Losing My Miniature Virginity

Today, miniatures I painted for several PCs in my party were featured on Robot Viking. First off, thank you to Robot Viking and those that frequent their site who decided to come over to check out this blog. Second, I’d like to briefly discuss how I started to paint minis last year, and suggest how you can do the same if you haven’t already started the hobby.

Lelu Multipass - Elven Ranger

Do not let the sweet banner for this site fool you, I am not an artist! I assembled and painted (poorly) some Star Wars model ships when I was a teenager, but that is the extent of my craft work. Even when I got back into D&D a couple of years ago, I never considered painting miniatures because it seemed well beyond my abilities.

However, another player in my new D&D group asked me if I wanted to go to a free miniatures class/session at a local gaming store. He was quite earnest in his effort to get me to join him for the event, and I agreed to go. When I arrived at the store, I was able to paint a free mini while gaining tips and suggestions from the leader of the session and other painters at the store. It was a pleasant four hours, although it was slightly frustrating because my dexterity with the brush was just a shade less subtle than a train wreck!

The first experience painting minis was enjoyable enough that I committed to taking up the hobby at home. My friend suggested Reaper Miniatures and paints. The Reaper website also provided me with an essential guide for the materials I needed to start the craft. I used this list to buy all the products I needed to get started. If you are thinking about painting, please start with the guide of materials you need. It saved me a great deal of time, and also educates you about the craft.

I started with a small collection of Reaper Master Series Paints (red, blue, green, yellow, white, black, grey and a metallic silver and bronze) and a few Winsor and Newton Series 7 brushes (I primarily use the 1, 0 and 001 sizes). Later I purchased a magnifying OttLite, which improved my painting significantly. The OttLite Lamps are expensive, but the combination of clean lighting and magnification allowed me to focus on smaller details while painting. I found this magnifier lamp at a local craft store on sale for about $50. It truly is worth it!

If you are hesitant to start painting minis, then I suggest you start slow and begin with minis that you are not tied too emotionally. I would shy away from buying the “perfect” mini to represent your PC in a campaign or the big boss in your world as a DM. Start with a mini that is simple and experiment with the various painting styles. There are also tutorials on YouTube and other sites for techniques like dry brushing. I have also avoided building bases for my minis, which is another artform entirely. So far, I have used 1″ washers for each minis’ base. It’s functional for our games, but in the future I’d like to learn more about how to create more artful bases for the minis.

I’ve found that painting minis can be fun and relaxing. I structured the hobby by painting PCs for the players in my campaign. Now that the minis for the PCs are painted, I can go back to focus on my DM role . . . and form plans to kill those PCs in all manner of gruesome and creative ways.