November 8, 2010

How do I paint/assemble my minis. A brief Tutorial.

Hi again gamer fellas, long time no see.

Well, I moved and I´ve been doing a little less painting and a bit more videogaming, but I´m on the way again.

Today I´m gonna explain you how I assemble my minis, cause is a thing my mates laughed until they had to paint big minis.

First of all I cut the minis out of the sprue, then I proceed to blade-file the mould lines and then I´m prepared to paint.

Wait... do you paint the minis unassembled?

Yep, is the best way to not mess around with this pieces too near to other pieces to be painted and to get the full mini painted, with no unpainted gaps.

What I do is paint them in batches as big as you can paint them without mess or paint other areas.

1 st E.G.: if the mini to be painted is an eldar guardian, I´ll glue every piece except the head (cause it usually is painted white) and the weapon arm, notice that I´ll glue the arm that support the weapon but not the arm that holds and fires the weapon, it will be painted apart.

2 nd E.G.: if the mini to be painted is a kroot it will be glued completely, since the gaps between the weapon and the body are big enough to be painted easily.

3 rd E.G.: if the mini to be painted is a crisis suit/wraithlord/dreadnought I will paint the mini piece by piece, because there are some techniques (drybrush mainly) that can mess with other parts of the mini, and they are too big to be hold properly since I like to paint with my hands supported by a table to gain "aim" and precision.

When I got the mini glued in the proper pieces, I start to paint following an order, not the classical prime/basecoats/inks/hightlights/details order, but an order in which the first piece painted is the one that I want to paint... less.

Look at the following picture:

It is a full team of XV-8 Crisis Battlesuit ready to be assembled.
The first part I painted were the feet, (note to people that don´t know the tau: the first from the left) cause is a piece that don´t get much attention and is easy to paint but tedious, boring and since it is tiny is weird to handle.
The next piece were the hands (the piece on the left of the torsos), because is kinda like the feet, tedious, boring and they will go covered with weapons so they don´t need as many attention as the weapons they carry.
Next are the torsos (the biggest pieces).
The torsos are strange, because they are full of posibilities, but since GW´s moulds are a bit lame they tend to be tricky to assemble (they come in three separate parts) and, therefore, tricky to paint and fill the gaps properly.
With the torsos I came to a particular mental state in which I have two separate threads of thinking at the very same time:
.- Hmmm I can do here some markings and blend this part, I can make here some weird effect and bla bla bla.
.- Dammit they are so big, I´ve been painting this piece for ages, I want to finish it... NOW.
So I tend to finish them as soon as Ican.
The next ones are the head, the weapons, the multitracker and finally the legs, and the legs goes last for a reason, they are the key to the mini, if you don´t have the legs painted and assembled to the mini, you can´t put it in a base, so you´ll got the mini lying around and the shame will strike you every time you look at it.
Well they are very easy to paint and a nice squared piece too :)
Another important thing to me is paint squads and don´t move to other mini until I have the whole squad painted, because I´m kinda unconstant and I know I´ll never be back to paint the unfinished minis.
How, in the name of the god emperor, did I achieve the full-squad-painting?
Painting them in playing batches.
Playing batches?
Yes, go to your codex and look at the sizes of the squads, for example, you can have minimum squads of five marines, five dire avengers but the minimum for fire warriors are six guys and kroots are ten man minimum squads.
Then take a look at the number of minis that come in the boxes, and look to the patience within yourself.
Once I know how big is the minimum squad for the minis I am going to paint, I divide the minis in playing batches, this is:
I paint the space marines in batches of five guys, the fire warriors in batches of three or six guys (it depends of my patience and constancy at the moment of the painting), the kroots in full minimum squads and so on.
The only difference are the squaded war machines (crisis suits and wal walkers mainly), cause I paint them in batches of three (the full maximum squad).
Now that the minis are painted, the next step is assemble them, and the order I normally do it is:
First of all glue the parts that will go together and should not be clued creatively, that is weapon+arm in the crisis suits, torso+backpack in the space marines, etc...
The next step is to glue the legs with the torso. The torso+legs combination is what will give the 80% of the position of the mini, this decide whether your mini is running, or attacking, or surveying the battlefield, or charging to head-butt the enemy, or even jumping, or whatever.
Then I usually glue it to the base (in the case of the crisis suits or wraithlords there is a middle step that is... gluing the feet to the legs).
When the mini is glued to the base is far way easier to handle it and keep it standing to visualize the next steps.
Once the legs are glued, I usually glue the arms or the weapons when the mini doesn´t have any arms (war walkers... I´m looking at you), and with this the position of the mini is almost complete.
In this picture the arms are going to be glued... beware! :)
The final main step is to glue the head and it goes last because all the assembling steps can be wasted if the mini is shooting at something in front of it and the head is looking to something in its back.
So the head has to compliment the mini´s global position, that is the reason why the head is the last piece to be glued.

And in this case the minis stand without base... yipey!

After the head is glued on, I add the final details, in the crisis of the photos the final details are the missile pods and the multitrackers albeit they are parts that I usually glue to the torso before I start to glue the torso to the legs, they were hidden below a book, so they came last :D
And then, I got my minis fully painted and assembled with no unpainted gaps.

This is only to show you they really stand, that they aren´t glued to the table :)