The Basics Number 2 - Painting 10mm & 15mm Figures
Where to StartThis article assumes you have completed the preparation mentioned in article 1 The Basics – Getting Ready to Paint (figures have been flashed, mounted on sticks and primed black).
First determine the color scheme you will use – for historical figures you will generally have some specific uniform colors to match while you have much more latitude with Fantasy and Science Fiction figures. Either way you do need to have the desired look clearly in mind before you start painting.
For Fantasy and Science Fiction armies it is generally helpful to select one or two colors that all units will share to tie your army together visually. Then individual units can have their own accent colors so that the final result looks like a cohesive army but there is still some distinction between units.
In painting 10mm and 15mm figures I suggest that you paint one complete unit at the same time. So when you start to paint faces you will paint them on the entire unit before moving on to paint shirts. This will make the best use of your time and insure that the colors stay uniform within a unit.
Painting SkinOnce you have decided on colors, start your painting with skin, hands and faces, on one complete unit. First paint a dark flesh tone, but leave a bit of the black showing through in deep crevasse like between the fingers. Once dry you can then paint on a flesh tone one shade lighter on the higher areas (knuckles, noses, cheeks, foreheads). This will help accent the higher areas and add more depth to the figures. You can purchase many different flesh tones and use them for lighter and darker colors or mix your own by using a dark skin tone and adding a bit of white to make a lighter shade.
Painting EyesAt this scale eyes can generally be applied as black dots. Use your finest brush and just dab for a small dot of black. Alternatively purchase a fine point (0.2mm or smaller) permanent marker and use it to dot the eyes. If you are really up for a challenge then paint the eyes with a white almond shape and then paint the black dot. Make sure that the black dot touches the top and bottom of the white area.
Paint the lips with a very fine line of mixed flesh tone and a tiny bit of red to highlight the mouth.
Paint From The Skin OutNow paint the figures from the skin out. So after flesh you will paint hair (eyebrows, moustaches, sideburns, etc.) and then shirts before you paint jackets. Continue to leave the black exposed in the deepest folds and crevasses of the figure to help indicate depth and to provide some separation of areas and colors.
HighlightingThe figures are many times smaller than actual and to give them a more “lifelike” appearance some exaggeration in painting is required. This means that the colors we use will be a bit more vibrant and the highlights and shading a bit more extreme to make this little 10mm or 15mm figure look more real.
As you paint a shirt first paint the darkest shade of the shirt and then, once that is dry, highlight the highest parts with one shade lighter of the same color. Think of these highlights as snow on the peaks of mountains in the middle of the summer. The snow only clings to the tops of the highest mountains and does not extend down into the valleys or plains. Our highlights are the same; they should only be on the peaks such as the top of folds of uniform.
Continue to paint the rest of the uniform and equipment working out from the flesh.
WashesOnce your painting is complete you can consider using a wash. Washes are the reverse of highlighting as you are trying to add more dark color to the deepest folds and crevasse of the figures. Inks work well for washes and are readily available in hobby and art supply stores. When applying inks use a darker color ink, brown works well, and apply with a brush so that it mainly settles into the folds and crevasse. You can also make your own wash by diluting your paint to a very thin consistency with water and using it like the ink.
SealingThere are many fine spray and paint on clear coat products available from hobby and art supply stores. Generally glossy is more durable and matt is less durable but looks more realistic. You can coat the completed figures once with a gloss sealer and then after drying coat again with a matt finish sealer to create a durable and attractive look . Be careful to apply thin coats of the sealer as some sealers will leave a milky residue is applied too thick.
Once the figures are sealed and dry you can base them as needed for your rule system.