D&D Mini painting - Need help on where to start

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Hey guys, i recently got ashadalon/legend of drizzt adventure sets. The mini's inside are not painted and i would love to use them for my reg D&D games.

I was wondering if anyone had some recommendations on some products i should use for them.
I also wanted bulk up my undead collection so i bought a couple of "bags O'zombies/skeletons (looking to paint these up to)

Did some looking around for the paints i should be using but came up with so many options, i'm looking for quality but also easy on the wallet. The warhammer citadel paints seem rather pricey for what you get. Any other cheaper brands that still have the quality?

Also other then base paint+detailing paint is there any other things i will need? ive seen some really nice almost inked style painted pieces, what gives that effect of shading? Will i need to get a spray for the pieces afterwords so the paint doesnt come off?

sorry really new to the mini painting scene...any help would be wonderful :D thanks in advance

 This actually belongs in General Discussion...

 What you're looking for are these - Reaper Miniatures Learn To Paint Kits

 They contain two minis, all the paints you need to complete the minis included, instructions on how to paint them, and a couple of brushes. It's a great value for the amount of materials you get.
(As opposed to pretty much anything from the "Evil Empire", Games Workshop, which is going to be overpriced...)

 A small bottle of paint will last you a very long time - in all the years I've been using Reaper paints I've gone through maybe five bottles of black paint. Assuming you're on a tight budget and only want to buy a basic set of colors, you only really really need: black, white, red, blue, yellow, gold and silver. From these colors you can mix everything else if you want, although most people would also throw in a brown and a green.

 There's really no such thing as "base" paint and "detailing" paint...

 -  What you'll need is primer. This may be what you're calling "base" paint - it comes in both spray and brush-on types, and gives the paint something to stick to. Many people just go to WalMart or an autoparts store and buy a can of spray primer. Most folks use white, grey or black.

 - Because minis are so small, you need to physically paint on the highlights and shadows. In a two-dimensional image the contrast between dark and light colors gives the illusion of depth, and does much the same on your mini. Each "color" on the mini is actually three colors - base color, highlight color and shadow color. As you apply successively "deeper" layers of shadow, you progress to darker colors and as you build "up" the highlights you go to successively lighter colors. A medium blue robe may be shaded with a midnight blue and highligted with a sky blue.
Acrylic paints, which are what most people use for mini painting, can be thinned with water which makes them translucent. The more water you add, the more transparent the paint becomes, letting the colors underneath show through. If you mix enough water with your dark paint, the paint will flow down into all the low parts of the mini and as the water evaporates will deposit greater concentrations of pigment in lower areas, which basically shades the mini when you apply an extremely thinned darker paint over a lighter color. You can also buy premade inks (which are a slightly different composition than the paints) that perform the same function.

 So... first you prime the mini, then paint your base colors, and then thin out the shadow color and apply it, retouch any areas of the base color that need it, then slightly thin out the highlight color and apply it.
 Alternately, at the most basic extreme, you can just prime, paint your base colors and then "dip" your entire mini in a very-thinned-out mix of water and paint to shade it.


 - If you plan to play with your minis, you'll want to buy a can of spray sealer. Testors Dullcote works well, but any matte spray sealer from a craft store will do as well.

 When painting your minis, you may want to attach them to something so that you aren't holding the mini itself while painting it - many people use blue poster tack to stick their mini to a bottlecap or something.


 You should check out the Reaper Miniatures forums - they have a large membership (myself included) who can answer any questions you have and offer any advice you might need. Many of the best-known mini painters are known to post there, so you can often get help from real pros.

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