Saturday, June 17, 2017

Painting Malifaux Models

Quite recently my Malifaux Whatsapp group has been discussing how to best prep and paint the Malifaux models. In particular, some of the guys are of the opinion that Wyrd models are harder to paint compared to a GW model which tend to have more defined lines. I disagreed and promptly was asked how I did mine in such short periods to a reasonable quality. 

Prep work - all the way up to zenithal
Prep work is very critical to shaving huge amounts of time off your eventual painting time. While it may seem slow at first, you must step back to see that the effect of priming in batches and then doing the zenithal in batches shaves down the per model time used per model.

Always build as many models as you can - prioritizing those you need first. I tend to go in batches where I build a thematic group or based on when Card Geeks bring in my models. I prime them all with Flat Black out of rattle can. I leave this to dry overnight.

Another question that comes up often: Do I build the model and glue it to the base?
Most of the time, the answer is "Yes" - especially with Malifaux models which tend to be tiny and you can lose the parts easily. Also, at this size, it's ok to miss spots. The wash technique I use in the later stages will cover any small parts which may be missed at the priming stage.

The time I leave them in sub assemblies is when the parts are significantly different colours such as Hannah and her suit. One was primed with silver while Hannah was primed using the zenithal technique.

I then come back and hit them with a layer of white using the zenithal method. I won't go into too much detail but this blogger explained it very well in his write up.

It can be done with a rattle can or an airbrush
An airbrush is not critical with this method. Why? Because you can achieve the same with a rattle can. Just word of caution, try to stick to a single brand because they manufacture rattle cans differently so the difference in pressure can cause significant spray buildup on your miniature. I use Nippon Paint - Flat Black. I then follow it up with Vallejo Flat White through an Airbrush at 20PSI 0.3mm nozzle. You can replicate this using a rattle can. Just use a miniature you can afford to throw away initially to get a sense of how the paint falls.

I then complete ALL their bases together
I chose to do all bases first to keep them consistent with each other and to tie them as one. Also, dry brushing tend to be quite messy so this helps prevent any screw ups which can destroy the paint job.

I then shift modes - focussing on one model at a time. I usually move between 3-4 models while waiting for them to dry between stages. From this point, I use the Wash Technique and you will have to give each model time to dry between colours and washes or you ruin your paint job.

Primed and based
Notice how the whites really pick out all the highlights and the primer created the shade? This speeds up the painting process immensely.

Always start lowest part then up
By lowest, I mean the part that is deepest in the model such as the skin. Why? Any paint you spill gets picked up by the subsequent colours you use to do the dress, hair etc. Saving you time again.

Once the Bone colour has dried (overnight in my case), I hit it with a shade
This shade can be any colour you like. For Levi and his creations, I visualise a very undead crew. There were not going to have lively skins or even a tinge of being alive so I went with a pallid colour over an equally palid base colour of Bone White.

I then leave the shade to dry and work on another model.

First coat of Dark Blue
You can choose any colour you like here but the key thing is keeping your paint extremely thin. I chose this Waif mainly because her dress was the largest, giving me ample space to demonstrate how the wash can do wonders and create a very realistic effect. Notice how the dark sections are still shaded? The wash naturally will sink into the deeper recesses and the highlights from your zenithal method will create the highlight, again very naturally.

Round 2 - coat 2
I thought the colour was too light in the first pass so I hit it with another very thin run of Dark Blue. Vallejo Air Color is fantastic because of how thin the colour is out of the bottle. Once you shade your model, leave it to dry. Work on another model.

Highlight that skin back up
After washing the skin with the Cathonian Shade, I felt that I needed to redefine the nose, the forehead, the fingers etc so I came back with Bone White again. Again, keep your paint thin to blend the layers together. I find that feathering really helped to tie the two colours together.

A mix of light blue with dark blue
I mixed a batch to thin highlight the edges of the cloth. This is done to pick out the tops of the folds of the dress. I am basically highlighting back the areas that my zenithal was showing should be light of color.

Pure light blue
After that was done, I came back with another pass, this time keeping slightly closer to the "top" of the model, where I visualise that the light would be coming. Keep your paint thin.

As the final run, I hit with pure grey
Using a very last layer, I hit it with an extreme highlight, in this case pure light grey. You can see in the photo above, it creates a distinct POP. You can skip this step if you like but I find this the most fun step of all!

Adding lipstick and some embellishments

Same technique on her back
Remember to keep that paint thin and running and you should be fine!

Good luck and enjoy painting! 


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