On Inking Miniatures

I've decided to take a tiny break in the Pulp action to talk about my modelling of the Pulp Figures, Copplestone Castings, and Artizan Design miniatures I am using in my late 20's and early 30's campaign world.

First off, I'd like to state quite clearly and categorically that I am not a standard modeller. I wouldn't even know where to begin to paint in the style and to the standard of some of today's amazingly talented model collectors. But having said that, I also have no pressing desire to learn to paint like this either.

I'm a real old school gamer at heart... especially when it comes to painting my own figures, all of which I treasure highly. But I do have a nostalgic fondness for the hobby as a whole... as it used to exist back in the 70's, 80's and early 90's. Back then, models tended to by glossy, durable, often black outlined, and quite frankly, sometimes they were quite hideous; but they possessed an appeal all of their own. Best example I could give of that would be for anyone who has ever collected Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons & Dragons Skirmish Miniatures, or Mage Knight, Hero Clix, or Horror Clix figures. They're are not terribly well painted, but they have a style and appearance all of their own, which can be every bit as appealing to the avid collector as even the most highly painted Games Workshop 'eavy metal miniature is to those model artists.

So I paint in a style which is almost an ancient art... nearly lost and forgotten to time, except in the musty and yellowing pages of classic wargames magazines and rule books of yester-year. One might argue "who on earth would want to paint that badly by choice?" but the answer quite firmly is - "I do."

I paint in inks - applied over a spray canned white undercoat; usually using the Games Workshop's Citadel range, which I find quick drying, easy to use, and mixes nicely with other inks to give various interesting colour contrasts... and the GW flesh wash is simply to die for when used on arms, legs, and face (it sinks nicely into the miniature's crevices and features and highlights the fine sculpting beautifully.

Until very recently, I use ordinary paints for metal weapons, gold, bronze, silver, and so on. I actually didn`t think you could get inks for these... but I was so wrong. Winsor & Newman make a wonderful series of metalic colours which suit the rest of my inks perfectly; so now I truly can say that all my figures are paintied from top to bottom without even a dob of ordinary paint touching them.

I don't paint eyes a lot of the time, and I have been criticised for this many times in the past. I can paint eyes, and on a few very special figures I still do. But I find the better quality wargame and collector miniatures of today are so well detailed, an ink wash is normally enough (for me anyway) to make the pieces stand out and shine with an intrinsic beauty all of their own, without needing to add such fine detail. That's my excuse anyway.... okay, okay, I hate painting eyes - I admit it!

I have a modelling style all of my own, which I developed over the years. I don't think it's especially cool or special, but the style is unique... and it's all mine *evil chuckle*

© 2008, Stephen A Gilbert.