Fugli's Fantasy ForgeMiniature Painting (tools)

The Tools of the Trade
Most believe that all one needs to paint miniature figures is ... well, figures and paint. There are several other things necessary, and one may find it difficult to go and obtain important materials at the last minute. It is best to have them handy. First one needs the correct tools for dealing with the miniatures prior to painting. Proper glues, bases, and resins may be necessary as well. Primer is a must prior to painting, while a good palette, and quality brushes along with a large sturdy water container will be required during the main painting process.

some miniature painting materials

Afterward, optional flocking and a sealant coat are required for presentation. To make it easier, a list is provided below with some suggested options for those who have no clue what to get and where to get it.

List of proper miniature figure working materials:

  1. a hobby knife: X-acto makes a good brand of light handled hobby knife. Any hobby or craft store should have such an item. Wal-Mart and K-mart carry them too.
  2. a small fine file: as with the knife above, but Wal-Mart and K-mart would probably carry them in the hardware department.
  3. a strong fast setting two part epoxy: This can be found in any hardware section of larger stores like Wal-Mart or K-Mart.
  4. Water based wood glue: Elmer's school glue works as well. Such glue is used for three purposes. The first purpose is to attach card stock bases to figures. The second purpose is to attach figures to boards or sticks in a row for easier painting of many similar figures (see #7a). The third purpose is to flock bases with sand and model grass prior to applying sealant.
  5. Flat White and Black Spray Paint: Color Creations from Wal-Mart costs about a dollar per can. Children cannot purchase Spray paint, and all priming should be done by a responsible adult. This will be used as primer for various types of figures.
  6. Clear Spray Paint: Color Creations also makes a good durable clear gloss. More expensive matte fixatives can be used instead (check your art supply store or the crafts department of Wal-Mart), but for durability I like the gloss. The oils from one's hands while handling will tend to dull the shine quickly anyway.
  7. Bases: Most figures either come with or have a base that is a part of their casting. Plastic slotted bases will either come with figures or they can be purchased in multi piece packages from any store that sells miniatures. Good, strong bases can also be inexpensively cut from mat board scraps. One $5 sheet of 32" x 40" mat can last one practically forever.
  8. Paint brushes: a size 1 for glue and sizes 1, 0, 00, and 000 for paint. With brushes, money counts. Cheap brushes may give trouble. Although many people like synthetic substitutes, I prefer sable hair. These can be obtained from an art supply store like Hobby Lobby or Michael's. Actually my personal favorite brushes are Dick Blick Pure Red Sable Spotters from Dick Blick Art Materials (1-800-447-8192) item #52400. They run about $3 for a set of 3 cheap yet well made brushes.
  9. a palette: This is used for mixing paint. A white piece of smooth plastic works well. I prefer the commercially produced six pan white plastic ones from Wal-Mart. They can be found in the crafts department. Similar surfaces can be found or purchased almost anywhere. White snap on lids to cottage cheese or sour cream work well. Some people really like white foam egg cartons.
  10. a water container: This should be large enough to hold about a pint of water. I use an old salsa jar. The clear glass makes it easy to see just how dirty the water is. The general rule is... "if you cannot see through the water, you need to replace it."
  11. a rag: This can be practically anything absorbent. A sponge, washcloth, or an old (clean) sweat sock work better than paper towels.
  12. Acrylic paint: There are various brands on the market. Generally, miniatures are best painted with matte acrylics available at most game, hobby, or craft stores. Artist's tube acrylics usually have an undesirable consistency for miniature painting.
  13. a box in which to put it all: There is a lot of stuff generally necessary for miniature figure painting, and the more organized one is with their paints, the easier they will be to find and use. I suggest a $5 - $10 fishing tackle box from Wal-Mart. Art boxes practically identical to a tackle box can run $25 and up.

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