Miniature painting: My first session!

Miniature painting: My first session!

So I’ve recently started miniature painting, so I thought that posting my progress would help motivate me and chart how far I can go. I’m not really sure how to go about these blog posts, but I’ll just detail them to explain what problems I’ve had with them. These will generally be more for me than anyone else. Anyway, ON WITH THE FIRST POST!




I got all these miniatures from Reaper at They have a massive selection of affordable minis, go check them out.



At this point, I’ve already painted about 20 or so figures, and I made a terrible mistake when varnishing them. As part of research, part of painting miniatures is to seal it. Across the forums, I heard that matt -> gloss -> matt varnish is the best protection and texture for miniatures, and it’s supposed to leave them with a satin finish. But… that didn’t happen.




Anyway, I tried it and the gloss ate up all the matt. I used the same brand varnish, so I don’t know what’s wrong. I stopped using them for my other pieces and they were fine, but these few starting ones were all glossy and sticky. I’ll most likely strip them and redo them in the future.


77054: Galladon, Male Wizard (link to piece)



I start by priming all my miniatures black. I feel like the shadows are covered, and it’ll eventually take less work to paint overall. Plus, priming it black means I don’t need to repaint my base black, as I’m not into basing them just yet, I simply want them to be black first.


This was my very first painted figure. I didn’t know how to highlight, shadow, or blend. I used the paint straight from the pot, without mixing down or watering them. The colors came out blockish, and I slathered wash all over it within the hour to cover up problem areas and places that looked too flat.


Always wait for the paint to dry completely (at least a day) before applying wash.


From the picture, the brown on top of his hat, the beige on his staff, the green on his parchment, the black on his beard, the red on his coat and the blue on his inner lining all have problem areas which I did not paint properly. From far it looks fine, honestly. But up close, it looks pretty terrible.


Take the effort to paint your figure thoroughly. Review it for problem spots.


I cheated on the eyes. Because the hat’s brim was so large, I decided not to care about it and either painted it completely black or white. It can’t be seen in the photo, but it looks bad. Real bad. The blue lining across his hat and coat were actually added like a week after because it looked too plain.


77049: Arthrand Nightblade, Elf Ranger (link to piece)


b01-arch (2)



This one went slightly better. I decided to try out dry brushing, and I was more thorough with the painting, but I messed up with dry brushing. I didn’t dry it enough, and this was the end result. It looked cool, so I kept it anyway, like some sort of snow effect.


When drybrushing, DRY YOUR DAMN BRUSH.


I tried mixing in different colors for the first time. I only had brown, white, and yellow. The different browns in this piece were the boots, bow, bowstring, belt, cape, quiver, arrows, and sheath. I really had to play around with the mixing because it’s so much of one color. It was also the first time I tried metallic paints. These were for the dagger (invisible after dry brushing), belt buckle, and sword guard. I was super happy with it until 1: dry brushing, and then 2: fucked up glass varnish. Urgh.


I gave up on eyes AGAIN! I might have avoidance issues. I probably couldn’t have done it. I bought a magnifying glass after just to do them, so yea. Progressive steps, Kenneth.


77091: Nienna, Female Elf Ranger (link to piece)




At this point, I try to select the pieces that I really like the look of, so they motivate me to complete them. The dynamic pose of this miniature was amazing, but the smaller parts and details were still pretty daunting. I was still using paint from the pot, I missed quite a few crevices. (hair, sword, thigh, bow, sheath, root). Honestly, painting from the pot allows me to do most of this in one coat, so it’s the lazy man way, but maybe not on the base coat.


Thin your paints when base coating. You will get all the crevices.


Arrow tips seem to be a bit too white, and not very well painted. I might’ve just glanced over them with white paint from the pot. I should’ve mixed in yellow and red to give it a nice orange feather look. The tree trunk looks nice because I attempted dry brushing with a dark yellow there. The base looks very complex, and could’ve shined more with highlights. Totally neglectful of me. I avoided eyes again. This time, I just decided to paint them all black. An attempt, I guess?



89014: Seltyiel, Iconic Magus (link to piece)




You know what? I really liked how this miniature turned out, regardless of what anyone says. I think the color scheme is great and I did an amazing job.


Do what you like. Paint what you like. Appreciate your own work.


Straight away, I’m disappointed I didn’t do the eyes again. That can be rectified when I redo it. Also up close, this is another base that is heavily textured and would’ve really popped from dry brushing. Real pity. I really like the color of the cape. I mixed black and blue together, to a product I can only describe as “midnight”. It’s a gorgeous color, and what I imagine Batman’s cape to look like. Totally love it!


The magic bird thing? It’s supposed to be green, but I Pheonix-cized it. The colors are weird because the dry brushing brush I used wasn’t dry. Again, DRY the damn brush before dry brushing. It came out passable, and after a good 3 or 4 coats over it, I couldn’t bother to fix it anymore.


