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Painting Miniatures - Part 3: Preparing the miniatures


You are probably pretty excited and ready to get painting but I want to slow you down a bit. Painting miniatures is not just about painting miniatures. It is a complete process of making your miniatures look as realistic as possible. A good portion of this is applying the actual paint but there are other things you have to do also. And one of the most important things you should do is to carefully prepare the miniatures for painting.


The first thing you should do is take a really good look at your miniature. use a magnifiying glass if you have one available to you. The first thing you will notice is excess pieces of metal sticking out at various parts. This is part of the molding process. You can see two of these slivers on the horses head. There may also be support bars that are molded right into the piece. These support bars are used to keep small or thin parts of the miniatures strong. The picture here shows one of these support bars on the right. It is holding up the horses tail.


The Miniature Horse

You need to gently and carefully remove all this excess metal. Some artisans don't remove the support bars like the one under the tail but I almost always do. If I think the tail will stay up on its own then the support bar comes out. I recommend leaving these bars only if absolutely necessary. The major function of these bars is to insure the miniature keeps its shape during manufacturing, packaging and shipping. Once you have it you will handle it with care so the bar is not usually necessary.

How to Trim these pieces

I use a variety of different tools to remove all this excess metal. The first tool, and usually the best, is an X-acto knife or some other kind of very small razor knife. Secondly, I will use a small file to file away the excess. When using a file be careful not to scuff the surface of the miniature too much. This can affect how it looks when painted.

Use whatever tools you are comfortable with. Some people like to use needle nose pliers and I use them too. It all depends on how much metal is being removed.

Last Step Before the Miniature Painting Begins

Now look really carefully at all the details of your miniature. In particular you should look into the inside sections of the miniature. I mean you should look into all the ravines and gulleys that are formed. On the horse there are lots of these ravines in the horses tail, around the saddle and around the bridle. All of these inside edges should look good and natural like the horse was real. You can touch up these ravines and edges with your tools and you can use other tools to get into the really tight areas - tools like a dental pick or even a safety pin or push pin work real well for this.


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Citadel Paints

The Citadel Base Paint Set

  • The Citadel Base Paint Set contains 1 S Base brush and 11 pots of Citadel paint.
  • Paints Include: 1 Leadbelcher, 1 Macragge Blue, 1 Waaagh! Flesh, 1 Bugman's Glow, 1 Mephiston Red, 1 Mournfang Brown, 1 Abaddon Black, 1 Ceramite White, 1 Zandri Dust, 1 Averland Sunset and 1 Balthasar Gold.