Tips & Tricks for Painting Warhammer Miniatures

Written by gabriel brown
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Tips & Tricks for Painting Warhammer Miniatures
Warhammer miniatures require fine brushes for detail work. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

When you are painting Warhammer miniatures, whether you are going for the fine detail of your Standard Bearer or the masses of soldiers that make up your army, proper technique will make your forces the envy of the battlefield. Warhammer miniatures come in many different factions. Whatever group you chose to represent, you will need paints, brushes, primer and varnish.


To begin painting you will need the proper brushes. There are four types, fine detail, detail, base and dry brushes. You also need to care for them properly; keep them clean and dry after every paint session. Aerosol primer is required to base coat the miniature and give the paint something to cling to. You will need you paints in colours representing the faction you are playing as well as a cup of water and paper towel for mixing and cleaning. Finally, tin snips for cleaning mould spurs off the model are helpful for a fine finished product.


Chose your primer colour, black or white. Black is for darker coloured armies such as the Denizens of Chaos; white is better suited for lighter armies like the Ultramarines. Be aware white brings out more detail but requires more coats of paint and is more prone to showing mistakes. You need to prime on a large flat surface, ideally an 8-by-8 inch piece of white bathroom tile, baring that, a shoebox is a suitable substitute. Both are easily cleaned surfaces and allow you to rotate the miniature while priming with out touching it. The best distance for priming is between eight and twelve inches from the miniature in short bursts of spray. Always make sure to clear the nozzle by holding it upside down and spraying it briefly.


Start by watering down your paint at a 1-to-1 water to paint ratio in a small separate container. An ice cube tray works ideally. Pick your base colour and paint the entire miniature in two base layers. Next, you paint the detail like armour, seams and eyes. Lastly, you go back with original colour and due your touch ups.


One potential optional finish is called an "ink wash." Water down the ink wash in a 2-to-1 water to wash ratio. Use your dry brush to apply the ink wash sparingly. This is done to accentuate detail or add a slight colour hue to a surface. Modelling flock can also be used to add detail to the base of the miniature, such as fake grass, gravel or parts from other miniatures to represent a "trophy." The last step is to varnish your miniature, either glossy or matt, this is to protect the figure from the wear and tear of being handled and transported.

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