Painting a Mini

Well, you asked for it so here it is!! OK OK so it took me 5 weeks to get it done, but I’m a busy man!

Well, the idea is to give a step by step guide to painting Space Marine’s. Well the beakies are pretty simple fodder, there’s lots of wide spaces, so they are relatively easy for anyone that has opposable thumbs. When painting spacies, the first thing to do is pick the colour scheme. GW have an extensive library of Space Marine chapters, each different in regards to style class, and if you’re a gamer, abilities. If not, you can make your own but just make sure you choose an easy colour scheme. In regards to paintjobs, Blue or Green are easiest, as the paint is of a decent consistency, where reds and yellows can be rather thin, leaving a patchy look.

For this example, to honour Mr. B. I decided to go with a marine from the Blood Drinkers, a spin off chapter of the Blood Angels, who are loosely based on ancient Greeks in terms of the chapter’s culture. (Read into that what you will – nudge nudge)

The idea of the guide was to do a basic marine, which invariably means using the new plastics GW produce, rather than metal, as they tend to be left now for the “characters”.
The first thing to do is clean and prep the plastic parts. It’s a good idea to envisage how you want the fella to look like. There are a variety of poses, but without careful thought they may all end up looking the same.
So, off we go. Take care cutting the pieces from the sprue. If you just tear them off, you leave a gouge mark in the plastic so cut them off carefully. Each bit will have a thick mould line running down the parallel axis as it was sitting on the sprue. Gently, and I do mean gently, scrape the mould line away with a sharp craft knife. Don’t be a fool and scrape towards yourself, or you’ll end up cut.
Now, once all the pieces have been extracted and cleaned, glue them together. With plastic and superglue, less is more. Don’t splurge it on or your marine will look like some kind of knobber from some backward chapter. You know maybe from a world like Norfolk or somewhere. Start with the central body and build outwards. You might have to mess about with the arms/weapons to get them in a cool pose.
So chappy is built and lookin nice and clean, so now you need to sort the base out. I use a fine sand to give texture. It’s best to do this now, as it saves washes and PVA glue flying about when it’s painted. Simply glue and dip, shake off the excess. Leave to dry for 30 mins. If you wanted to just use flock, then leave that till the end, but flock looks cheap and amateurish and I will just laugh at you.
OK so now the undercoat. I’m sure I don’t have to explain the need for an even undercoat, so I won’t. Ideally the undercoat colour should match the over all paintjob, but for sake of ease and speed, I tend to use either black or white spray. White gives a much brighter cleaner end result, but it slows the whole process down. Black is almost as good, but tends to require thicker basecoats, but with black you can shave an hour off the paint time on a marine. Obviously don’t use black if your chapter colours are yellow or white, as you end up a patchy mess. Spray in a ventilated area, free of precipitation, from about 10” away. Don’t worry about getting into all the cracks and crannies; it’s impossible as you’ll just fill up the detail on a mini. Once it’s dry, take a regular pot of paint in the matching colour of the spray and fill in the said crannies.

Voila – one prepped marine.

Now the fun begins. For those areas of the marine which are to have a metallic look, you need to do them now. The technique is called dry brushing. Simply wet the tip of your brush, rub off some of the excess paint and drag it over the desired area. Doesn’t matter if it over spills, as you have yet to apply the base coat. Repeat for all the metallic colour variants. Try and get as much done, but don’t worry about the fine detail such as rivets, you can do that at the end. Repeat with the next brightest metallic shade.. But slightly less paint. Repeat until you run out of shades. This should achieve a 2 or 3 highlight that ‘fades’ upward.
Now for the armour. It’s the next biggest colour block. In this case it’s a deep terracotta red. The Blah Drinkers are a deep red colour, so we will start with the deepest shade and highlight up. Block in the whole area to be painted, trying to get a nice even coat.
Now, move to the next shade up, in this case Blood red. It’s more vivid colour, and the idea is to start a layering effect. Basically work the red round the outside edges (about 1mm think) of the armour. At this point you should see them as two distinct shades, don’t worry we’ll blend it later.
Now move onto the third shade, this time Blazing orange, using the same idea, work around the edges (this time 0.5mm thick), but insides the edges already painted in Blood red/ Hence the ‘layering’. One last highlight of a 50:50 mix of Blazing orange and Sunburst yellow goes on the edge (you guessed it 0.25mm!!). Right now as paint jobs go it should be looking OK. But we can make it better. Go back to the very first shade and water it down, to about 4 parts water to 1 part paint. Using this thin wash go back and apply it across all the shades, and it should then blur those layers. You can try experimenting with the shades depending how good/ patient/ steady/ bored you are.
The painting line of colours.
Lastly, we take a fine highlight right on the extreme edge of the armour. Take a very thin brush, and a mix of 1:1 of Sunburst yellow and Skull white. Carefully, follow the contour applying this thin line. Now you should have a sublime piece of armour gradually shaded to a fine highlight.


Essentially repeat this technique across the marine and you’re virtually done!!

All that is left now, would be to fill in the detail. This is what I consider to be the best bit, as the mini finally starts looking like a finished piece.
So we finish of the pistol casing, and the edges of the shoulder pauldrons, his belt, and the scanner thingy. Pretty much using the same technique of strong base colour edged out. I have been accused of using too much white in the highlight, and having a ‘bright’ style – very 1990’s, but hey they still look frikkin good IMO!
Once that’s complete, we can drop in the markings. On the left shoulder pad, we have a large arrow pointing up – that’s the GW insignia for a member of a tactical squad (rather than close combat, or carrying heavy weapons) and on the right, the marine’s chapter insignia. The Blood Drinkers chapter symbol is a holy grail, with a blood drop falling into it. It’s relatively easy to get the cup shape, and with a little fun with some yellow/ brown colours, some shading and a fine brush, There it is, and looks pretty rocking too!
To finish, the base is now dry brushed over, and the ring at the bottom painted in an appropriate colour. As this is a supposed to be a ‘regular’ guy, then there’s no need to go to town but you could add a dropped weapon, or severed alien limb, or empty shell casings, etc just to give a bit of character.

So there you go, here he is! Approx about 3 hours work from start to finish, including assembly. Obviously as you tend to paint a squad at a time, you can bring this time spent to a reasonable level. He certainly looks good!! What do you guys think? Anyone fancy having a crack at one?

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