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Lea tries to learn to paint minis

Stephen Lea Sheppard

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Previously I was posting these in The Wyzard tries to learn to paint minis: A step-by-step guide to fucking up everything, but it's time I had my own thread. Here's my Imgur album, where all my stuff eventually goes.

Today's theme is basing experiments.




As the Imgur album says, this is baking soda stuck to a Reaper 1" base with superglue, primed with Reaper brush-on primer (white; second image right shows a primed, unpainted base), then painted with a layer of Reaper dirty bone, washed with Reaper brown wash, then heavily drybrushed with another layer of dirty bone and finally lightly drybrushed with Reaper bleached linen. I was going for "Desert."

It doesn't really work. The Reaper brown wash is far too dark, I messed up the heavy drybrush layer in the back left of the painted base (too much paint; it went right into the washed recesses), and also during painting of the initial layer of dirty bone, the basing texture started to smear, either because the primer wasn't fully dried or because it wasn't fully sealing away the baking soda and the latter started to melt. That said, it's a good first experiment. I made three more of them immediately, then primed them and left them to dry overnight. A better experiment will involve using black spray primer instead of white brush-on primer, but I don't have a good spray station set up yet, so that'll wait.

I then did research into using baking soda for basing online, to see if anyone else had been having the smearing problem and what they'd done to fix it. What I found was that people were having a much, much worse problem: If not completely sealed away from ambient moisture, baking soda eventually (as in, years later) melts into a yellowish sludge and leaks out of whatever fixative it's suspended in, potentially ruining any model stuck to it. Reports on this are inconsistent, and it's really hard to say whether it's a function of how well the soda bicarbonate is sealed away or just how humid an environment it's stored in, but I don't think the superglue-soda-primer sandwich is completely moisture-proof so this is not a long-term viable basing method.

I'll try again with unscented talcum and report back. Also, by then I should have tiny rocks and flocking elements, so those'll be in there as well!

(I know I could just use sand. The problem is, I basically agree with folks that go "Next to a 28mm scale mini, sand looks like very large gravel; you need something ultrafine to simulate actual sand at that scale.")
 
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Asmodai

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Huh. Didn't know that about baking soda. Powdered sugar would be right out too and salt would just dissolve when you try to glue it.

You can buy powdered silica - which is basically superfine sand - but personally I wouldn't want it in my house (potential lung irritant).
 

Stephen Lea Sheppard

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Huh. Didn't know that about baking soda. Powdered sugar would be right out too and salt would just dissolve when you try to glue it.

You can buy powdered silica - which is basically superfine sand - but personally I wouldn't want it in my house (potential lung irritant).
If you want an ultrafine particulate that's not water-soluble, I think your only options are lung irritants. Like, if something is ultrafine and not a lung irritant, that's because it's soluble and so won't get stuck in the lungs.

I'll just carefully use small quantities of talcum and cross my fingers.
 
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Happy Matt

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Lea you can also get a medium body gel acrylic at art supply stores if you just want to layer a paste on to the base, it will hold any details you put into it and can act as a fixative to any other scenic details you want to add.
 

Calliope

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In terms of basing, GW makes some decent technical paints that have stuff mixed in so that it dries with a texture. Combine that with some drybrushing, and you can get some really nice effects.
 

Stephen Lea Sheppard

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Lea you can also get a medium body gel acrylic at art supply stores if you just want to layer a paste on to the base, it will hold any details you put into it and can act as a fixative to any other scenic details you want to add.
I'll have to try medium body gel acrylic as a cheaper, less toxic alternative to superglue in adhering textures to bases, then. Thanks for the tip!

(That said, if I'm going to start using e.g. tiny rocks, I'd rather stick with something that forms a stronger bond.)

In terms of basing, GW makes some decent technical paints that have stuff mixed in so that it dries with a texture. Combine that with some drybrushing, and you can get some really nice effects.
Those things set off my "This is GW and they're about to mug me" alarms. I'd rather use rocks and sand and talcum powder stuck with some sort of glue or medium that I can get in large quantities and will last a while than little specialty pots that cost six bucks each and run out quick.
 

Stephen Lea Sheppard

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Talcum powder acquired, but they didn't have the unscented stuff, so my bases will apparently smell like baby powder.
 

Happy Matt

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As long as your not actively trying to pry stuff of the base the acrylic will for a solid enough bond for standard usage, and as to you concern about buying hugely over priced GW stuff here are some the art supply side things.
http://www.dickblick.com/acrylic/mediums/#gelmediums play around on the links there and you should be able to find a few tings that do what you want with out having to recreate the wheel.
 

Niall

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Why not use filler/spackle? Mixed with PVA and a little water it bonds very well with plastic bases.
 

RatPunk

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I've used Vallejo Pumice for my bases for years. It goes on with a wet paint brush and is very easy to work with. Once it's dry, it paints up nicely and looks a lot like your finished product in the first picture. I use the Coarse Stone, but they also have a Fine White and a Rough Grey. I was going to post pics of the pumice and a finished FoW desert army piece I have for examples, but it's not letting me post pictures at the moment, so you'll just have to take my word for it, I guess, but I think it works great. :)
 
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