Painting Toy Soldiers for Wargaming
The key to painting for gaming vs. painting single figures is that you are aiming to paint quickly and you are aiming to use your figures so they must be able to take more handling than a collector's piece.
- Keep shading simple, but shade key spots like the face, hands, and hair. They are often the first thing someone looks at when they pick up a figure.
- Apply a coat of gloss coat even if you don't want a gloss finish. Gloss coat seems to seal better than matte so I put a coat of it down then cover it with Dullcote to kill the shine. Most of my figures see a lot of convention gaming and hold up suprisingly well.
- Use the same basing for all the figures in the same gaming period. All my Darkest Africa figures have a light brownish base (based on GW's Snakebite Leather) which gives the games a very cohesive feel. I personally stay away from green bases when I can, they often look very bright and distract from the figures.
- Get good tools. I like Micromark for precision tools, primarily use Games Workshop and Vallejo paints and locally use Gee Dee Models and Hobbycrafts to pick up supplies. I have tried some of the cheaper stuff, but I am not a good enough painter to make up for some of the shortcomings of the discount stuff.
- Keep looking for good ideas and color combinations. I like Cool Mini or Not for ideas and subscribe to the Miniatures Painting Mailing List to get ideas.
- You are always the biggest critic of your own painting. Don't be discouraged by the super figures you see on the web or in magazines. Keep painting and trying new things and you will get better.
- Don't go back and repaint. Once you are through with a figure put it away and game with it forever. As you get better you will be tempted to redo figures to your current standard, resist the urge! There are always more figures to paint and doubling back on figures you have already painted just wastes time.