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This page is intended to be a page in which I will answer any questions I receive on painting miniatures.

Your Question
My Answer(s)
CMON's Stumpkiller:
What brand and/or type (of hair/fiber) brushes do you recommend for detail work? Like pupils?
 I just pick up what appeals to me (no art stores where I can test the brushes) but most don't last long.
The best I can find and have used are Winsor & Newton Series 7.
I normally don't go below 000 but I have used 00000 in the past. Cared for, these brushes will last a reasonable length of time (sometimes Years) as high quality points. Brush soap and clean water are the best means of maintaining their usefulness.

Cmon's Nelson:


What colours do you use for your

nmm gold?

I've used two formulae of colours to achieve NMM gold:-
1) Citadel Vomit Brown, with a very thin wash of Snakebite Leather, re-highlighted with Vomit Brown. To this I start to add amounts of Bleached Bone to create each layer, reducing the size and ensuring that the paint is well diluted. Finally ending the Key highlights with SKull White.
2) Vallejo Gold Brown, again washed over with Snakebite Leather and re-highlighted with Gold Brown. To the Gold Brown I added Vallejo Dark Sand in small amounts to created the layers ending the Key Highlights on Vallejo Ivory
Cmon's Nelson:
Recently, I sprayed a mini (my Emperors Champion to be
exact) and utterly destroyed him. The matte, instead of just drying shiny, also dried in little speckley blotches. It's never happened to me before, so I'm a bit confused.
I've kinda narrowed it down to two things, although there might be more:
a) I sprayed it from really far away, so the matte might have actually dried before it hit the mini?
 b)The weather's been a bit different, a bit more wet than before.
Well you've got me here, I've never had that happen to me with a spray varnish. I used to use GW's 'Ardcoat but was never happy with the finish. So I've started to use Humbrol Matte Coate "a brush on varnish".
I know that there has been a reputed Bad Batch of  "Purity Seal" spraycans but you didn't say if you were using that.
My initial thoughts are that either the air has been too damp (humid) or that there had been some airborne dust particles in the path between the spraycan and the mini, and they have had the varnish collect around them.
Dennismech on CMON:
How do you paint your reds?
 For me they either turn out too brown, too
dark, or too yellow!
For the Reds on the Chaos Warriors I used GW's standard colours and painted in thin layers. Starting with Scab Red and then mixing in Red Gore and then Blood Red and eventually Blazing Orange was mixed in. I worked along the edges with Sunburst Yellow, just to get a final highlight.
In total there were eight separate colour layers of  Red on those guys.
I've also used an initial coat mixute of  Scab Red, Scorched Brown and a tiny amount of Chaos Black to get a really deep Red for some of the Sisters of Battle I've done.
Brett Farley has sent me a number of Questions:
What is the average time you spend on a miniature
 (Large, medium, small)

Normally my painting time varies according to the amount that I want to do on a mini. I've just finished an Iron Winds Metals High Elf General 28mm scale which has taken something like 20+ hours, But I've also done a figure in an afternoon's painting (Say 4-5 hours).

What paint line do you use, and what colors most often?   
 I use Citadel (Games Workshop), Foundry, Vallejo and Winsor & Newton artists Acrylics, each is compatable with the other brands, for mixing. As to the colour, well that really depands on the figure I'm working on. Currently I'm working on a Sister Of Battle for someone, (Order of the Bloody Rose) and I've gone from Burnt Cadmium Red, right the way through to Crimson in about 9 layers. Trouble is I didn't write down what I used so I can't quite remember all the colours I used. (D'OH)
What brush line do you use, what sizes,
 and which sizes most often?
Complex: I used to use Games workshop range but their lifespan is not great. For Competition and Commision work I now stick to Winsor & Newton Series 7 (sizes 2 through to 000) I've found that the W&N brushes have a better and smoother transfer of paint to the mini, plus they keep their points well and last longer. I've gotten into the habit of cleaning them thouroughly ater finishing a model and use an Artists Brush Soap bar. It's very like a soft anti-alergenic soap and keeps the brushes in very fine condition.

But the older GW brushes in my collection I have kept for mixing paints on my Pallette (Ceramic Tile). Oh Yes, and for drybrushing bases too. 

One Brush I do keep to hand is a 3/16" Flat this is great for brushing on varnish, as well as other uses, like dusting those mini's that have sat on the "To Do" shelf for a while.

How do you thin your paints, do you use water or something else?

Now I have two pots of water, one for washing brushes and one for mixing, I usually put water onto the Pallette first, Two or three brushfuls and then add a brushful of Winsor & Newton Acrylic Flow Improver, before adding and mixing in the Paint.  I also have a bottle of Liquitex Retarder which I sometimes add to the paint when it's a particularly pigment heavy paint.

For inks, which I only use on rare occassions now, I tend to add a little washing up liquid to the water, this tends to stop the Ink "Pooling".

Are there any tips you have for blending/highlighting?
The best tip I can give you for Blending /Highlighting is to keep you paints thin. Many thin coats work much better than one or two thick coats.
GW's 'eavy metal tems advice for army levels is three levels of colour. For really good quality paintwork I believe that you need to do at least 7,8 or 9. The Chaos Warriors I did in GW's reds ended up with 8 layers of highlighting on the armour.
What color do you prime your miniatures?

Now I prime Black on the majority of my figures. Almost all in fact. I find this a very forgiving primer for the style in which I paint.
White, I reserve now  for special figures which I intend to do in very thin washes. (In fact one of my Golden Deamon entries for the UK this year will be done in this manner).

What type of lamp do you use?
It's just an ordinary office style desk lamp, fluorescent tube. But I also have the overhead room lights on when I paint, to try to balance out the colour temperatures of the lights.
Are there any tutorials you have or can recommend, for painting etc?
Yes there are several other websites, which have great tutorials. Holger Schmits come to mind, as does Dr Fausts painting clinic. But if you can find the Vallejo Website there is a very good general painting guide which I've read several times and passed on to a few friends.
Are there any other misc. tips you have?

Oh there's probably Hundreds if I could remember them all. The best advice I can give is practice, practice, be patient, oh and practice!.

But here's something I learned as a Photographer, always look around at the world and learn to see how colour interplays with shade on things like, clothing, skin trees, grass etc.. Learning to see the variations in colours and shades really can help.

If you can get hold of a Colour wheel and learn to understand how Colours are arranged on that and then learn to use the Triad and Complementary colours to their best effect, you'll have a great help. If I could explain the colour theory I would, but it's taken me all these years to get to start to understand it and use it a little.

Oh one last thing, never be afraid to say "This Sucks" and strip the mini to start again. I've done it several times and always been happier with the re-painting. I'm in the UK so I used Dettol as its cheaper and more Eco-Friendly than brake fluid. I know that people in the USA use Pine-Sol to good effect.

My thanks go to all the people who have written in with questions.