good enough vision to even see how bad I am with my 47 year old eyes.

I also attempted a band of skeletons.... again, I don't know what they are... anyone recognize em?

The gnolls I just started painting....and I think my first lesson learned is prime them.  I had planned to, but the sticker shock on Citadel priming spray paint got me running out of the shop.  But the paint is already starting coming off the gnolls.... egad.

I sprayed the skeletons with a house hold rattle can of black paint.... because I thought that would make sense... then build up the white bones...
THEN I googled "how to paint skeletons" and saw that most folks base the skeletons in a white, then wash the dark detail into em'.  There I go again... doing it backwards.

I'd appreciate any tips, or thoughts on my first attempts.... lets take "you suck" off the table cause I already guessed that by seeing you guys' work... but I want to get better, so fire away.

**If you are not afraid or your eyes bleeding, more pics of my figs are HERE**
« Last Edit: December 24, 2014, 08:40:45 PM by Revfan »

Offline Calimero

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2014, 09:30:27 PM »

Priming the figures is important. I use white primer on big 28mm figures... black on 15mm and 20mm figures and Brown on ancient (romans, grecs, etruscans, etc.) and fantasy figures...  ;)
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Offline pacarat

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2014, 09:41:44 PM »
Not bad for a start. (I've seen worse, like when I first started painting...)  :D

Definitely want to prime. If you want to spray, see if you can find Krylon matte primer in standard spray paint size. I prefer to brush on an acrylic hobby primer. I prefer Model Master Acryl. Brush is much more economical when doing small numbers or sizes of figures

I think you could add alot to the overall effect by adding a highlight on the brown leather on your gnolls. Mix a little off white in with brown, then try to just hit the outer edges, high points of detail. Same for their fur/flesh.

You're on the mark with the skeletons. What I would do with them now is a real thin wash of dark black/brown mixed.

Let this dry well, then come back over with a "dry brush" (google that term for how-to's) of off white. Then touchup any areas where dry brush has bled over.

« Last Edit: December 24, 2014, 09:46:33 PM by pacarat »

Offline Constable Bertrand

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2014, 10:24:49 PM »
Great start! Certainly gameable enough to be pleased with!

I personally like GW chaos black undercoat. I think it's pricey but it is fine and has a resiliresilient mat finish. Some folks around here go nuts for a mid brown undercoat. Otherwise undercoat in the major colour planned for the figure to speed up the process.

I use the following method.
1. Undercoat (black)
2. Base colour. (Paint the flesh, the pants the red shirt)
3. Wash (GW agrax or some pot of brown wash)
4. Paint base colours again on middle areas.(flesh, pants, leather, red shirt)

The figure is useable.

5. Highlight. (Mix in a little white with base colours and hit the raised areas)
6. Detail (straps, buttons etc)

The figure is good.

7. Weather. (Add rust pigments/paint, drybrush dirt on bottom of pants /top)

8. Base. Don't forget to base the figure, this makes a world of diffference if you ask me.

The wash method works quite well as a starting point. I am now working at skipping the wash step and working on more layers of lighter colour for a deeper finish (see captain bloods medieval thread for inspiration) the wash can flatten it all out a bit but does tidy up messy edges ;)

Hope that helps.

Offline gary42

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2014, 10:50:57 PM »
I doubt anyone around here would say they suck!  Your minis look fine.  Apply a couple of techniques (Of which there are many)  and you will quickly double the quality no problem.  Mine is very simple and I am met with moderate success.  

Step 1.  Block in all the colours as you like them.
Step 2.  Apply a wash of black or any other colour darker than your blocked in colour.  You will play with this as you paint more.  Start with black if you can't decide.
Step 3.  Re-apply your blocked colours on the raised areas leaving the dark wash to fill creases and cracks.
Step 4.  Apply hi-lights.  Take whatever colours you used to block in your initial colours and add some white or purchase a lighter colour version.  I custom mix my hi-lights as you use so little. Add a little of this colour to the upper raised areas of the model.

Try that.  It's pretty quick with fair to middling results!

Good luck and merry Christmas!
"They seek him here, they seek him... There he is!"

Offline Marauderman

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2014, 11:35:39 PM »
Revfan, I agree with Scurv, the Lord of the Rings Battle Games in middle earth magazines that were out a few years ago were great for beginners and had great tips, out of print now I believe but there would be pdf copys out there on the web if you went looking in the right places, there were quite a few released if I remember right.
Great Gnolls, Revfan. Your son should be happy.

Offline FramFramson

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2014, 12:19:11 AM »
There's already good, basic advice been posted so rather than repeating it over again, I'll just say that I have seen way, waaaay worse for a first effort. In fact, that freehand shield with the white rampant beast on a black field looks great.

I joined my gun with pirate swords, and sailed the seas of cyberspace.

Offline Revfan

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2014, 03:20:07 AM »
Thanks for the comments... a lot of great nuggets here, and you give me a lot of cool things to try out with subsequent attempts.  I'll make sure I post my progress so you can see if I am learning anything or not.

Wish I could take credit... but its actually a raised area on the casting.  So I just had to lightly touch it with my brush....

