This first article with be a bit of a first look at what wargaming is and why it’s a great hobby to take up, followed by a work through of how to assemble a basic miniature and prepare it for painting.
So to start with Miniature wargaming, what is it basically it’s a game where two or more players deploy armies, squads, and in some cases teams of models against each other to either destroy their opposition or claim a victory based on some predetermined set of objectives. Much like a turn based strategy game on a computer, only dice and cards are used to determine the outcome of events and the characters are represented by models you and your opponent have built and painted yourself. There are wargames to cover every interest and genre you can think of just pick your favorite(s), I find it hard to stick to one, and give it a go.
I big part of the wargaming hobby is the modeling and painting aspect, this is possibly my favorite aspect of the hobby however, the real reward for me comes from playing the game with my painted miniatures, so I usually only paint models that I plan to game with.
First off let me say that miniature painting is a for of art and takes some amount of skill it’s not something you will just sit down to and be good at, like any form art it takes time to get good at. I’m by no means a great painter but I share a bit of my knowledge here if you want to see some really stunning pieces look here.
For new painters, I like to recommend the 3 P’s.
With a few basic skills and techniques, you can create good looking miniatures in a relatively short period of time. Below I will walk you through the steps I take when preparing a miniature for painting. Then in the next article I will paint the miniature. For this little exercise, I will be working with Pin Vice one of the captains for the Engineers guild in Guild Ball a Medieval mob football game published by Steam Forged Games.
On to the meat and potatoes of this post, this will be a mini-series (hopefully regular) where I will document the process of cleaning building and painting a model. Pin Vice the second Captain to my Current guild the Engineers in Guild ball. To start will I clean and assemble the model.
- File set
- Model Clippers
- Super Glue
- Tooth brush
- Scalpel/ hobby knife
My Trusty Tools!
Before we assemble the miniature, we need to clean it. Thefirst step is to check it for excess mold release agents (this is the lubricant that the manufactures use to get the pieces out of the mold) if you fine and use the tooth brush and some soapy water to clean it off. We do this because these release agents can make it difficult for the glue to set properly and prevents paint from adhering properly. I have found this to be an issue mainly with resin miniatures and seeing as I’m working with metal I will skip this step. Next, we want to clean off any mold lines and flash, these are the markings left on a miniature where the two parts of the mold meet or where the casting material was injected into the mold, sometimes these can leave fine yet obvious lines and chunks running along the length of parts of the model that can really stand out once painted and ruin the look of your miniature. Use your model files and hobby knife to gently remove these.
Cleaned and ready!
Once the miniature is free of mold lines and flash do a dry fit (put the miniature together without glue to see if it all fits together snugly). Once I’m happy I know how each piece should join up I add the glue and attach the base. Some people only attach the miniature to the base after they have painted it to allow for better access to the underside while painting and to finish the base separately, I only do this when I’m working on a miniature with a fancy scenic base. For similar reasons, other people paint each individual part separately and then assemble it afterwards I’m far too lazy for this plus I feel it limits the painter’s ability to get the lighting right. Each method has its advantages, it all about personal preference.
The final touch before I undercoat the miniature is to use a sculpting tool to apply a bit of spackle to the base to fill in the recessed area and give it a bit of a ‘grounded’ feel.
In the next article we're going to cover painting the nimble gal.
Till next time!