View Full Version : zenpotato's "I'm new to painting minis" BfSP log

23-03-2007, 04:13
As the title says, I'm super new to painting minis. I've painted exactly 1 miniature (a warpwolf from Privateer Press) before starting on my Battle for Skull Pass box. I decided a log would be a good way to track my progress as well as get some good advice on how to improve as a painter.

So far, I've done a couple of test jobs on a dwarf warrior and two night goblins. I'll start off with the night goblins first, since I seem to have a little more trouble and fun with them (odd that).

My first test goblin:

23-03-2007, 04:14
After soliciting some advice on the Penny-Arcade.com forums, I decided to try again the next night. Here's night goblin mark II, now with more WAAAGH! (and highlights).

I changed my base color some, going for a richer blue. I think I may have over done it on the highlights a touch, but for a first attempt I'm pretty happy with it. It looks better in natural lighting rather than under the halogen lamp I used to take these pictures.

My second night goblin:


23-03-2007, 04:15
A comparison between my first night goblin and my second. The second is on the right in these pictures:


23-03-2007, 04:16
And a couple of pics of these two amongst their grey plastic buddies in unit formation:


All in all, I think I like the skin on my first goblin just a touch better, but it also took a little longer. NG#2 needs a little more highlight on his nose and chin I think. I also need to work on not making little mistakes, but I'm hoping that comes with time. All in all, I'm happy with the steps I'm taking. By the time I'm done with these 40 NGs, 20 NG with bows, and 10 spider riders, I'll be pretty pro when it comes to doing NGs. I'm looking forward to getting some orcs though. These tiny models are driving me bonkers.

The plan for the rest of this goblin unit is to do the richer, darker blue base coat, and a slightly darker highlight color, perhaps with a little more purple. I'm still not sold on the red moon in the shield. I can't quite make it pop. I originally wanted to do a baby blue, but that didn't seem to work either. And I don't want to overdue the blue thing. But I also want these night goblins to look alright standing next to a unit of big brawling orcs with who'll have splashes of red and some blue body paint.

23-03-2007, 06:55
You certainly have a challenge ahead of your there. I would recommend you undercoat the lot with acrylic spray paint, that will save you a great deal of time. Get your base colours painted first, such as the green of the goblin's flesh, on EVERY model. Try and paint them like a production line as you will be there all year ( I once tried to paint a WFB box set one figure at a time, I never got past the archers!)

Get yourself some modelling sand. Mix up some PVA glue with a little water. When your figures are fully painted (and dry) paint the bases with the pva and stick the sand to the bases. Experiment with creating some interesting muddy/ground colours before sticking on some flock with a little more PVA. When the flock is try paint that with a wash of your choice.

Hope that helps.

23-03-2007, 06:56
Oh, and one more thing. When taking photographs of painted minis, make sure that there is nothing behind them. Your camera is struggling to focus on your painted stuff.

23-03-2007, 08:24
Heck yea man for your first minis those are rocking! Keep up the good work man !

Skitter Squeek~

23-03-2007, 08:31
For goblins you might even be good spraying them goblin green and then painting up the rest (do they have goblin green spray?) Then for the skin you simply need to use a healthy dose of green ink. Also, many of the lighter colors will paint easier over the green than the black. Honestly, I just made that up and I have some newcastle and old TMNT movies under my belt for the evening, so I could be mistaken....

23-03-2007, 12:05
They look far superior to the first models I painted up as a kid, so I'd say you are perfectly on track to become a good painter. Just stick to it and continue painting to get used to laying an even basecoat. Considering that you are already experimenting with highlights, I'd definately say that your first gobbos are tabletop worthy.

Here's what I think would be good "next steps":

1) spraypaint primer. For all of them, as many at the same time as you can do. That's a lot of gobbos, and they will take a lot of time to paint. Getting all the primer done at the same time will shave off a bit of that time, giving you time to improve what you should be improving: your basic painting skills.

2) Test some washing. You don't need to rush out and buy "proper" inks as a beginner, just try thinning out paint with water that you've added a tiny bit of washing liquid. You could do a darker green version (mix black, gobbo green and water, or use dark angels green if you have it) and paint over the skin to create shadows, and a black or brown wash to pick out the teeth and give them definition from the skin. It'll look great.

3) Try basing. There's a million ways to do it, depending on what terrain you are going for. Here's a guide to different versions: http://uk.games-workshop.com/warhammer/terrain-basics/3/

Just base the gobbos, and they look great. Really, it's great beginner stuff. Keep at it, and by the end of that box I'm sure you'll be showing us some terrific stuff. :)

EDIT: for making your moons on the shields "pop", try making a highlight of a yellowish orange and apply it to the upper corners. It should help the red to separate from the black background.

23-03-2007, 13:55
Thanks for the tips.

I actually have spray primer, I just haven't had a chance to use it on the goblins yet, since they require a metric buttload of mold line removal. I'm looking forward to doing that 60 times even less that I am to the painting. These two models were done strictly to try and get a color scheme down, pick out appropriate paints, and work on that shield problem. I also wanted to work on my goblin skin painting technique, which I think came out better in the first goblin.

