Painting the lizard

I realized that I’ve talked about my painting process for minis but hadn’t posted a step-by-step set of pics. So here goes. 🙂

I start by priming my minis black, which makes for a poor photograph, and I usually use spray primer. Why not white or grey or green? I use to prime them grey but the end result was kind of muddy and it was too much work to brighten details. So I started priming everything white, but then the end result can look bright but a little washed out and I had to go back in and add shading to give the paint job depth. My current favorite technique is to prime them black and then dry-brush a heavy coat of white on all of the raised surfaces.


The areas that I left black are ones that will get metallic paints applied to them. The metallics look better dry-brushed onto a black background. Next is to apply base colors to everything.


These are just base colors with no shading or highlights. For items like those turtle shell shields I made every effort not to let the green paint get into the cracks in the shells, I wanted those to stay extra dark. Now here is the part where I’ve become lazy in my old age; The next step is to dunk them into a glossy polyurethane stain and varnish and let them dry overnight.

after dip+spray.jpg

I’ve been using a Tudor brown stain and it has the nice effect of leaving a dark residue in any crevices and adding better depth to the colors. This is often referred to as, “the dip”. It can be messy so I keep a number of disposable brushes handy and some mineral spirits for cleanup. After they come out of the dip the stain often wants to drip and glob in the wrong places (under the jaws and tails) and I give them a quick hit with the mineral spirits brush to thin the globby areas. After this they get sprayed with a matt varnish coat, which knocks down the shine, I don’t like super shiny minis. Then they get their bases decorated with a little bit of white glue and some scenic flocking or sand.


They then get one more spaying of matt varnish to make sure that their basing material is protected and these little fellas are done!

For matt sprays the ones I see most often in game stores are Armory brand, about $3, and Army Painter brand, about $6. I highly recommend the Army Painter brand as the Armory brand seems to get cloggy and spitty. The Army Painter brand has been very consistent in it’s quality and I greatly prefer it, despite the higher price.