Tuesday, 19 November 2013

More miniature painting with Army Painter Quickshade - this time zombies

While looking for zombie-themed game ideas, I stumbled across this on Twitter which made me smile - it was a group of people discussing how best to prepare for the inevitable soon-to-be-upon-us zombie apocalypse:

As a mortician, I always tie the shoelaces together of the dead. Cause if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, it will be hilarious.

Now that's forward planning!
Having spent too long in front of the computer over the last few days, I thought it best to spend a few hours catching up with a bit of painting. I think I'm slowly developing my own style. Whether it's an actual style, or just not being too bothered about making a miniature look any better than "alright" I'm not sure. I think my style is summed up as "that'll do".

I'm also getting quicker at painting miniatures. But maybe that's because I've gone from "this needs to be really good" to "I think I'll get away with that". I'm not interested in blending and multi-layer gradients. I just want playing pieces that will look good in a few photos and on the board.

I wanted to find out exactly how fast I can "get away with" painting a bunch of miniatures using the Army Painter method. I'd hoped to paint a batch of seven zombies in just a couple of evenings. Even as I started, I thought this might be a bit adventurous - but still I thought that perhaps five might be realistically achievable.

My current painting technique is:

Spray a number of miniatures with the appropriate primer (so far I've only got white and grey, but I hope to expand on this in future - I guess it depends which kind of minis I'm likely to be painting in future)


Slap on the basic colour(s). This is a "messy" step - it doesn't matter really where the paint goes (if I had another primer, I might have base-coated all the minis in this slightly green-y flesh colour)


After this I sometimes do a bit of touching up. My Army Painter yellows and reds are not very good at covering up other colours. If I know I'm likely to use one of these "weaker" colours, I'll touch up any messy edges with white before applying the second colour.

Next, block in the remaining colours - making sure the edges are good, solid lines.
I use either a Citadel "standard orange" or an Army Painter "regiment" brush for these (whichever is first to hand). These slightly larger brushes (they're certainly bigger than the detail brushes) mean they hold more paint, which actually makes painting fiddly edges easier than a smaller brush.


I try to keep the number of colours per miniature to two or three at most. I also use much brighter colours than I expect the miniature to end up with. This is because the QuickShade will tone down the base colours quite a bit.


Here's the miniatures after applying the QuickShade (I use a brush rather than dipping) and both before and after a good 24 hour drying and some Testor's Dullcote:


So it took all of one evening to get the miniatures base-coloured and QuickShaded. It takes about 24 hours for the QuickShade to dry, and an hour or so for the Dullcote to harden, ready to take more paints. So by the second evening (some time well after Pointless) it's time to paint in some details and add a few highlights.


On this fat guy I couldn't find a bright colour to add highlights to the tracksuit, so just went with the original orangey-yellow. The effect is more noticeable than in the photo, but it's still not as striking as some other miniatures I've painted.


The zip and the white piping on the tracksuit took a steady hand, but I'm slowly learning to control the shakes when it comes to the smaller details. The spots I painted red, then topped off with a bone colour to make them look like angry red, pus-filled spots, just ready to burst!

I much prefer the highlighting on this second model. The technique was exactly the same - paint, shade, dullcote, highlight.


For the highlights I went two or three shades "brighter" than the base colour. The jeans, for example, were painted in Ultramarine blue, which goes quite dark after shading. It's tempting to highlight with the same blue, for a subtle effect. I prefer the Electric blue highlights which almost glow against the darker blue. True, it doesn't make the trousers look like demin - but you can see the highlights even from a distance. My reasoning is, if you're going to take the time and trouble to highlight your miniatures, why not make them really visible?

Sadly, I'm still rubbish at painting hair.
The rest of the models (both the fat guy and the girl) look fine. I managed to get the eyes and teeth painted in the right places and the shading and highlighting - though simple - make the miniatures stand out nicely. It's just a shame that the shonky hair painting spoils the rest of the model.

If anyone has any tips on painting hair, please leave comments below!