The art of small figure painting.

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One of the most rewarding elements of owning a wargame or roleplaying set is the figures that come with or that accompany it. You cannot, in good conscience send out your regiments of British Hussars, American Civil war cavalry, your Green skinned and red eyed Orcs, or Bloodbowl team or Space Wolves Space Marines out into battle without a good lick of paint on the. Your playing Gandalf the Grey, his cloak will need more than one coat. Figure painting does need a solid surface and Lap Trays can provide the answer to your problems. You can even personalise them, I’d like Leman Russ with his wolf Brothers Freki and Geri please, at

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Citadel Miniatures are the go to people for all the fantasy figure needs as they are directly linked to Games Workshop the producers of Warhammer, Warhammer Forty thousand and the Lord Of the Rings sets. They have produced miniatures for a variety of other themes. The figures take on two type those made from a White metal alloy or Plastic. Luckily, Citadel also produce box sets of official paints that specifically match up to the figures they produce. I personally prefer these paints as they are acrylic based and not oil based. Therefore, they are not sticky and can be blended easier or corrected if a mistake is made. There are a series of transfers that can also be added to give more detail as some of these can be difficult to paint onto the figures themselves.  If you want them to stand out and look good on the playing field they need that extra bit of eye catching drama.

Before you start you will need a set of tools.

  1. These need to be a sable and there are various sizes. You ‘ll need a selection otherwise you’ll take ages to do a large piece.
  2. Files and clippers. Some hobby files and a pair of clippers are needed to remove spurs and lines on the figure.

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Just painting the figures in single colours will not give the best look. There are a series of techniques that need to be followed they are.

  1. Prep the figure. With the tools work over the figure removing any spurs and flash (excess metal and plastic from the mould). File down any unintentional sharp edges.
  2. Paint the figure in an under coat. This gives the figure some “skin” and will allow for the paint to take to the figure easer. White or grey is the most used but if you want the figure dark use black.
  3. Once the figure is dry apply the base coat. These are the colours that you want the figure to be in. It is a good idea to do this twice.
  4. Effects 1 – Shading wash. The next stage is take the base colour and mix it with black ink or watered down black paint. Apply this to the figure and it will leave a darker colour.
  5. Effects 2 – Dry brushing. With a lighter shade drag this across the figure to highlight.

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