Thursday, 16 March 2017

Just Do it! The Process of Painting Pt2

BIG BATCH PAINTING BABY! I love a tip-list. 

With my own burning advice in my ears, I realised the best way to get over a painting ‘hump’ is to target it in the best way, by chopping a chunk out of it. Solution: Batch painting.
In reality, on any scale, all painting is batched. Even on a single miniature you are trying to paint a single colour across multiple areas of that one piece. Rather than switching colours for each leg, pauldron, weapon, you paint all of the colours of the miniature at each level. Paint the base, paint the metals, paint the detail.

So I've done this in the past for the majority of my guard armies, whether it be the tanks. 
Or the guard infantry.
Or the Mechanicum
Bigger Batch painting is better than just 2 models, 5 models for a number of reasons. 


Larger volumes of your army get completed to a minimum standard. On the table top, miniatures that are based in your armies colours just look better. Tournaments also often work by three base colours principle. Even if you only get to the Base colours stage, you’re a step closer to a final model

 When you've knowingly completed an entire 4 squads of the army, plus a load of Characters, you can enjoy the knowledge that knocking off large chunks of work will get you so much closer to gaming (the more fun part) and converting the next lot!

Paint usage
How many times do you mix the perfect paint colour and it dries forever, never to be remixed? Or you make just that little bit too much of a wash? When you’re batch painting, you can mix custom colours in advance and apply them in the knowledge that you aren’t going to lose the paint.

Less clutter
Rather than one figure surrounded by umpteen spillable paint pots you can have nice ordered rows of infantry ready to that just me?

 OK...maybe that's a personal one.

This is the load out of things on my desk. I generally work in sequence regardless of the miniature and go left to right, occasionally moving miniatures into certain orders so that when I return, I remember where I was up to and can jump back in without feeling like I need to get the entire squad finished.

Colour matching
This is the big one for me. How many times do you mix a lovely custom colour for Squad mate 1’s esoteric plasma coil, before getting to Squad mate 2 and trying to match the colour.
Often they will look drastically different. 

How many times do you have a particular sequence of paints that you forget the next day you apply them? Faded gold is my worst here. 
My Assault troops above all have different qualities of Faded gold because rather than applying the same consistency of colour across the squad, they were all different. With batched painting, whatever is on your brush can be used across multiples. 


This is a new one, so I know that I hate painting, and love building. So my aim here was to very clearly give myself a goal that is my reward once this batch is finished. 
These guys are my reward. Clear and central.

Finish painting, assemble your Guard enforcers from new shiny Genestealer cult goodness.
Incentives like this mean you have a reason to get through the grey tide.

Keeping you sane
Coping strategies! This will take a while, the better your painting level the longer the entire run will take. 

Netflix is great for me to have on in the background, nothing too dramatic is perfect. I’m currently working my way through Enterprise, and have gone through a lot of shows that are nice and sequential and don’t need too much attention. Auto-play is great too. I wouldn’t recommend much action, and make sure the show is nothing you REALLY want to watch. 
A bit of boob, or a bit of gunfire is great for you to be able to look up every now and again.

I have the iPad at relative eye level to the model itself, and you do actually catch far more of the action than you'd think. The odd bit of pause, sit back, refocusing is better for your eyes as well.

Some people swear by podcasts, and I love the Eye of Horus guys, but 10 hours of painting they can't cover and I generally like something that I can really sit back every half hour, have a stretch and watch for a bit and then refocus and reengage.

Mass washes/oils
If you bring the relevant parts of the model to the same wash-requiring stage, you have far less tidy-up across the boards if you apply the single wash. Agrax earthshade is an extremely common wash used across fur, bronze, metals, reds, greens etc. 

For my Sons of Horus I need to wash the Green armour panels, the Dirty gold Trim, any pure bronze cabling, Red topknots and red kilts, and any purity seals all with one colour, if I can bring the various portions to the same stage I don’t need to apply four different washes but one efficient one. 

Don’t overload the model, but don’t stop and start.

Ugh, it’s the drying time that often deters people from trying blending. For each tiny watered down stroke of the brush, its 30+ seconds to really get it dry. 
That can add ages to your day and the total painting time.
Batch blending actually works pretty well. Pick everyone’s shoulder pads, blend them segment from Squad mate 1-20. Now go back and do the next layer up from 1-20. By the time 1 has dried its ready for the next. Rather than spending ages on one single Squad mate you bring the entire squad up, and if you pick an armour piece at a time you get a good overall result.

This may purely associate with my snow but I always have excess basing materials, the bicarb mix I use always leaves excess. This reduces the likelihood of that to a degree.

My challenge this week/month was to get a large number of Sons of Horus guys completed. Now as established, painting isn’t my favourite part of the hobby. I’ve got a massive selection of


  1. Batch painting is the way forward! I'm considering taking it to another level with my Emperors Children by doing the whole 6000 points in one batch! At least for the first few base layers.

  2. Do it! Was tempted to ask you for some Airbrush basing but not sure how different an airbrushed mini would look next to a painted one.
    We had to pick massive infantry armies eh?

    1. Haha! I find it difficult to change how I'm painting any army once I've started, as I don't want them to look different!