One thing I’ve learnt about painting things quick while still looking nice/decent is to cut down as much steps as possible.
The following points that I use may help in giving you decent table top miniatures:
1) Use as little paints/colours as possible, and keep the same colours as close together as possible.
This means that you can afford to paint (relatively) large portions of the model quickly since you don’t need to worry about paint creeping in to other areas. In addition, less colours = less steps.
2) Shade with the same colours/inks/washes
Like 1, this cuts your number of steps. Why shade your browns with 1 colour and yellows with another when you can shade both at the same time?
3) Work from messiest to neatest, and from hardest to clean up to easiest to clean up.
The less you need to clean up, and the easier it is, the faster everything will go.
4) Spend extra time on some small part of the model, like extra gems or free hand and make sure they look good.
These bits usually take relatively little time (because they’re so small), but they’re the first thing people look at in a model. Having these look good generally convinces the viewer that the rest of the model was painted to the same level.
5) If you’re the kind of person that needs to have every miniature be perfect, always remember that 30 painted models to a decent standard looks a lot better on the table than 1 perfect miniature and 29 primed ones.
In a perfect world, everyone would have all the time to paint their minis to the standard that they like, but this is the real world. Often real life catches up and we’re left with a lot less time than we wish we had to paint. Sometimes you have to relax your own standard to make sure that you sea of black/silver minis gets painted. A fully painted army will encourage you to paint more, and besides you can always spend more time on your important models.
Usually about 6 colours (Primary colour, secondary colour, Gold metal, Silver Metal, Flesh, Leather) in about 3 colour ranges (Base, Shadow, Highlight) is more than sufficient to give your models a good range of colour. The Winterguard on top were painted in such a way (Light Blue, Red, Gold, Silver, Flesh, Brown). The Holy zealots were painted with even less colours (Menoth White, Sanguine, Gold, Silver, Flesh) and they still look pretty decent.
The shading/highlighting can usually be done in 4 easy steps. Basecoat, wash, re-block in the basecoat and then highlights (some colours may not even need highlights, your mileage may vary). Now some people like to basecoat, drybrush highlight, wash, and re-drybrush highlight again which is actually even shorter than my method but I never seem to get good results with my drybrushing, and prefer the control that my method gives me.
To end this article, here’s a very quick run through about what I did for the Monolith Bearer. It’s a bit different than the zealots, but I figured that more time could be spent on it since it was a unit attachment. Even then you realise he’s only 6 colours also (grey, white, sanguine, gold, silver, yellow rope/cloth since there’s no flesh exposed).
You can see I started with all the messy things first. The grey on the Monolith, the metals that are usually a bitch to clean up, that sort of thing. Then a very quick and dirty basecoat with Menoth white, and wash with a mix of black and brown ink on what will end up white. You can see how messy it is now. No worries since it’s relatively light, we can fix it in the next step.
Next I blocked in the Sanguine, and cleaned up the white before blocking in the rest of the colours and shading a second time. Here I made a bit of a mistake. I will be shading almost everything (except the sanguine) with black/brown ink, so what I should have done was finish blocking everything before washing, and then blocking with basecoat again. This would have helped save 1 step with no noticeable difference in quality.
Incidentally, instead of using a mix of brown and black ink, I believe a wash of Devlan Mud is more than sufficient. The new GW washes are great for quick painting, and Devlan Mud is no exception. It’s a dark desaturated brown allowing it to be a suitable shade/wash for blacks, whites, greys and browns of every shade and stripe. I’ve only had my Devlan Mud for a few months and already it’s running out, as opposed to some of my paints I’ve had for ages.
Lastly, washing down the entire model with the ink mix, washing the red cloth with Sanguine Base mixed with Dark Angels green (which darkens it without ‘killing’ the colour the way black would), and then re-highlighting back up again.
I finished this model in a few hours, and while it’s definitely not my best work, I believe it’s very presentable and looks pretty good from the tabletop.
Thanks for being with me this Wednesday, and always remember, a simple paintjob painted neatly and well is generally better than a complicated paintjob painted sloppily! It’s something that I usually forget sometimes, so make sure you don’t!
That’s it for this week’s Wednesday Workshop, what are your tricks for painting something quickly to a decent tabletop standard?