Ideas on Getting Painted – Time Constraints

“I would love to paint; I just can’t find the time.”

“I wish I could play painted, but I just don’t enjoy it!”

“I am a terrible painter.”

I am sure everyone has said one or more of these at one time or another.  I want to address some of these, to show that you CAN get fully painted in almost all instances.

For this edition, I want to discuss time constraints.

Time Constraints

I should note up front – this post is based on my own, personal busy life.  Between working a full time job, having a spouse, starting up a development company, being a Press Ganger, and trying to play a little bit where I can, I don’t tend to have a lot of free time.  Yet, I find time to assemble models and get them painted.  How?

Make Time

The first piece of advice I can state is that you have to WANT to do it.  This seems rather silly, but if you want to play painted, if you want to paint your models, then you have to accept that this means you will need to make time.  Maybe this means less time watching TV, or not going to the bar one night a week, or … you get the idea.

Making time is hard, and it requires a focus on what you want and need to do.  It requires prioritization.  And sometimes you may find that painting isn’t a priority – and that is OK!  But, if you are serious about painting, serious about making it happen, you have to set aside the time.

There are a few ways to do this.  Note that some, or all, of these may work for you.  Some might work some times of your life, and others will work better in other times of your life.  Pick and choose, and above all else, try things.  even if it doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean you have failed – it just means you need a different thing to try, or a different group of things to try.

Scheduled Time

Some people work best on a schedule.  For example, you might set aside Thursday night after dinner for painting.  This has the benefit of getting your mind into the proper space.  It also helps because you can say to yourself “Thursday night is my night for painting, so that is when I do it.  I can’t schedule things over that time.”

For some people this won’t help, because their schedule is too chaotic, or they have a hard time keeping to a schedule, or any other variety of things.  But, if you are someone who does well with a schedule, for whatever reason, setting aside a time can help immensely.

Weekly Time Blocks

Other times, it make sense to just say “I am going to do X amount of time painting every week.”  If your schedule is not static or standard, if you have a chaotic life for other reasons’, this can help allow you to be flexible with your time, but still allows you to say “this week, I am going to do 2 hours of painting.”

Random Time Blocks

If all else fails, you can do painting when you are bored.  For instance, you might turn on the TV, surf the web, or whatever when you have “nothing to do.”  Instead, you could take those times to paint.  For some people, they have the time to paint, they just forget, or don’t think about it.  They would rather be painting, but they forget.  Using notes as reminders can help.  For instance, if you surf the web when bored, you can put a post-it note on your computer monitor to remind you that painting is an option.

Follow through

One problem with “making time” is that sometimes people have a hard time following through.  I know I do at times, because of a variety of reasons.

There are a lot of techniques for helping oneself follow through, but one that works really well for me is gamifying the work.  I have been using an awesome piece of software recently, Habit RPG.  I use the tasks as a way to get models done.  For instance, “Assemble Keltarii” would be a task that, once completed, I can check off.  I might then have “Prime Keltarii”, etc etc.

You could then have, as a daily, “30 minutes of painting.”  Or as a habit “Did 30 solid minutes of modeling/painting.”  All of these are helpful.  And while it seems silly and strange, making things that might be tough to get impetus to start a game, something that gives you benefits, is hugely beneficial.  I use Habit RPG as my general task system, and I have dailies for things like remembering to take a walk, do some physical therapy items I need to do, etc etc.  And it is great, because I can say to myself “I have to do my dailies” and I can.  I can say “I need to make sure I work in uninterrupted bursts, so that is now a habit.”

And, I can say “I finished my Keltarii being assembled – checking that off of my tasks!”  I have only been using it a few weeks, but I am planning on adding in a painting “habit” for doing sustained painting groups.

By using a tool like this, I find I am way more productive in other things as well, which means that I end up with more time to do the fun things I want to do.


If you think you don’t have time, but painting is something you really want to do, take a step back.  Ask yourself if you want to do (or need to do) a particular activity more than painting.  You can then take that time and paint, model, whatever.

