Painting anything can be a big deal when you’re playing a game. It can take time, patience, and a specific know-how that turns a lot of people off to the hobby. Let me tell you a secret about mini painting though, it’s not hard to do and can be done for relatively cheap. Not only that, it’s worth it for any game no matter the level of skill you have and here’s why.
- Painting your minis makes your game visually pop more: If you’re playing your tabletop game or board game and the pieces are just gray or tan it won’t be as fun as painted minis. Even if you use three colors and just slap them on a mini you will still at least have those colors interacting with your board. When you really put in some effort though you’ll see your tabletop come to life with a new dimension.
When you paint your minis you own the game that much more: Every game that I play where I’ve painted pieces I feel a kind of ownership over it. Not the kind of thing that bothers me when other people touch my stuff (I would be livid if someone tried to hurt my painted pieces though). I proudly say “I painted these” and while I am honestly not even close to the great painters out there, I still feel proud of my work. Painting minis can really give that sense of satisfaction when showing friends.
- Painting minis makes a game uniquely yours: My biggest example for this would have to be Warhammer 40k. A lot of those players add their own touch to their armies by adding some unique insignia or picking their own paint designs. It’s amazing to watch those pieces and the personal lore that people come up with and explain to you when you pay attention to the details.
- Painting minis is cathartic: What most people tell me when they see my painted minis is “Oh my goodness that would bother me so much.” I find it to be the complete opposite. Having control over the details on a mini and being able to go over them and make those details how I want very much relaxes me and after I have finished I feel a very deep sense of accomplishment and pride in my work.
- Painting minis is a hobby that you can only get better at: As you keep painting you’ll find that you are getting better and better at it. You’ll get better brushes and better paints and you will discover more tips. Even after just a few months, you’ll have it really figured out and start posting to /r/mini-painting before you know it.
There are a lot of reasons to get behind painting minis but there are also some common reasons why people don’t want to paint minis. A lot of the points people make to me seem perfectly reasonable… if you haven’t tried painting before, but there are some serious rebuttals to honest concerns about painting minis.
- Mistakes: “What if I mess up?” Is what I hear most often. People are afraid of failure and that’s a very normal thing. Here’s the thing about most minis and painting them. There is no messing up. Yeah if you are trying to paint stormtroopers and you paint them lime green then you have not painted a movie replica stormtrooper. That’s alright though because you can make up some funny ridiculous expanded universe excuse! It’s not like you can’t use that piece.
- Price point: That is a pretty valid point for painting things. Part of the skill curve in painting is learning what is nice to paint with and what the useful things to buy are. I usually advise people to start buying in their interest. If you have a 40k army that you’re painting then that’s one thing, but even then most of those armies use color schemes that save on paints. Try buying the paints you need to complete a mini and if you can’t buy the best brushes and things of that sort at first then don’t sweat it. All collections have to be built and painting has been that way for me.
- Patience (or lack thereof): I’m not going to lie, I’ve rushed a paint job because I’ve been impatient before and sometimes my minis have suffered from that. The hobby does demand patience much like any other form of painting and drawing. The more patience and time you put into a mini the better it will generally look too. The thing about painting though is you can always just put a mini down and go back to it later.
There are a lot of things that can hold people back from painting minis for games or otherwise but the honest truth of it is that any of these communities love interested painters, and they work to help and cultivate these talents. I would encourage anyone to look up the subreddit for mini painting to learn any basic techniques. On top of that if you have a specific model you want to paint a specific way then look it up on YouTube. There are tutorials for just about any fandom (even Zombicide!) If you want any particular person that we like be sure to email us through the contact page.
All of that being said there are a few recommendations that I have for a starting painter that would be good advice and some things you should immediately invest in.
- Buy a palette of some kind: There are multiple places to buy palettes and a lot of different palette types. Wet palettes are more useful for the acrylic paints and are used to keep your paints wet for longer. Whatever you end up doing don’t paint our of your bottles
- Plan your colors: Look at your mini and decide what kind of colors you want on the figure. This is going to help you in two important ways. First, you won’t end up buying any unnecessary paints that you end up not using. Second, you won’t end up missing any colors for your mini. Maybe you realize that there’s a piece of leather and you didn’t buy that shade of brown for your first mini. Picking your colors allows you to plan ahead and avoid unnecessary spending. I didn’t have all of the core colors until after five or six minis. Also don’t be afraid to mix colors in order to make another color! For example, if you have a dark brown but need a lighter shade, feel free to mix white and brown paints and it’ll lighten up the tone.
- Don’t be afraid to own the mini: This is your creation and in my opinion is an artistic expression. What you’re doing is art so even if it’s a replica don’t be afraid to express yourself.
- Don’t give up either: Painting skills can only increase so don’t be discouraged. Not only that; if you mess up, too bad there are ways to including just painting over your mistake or owning it. On top of that if you start to lose details there are paint removers, (etc).
- Seal your Minis: I’m trying to avoid giving technical tips because they are easy to find and learning is a fun and personalized process. That being said remember these are game pieces and they are going to be touched all over all the time by everyone. That being said be mindful of that and seal your minis with a matte finish to keep them from looking like water. I never sealed my first mini and I loved it. He is chipped now and while he still has a warm place in my heart he is a little messed up.
Painting obviously has its own rules, pros, and cons but mostly you’ll never know if it’s for you until you try. I strongly encourage anyone who has pieces to be painted to look it up and give it a shot.
That wonderful 40k Buzz Lightyear courtesy of instagram user Will_Paints wonderful job mate and thank you! You can go directly to the image here.
Be sure to let us know how your Mini painting has turned out @nblogcollective on twitter and facebook below. Have any topics you’d like us to talk about? Use our ‘contact us’ page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Also for any veterans out there feel free to give encouragement or advice in our comment section. If you know anyone interested in mini-painting or want to go in half with a friend be sure to share our article with the links below and as always: