[RPG] What’s the cheapest, good way for someone to try getting into painting miniatures?


I want to try painting miniatures (plastic ones ala Castle Ravenloft and the World of Warcraft board game), but I don't want to spend a lot of money on supplies only to find out that I stink, but I also don't want to get low quality paint only to find out that I enjoy painting them.

I've seen many posts online where people recommend using Vallejo paints or Citadel or Reaper's paint lines, but they all seem expensive at more than $3 a pot. Is there a cheaper brand that I can experiment with?

Locally, the two craft stores (no real hobby stores in the area) both carry Testor's brand paints. I've read online that Testor's is not good for miniature painting.

I don't know how old this site is, but he recommends not spending more than $1.50 for a pot of paint.

Is there a way to ease my way into miniature painting so I can see if it's a good fit, or do I need to just bite the bullet and spend $100 on supplies?

Best Answer

You can buy decent acrylic paints at your local wal*mart or equivalent, in the crafts section, or at a crafts store. Delta Ceramcoat and similar brands work quite well, and are a few dollars for 4oz or more..

The Games Workshop/Citadel paint is problematic because, for the same cost, you get half an ounce, AND they've added latex (making it a common allergen), and it doesn't survive unused nearly as well, either, for the latex will set in the bottle much easier.

Decent brushes can be bought inexpensively at the same sources, often in packs of 3-5 of varying sizes.

Plastic palettes with 6 cups are under a dollar at my local W*M.

At $4/bottle, you'll want at least a flesh tone, a metal tone, and a brown and green. So probably $30 sunk on the initial investment in materials, but those are sufficient to last some time. (For citadel color, you're looking at the same prices, maybe more, and 1/8th the paint.)

Spray primer is useful. Any fine primer works; Krylon has a decent one in a roughly $5 can. If you don't do spray primer, prime with white, gray, or black paint.

The palette is essential, IMO: you put a drop or two in the palette's cups, closing the bottle. Less waste, and you can dilute or mix safely.

Minis to paint is the next hurdle; Michtoy.com sells excellent plastic minis in boxes; zvezda 1/72d scale (roughly 20mm) are $12-15 a box, with 15+ minis in the box. Since the techniques are the same whether the minis are plastic or metal, it's an inexpensive start point.

Also, find a good instructional site, and work through it once you have materials.

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