If you find painting boring, I have some advice for that too.  That will be coming in my next post.

One Last Note

While I may sound a little flippant about “making time,” I have found that many (most?) people have time they can make for things, if they prioritize those tasks above other things.  However, some people actually don’t have the time – because of life, family, work, etc.  And that is OK!  You shouldn’t feel bad if you prioritize other things above painting, or anything else really.  They are your priorities, and I won’t tell you what you should or should not prioritize.  But if you can prioritize painting in, and you want to, hopefully the above will help give you some ideas about how to schedule it in.


Painting Challenge – Week 3

This week saw an explosion of painting from smash.  I had the flu, so nothing got done from me (I spent most of my time trying to get up the energy to do anything at all :P)  Squelch was busy with school, so not as much got done this week.

Keep painting!  Current status below the fold.

Continue reading

Tips and Tricks for the New Warmachine & Hordes Player: Painting Edition 4

I have continued to paint up my Satyxis raiders.  This week I continued to do a little more work on the face and other skin portions of the models.  I have been working on the process of two brush blending to make the accents in the flesh more gradual.  Now that I had the basic flesh done I continued onto the block painting for the other regions of the model.

Painting Order

  1. For the leather regions on her armor I started with Cryx Bane Base.  I didn’t think the Thrallmar Black would look quite natural enough.
  2. I also used this for the base region of the chain mail.
  3. I based the metal regions and the chain weapon in Gun Metal from Army Painter.
  4. Her cloak has been based in Beaten Purple.
  5. The Horns were based in a deep rich brown
  6. For now the Hair was based in a deep grey so I can try to make her hair a more silver.

Painting the Face of the Satyxis Raider

Apologies for the blurry image this week, being sick and shaky hands made this a little harder, but as you can see her umm female accents turned out quite nicely.

I was surprised that the Cryx Bane Base made a better initial base than the Thrallmar Black.  But I guess that true black doesn’t exist in nature so it makes a little more sense.  That also helps keep the theme of the entire army together.

I also used this as the base of the chainmail.  I really don’t care for drybrushing.  It isn’t something that I am very good at yet, but it is a lot easier than individually painting all the links of the chain.  So that will happen this next week.

The Gun Metal was a nice deep silver colour.  It will let me do a few other shades of silver later to bring up the tone.

Using Beaten Purple for the cloak should help bring a richness to the cloak.  I will actually be doing the highlighting in more of a red tone to create a more drastic difference between the deepest and highest points in the cloak.

The Horns are the deep brown and I will be using some of my flesh tones later to lighten up the horns layer by layer.

Next week I will be moving from the basing to the detailing on the legs, chain and finally the cloak.

Tips and Tricks for the New Warmachine & Hordes Player: Painting Edition 3

This week I began painting my Satyxis Raiders.  They are a tiny little unit with lots of flesh.  As I have only painted Cryx, a lot of flesh is going to be a new challenge so I felt I would document my progress with photos as I learn.

Painting Order

  1. Primer White
  2. Paint all the flesh on the model Midlund Flesh
  3. Using Flesh Wash I accented all the deeper areas of the model and where it met clothing or hair
  4. I mixed Ryn Flesh into the Midlund flesh, in greater and greater amounts and painted in harsh transitions

Painting the Face of the Satyxis Raider

Priming white was something new I thought I would try.   All of my other models have been primed black.   I think it will make the model look more natural, but we will see.

The Flesh Wash was much darker than I thought it would be. I think next time I will dilute it a bit with water.

The transitions between color types are very start when looking close at the model.  I will be going back next week to blend the layers and smooth out the painting.  It doesn’t seem like this was a lot of painting but I took at least an hour per layer to dry everything.  For the first time I don’t have finger prints in my model.

Next week will be smoothing, eyes, blush, lips and I will begin on the hair.  I will post the difference in the models as they get painted.

