Someone on TMP (The Miniatures Page) asked for a tutorial on painting American Indians. So, I’ve decided to have a go at it. I have a lot of figures that need painting & I would love to do Plains Indian War game at Texicon next year.
I have 29 28mm Comanche by Conquest & one Old Glory Plains Indian giving a total of 30 figures for this project. Some are in various stages of completion, but there are plenty that don’t have a drop of paint on them.
My painting area is a small little bookshelf desk in a well lit corner of my bedroom. I’m eccentric like Virginia Woolf. I have a small desk & a painting area in my bedroom. Some people have televisions in their bedrooms to watch while they unwind, I write & paint miniatures in mine.
After removing a miniature from its packaging, I use a hobby knife & file to remove any flash & mould lines. When assembling multi-part models, I pin the parts where possible. The first decisions I have to make are things like attaching weapons & shields & if a mounted figure, whether or not to attach the rider to the his/her mount. If the part doesn’t interfere with painting a detail on the model, I go ahead & attach it.
For most of my models, I use Litko 3mm plywood bases. I use Aleene’s Tacky Glue to attach the miniature to the base.
Often the base that is cast onto the model makes the model look like it is on a dais or platform. If the cast on base can’t be hidden by flock or other basing material, I use drywall spackling to smoothly integrate the model with the base. I know some modelers who remove the figure from the cast on base & pin the model to the base that will be used for the game. But, I’m a bit lazy for that.
Once the spackling is dry, I’m ready to prime the model. I use “handi-tack” to attach the model to a bottle cap. I hold the model by the bottle cap when painting so I don’t get fingerprints & oils from my skin on the model. I use gesso or brush on primer. Spray primer works just as well, I just prefer using the brush on products.
I can’t stress enough that when you use gesso, you must allow it to dry overnight. When applying just a few colors or painting a single miniature, I often use a ceramic palette. For projects with several miniatures, I use a wet palette.
You want to use a damp brush when applying gesso. Using an older brush or a brush dedicated to priming is important in that you will often need to push the gesso into some areas of the miniature to get full coverage. It may look like you are losing detail, but when gesso dries, it shrinks & detail stands out just fine.
I need to stop here so I can prime the rest of the figures. Next time, we will tackle the most often asked question when painting American Indians — skin tone. I will show a single color option & present a couple of triad options. Then we will look at face paint.
Feel free to comment on how you prepare your miniatures for painting! There really is no one true way to do things & your technique may fit another person’s style better than the way I do it.