If your drybrushing is not dry, you’re going to have a bad time.


The small of his back was probably really challenging, as that’s where the sheath was. It was tough to paint, but not impossible. I noticed the hair had yellow, probably because I did a wash on the hair, and then had to redo it because it was ugly. Otherwise, I’m satisfied with this piece.


77151: Darkrasp, Evil Priest (link to piece)




This piece I wanted to work on because of the miniature’s scythe. His badass scythe is so badass, that the badassitude of it beats… nevermind. The indentation of the scroll was a challenge. I didn’t know how to make it bright. I wanted a neon feel to it, so maybe a lighter red could’ve helped. Otherwise, I thinned the paint to get in the crevices, waited for them to dry, and painted my dessert color to replicate the parchment color.


His skin is just so weird. I think I might’ve used the wrong pot of paint. It’s so yellow. I really have to redo this piece. This time round, I really tried on the eyes. I read up tutorials which said black – > white – > black iris – > white reflection. Unbelievably small and completely impossible to do. So I tried, I spent half an hour painting black, and then trying white without completely painting over the black. It didn’t work. So I left it black in the end. You’ll be able to tell in my future pieces that I skip painting the outsides black when I finally paint the eyes. I really haven’t got into a stage where my skills are refined enough to do that.


Be patience with the eyes. Take progressive steps, and you’ll eventually get there. Paint it black first if you have to.


The most time spent on this piece were the chains. There were at least 4 to 5 coats of paint, silver after bronze to give it a rusted texture. The individual chains were really intricate, but I managed. Washing to fill in the shadows really helped with the realism of the whole thing.


Finally, the whites. The beard looks horrible. I tried to differentiate the bone white (which I spent quite some time on) from the beard, but the beard came out too white. Mixing is really a tricky art, especially if you need more of the same paint afterward.



77047: Goldar, Male Barbarian (link to piece)




These miniatures were originally intended to be used in my D&D sessions, so I needed a barbarian character for one of my players. He looked the most badass.


Straight away, you can tell the miniature is pretty simple. The segments for coloring were hard to decide. I didn’t know if the gauntlets and pauldron were leather or steel or bronze, and the boot left little to be discerned. I ended up with steel boots because of the sharp edge and the fur like structure behind with the straps. I also saw a few of these miniatures painted like his thighs were skin, but the way it folded into the boot led me to believe it was cloth instead.


There isn’t a right and wrong to painting miniatures. Paint your miniature the way you envision it to be.


Sadly, the miniature ended up looking very plain. I wanted the barbarian to have a more earthy color scheme, but that backfired. This would’ve been a marvelous piece to start learning how to do muscle detail work, but I passed up on it because I wanted to paint more pieces. Also, eyes. Sigh.


I went with bronze for his pauldron and gauntlets, but they look out of place. Leather might have been a better choice overall. There was also more possibility for details on his boots, and there might be a strap or two I forgot to color. The wash seems really heavy for this miniature, and I might have overdone it a bit. I ended up throwing in paint thinner into my wash pot to thin it out for future use, but for this piece, the wash is pretty strong. It was still a good piece overall.


77174: Leisynn, Mercenary Mage (link to piece)




Ah yes. This miniature I hated quite a bit. The detailing for this piece was really troublesome. Also, after I finished my paint for the book and screwed up the lines, I decided to leave it because painting over it and finding another mix would’ve been a horribly tedious process.


I realize I might have let off on the gloss varnish here as the miniature appears to have a more satin finish to it. Surprised! But still, for the amount I sprayed on, it probably wouldn’t have made a different in terms of protection. I’m throwing that can of gloss varnish away. There were many nooks and crannies for this piece that I didn’t enjoy. Detail work is really fine, and skulls and the other ornaments under his beard were really hard to get to.


Paint from the inside out. If you muck paint on external bits, at least you haven’t painted them yet.


I had problems with the cape, and I had to do 2 remixes, which made the color very weird. Patches of it are darker, and some are lighter.


The snake was VERY fun to paint. Also, I managed to do eyes for the snake, and this was the first piece I managed to get more convincing eyes. I start doing eyes from this piece onwards. Also, the main miniature had his eyes painted red. Brown and white mixed to give me the off-white bone color, which I washed and then painted over. It didn’t work too well as you can tell. But the point is there. Anyways, that’s about it. I also probably need to compile a TIPS list to post.


note to self: miniature painting tips and tricks



Each piece took about an hour to 2 hours. I learned to space out a day for paint to dry to add wash very late down, so most of the wash I used here was applied after the paint touch dried in 15 minutes. They’re pretty good for a first attempt, if anything.


This is the last of my Reaper Bones mini figurines for awhile, and I’ve decided to paint my Descent 2nd Edition miniatures. Watch out for that series! Enjoy these last 2 before the next series!

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