Saturday, April 10, 2021

First Time Tabletop Gaming Miniature Figure Painting

I've been in awe of the magnificent pictures I've seen on social media of people customizing and decorating their wargaming and board game pieces. Over the last few months I've been reading up and getting tips from people on how to do a spectacular job with the hobby of miniature figure painting. And finally I dropped a brush in paint and gave it a try.

We've been having some great family game nights playing Marvel United but I have to admit the figures used in it looked kinda blah. So I decided to add some color to a few of the figures that came in the Marvel United exclusive Kickstarter bundle. The game provided all the heroes in blue plastic and villains in red. It was time to do something about that and add some more color to our gameplay.

Being that I haven't done any hobby painting before, I started with some of the expansion pack figures so in case my paint job ended looking really bad the core box set wouldn't look like crap. We decided our next game night match would be inspired by the Netflix Marvel superhero shows so my first round of painting involved detailing Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist along with Bullseye and Kingpin. It was time to bring The Defenders to our Marvel United tabletop gaming adventures.

First thing I did was cover each of the figures with primer. This makes sure acrylic paint adheres to miniature figures and models. There are some fancy (and pricey) primers you can purchase specifically for wargaming and board game pieces but I just went with a flat grey Rust-oleum primer from my local Ace Hardware. It provided a nice coating without obscuring any of the figures' details. Some experienced painters recommended just going with Rust-oleum and it seems to have worked out well.

Now it was time to start painting. I'd bought some paints through Kickstarter from Scale75 that were promoted as miracle paints for gamers that would provide an awesome look without having to monkey around with diluting and texturing your colors. That turned out to be an expensive mistake! The colors I initially used were too watery, runny and flowed all over the place. I decided to stop using Scale75 after a few mishaps. The lessons you learn when starting to do new things for the first time. Live and learn!

I had bought some paint sets for the Star Wars Legion wargame that I haven't gotten around to unboxing and playing around with yet. I have to say these Fantasy Flight Games paints were easy to use and I though looked really good too. So these Star Wars paints have what I've been primarily working with on these Marvel United figures.

My Star Wars paints haven't contained all the colors though I needed so have made a few visits to the local hobby store to get some Army Painter and Citadel Colour. I used Army Painter Barbarian Flesh for skin coloring and some Citadel Nuln Oil for doing some shading. These are the three brands I'm probably going to stick with going forward.

Starting out using a Size 1 brush was just not working out. There were too many intricate details that this size brush though small was too big to pinpoint spots with. I purchased some size 0 - 0(5x) brushes and things got a lot easier once I began using them. Though you can still see some overpaints.

My hand-eye coordination and eyesight just aren't that great so honestly there were some areas where I struggled in painting. Specifically, the circles on Bullseye's costume had a lot of difficulty with. I'm not very happy with how Bullseye turned out but don't have an unlimited amount of time to work on one figure so it is what it is. Anyhow my focus is to make the figures more attractive to play with not works of art so at some point taking in mind there will be wear and tear for use some of these figures just need to be good enough. I'm dreading painting Captain America though after the tough time had with Bullseye.

Luke Cage's face gave me some difficulties too. I'm going to have to work on the shading for darker skin tones because the coloring was so dark it began covering up some of the facial details.  Need to do some experimenting with mixing color tones to improve on that.

Also coloring eyes were a real pain! I'm not sure if I have the dexterity to do these nicely. Even using a 00000 brush was struggling on trying to paint detailed eyes on such a small space. I've seen some people do an amazing job on this aspect of miniature's face but right now don't have the skill or expertise to get it done to look really nice. Maybe I'll just keep the whole face skin tone with some wash on details like the eyes and mouth? If anyone has any tips when it comes to eyes let me know!

Now that I've tried tabletop gaming miniature painting for the first time feel more comfortable moving forward with some more projects. I have learned a lot about dos and don'ts plus know there is a lot more for me to learn about moving forward. Plenty of room for improvement but for the first time dipping my brush into hobby painting don't think they turned out too bad.

Stay tuned for more updates as I have a whole lot more Marvel United characters to paint.

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