Offline FramFramson

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2014, 03:35:53 AM »
That's quite alright: learning how to lightly touch raised areas with the brush is an important early lesson!  :D

Offline Constable Bertrand

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2014, 03:37:27 AM »
We would like to see your progress, so post back here after your next stab at a figure. ;)


Offline Sbloom141

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2014, 06:54:28 AM »
I've got a couple of tips;

-You seem to be putting pressure on yourself; don't, painting should be a fun hobby and if it's not fun you won't be motivated and you'll burn out on it!

-Priming is important. Prime black if you're a beginner because it hides mistakes better than white and is more forgiving. You don't need to prime with the most expensive stuff (I use 1 auto primer from poundland and it's fantastic) but experiment as sometimes the grain is too big and obscures detail.

-Tinier brushes aren't necessarily better. My painting improved massively when I got the default size citadel ones instead of the detail size. A decent size brush holds a better amount of paint. I also prefer cheaper brushes as I find synthetic fibres stay stiff and don't bend all over the place!

-Note down what you're doing, and what colours you're using in what order. This will let you know what works and what doesn't and when you hit on something that you like it will give you a 'recipe' to use and that will allow you to colour match if you want to do it again e.g. My old one for plague marine armour went like black > knarloc green > heavy dry brush rotting flesh > wash devlan mud > light dry brush rotting flesh... then as you add different stages you can amend the recipe. You'll end up with ones for flesh, bone, fur, etcetera.

-That brings me to another point, use the old simple techniques first then go more advanced when you feel you've reached a plateau. Prime a figure, basecoat a figure, then dry brush it a lighter shade of the same colour. Then put a wash on. 90% of the time this brings decent tabletop quality results and it'll make you feel good about having painted minis. Once you've mastered that basic system (which is about half a step from just block colouring) then start thinking about edge highlighting, layering, blending, etc.

Disclaimer: I'm a massively 'average' level painter, and I rarely blend anything, mix paints, used a palette, etc however I have improved just with practice. I will -never- be golden demon standard but know that and paint accordingly!
Your initial attempts are honestly better than most. Remember that minis nearly always look worse in photos; that's a separate skill altogether!

Offline 6milPhil

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2014, 11:57:35 PM »
I'm a mod on http://en.reddit.com/r/minipainting/ and can tell you that's not the worst noob paint jobs I've seen by a long chalk.

Should painting really not turn out to be your thing try buying pre-painted. Doug at Em4 does a fair amount of fantasy ready to play with, and at prices which won't break the bank: http://www.em4miniatures.com/acatalog/FANTACY.html

Offline Melnibonean

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2014, 12:48:23 AM »
The easiest method I would recommend is to use a wash (Army painter or something). Just paint block colours as you've always done and apply the wash when you're finished.  Give them a coat of matt varnish and they'll look good.
Below is a link to my blog. It's the place where I write uninteresting things about little toy soldiers. I do this because I refuse to grow up and behave like an adult.


Offline MerlintheMad

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Re: NOOB's 1st Try - Criticism Welcome
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2014, 02:05:20 AM »
I think there's nothing wrong with priming with black and dry brushing on shades of white and grey and brown to come up with skeletons or zombies. "Paint it black" is a viable method for creating good gaming pieces in a short amount of time and less effort. It won't win you any painting contests, but on the gaming table they look fine, especially for RPG purposes, like you are getting into.

My favorite method to get a lot of miniatures painted in short order is what I call the "sand people" method. Basically it creates a monotonous mob of dun colored guys that are "finished" enough to play with, but can be returned to in the future at your leisure or desire and given added details/definition. You start off spraying with a good white or off white primer. Get the whole figure covered as heavily as possible without obscuring details. The primer needs to be tough enough to withstand handling, as it is your main paint layer. I am assuming that the miniatures are already based when primed. Now paint all flesh with the main, mid-tone or base color. Next paint all wood and metal areas. If cavalry, paint a "horsey" color, with red-brown predominating (80% of the horses getting the RB, and the rest either grey to white, dun, or black). Now comes the fun part: using near abandon, wash down everything in sepia ink. "Final" step is to finish the bases. Nothing makes this method look more deliberate than finished bases. I happen to like simple green and earth colors, with some flocking getting painted over the top of. But I recognize that tufts of grass and rocks, etc., are some gamer's eye candy and therefore essential, whatever. Now, when shields are involved, paint one in five with a design, and leave the rest plain. Make maybe one in three or four designs "fancy". The over all effect of a unit is quite satisfying. They look weathered, dusty and downright grimy. "Unclean" is the word, and probably realistic for any unit that has been outside on campaign for more than a fortnight.

The ease with which these "finished" figures can be returned to is rather amazing. The grunt work is over, and everything else is pure pleasure. You can dry brush on tunic and legging colors, add similar accents to shield faces, dry brush the metal with the original color or a lighter accent color to bring out the high spots. Use other browns or dyed colors to apply to leather bits. The more of this you do the better they look. And you can take your time because they are already "finished" anyway, and you are just enjoying yourself making some of them look "fresher" or newer or more dashing, etc....
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