How to Paint Armor on Miniatures

Written by chelsea anderson
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How to Paint Armor on Miniatures
Keep a variety of different brush sizes handy to paint both large areas and fine details. (brushes image by aliengel from

To a modeler, there's nothing more boring than a stock, unpainted miniature. Painting armour helps bring a miniature to life, giving it character with nearly limitless customisation options. Give your miniature all kinds of custom patterns and designs, and paint the armour in any combination of colours you desire to mix up. Whether painting miniatures for display or to play games with, take the time and think through your designs before beginning to paint. With patience and effort, your miniatures' armour will turn out looking fantastic.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Spray primer
  • Large brushes
  • Small brushes
  • Model paint
  • Sealant or varnish

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  1. 1

    Check to ensure you have the colours you'd like to use for your miniature's armour, and visit a craft store to buy any other colours you'll need. Plan out the general design and colour scheme of the armour and have it in mind while picking paints.

  2. 2

    Spray the surface of each of the miniatures with spray primer to prepare them to accept paint more readily. Choose a primer suitable for the material your miniature is made from, and allow 24 hours for the primer to fully dry.

  3. 3

    Paint a base coat on the armour. Use a colour suited to the type of armour your miniature is wearing: browns and tans for leather, silvers and greys for old fashioned metal armour and any other colour you like for metal armour that's meant to look painted. Dark greens and browns are good as a base for camouflage armour.

  4. 4

    Start painting on patterns, such as camouflage or an insignia on the surface of the armour. If your miniature is meant to be part of a specific regiment or army, consider painting that army's symbol onto the armour.

  5. 5

    Mix a colour similar to the original colour of the armour, darkened by adding dark brown, blue or black. Thin this colour with water and apply a light wash to the miniature's armour to accentuate the shadows. Paint this layer across the figure, rather than down, so the paint will go into areas that need shadow rather than simply darkening the whole surface.

  6. 6

    Wait for the other layers of paint to dry fully before applying any additional paint.

  7. 7

    Take a dry brush and add any last details. Apply lighter colours to areas you would like to highlight and finish off any buttons or straps. Silver or white paints work well for most reflective surfaces.

  8. 8

    Coat the model with varnish or spray it with a spray sealant when you've completed painting the miniature, to help protect the paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Take time and pay careful attention to details. With practice, you'll be able to paint detailed and realistic armour for nearly any type of miniature.
  • Let the paint dry between every layer or the colours may get muddied.

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