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Miniature painting

Trying new techniques

I recently ordered a batch of small dice (6mm) and flying bases from EM4 Miniatures, and while I was there I decided to grab a set of their generic “Spacecraft”.  You get twelve different gray plastic ships and accompanying bases all for 2.55 pound, or $4 Canadian.  I just got them on a whim, I had heard a few people recommend them in different forums but hadn’t thought too much about them.  When they arrived, which was pretty quick considering they were coming across the Atlantic, I was thoroughly surprised.  They are great, very nice sculpts, no flash to clean up, and some fairly small mold lines to scrape off.  I had them cleaned, based, and primed in a day or two.

There are a few reasons I am excited to work on them, the first is they are generic, so I don’t feel the need to match them up to someone else’s scheme, and second is how cheap they are.  I have paired them up so I will paint each pair with the same scheme, for no real reason other than I can try each paint technique twice.  And that is why their cheapness is important, I am just going to try a whole bunch of new techniques on them, and I don’t have to worry.  No fleet that they will need to match, no expensive mini to strip the paint off if I don’t like it, just a bunch of ships I can do whatever I want with.  And I have already started…

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I tried a number of new things with these two.  First was painting them just black, they turned out okay, but I had a horrible time trying to highlight them.  Second was the lightning, I had a great time doing it.  The first ship I did is the one on the right with the skinnier bolts.  I prefer the look of that one up close, but from a few feet the thicker bolts look better.  The third was the fade/blend on the cockpit glass.  I usually use the jewel technique for windows, but decided that these ships needed something a little flashier to go with the overall paint job, the picture doesn’t do the cockpits justice.  I also tried doing a different colour on the engines, usually I do a blue to white transition, but this time I tried an orange to white.  I definitely didn’t have the right shade of orange, and it didn’t turn out as I had hoped.

I had one other thing go, well not quite wrong, but not good either.  When I am done painting the miniatures I give them a couple coats of high gloss spray varnish to protect them, and then a last coat of matte varnish to finish them off.  I will admit that I am paranoid of the paint getting chipped or rubbed off, so I can over do it with the gloss varnish, and I definitely went way overboard this time.  It kind of shows in the photos, the panel lines are basically gone, I filled them with varnish, obscuring a lot of detail.  On the next pair I think I will try brushing the gloss varnish on by hand and see what I can do.  It will take a longer time, but I should be able to control the amount a lot better, the big question is whether or not I can avoid brush strokes.

And for those checking my blog out for the eye candy only, one more shot…

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