The Working Phases

The Work Phases

1. Preparation of the miniature including:

  • Washing for production residues
  • Remove Flash and Mold Lines
  • Sharpening up fine details
  • Apply Green Stuff or Milliput (optional)

2. Choose Color Schemes & Shadows & Base details

  • Draft a painting plan (undercoat, base coat colors / number of layers / level of details)
  • Define the type of washes & shadows you want to use
  • Define what you will do with the miniature base
  • Decide (if possible) to paint parts or all assembled

3. Primer Coat (Spray/Airbrush/Brush) including:

  • Base colorZenital Light
  • Other Source Lightning (OSL)

4. Base Coats

5. Lining between elements of the miniature

6. Washes

7. Dry-Brushing and/or Blend

8. Figure Details Highlights

9. Edge Highlights

10. Add finishing touches to the base

11. Varnish (Spray/Airbrush)


Colors 101 basics

  • Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue
    In traditional color theory (used in paint and pigments), primary colors are the 3 pigment colors that cannot be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colors are derived from these 3 hues.
  • Secondary Colors: Green, orange and purple. These are the colors formed by mixing the primary colors.
  • Tertiary Colors: Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green. These are the colors formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color. That’s why the hue is a two word name, such as blue-green, red-violet, and yellow-orange.


Questions & Answers

Undercoating : Black, White, Grey or all three? Why ?

  • If you have ever painted a bright color over a dark primed miniature, you have experienced how difficult it is to get brilliant colors without priming with white or a very light color. Also, you may find that it takes many coats of a dark color to obtain full coverage over a white or very light primer.
  • Some recommend priming with a gray color as a compromise between the two. In my experience, this is the worst of both worlds. You can usually never get truly vibrant colors over gray, even less so over black. They will always be somewhat subdued, so keep that in mind. If you want less saturated colors, you may want to paint over gray or black primer. It really depends what look you’re trying to achieve.
  • Assuming that you paint with thinned acrylic paint (which you should) you will need to paint several coats over gray primer to get either bright or very dark colors. This often covers over details unless you’re careful to apply very thin layers of paint and carefully prevent accumulation. Much more importantly when using acrylics, painting over gray, it’s difficult to get the full dynamic range of bright and dark colors. Your pieces may end up looking drab.

What is a good book that provides insight on matching color patterns, paint schemes, complementary colors ? (Similar to the tables proposed by Games Workshop)

What is the correct paint consistency to be efficient (time vs quality) and still have the possibility to get enough details on your layers ? (When to use Army Painter – diluted or not ? When to use Vallejo ?)

Is it true that the Primer doesn’t really harden properly for 24 hours ?


What is the black-washing technique ?

  • Some miniature painters use a technique called blackwash or preshading to prime their miniatures. This technique involves priming with black primer, then drybrushing highlights with white.
  • Using blackwashing to prime this way, you can achieve both dark shadows and bright highlights. More about blackwashing from How-to-paint-miniatures:
    • High Contrast Painting: If you have ever basecoated with a dark color and then tried to get light highlights or used a white basecoat and then tried to get truly dark shadows, this blackwashing technique may provide you with a method of getting the best of all worlds.Since the areas of the miniature that will be in shadow are basecoated dark, the shadows will be easy to get sufficiently dark. The same goes for highlights, which will have a light basecoat and thus will be easy to get bright paints not to “die” on a dark background.
    • Quick and Dirty Painting: Another time when blackwashing is wonderful is when you want to get a mini painted quickly for use in a game and don’t have the time to do the piece justice, though you will likely want to paint the piece well later on at your leisure. Applying a blackwash and drybrushing afterwards makes the details of the piece stand out on a gaming table without the time needed to complete the peice in normal painting techniques.
    • When blackwashing, mix black with water and apply to the miniature heavily. The wash should be just thin enough to flow over the miniature but not to get everywhere. This technique tends to be messy, so put newspapers or other absorbent materials over your work area before beginning.Let the paint dry before proceeding. This can take some time, since the painted areas have a lot of water on them. You can speed this process by placing an incandescent lamp which produces heat near the miniature.

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