Tips and Tricks for the New Warmachine & Hordes Player: Painting Edition 2

I go through phases of what interests me more in the game.  Some days it is strategy, some days it is painting.  This week I am lucky enough to have one of my painting tutors, Squelch, post his work!  I hope you enjoy his post Oooh Shiny Models.  There is nothing you can’t do as you work on your technique over the years.  For my post I have included a few modeling tips I learned this week.

Find the right viscosity glue.  I have found I like the medium viscosity glue the best.  Thin gets all over my models, hands, walls, cat you name it, without even trying.  I have problems some days getting the thick glue out of the bottle.  Also get an old sock with holes in it and use it to wipe off the tip of the glue each time before you reseal it.  This helps prevent the bottle from sealing itself shut on you.

Green Stuff
There are two different kinds of green stuff I use.   The first is the standard package at the hobby store.  You mix the yellow and the blue putty together and place it into any gaps in your model or use it to create new effects on your model.  The second stuff I just found was from Games Workshop.  They have released a liquid greenstuff in a bottle.  It is much thinner than the putty stuff.  I find it works best for those thin lines where it can be hard to get the putty in place.  I have also used it to smooth down model bases for painting.  It can be applied with a sculpting tool or even a paint brush.

Glue Spills
For the inevitable glue spills at your house, be sure to have a bottle of acetone handy.  Go to the nail polish isle and you can find bottles of pure acetone.  It works on more than just cleaning your models.  I found this week if you spill glue on your pants, you can use an old toothbrush and some acetone and get your clothing back, just work at it slowly and a few applications you will have your clothing back.  We also found what we thought was a kitty accident on the couch side.  Turns out it was Thrall Flesh paint that had tipped over when modeling and watching TV.  We had missed the spot, but even after some time, the acetone still works to take the paint off.

Thanks again for joining me.  Check out Squelch’s post, his work in Oooh Shiny Models really has me pumped to improve my work!

-Cheers Viveka

Tips and Tricks for the New Warmachine & Hordes Player: Painting Edition

This week I have been doing a METRIC TON of research and painting. I now have a full twenty-six points painted. This post is longer than the others, but I feel it is critical for those getting into painting to know where to go for information. I found all of this the hard way; hopefully now you won’t have to.  This post is in three sections: Four Basic Painting Tips, Video Guides for Techniques, and Lesser Known Tools for Modeling.

This Battle Box is my first go at painting minis. Everything below I learned and found while painting these.

My first model painting.
Click for the High Detail Image with Mistakes!

Remember: If you like what you see, make sure to share it with your friends and hit the like button below. Any feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Four Basic Painting Tips

Tip 1: Find Pictures of the Models you are Painting.

Find things you like and don’t like so you can recreate it on your model, but still make it your own. By having a clear image in your head (or in front of you of what you want to create) you can pick up painting much faster.

I have three places I start when looking for model ideas. The first is the Privateer Press forums. People post their work here and offer constructive help. The second is coolminiornot. The people who post here are really good. Finally I just do a google image search and see where it takes me.

Privateer Press Painting and Modeling Forum

Cool Mini or Not: Ulrik on Terminator

Tip 2: Write out your Painting Steps in Order and Set up your Paints Before you Begin.

You would not build a crib without an instruction manual and steps. Your miniatures cost a lot, so take five minutes to outline your painting steps. It will save you time & aggravation, and your models will look better. The back of your faction book has a few models with the paints used as a starter.  I do a base list with the item painted and the color.  Ex:  Skull and Hands – Jack Bone  I then do a detail section  Ex: Skull and Hands – Brown Wash, Dry Brush Menoth White Highlight.  Make sure you always paint from the inside of the model out.  It saves you a lot of touch up in the long run.

Tip 3: Figure out your Ideal Paint Consistency.

I like the feel of the paint when it is the thickness of 2% milk. I use mixing medium and distilled water to get it how I like it. When the paint is thicker it seems to cover up more detail, the brush dries out faster, and the paint just doesn’t look as good. 1% milk is consistency is probably the thinnest I use for standard painting.  Much thinner than that and it doesn’t seem to do much without a lot of layers.  Do some experimenting and see what works best for you.

