How to Paint a 1/6 Scale Head

Written by larry simmons
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How to Paint a 1/6 Scale Head
Add realism to your action figures with a replacement scale model head. (figure image by Aleksandr Lobanov from

1/6 scale action figures have been around for decades, generally changing little over the passage of time. One change that has taken place is the creation of a small market based on the sale of unpainted realistic replacement heads for figures. No longer will action figures bear no resemblance to the person they're modelled after. With a new head, you can have the pleasure of matching face with body. Even more realism is possible by purchasing the heads unpainted and painting them yourself. With a careful application of paint, your new head can appear lifelike with realistic features that can make your action figure a work of art rather than a toy for play.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Hobby knife
  • Mild liquid soap
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes, sizes 0 to 5/16 inch
  • Matt clear coat paint

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  1. 1

    Remove any mould lines from the sides of the head left from the forming process using a sharp hobby knife. These are the lines created when the two halves of the head mould press together when the manufacturer injects the head material. Take care not to remove any of the material forming the actual shape of the head.

  2. 2

    Clean the head using a mixture of mild liquid soap and warm water to remove any dirt or to remove any remnants of the moulding agent used during the head's creation process. Rinse the head in cool running water and then pat it dry with a clean lint-free cloth.

  3. 3

    Paint the eyeballs of the head using a very fine paintbrush a flat white colour.

  4. 4

    Paint the hair the hair colour of your choice using a medium paintbrush. Paint the hair from the hairline outward. Use light strokes of the brush, applying the paint in thin layers with each stroke building on another until you have a natural looking coverage. Paint eyebrows the same colour using the same lightly applied technique.

  5. 5

    Apply the skintone to the head using a large paintbrush to avois leaving brush marks. Use a light brushing technique with little paint on the bristles to apply the skintone. Work from the centre of the face outwards using multiple angles to avoid obvious brushstrokes. Use a modeler's flesh tone coloured paint for simple skin tone applications. Highlight the basic flesh colour with paints the simulate the natural skintone you're going for. Use colour photos as colour guides. Switch to a fine brush when applying your highlight colours.

  6. 6

    Paint a black circle within the white eye socket using the very fine paintbrush to serve as the base of your iris and pupil. Use a photo reference for help with eye positioning. Wait two hours for the black to dry and then add the iris and pupil. Apply the eye colour of choice with the point of the brush creating a circle covering the majority of the black circle already painted.

  7. 7

    Lighten the centre by adding a very small amount of light grey paint to the iris colour, then create slight radiating lines from the centre of the iris to the edge. Wait two hours drying time. Add the pupils of the eyes with gloss black paint. Build up the gloss black slightly with multiple layers to add a 3D effect to the eyes that will add realism to your head.

  8. 8

    Allow the head a full night's drying time. Brush on a coat of matt clear coat to protect the paint job then give the head 48 more hours to dry before attaching it to the model body.

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