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Home Forums The Workshop Giving up during my first painting job.

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    I am about ready to throw out all the painting stuff during my first attempt.

    I watched a heap of tutorials, read the ones on here, listened to experts and even watched them do some.

    Then after doing my first base coat, undiluted paint basically just ran into the crevices and never stayed where applied. I did my black base coat, let it dry, then tried to drybrush on some red. It looked black. So I left it a while and did it again, still it looked black. So I used some slightly stronger paint, and this time it looked black with red streaks. It took about 5 coats for it to look like a really really dark red, this was with a medium red paint.

    I then got some bright red paint, and tried to put it on the surface leaving the deep lines alone. The paint just ran into the crevices again, and what I have is a slightly lighter tinted deep lines, and the surface still a really dark red, with sections of black really visible.

    So have I been lied to by the person in the store who sold me the paints, because they are acting like washes? Is it just you need to do 30 or 40 coats to get a colour that isn’t really really dark? I don’t have people I can ask, but having been sold some colours and brushes and stuff; I am in a situation where the ships I am paining (from Cosmic Encounter) look horrible. I don’t think I will ever get the colour I wanted from them at this stage, and I am going to just go and have to buy another copy of the game $90 to get red ships again.

    I look at the pictures here, and I don’t understand how it’s possible to do this when all that happens is the paint runs away from the brush, leaving no colour at all where I am trying to paint.

    I look at the bright red at the top of the Descent mini thread, and the bright yellow, and I don’t understand how this is possible. The paints just don’t seem to do it.


    Don’t give up, Bremic!

    My guess is that your paints are a bit thin. What paint are you using? Acrylics are the best for miniatures, for several reasons. First, they can be thinned with just water (it’s a water based paint, unlike enamel.) Second, acrylics dry quickly so you can add layers without having to wait hours between. Finally, and most importantly for you, they stick to primed surfaces very nicely! Not all acrylics are created equal. I learned that the hard way.

    The way a paint behaves has several factors:

    1. Thinness (too thick and it gets “gloppy” and hides detail…too thin and it doesn’t cover well and runs into the cracks–like you are experiencing.)
    2. Fineness of the pigment (you need a finely ground pigment for minis)
    3. Concentration of the pigment (high concentration equals better coverage and opacity of the paint…less layers to get the color you want.)

    Brands that I think are good:
    Citadel – my favorite, but also the most expensive
    Vallejo – nice, but not as consistent in coverage and viscosity as Citadel

    I’m no expert by any means, but I hope that this helps.

    Universal Head

    Bremic, Bremic, don’t give up! Everyone has to start somewhere and it can be frustrating, but these are just hiccups on the way to beautifully painted figures.

    Sanjaykurichh is right, your paints sound too thin, they should not be running off like a wash. His advice is excellent.

    Personally, I know everyone uses a black basecoat these days, but I’ve never liked it and much prefer a white base coat. Black is too difficult to cover evenly without repeated coats, especially for light colours, or those paints that may have a little less pigment in them than others.

    White or black base coat however, start with a good paint. You’ll quickly get the hang of how thin it needs to be by transferring it to a palette (I use a glossy white ceramic tile) and swirling it around a bit with your brush. Usually you’ll add a little water to thin it a bit, but not too much!

    It’s better to experiment on some unimportant figures first – why not go buy a few cheap figures to practice on? Remember plastic figures should be washed first to get off any residue, then basecoated.

    Tell us what paints you’re using, or post some photos, so we can help you further.


    I have spent a lot of the evening watching videos and trying to figure out what is going wrong.

    We are using Vallejo paints, shaking them well, using a palette, not mixing them with anything. The base coat was a black, which I think was a Citadel Spray.

    I know there is something we are missing, but all the videos we see show someone just squeezing the paint out and it’s paint. We are squeezing out and it’s like dirty water, straight from the bottle. We first was shaking them for 15-20 seconds, and thought that might not be enough; but even minutes of shaking doesn’t change it.

    It does sound the paints are too thin, but it’s Vallejo acrylic paint right from the bottle; which had been highly recommended.

    I am sorry everyone, but we dedicated a fair amount of money to trying this (good brushes, the right paints, etc), and now I have game pieces that are significantly more ugly than they were when they were plain.

    Universal Head

    Mate, seriously, don’t give up, you’ve just had a bit of bad luck.

    I don’t use Vallejo paints so I can’t speak for them, but they shouldn’t be like dirty water. If you still have the receipt I would take them back to the store and ask for a refund or exchange, because they may be selling old, dud paints, with the pigment dried up inside them (though I would have thought they would have dried up completely rather than have the watery compoenent left).

    In any case, they shouldn’t perform like that. That’s one advantage of Citadel paints, at least you can stir them properly with a toothpick, or add water to reactivate dried up paint.


    So my wife went to Mind Games and spoke to “a guy” there about paints and he recommended the Vallejo.
    I went there yesterday was was told the same thing.
    She went there today and queried the problems we are having as was told, “The Vallejo paints are more a layer tine, not a colour paint”. This in contradiction to every video I have seen, or the Vallejo web site.

    So he sold her Citadel paints. Basically saying she NEEDS to get the most expensive paint there is as none of the other brands are actual colour paint.

    How are Vallejo and the other brands still in business if they aren’t what they say they are? My guess, Mind Games has screwed us selling us old/faulty stock, and now to solve the issue will sell us more stuff.

    Yay for us.

    Universal Head

    Got another store nearby, one that actually knows what they’re talking about? 🙂


    Sorry for your luck, Bremic. You definitely got some bad paint that must have been on the store shelf a very long time. Fortunately, you can paint right over it!



    As I said we have some Citadel paint. As I was after something very opaque we got base paint to try bring out the colour and will go from there.

    I am sorry everyone. The advice here has been very helpful though.

    Universal Head

    No need to apologise mate, happy to help in any way. Stick with it and you’ll be amazed how easy it is to get good results.


    Okay. Spoke at length to the guy at Mind Games and he was incredibly helpful.

    There was obviously some mis-communication the first time, and a lack of clear understanding of what we are trying to do.

    Have been able to just layer over the stuff that looks awful, and I am putting those down to half a dozen hours spent learning one way things can go wrong.

    Thanks for the advice, and Mind Games really have tried to help. I would have added this as an edit to the above post, but obviously there is a timeout on being able to update your posts.

    Universal Head

    Good to hear. When you’re an expert painter you’ll look back and laugh! 🙂

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