Tip 4: Practice Practice Practice.

Just like everything you are new to, your first model is probably not going to be awesome. Resist the urge to strip it down and start over. Keep that model as a source of pride so you can see how far you have come and improved.

Video Guides for Techniques

Girl Painting
This woman is fun to watch and has some nice work. You don’t even realizing you are learning while watching her.

Rose City Miniatures
The gentleman from Rose City Miniatures has a list of basic tutorials to start you painting.

Hand Cannon Online Glazing Guide
This is an excellent written tutorial on glazing. It was the best one I found that shows you the potential of this technique.

Feathering and Wet Blending Guide
This is one of the better blending guides out there.  Good information for new and experienced painters.

Airbrushing Metal Tutorial
Fun accent and beautiful metal work

Awesome Paint Jobs on Brush Care
These guys paint very nice models.  Their videos range from basic tutorials to stuff for the professionals.

Lesser Known Tools for Modeling

These items are not necessary, just helpful. They are not things that people normally think about when they start painting. You will also find links to the version of the item I have, as well as alternate stores you can purchase them from and videos where available.

Desk Light

I don’t recommend just any light. Buy an OttLite. It is a full spectrum light designed for close up detail work and crafts. Purchasing an OttLite was a much bigger deal than I though it would be. My impression was that “a light is just a light” – boy was I wrong. The detail on the model really comes out when you view it under this light. This is important because it helps you pick out items that can benefit from highlighting. It also means that if you accidentally paint something you didn’t mean to, you can find your mistake faster. Simply put, the detail is much easier to see when I use this light versus a standard table light.
Stores: Online, JoAnns Fabric, Michaels Crafts
*JoAnns and Michaels tend to have sales on the light every 3-6 months. I picked up two at 50% off.

P3 Mixing Medium

This stuff is incredible. I use it for two separate purposes. If I am mixing paints together, it seems to help them blend better. The paint doesn’t dry out as fast on the palette. Metallics can thin inconsistently with water, and the mixing medium seems to help suspend the pigments better. This way the paint that comes from the first stroke looks the same as the paint from my last stroke. Finally, the paint flows better onto my brush when I use this, meaning I can paint for longer in between dipping and cleaning my brush. I can mix my paints, lightly rinse my brush between each piece on my model, and keep going. This saves me so much time.
Stores: Privateer Press Online, or your FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store)

The Masters Paint Brush Cleaner

In my first week of painting miniatures I destroyed a few brushes. I didn’t know how much water I needed, how to clean my brushes, and I made a host of nooby mistakes. I now clean my brushes each night with this. It gets the paint out much better than water alone. After cleaning is done I place an ample amount of it on my brush, reform the tip, and let it dry with the cleaner on it. The cleaner actually conditions the brush and your brush dries with a happy little tip. I have already saved the purchase price on this cleaner by not having to buy new brushes and I just started using it. Awesome stuff!!!

Video Tutorial on How to Use the Masters Brush Cleaner
Stores: Michaels

Eye Dropper / Bitters Bottle
Use this to easily put distilled water into your palette for paint mixture.  This is much more accurate than trying to get a little water at the end of your brush.  I picked up mine at my pharmacy, but the same bottle is available from Amazon at the above link.
Stores: Local Pharmacy, Amazon

Distilled Water
You would not intentionally put calcium and metal into your water when mixing paints. Your Bone Jacks don’t need fluoride for their teeth. So don’t use tap water while painting. Your paint will flow where you want it to and you won’t get water spots.

Head Visor
Optivisor is a magnifying headpiece that I use modeling. I have used these for years in fine pitch soldering, but it works amazingly for painting these miniatures. (also great for tying flies if you fish) First, I recommend staying with the Donegan Optical Optivisor brand. They are a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for. Many people make the mistake of purchasing their headpiece based on magnification, not on the focal length. Don’t be that person. Sit at the table and figure out how far away you have the model when you normally paint. If you paint with the model 12 inches from your face, look at the 12 inch focal length Optivisors and THEN choose your magnification. First off your eyes will thank you. With the proper visor you will be able to paint for longer without eyestrain. It is a life saver when you have a model that is very intricate.

