I played Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) for a long time. Part of the fun was buying the (formerly) lead figures and figuring out how to paint them. When they’re done, they can look really impressive. What a lot of folks don’t realize is that they’re basically a tiny little paint-by-numbers project. 🙂
One of the games that recently hit our table is Shadows Over Camelot. As part of the game there are various enemies that have to be defeated including invading Saxons, marauding Picts, and siege engines (aka catapults) outside of Camelot. You can see what they looked like below.
I say “looked” because I’ve taken steps to address this. The catapults have all been painted (all 12 of them). I have also painted the Holy Grail. I’m still working on Excalibur and the Saxons and Picts.
The Holy Grail was really easy. There are two techniques (other than just dabbing on paint) that I learned while painting D&D miniatures: dry brush and wash. The two are exact opposites. With a dry brush technique you dip your brush in paint and then wipe most of it off, leaving only the barest minimum of paint. Then you lightly run the brush of the high points of the miniature. If it’s done right, you get nice random / organic-looking highlights. A wash is the exact opposite. For a wash, you pick your color and dilute it. Severely. The final solution could very well be ten parts water to one part paint, especially if it’s a darker color (which it usually is). Then you dip your brush in the extremely watered down paint, and then dab the brush on the miniature.
What happens next is magic. 🙂
The diluted paint runs off the brush (it’s almost water, remember, so it’s quite fluid) and goes down into the cracks and crevices of your miniature. That means instead of painstakingly trying to outline various features, the paint does it for you! I think the results speak for themselves in the picture of the Holy Grail token below (click to enlarge).
The same technique (wash) was used for the catapults. I started with a base of brown and then painted the details on top of that, and washed the finished item with the same brown tinted with black. The paint flowed into the nooks and crannies and really makes the details pop out.
I am going to paint the Saxons and Picts too, but I could not wait to post these pictures. I’ll come back and post more “pict”ures when I’m done. 😉 (see what I did there…)