• Paint: I suggest acrylic paint. There are acrylic paints specifically made for models, such as Vallejo, Mig Jiminez, and Citadel Paint. These paints have strong colors and good durability. You can wash your brush with water. Some people also use enamel paint, lacquer paint, or oil paint. I don’t suggest using these paints because they are stinky and require special brush cleaners.
  • Brush: One good quality brush is more useful than several cheap brushes. My favorite is the Raphael 8404 brush; I usually have one size 2 brush for painting large areas and a 0 or 00 brush for painting fine details. You will also want to hang onto some old brushes for effects.
  • Glue: For resin miniatures, the best choice is generally superglue. Loctite 401 is the brand I usually use. For plastic miniatures, you will need plastic cement. Epoxy glue is also useful, especially when joining parts that don’t fit together snugly.
  • Hobby Tools: You will at least need a palette and a knife. The palette is where you hold and mix your paint. The knife can be used for cleaning the miniature prior to painting. Later on, you can get a file, pin vise, needlenose pliers, part snippers, texture rollers, and all kinds of wonderful things.
  • Hobby Supplies: Epoxy putty is a type of clay that comes in two parts. Brass wire in various thicknesses is useful. Sand and texture flock can be used to add texture to bases.

Preparing your Miniatures

Clean off any printing defects using a file or a sharp knife. Mass produced miniatures will often have mold lines that need to be trimmed away or filed down. 3D printed miniatures will often have bits of their support still attached.

If a part is bent, it can be easily fixed using the hot water-cold water technique. Dip the part in hot water. Be careful- hot water is hot. Take it out and bend it into the correct shape. Then, immediately put it in the cold water.

I usually assemble my miniatures before I begin painting. Other people prefer to paint each part individually, then assemble them at the end. The choice is yours.

You can use a painting handle so you don’t need to touch the miniature while painting it. This can protect both your paint job and your hands. Painting handles are sold by certain miniature companies. Alternatively, you can use anything that feels good in your hand. I tend to use old medicine bottles and plastic soju cups. The miniature can be attached to the handle using sticky putty, like Uhu Patafix.

Basic Painting Techniques

Priming is the first step in painting a miniature. A primer is a special paint which sticks to plastic and resin well. There are brush primers and spray primers.

Blocking is the process of painting the base colors on a miniature. Usually, people begin with the midtone color. For many beginners, this is the only technique you will need. It is better to apply multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat of paint.

Shading is adding shadow. You can use acrylic inks or shade paints which naturally flow into the recessed parts of the miniature. Alternatively, you can shade manually using regular paint. For most materials shadows should be darker, less saturated, and cooler than the base color.

Hilighting is the opposite of shading; this is when you add the bright colors to the miniature. Edge hilighting is when you specifically hilight the edges of a model; this is particularly useful for robots, tanks, and anything else with hard edges.

Drybrushing is when you apply paint with very little water. This technique can be used for hilighting, since when you drybrush the paint will mostly stick to the raised areas of the miniature. It can also be used for adding texture, weathering, or picking out fine details. Please note that drybrushing is damaging to brushes, so most people either use a cheap brush or an old brush.

Blending is when you mix colors on the miniature. Wet blending is done when you apply a layer of paint over paint that has not dried yet. It allows you to get great color graduation. Dry blending is done when you apply a thin or semi-transparent layer of color over dry paint. Some companies make blending layer paint which is designed for this. In other cases, you can make paint transparent by adding a drop or two of transparency medium.

Varnishing is the last step, when you cover the miniature with a protective layer. Some people skip this technique as the varnish can change the color or appearance of your paint job.

There are hundreds of other techniques.

Your first miniature will be ugly. It’s okay. That’s the first step of learning. I asked my mother in Canada if she had a picture of the first miniature I painted when I was 13 years old. She didn’t, because it was too ugly to take a picture of.