Daily Illuminator

April 23, 2022: NI3DP Part 10 A Digression Into Painting

I suppose it's technically possible to get into 3D printing without also painting the models. But I couldn't resist. I love playing with miniatures, the prettier the better, and I hadn't realized how much I missed painting them. Also, it turns out that I'm already better than I used to be. It helps to have better paints to use and better minis to use them on!

Here's where I give up any attempt at "writing" as we know it, and simply dive into bullet points of Things I Have Learned. I'm not a brilliant painter, and probably never will be, but since I have to make technique substitute for talent . . . I pay close attention to technique. Some of these might help you.

• There are lots of websites and YouTube videos with coaching, some of it very talky, some of it useful (I'm looking at you, Mister Useful Squidmar  thank you).

• Toning varnish (Quickshade) is good stuff, but the makers tell you to dip the mini in the can, or at least lard the stuff on heavily. I've found that I like the results better if I use the lightest tone and brush it on carefully  you can even use different colors on the same mini.

• You need a good light. With my eyes, I need a really good light. So get one.

• The trick you see in the videos, where they stick a mini to a paint bottle or something to give it a handle to hold it while you paint? Not a gimmick. Totally worthwhile. The purpose-made handles you can buy? Sure, but paint bottles and blue sticky stuff are every bit as good. Save the money for . . .

• Wet palettes. They are a great, great goodness. You can make your own, but for the price of a good pizza you can buy a commercial palette. RedGrass is a good brand. I invented a little improvement that I should write up someday.

• I don't know if YOU need to brace both hands to draw a straight line, but I do. The little bitty finger muscles are the ones that do the work.

• Tiny brushes don't make my hand any steadier; they just tempt me to try to dot in places that I ought to be covering some other way. A brush of moderate size is fine for many things. On the other hand, with a triangular handle (like those from Army Painter), I have a good chance of controlling the tiny brush when nothing else will do.

• 3D printing can produce models with marvelous, realistic undercuts that are a PAIN to paint.

• If you're going to paint an army, plan on expending several figures to test different primers and paint. That's just how it goes. Don't go into mass production until you have a combo that delights you. And, by all that's holy, keep notes.

• Wash that brush. Yes, again.

• Don't drink the paint water.

-- Steve Jackson


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