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Achilles Heels

Painting miniatures, what’s your Achilles heel? 


So, first off, before I get into the meat of today’s article, I’d just like to point out that, wowzers, this is my SEVENTIETH piece for It never ceases to astound me whenever I reach one of these milestones and it’s been a pleasure to be able to share my hobby experiences like this.

Ok, personal tomfoolery over, and on to today’s program.

I think we all pretty much have miniatures that we prefer to paint, that we feel we’re best at or at least have a better handle on painting than other kinds of minis.

Looking at my collection, especially in the last couple of years, I’m finding that I’ve got a preference for minis that wear old-fashioned clothes (1600s up through the Victorian era) and that tend towards earth tones. So, lots of Mordheim-type historical minis, definitely, but also some 40k minis that fall into this category (Sanctioned Psykers, for instance, as well as Inquisitors).

But there are other minis. You know the ones. The ones we absolutely DON’T like to paint, that drive us crazy every time we have to finish them as a part of a project. The ones that, if we’d had our druthers, we’d just flat out avoid.

For me, it’s minis that have a lot of skin showing. They’re my Achilles heel.

I remember the first time I tried to paint one – it was a barbarian mini from Reaper – and I really wanted to try and give it my best shot. I watched a tutorial probably three or four times all the way through for a detailed, layered approach to skintones. You probably know the one, where you keep slowly building up imperceptibly different tones until you end up with a nuanced, realistic result.

I probably spent two hours on that damn thing. And, I’ll be honest with you, it turned out really well. But it was a pain. I only tried that technique a couple more times before I gave up on it. Too time-consuming, too much hassle and, in the end, it wasted a lot of paint. I’ve tried other techniques since then, and while they, too, have gone well, I’ve still yet to find the one that I like, and it makes painting these kind of figures a problem – because I don’t yet have a tried-and-true method to finish them off. 

I mean, I’ll get better at it; and I know eventually I’ll find the method that works for me and this won’t be a problem anymore. 

But it’s still pretty annoying, for right now.

So, what are your Achilles’ heels? When you’re painting, what are the things that absolutely just drive you crazy?

About the author;

Peter Kuebeck is a writer, gamer and award-winning mini-painter living in the Midwest. He wages a constant battle against the ever-growing tide of unpainted minis in his basement, and occasionally GMs role-playing game sessions with friends. Catch his hobby shenanigans on Twitter at @popculturecube

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