Systematic Painting

Currently the Bonelords contain close to 200 models, and the majority of them are unpainted. My current plan for getting as many painting as possible is methodical by design, but it could very well get a little confusing as I go.

Currently my proposed painting system for the Bonelords looks like this:

  1. Set up batches of models in groups of ten. Set all but one batch to the side and place the current batch on my desk. Depending on the total number of models I’m working on during this session the amount of time this takes fluctuates.
  2. Prime each model with my airbrush. This typically only takes me a couple of minutes to do because while I’m waiting for one to dry I move to the next. Using the airbrush gives me a lot of control over where the primer goes and how much ends up on the model so I don’t fill in any of the detail.
  3. I mix up my basecoat and thin it down so that it will flow through my airbrush correctly. I’ve used pure water in the past and it works well, but using too much water causes the acrylic medium of the paint to separate from the pigment. I’ve started using Vallejo Airbrush Medium lately, and because it’s an acrylic medium I don’t have to worry about the paint separating when I thin it out. The mixing only takes a couple of minutes.
  4. I apply the basecoat to each model individually just like I apply the primer. Again, this only takes a few minutes. Usually this color is the primary color for the model as take takes care of the majority of the basecoating work for the model. It is very effective on models that are mostly one type of material, like the armor for Blood Warriors or the skin on Bloodletters. Understandably the workload reduction isn’t as effective on models that have a heavy mix of materials like the Bloodreavers and Bloodbound heroes which are close to half armor and half skin.
  5. I apply a wash to the entirety of each model making sure to focus on the armor sections. This also helps to separate details from each other to make basecoating te details in later steps easier. Allowing the wash to dry properly can take a lot of time so I typically move this batch to the side and start work on the next batch of models.
  6. Once the wash is completely dry I start drybrushing both highlight colors for the armor on the first batch of models while the wash dries on the other batches. This can take a couple of minutes per model to make sure the drybrushing is getting all of the details of the armor.
  7. Using a brush and thinned down paint I basecoat the rest of the model’s details. This is the most time consuming step of the entire process as I need to apply multiple coats of thinned down paint to avoid brush strokes in the finished paintjob. While these layers are drying I finish the drybrushing on another batch of models
  8. Once all of the batches have their details basecoated I return to the first batch and start washing the details one color at a time. While one color’s wash is drying I move to the next batch and wash their details with the same color. Repeat until all of the details have been washed on all batches. The washes are in different sections of the models so the drying time for each section isn’t as much of a worry.
  9. When the washes are completely dry on the first batch, I start to highlight the details one color at a time. When the first batch is done I move on to the next. This step is grueling but the job is almost done.
  10. MATT VARNISH!!!

Whew! So that’s the system that I’m planning on using, but like the saying goes, “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” We’ll see if this actually works out or not.

Finding fast and more efficient methods of getting miniatures on the table is something that I’m putting a lot of thought into. I’ve played around with using masking tape and silly putty to cover sections that I’m not working on and then using my airbrush to basecoat the larger detail sections, but making sure the masking is applied correctly can take a while. I’m not sure it really saves me much time. I’ll have to try it again and time it.

Thanks for reading!

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