Tag Archives: Drybrush

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.


Muscle Milk! Grrr…

Horace and his sidekick Blue run across some ugly creepers at the construction site.

Muscle group

These guys leaped out of my Reaper Bones pile and crossed the painting finish line pretty quickly. They are, from left to right, a Ghast, a Flesh Golem, and a Clay Golem. I didn’t realize it was a Clay Golem until later, so now he’s just a misshapen body builder with thuggish minion written all over him. Nothing special in their paint treatments; black primer, white dry-brush, bronzed flesh dry-brush on the clay golem, rotting flesh dry-brush on the other two, chestnut ink wash (diluted 50%) on clay golem, brown paint wash (diluted 50%) on the other two. The Clay golem then received a couple of dry-brush highlights of 50/50 bronzed flesh and white. The other two received bleached bone dry-brushed highlights and then 50/50 bleached bone and white dry-brush highlights. I really wanted to accent their darker recesses, clothing folds and muscle depths, but didn’t want them showing up as stark black and white in the finished minis. Brown and off-white worked well for my purpose.

I usually have four or five brushes going at once with things being dry-brushed, highlighted and washed all at the same time. I keep my brushes pretty clean, I’m rinsing them constantly in clean water to keep the paint from caking and drying in the bristles, that’s an easy way to lose a good brush. Having all three of these guys on my table at the same time with similar treatments going meant that while one was drying I could be working on the next and just kept them moving. It only took a few hours before they were ready for a satin tudor polyurethane dip and a 24 hour drying period..

Then they got matte sprayed, and a little more highlighting, really soft, where things got a bit too dark from the poly-wash. Then another matte spray.

Ghast Flesh Golemclay golem

For Horace, who makes me think of Taurus from Interstate ’76, I looked up pictures of Superfly and decided I wanted a more flamboyant color scheme, so purple shirt and white pants. the white pants are about three layers of dry-brushed white as I wanted them to be pretty bright with minimal shading.


As for his pal Blue…I don’t know where he came from. He’s a metal mini that ended up in my pile and I didn’t have a clear idea as to what to do with him, so I painted him blue with a bit of bronze hair. My daughter looked at him and thought he looked more like a woman, his musculature sculpting is pretty strange.

In other news; A friend is sending me a Reaper Bones Cthulhu model to paint and play with. ๐Ÿ˜€



WordPress is very happy to inform me that this is my thirtieth post, I’m not sure why that’s special. They just seem to like inventing and then celebrating milestones, yay! I was going to talk about painting an iron golem, but it’s 30th post time so I’ll start with something else, I’m still going to talk about the golem but he’ll be farther down the page, just jump down to the pictures.

When I turned thirty the world had turned upside-down. I had been working that summer as a Scenic Design instructor at the Fairbanks Summer Fine Arts Camp, back when they still had a big theatre program. Fairbanks gets ridiculously hot (104 degrees+) so I ate a great deal of ice cream at a place called Hot LIcks-which was totally awesome-sauce! They made all of their own ice cream and had some amazingly good flavors like Alaska Blueberry and Prudhoe Mud-slide (extra double-chocolate) and they were a life-saver to me as I’m a serious heat weenie (it’s the ice in the blood).


My then girlfriend and now wife…sounds weird to write it that way, feels like we’ve always been married ๐Ÿ™‚ … came to visit me at the camp and I got to show her around to places like Hot Licks and a spot where the pipeline passed close by the city and there was a little park there, I guess for viewing the pipeline, although there isn’t really anything to see…it’s just a big pipe.


However, when I took my later to be wife there I was overcome with the urge to propose, apparently pipelines are inherently romantic to theatre technicians, but didn’t, because I’m a technician and I analyze everything to make certain of teh consequences. She did sense that surge of excitement in me though and quizzed me about years later, she had guessed correctly what was on my mind, but waited for me to say it, but that didn’t happen for eight more months.ย She went home and I thought it over and decided it was the right course for my future, but then I got a phone call about my uncle Hans. I say uncle but actually he was no relation, my family kind of adopted him when they met him out in the Aleutians before I was born. Hans was a German immigrant who grew up in post WW2 Germany and had fantastic stories of being knocked out at a bread riot…by a loaf of bread, German bread is much harder than American cake bread. Anyway, Hans kind of raised me when I came along. My Dad and I never really connected, he wasn’t a bad guy, just busy, and tired, then sick for a long time before he passed away almost 14 years ago. He was a great guy, I just didn’t really know him. Hans was a huge determining factor in who I am today though and before I turned thirty, before I got married, before I had my children he died quite painfully in the hospital. The phone call I received in Fairbanks was that Hans was extremely ill in Homer and was going to be moved to Providence in Anchorage, which was good because small town hospitals are the death for serious illnesses, and he was seriously ill. Hans had been sick for quite some time it turned out, but hadn’t been telling anybody about it. He had also been a hardcore alcoholic his whole life and had managed to wreck most of his body internal body functions, but you wouldn’t know it as he always seemed so robust, unlike my dad who always seemed tired. I finished my summer contract and got back into Anchorage just in time to see Hans and talk with him for the few days before he passed. He gave me some money at the hospital to go buy him some socks as he claimed the doctors had stolen his so he couldn’t get away. A few days later he slipped into a coma and died. And I turned thirty. He did leave me a great deal of money, which was an immense surprise, so I was able to pay off my student loans, which left me free of debt and in a position to look forward in life, instead of always backwards at the mountain of debt I’d been carrying. Hans loved kids, I wish he’d gotten to meet and play with mine.



