Monday, December 1, 2008

How I paint 10mm

I thought this post might be helpful to beginning painters and also for those who have toyed with the idea of collecting an army in 10mm but thought they might be difficult to paint. I am currently using Old Glory and Pendraken for my Seven Years War armies. I painted the figures below yesterday evening while watching a football game (about 3 hours). You can click on any of the images below to get a really close look at the models. They may look quite patchy this close but look very good on the wargaming table.

Step one. Glue the 10mm strips to some tongue depressors (popsicle stick) using PVA (elmer's) glue. I glued the general to a penny with some hobby glue. I find the tongue depresser helps the figures stay upright during spray painting and gives you something to hold onto while detail painting.
Step Two. Spray "flat" black spray paint to base-coat the figures. I use enamol Krylon indoor/outdoor paint that you find at your local hardware store. It is extremely important that when spray painting your base coat that is be below 50% humidity and between 50 - 80 degrees farenheit. I can not stress this enough if too humid or out of temperature you will get globs of paint and lose all of your miniatures detail. I have had remove paint from many a fig before I learned this. Spray the models from about 8 inches with nice even movment from all sides. You may still need to touch up the black when finished. Allow time to dry.
I use regular acrylic hobby paints from suppliers like Michael's or A.C. Moore. The paint is quite inexpensive and as long as you thin them down a littel with the addition of some water they work just fine. Krylon has just released a spray can with an adjustable nozzel this allows for a wide horizontal spray that works very well.
Step Three. I dry brush a very dark brown onto the figs. Dry-brushing is when you put a little paint on the brush and then whipe the brush on some scrap paper until there is hardly any paint on the brush. You then lightly brush the entire model. The brown picks out the detail and gives you a little shading for free. I actually used the popsicle stick to get the paint off.
Step Four. This is probably the hardest step, painting the flesh. Painting the hands is pretty easy as just a dab from the brush covers them. However, you want your faces too look like faces not blank helmets. To paint the faces I make a "T" across the forehead and then down the nose. Then I dot in the cheeks and chin.
Here is a close up of the faces. It might take a little practice but it looks pretty good imho. Be careful if your paint is too thin it will bleed into the recesses like a wash, but remember even if it is not perfect this is a very small figure seen from some distance away. I do not worry about the moustaches too much, but if you want you can go back with some black and clean them up later.

Step Five. Blocking in the uniform colors.
The regiment above is going to represent IR-Pechmann from the Bavarian army and also sub for Cavenderia IR-11. Part of the fun of historical gaming is researching the uniforms. For the Bavarians I looked at a book by Biles, and some other internet sites. There is some discrepency on what color the uniform components are but I will not bore you with uniform research, this is a painting tutorial after all. The first color is the buff undercoat, lapels and cuffs. Simply dot in the appropriate color. After reading a thread on the miniatures page I found out a dark ochre yellow is a good base coat for buff.
Nest is the blue of the outer coats. You should leave a little black between belts, straps, coats, anywhere there is strong detail. One other note, at this scale and 6mm it is very important to use colors a little brighter so it brings out the details at arms length.
Step Six. Highliting. Once you have blocked in the colors you can go straight to the wargaming table with your figs. However, I like to add one highlight to the figures to give them some extra pazzaz. Simply use a color a couple of shades lighter then the blocking in color and paint it onto the raised areas of the figure. Above you can see a highlight of light blue over the generals coat it is more noticeable if you click the picture above.

Details in blocking in the colors. You will need to paint straps, hat lace, poles, pikes etc. I like to paint in an assembly line fashion, painting all the faces and hands of a couple of regiments at a time. How much detail you put in depends on you. Painting pom-poms on a hat is a very thourough level of detail. Above I have added the straps and hat lining.

Here is a close up of the detail in the drum (brass) the lace on the musicians coat, gloves on the officer with the pike and red turnbacks.

Here is the completed front of the regiment with one hightlight for everything.

Here is a view of the back of the finished regiment.

I am currently basing my units for Sam Mustafa's Might and Reason rules. For the base I use matting material used to frame paintings. My local framer donates waste pieces of matting to elementary schools for hobby projects and when he found out what I was using it for gave me scrap pieces for free. I cut the matt board into 2 inch by 1 inch strips and mount the miniatures accordingly. The general is mounted on a penny as mentioned earlier. Old Glory sales there infantry in packs of 100 and their command stands in packs of 50. With one pack of each you can get 6 regiments with some left over.

I discovered the above product on the web. It is sold as flocking gel at It is a little bit of model railroad ballest mixed with putty and comes in different size grains. What is nice about it, is that you can mix it with acyrilic paint and then place it dirrectly on the stands. Use a clean crafting knife to spread the gel on the stand. Alternatively you can use PVA glue and ballast mixed together or for that matter sand from the local playground.

With some practice you can have some very respectable models in a short amount of time. I painted the generals horse as a dapple gray.

A little extra detail like off color straps or stockings on the horse make each model unique.

Above is a picure of the unit and general with the flocking gel added. I usually give the gell one highlight and add some static grass but you could stop at this point. All that is missing is a brilliant flag, maybe one by David Leininblatt of

I hope this helps someone. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will answer as best I can.


MiniWargamer said...

Nice tutorial. Glad to see that someone else leaves out some detail in this scale!

Do you know if the wide-spray Krylon is available at WalMart or can you tell me where you picked it up?

Mike Cannon

Prinz Geoffrey said...

Yes, I actually bought it at Wal mart.

Adik said...

Thank you for the excellent tutorial. It will actually help me painting my... 15mm figures -- you know, I feel artistically-challenged by all those laces, lapels and cuffs...
Looking forward to more posting from your very interesting blog!

Bluebear Jeff said...

Good tutorial . . . I normally do that dry brush over black with white -- but I can see that with brown is probably a better idea. Thanks.

-- Jeff

Fitz-Badger said...

Very nice tutorial and excellent minis! (I'm sticking with fat 28mm's though! lol)

Prinz Geoffrey said...

Don't get me wrong I enjoy the 28mm I did get my start in warhammer, however for the grand tactical I just love the 10mm.