I think I'll do one more test goblin just to make sure things are coming out alright, then it's on to batch painting. I have a group of dwarf warrior who are primed and ready to go as well. I did a quick base coat color and wash test on one, and then refined what I learned there and have an actual test in progress involving more layering. I'll finish that one up tonight and post some pictures.

23-03-2007, 14:56
Oh cool, a new BfSP painting log one week before I finish mine! So the circle continues.;)

Anyway, your painting scheme looks good to me, and those goblins are looking very good for your first miniatures. I second the call for spray primer. I'd also suggest to try drybrushing the robes instead of painting the single highlights; it's faster and the result may look even better. I like the worn look of the metallics you did. Is the shield on test Gobbo #1 finished?

I'm seeing some mold lined on those Goblins. Maybe you should fully remove them. I know, it's a pain to clean up all these 100+ miniatures, but it pays off in the end. Mold lines can ruin even the neatest paintjob in the world. Another thing I noticed are the teeth of test Goblin #2. When painting those, try to leave a little line of black between the teeth and the lips. Black lines help much at diverting one surface of colour from another.

Don't mind if not all the colour is in place; this (as basically everything else in miniature painting) is just a matter of practice.;) Concluding, I have to mention your photographing: It's very good. The Goblin-level shots among all these other minatures look impressive and make the bulk of the miniatures you get with the box look impressive.

I (and surely quite a few other people) will be following this log so make sure you give us many updates!;)

P.S.: Have a look at my BfSP log if you like. You can find the link in my signature.

23-03-2007, 15:14
I can't take much credit for the photography; I've got a nice digital camera and it does all the work. I just make sure to turn on macro mode, point it, turn on the timer and make sure the goblins are centered for the focus to work. I need to work on my lighting some. Neither one of those miniatures are that bright. In fact, you can barely see the color on the left mini at all in normal lighting.

I had initially planned on drybrushing those highlights, but I had a touch too much paint on my brush and I just rolled with it. The teeth were pretty much a quick finish, since I had some bleached bone on my palette. Normally I'm planning on giving the mouth some more black and hopefully some red gums.

The goblin on the left's shield is indeed unfinished. I had tried a baby blue moon intially, and it sucked. Then I was going to do a bronze moon with red shield, but didn't like that either. Eventually the whole thing was just red and copper. I plan on painting it all black and redoing to match the right goblins.

About those mold lines... yeah, I'm having trouble with them. I keep thinking I'm getting them all, but then the spots where I cut them off show through the paint because the surface it different. Also, the goblins are pretty much covered in them. But I do plan on spending a whole bunch of time taking them off. I'm going to do a full 20 NG unit, and then prime them. I figure if I work in units I'll feel like I'm getting more done.

For my third test goblin, I'll be sure to take in-progress pictures. I think it will be handy to get critiques in progress so you guys can see where I'm screwing up. :)

23-03-2007, 17:01
Try to put a white paper (or black, if you have a very bright mini) behind the miniature, it helps both with focus and lighting and makes the picture neater. Lighting is a bitch, and I can still not get it done well myself.

Flash is also something you get used to, after a couple of hundred miniatures you are likely to pick up an almost zen-like mindset when you remove the flash. It's all about learning where to expect the flash.

Pictures of the painting process is an excellent idea! It will be fun to see you improve. :) Now, go get some more gobbos done! ;)

25-03-2007, 04:43
Did another night goblin to try and nail the color scheme. This one is more purple than I like; the lighter blue pops more on the table and gives it more contrast. I plan on going with the colors from the second goblin (left in the forward facing picture) for further robes using the drybrushing I used on the newest goblin. I like the teeth and eyes better on this one, as but I still need to work on my skin. It's a little bland I think.

I primed up the rest of this unit, so I'm ready to start batch painting. I'm still not sure what I'm doing with the shields and spears, but I'm getting there. I may just leave them all unpainted for now.


25-03-2007, 10:13
Great progress, your highlighting on the robe is looking more even, controlled and realistic which is a good step forward IMHO. They look good already, so just get a few batches of gobbos painted to get used to doing that drybrushing.

The reason that you feel that the skin is bland is that you have no shadows, at least none that I can see on the photo. Once you get used to highlighting, I'd say that that's what you should practice to receive the biggest improvement on your painting. Two things are the most obvious to me here: first you could use a dark "barrer" to separate the teeth from the skin, and secondly the skin itself could use a dark shadow in the recesses.

The quickest way IMHO is to simply paint the area in a darker colour first (for example Dark Angel Green) and then try to apply the lighter hue (like Gobbo Green) on the areas that sticks out. If you have a black primer on the gobbos, you can do the teeth like that also by painting everything but the base of the teeth, keeping them black.

The other way would be to play a little with washes. That would work better for the skin than for the teeth I'd think, but it's also a pretty quick technique and a good next step for your painting. Overall, I think your highlighting is improving fast enough, so I'm certain you'll grasp working with shadows after a few tries. Good luck, and keep up the good work!

27-03-2007, 05:13
No real work done the past two days. I touched up the black primer coats with more black on spots the spray missed (I need to work on my can technique :)) and put on a very thin coat of dark green on the whole unit's skin. Robes get a basecoat tomorrow.

27-03-2007, 12:16
from what i have seen so far zenpotato, i think you are on track to make one great looking unit. good to see that you have gone your own way with the choice of colours

keep it up mate