Hey look, a bronze golem!

I was working away on him, close to being done, and noticed the cracks on the back of his kilt and thought they were an odd choice. I looked in the Reaper online mins catalog and it turns out he’s a stone golem…well, whatever. For this fella I painted him black and then hit his body parts with a dark bronze metallic paint, then dry-brushed a copper metallic paint on top of that as I thought that process would add more luster and depth to the metallics.


I also washed him with a chestnut ink to see what that would do, seems to have made him shinier.


A bit of leather for his armbands and belt andlots of white brushing so his kilt would be bright.


Then some sand for his base, still not quite happy with my desert sand basing, I think I need to brush in some better highlights on the sand bits.


Next up, some muscle-bound dudes and Superfly go toe to toe to toe. ๐Ÿ™‚

Too busy to paint?

No such thing!


Have been crazy busy though as I went and bought a paper miniatures operation called One Monk Miniatures. A wonderful line of paper miniatures and models designed some years ago by the talented and reclusive James Hartman. You can check them out here;

http://onemonk.com/ ย ย OneMonk-Logo

That store site is currently disabled but there are a few freebies on One Book Shelf;


I also took control of the Cardboard Warriors Forum;


and I’m managing the Papercuts 2013 showcase. Pop in and have a look, maybe even make an entry;


Whew! And I’m still painting my Reaper Bones minis and having a great time doing so. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_5934 IMG_5938 IMG_5942 IMG_5948

Decided to play with the fish boys, Tiik Warriors I think Reaper calls them. Primed white, painted blue for the body, blue-grey for the heads and finny bits. Slapped blue ink on them and then dry-brushed lighter versions of the blue and the blue-grey on top. The scales catch the dry-brush quite nicely. Little off-white and yellow in the eyes, little red in the gills, dipped in satin tudor for the night. Matte sprayed the next morning, didn’t want to knock all of the shine off of these fish so I was really light with my spray matte. Bit more dry-brushing of the blue-grey with a bit of white to lighten it up. Flocked the bases with different colors of sand and did a bit of brown washing for shading and a little bit of highlighting on the sand. I was aiming for “Beach”, not quite sure if I got it, looks a bit more like desert to me.


Next up, a stone golem that I didn’t realize was a stone golem and gets painted as a brass/iron golem instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

Finishing bits

The past couple days I concentrated on getting through some pieces that were almost done, and have been that way for a while. The oldest of the lot is this Ork Warboss with a ridiculously large gun.ย ImageHe sat around with black primer and dry-brushed green skin base for over ten years. Next up is my new Lizardman Army Standard Bearer with Skink attendants.


He’s only been bouncing around my bench for three months so not too bad time-wise. Then, while I was waiting for different colors and basing glues to dry on the above two I started dry-brushing and washing colors onto my new Reaper Bones Earth Elemental;


One thing I forgot to mention on the Bones cyber-gorilla from last week was that the primer paint felt a little gooey until paint went on top of it. I made sure that the Earth Elemental got a nice soapy warm bath before getting primed and had no problems. This guy is enormous. Lots of little details and texture built into him, really fun to paint. I didn’t even notice the skeleton on his right shoulder until I started dry-brushing and then it just popped out at me, hey look what I found! I have no idea what that muscular blue dude in the third frame is, he wandered into my collection a long time ago and I just recently decided to paint him. I think he’s from some super-villain collection.

The finished Earth Elemental;


One of the many nice things about the Reaper Bones line is that they all come with an integrated base, many with interesting textural details. In this case I thought his base was a little small so I built a 60mm diameter base out of three layers of cardstock and added some extra rocks to the base.

Everybody here has been finished using the polyurethane dip and matt coat finishing method.

Tale of Two Skinks, part 2

Finally got back to painting after the wild rumpus of spring wound down. I’m an Auditorium Technician for the school district so I hop around designing lights and running sound for theatrical events, dance shows, concerts and recitals. Springtime is huge for us with every school doing their final productions of everything, and banquets, and speechifying evenings, and then all of the community groups come rolling in to do their performance. And I’m involved in a Historical Recrudescence Guild at the Renaissance Faire; I work as a woodcarver/carpenter demonstrating medieval carving and construction techniques and frightening small children with the disturbing and demented puppet heads I carve. But hey, that’s all calmed down so I can paint again and possibly get back to my papermodel designing.

When last we checked in on our intrepid skinks one had been primed white, the other black. The black primed one had then had a white drybrush applied to it’s raised surfaces. They both then had a nice coat of yellow laid on for their skin base. The first thing I noticed was that the white primed one was definitely brighter. I finished their other colors and dipped them in tudor satin polyurethane. They’ve been lightly sprayed with a matt coat in the following pictures but they do need one one more spray to even out the shine.


I like a lot of the color effect of the black primed with white drybrush, but to my eyes the white primed one is brighter. Simpler too as I have about sixty of these minis that I’ll be painting up and the black primed with white drybrush is pretty labor intensive. I’ll reserve that technique for more important minis; leaders, heroes, and special troops that I want to stand out from the rank and file.


Edit: For some reason WordPress recommended a tag label of “DNA Profiling”….I have no idea why. I’m going to start sneaking that phrase into more of my posts though.