Wednesday 3 December 2014

Simple Paint Schemes or "The Least You Should Do"

I've always been of the opinion that there is no reason to ever field unpainted models.  It kinda says to your opponent "I really couldn't be bothered." This is not because I am a good painter - far from it.  I am not overly fond of painting and I have mountains of unpainted lead. 

I'm not preaching from a position of particular skill - I was doing some test colour schemes last night and thought they showed good examples of two lower levels of painting which anyone can achieve.

Level 1: The Basics
These are 3-4 colour schemes with little to no "special knowledge" required.  There are no washes or drybrushing or fancy techniques.  I speak from experience when I say the average 10 year old can execute this with ease. 

 This is not painted to a great standard but at least it is not bare metal or black undercoat. I'd use this for rush jobs so I can just get models on the table to play, or for bigger armies.

This model was painted in a few steps, with 3 colours:
1. Dark brown basecoat
2. Light brown "shell"and claw portions
3. Cream teeth and clawtips. I also edged the shell portions to make them "pop" more. 
4. Base is simply PVA glue with sand sprinkled on top. 

This Tyranid model is definitely table-ready. It is not a great paintjob but it is nothing to be ashamed of.  At least I've put in the effort.  If people are not interested in even trying to paint, then I suggest they are in the wrong hobby, and should consider boardgames or PC games instead. 

Level 2: Moderate
This level usually includes painting on several coats, sometimes in different shades, and extra techniques like drybrushing and washes, which are still relatively straightforward.  Anything above the "basics"is optional. However, speaking from experience, this is within the reach of the average painter and requires no real skills - it just has more steps in it.

This Infinity Aswaung is part of a 10-figure army so I figure I can put in a tad more effort. I'd have liked to give it yellow glowing eyes, but I know my limitations.

This model has a few more extra steps, and used about 8-9 colours.
1. Dark Brown Basecoat
2. Green-Brown "drybrush" on muscles and parts of head
3. Dark metallic paint on armour
4. A pre-made black "wash" to fill in the cracks of the armour
5. Light metallic paint on parts of the armour (spikes, shoulder pads) to make the armour "shine"
6. Details - red tongue, blood and guts, white teeth, and green wrist sensors
4. Base is PVA glue and sand. Now the sand is painted. Small stones, and bits of flock or static grass might be added to the base to make it more interesting.

Whilst not particularly praiseworthy, the Aswaung has a reasonable paintjob and you can see a little extra effort has gone in.  It took a little more time, but there was nothing complicated involved.

Level 3: Enthusiast/Advanced
I have friends who paint at that level, who can pull off amazing techniques.  These include glowing lenses, amazing detail, amazingly detailed faces, at least half a dozen layers of paint to get the perfect depth or hue, hand-drawn unit symbols. They can paint the glow from a torch reflecting on a model's base, or paint a metallic colour using non-metallic paint.  Bases are often complex handmade masterpieces rich in detail with tricky stuff like realistic water features. I'd like to aspire to this someday, but it is both beyond my skill level and the scope of this article.

Sadly I lack the skill to give an "advanced" example. However here's the two models again, together, to show the two "levels" of technique. 
A quick recap (TL:DR)
The purpose of this article was to highlight just how simple a simple paint scheme is.  There really is no excuse for not attempting to paint your models, when you are playing a miniatures game. It shows you actually cared about the game and your opponent.  It's kinda like a minimum dress standard. 

The other purpose was to show some simple additions such as washes, edging and drybrushing. These require no particular skill or knowledge, but simply make the painting take longer.

Disclaimer: This was written by a non-enthusiastic painter, of limited skills, for others in the same boat. 


  1. I'm inclined to agree, it's a whole lot better seeing two fully painted armies, even though no individual model may be a golden daemon, than two grey dull unrecognisable masses.

    Thanks for showing people how they can achieve this!

  2. I'd agree as well, which probably goes some way to explaining why I don't play much as I never seem to finish a project...

  3. The basic paint scheme, incidentally, was completed by a friend who had never even painted a miniature. It took her about 5 minutes from start to finish (excluding drying time) and would probably be quicker if we weren't chatting about it as we went....