Tutorial on Choosing the Visor that is Right for You
Stores: Amazon

Third Hand
Not everyone has five hours to spend holding tiny bits on an army of guys. The Helping Hand (also called Third Hand) can solve some of this for you. It is a set of alligator clips on a a swivel base. You can hold the models together with this and walk away to do other things; attach an arm and go to work. My only other recommendation with this would be to wrap the teeth of the clip with a piece of electrical tape so the model doesn’t get scratched. I don’t use the magnifying glass on this because I have my visor but some may find it useful.
Store: Amazon

Thanks for joining me in my second installment of this blog, and will continue each Friday with the new information I have learned.



Why Paint?

Something that I never understood when I first started playing wargames was why have painted models?  What benefit does it have?  I mean sure – it can look good, but I am such a terrible painter… etc. etc.  Others have had these thoughts as well – I have heard them expressed by many new players.

When preparing for Lock & Load this year, I really wanted to go with a fully painted army.  So I painted constantly for three months to get my Skorne finished in time.  I felt that if I was going to pay that much money (trip, hotel, and entrance costs), I should be playing with the best I can do.  So I painted – a lot.  And when I was finished, I realized that I really didn’t want to play with unpainted models anymore.  I had grown “addicted” to playing with painted models.

Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t want to play against others who don’t have painted models.  I really couldn’t care less – I enjoy the game for the game.  But I found a number of benefits from the painting process itself, as well as playing with painted models, that I really hadn’t anticipated.

Painting is Soothing

This may not be the case for everyone, but for me Painting is a soothing experience.  Once I stopped caring as much that my models were not perfect (something that took a lot of effort and growth on my part), I started to really enjoy the relaxation from the painting.  When I paint, I feel a calmness, and a focus on just the painting.  It is much like what other people describe meditation feeling like, and it is a nice feeling.

I know this is not the case for everyone – some people find it very stressful, some find it invigorating, some find it boring.  I know that I use music to help keep my brain occupied, but I often come away from painting feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Painted Models Look Good

This may seem obvious, but painted models look good on the table.  It makes the game more engaging, and onlookers find the game more interesting.  Given that games live or die based on bringing in new people (or “new blood”), this can be a huge factor.  It also makes the game more fun for me.

Painted Models Roll Better

OK, not really.  Seriously – not really.  But, they do cause a confirmation bias – people are more likely to think their models do better if they are painted.  Humans are silly that way,  It makes a loss easier to handle if your army looked awesome while doing it.

Painted Models are Easier to Identify

This is a big one.  As Viveka noted last week, it is easier to determine what a model is, and which ones are different, when they are painted.  This has several benefits:

  1. Your opponent doesn’t have to ask NEARLY as often “is that a Bronzeback or a Gladiator?”  Once they know which one is painted one way, it becomes easier for them to remember.  Humans are visual creatures, and we can make quick visual associations with little difficulty.
  2. It is easier for the player/owner of the models to pick out individual models in a unit.  I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to move a unit, to find that I had moved a solo accidentally with the unit, or forgot the standard bearer, or forgot one of the models off to the side, or…  I think most players have this experience.
  3. It is easier to determine which model belongs with which card.  If you are running multiples of the same model that has hit boxes (i.e. the same ‘jack or ‘beast, or the same solo with wounds), it can become confusing remembering which one belongs to which card.  If you mark the card with the arc color of the model that belongs to it, or some other distinctive feature, it can make that problematic question much easier to resolve.

Playing Fully Painted is Satisfying

There is something satisfying about playing with a fully painted army.  You feel like you have really put time into it, and it just looks and feels awesome.  Especially when you were the one doing the painting, having the models on the table, painted and ready to go, is just a great feeling.

Any other benefits people can think of?  Anything I am missing out on?  Do you disagree with my sentiments here?  Feel free to comment.