Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.

The production line, painting miniatures in bulk, part 4: from base colours to details

Once you base colours are on to your satisfaction there is another step, and that is to make each colour stand out. From part 3 we divided each model into several areas for painting. We revisit those areas for the detail stage.


If you’re a washer or a dipper, you can effectively skip this step. It is a great time saver, it’s not my preferred method though. However, dips are great and will speed up your painting. For this part I assume you aren’t dipping and are instead going to shade and highlight each model.

4.1 The re-gathering

In part 3 we gathered all our paints and models and in part 4 we do that again. The paints will be the same, however you’ll need some lighter and darker tones.

4.2 Simple guide to detail

Shading and highlighting can be daunting terms to the new painter – they were to me. These days I think of this step as “make the light bits lighter and the dark bits darker” and that is what I do.

4.3 Staring

Have a look at the models and identify any folds in cloak or general depths of the models. These are the areas we will make darker.

Next look for the edges of clothing or weapons and facial or skin topography. These raised areas are what we’ll make lighter.

4.4 Mix it up

For shading, find a paint a few tones darker than your initial base colour. Lay this on the deepest areas, then mix in some of your original colour and paint the next layer. For speed, we aren’t going to worry about blending, the effect is to avoid having models that look flat.

Highlighting is the reverse. Find a paint a few tones lighter and brush that lightly over the raised areas. You want some short, quick strokes for this, and focus on the edges of raised area. Noses, knuckles, blade edges, jacket corners. A few touches were an there are all each model needs.

The result


The skeletons were interesting. For these I:

darkened the metal

lightened the bows and spear hafts

lightened the quivers

lightened the fletching

I didn’t touch the bone as the initial wash did a good job in terms of bringing out the details of each model. Highlighting small areas like the fletching is good for giving the effect of a varied paint job on the tabletop without requirement a huge investment of time. A minute or so was all it took for those 8 archers.

The next part will cover basing, which is as important as any other part of the model. Simple, striking, basing doesn’t have to take forever and can really tie an army together.



This entry was posted on September 6, 2015 by in Painting & Modelling and tagged , , , .
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