This painting series is for people with limited or no painting skills. You print terrain on your home 3D printer and want it to look ok on the game board. I’m no expert painter and when I paint terrain I am quite impatient and don’t think about the details much.
I will through this series focus on techniques that makes painting simple and quick. That is how I paint. It gives you tabletop ready terrain. Let’s be honest here, terrain printed on a FDM printer is good for gaming, but not dioramas.
Start with giving your print a base coat. I almost always paint with gray filament, since that is easiest to snap pictures of to show you guys and gals. So I always give my terrain a base coat, black or white, depending on how I intend to continue painting.
I may be interested in the base coat shining through. Then I can paint it black. If I want a piece with lighter colors I will use white. Otherwise it doesn’t matter that much.
I use spray paint for the base coat. Be outside, or a very well ventilated area. Wear a mask. Give the can a good shake. Hold the nozzle about 20cm (5 inch) from the piece. Press down and use gentle strokes back and forth over the print to paint it. It’s good to have the print on a cardboard box. You can rotate it to paint from different angles.
When spray priming your miniatures, it is important to not get a thick layer of paint. That will hide the details. But with prints, you probably want to hide them. Artifacts, layering, etc. So don’t worry if you drench the print in paint. Also, since you probably will drench it in other kinds of paint later, don’t worry if the base coat is a little thin some places. It will give your piece some variation and a more natural look.
It is time to pick up the brush and give the piece a basic color. If you want to make it very easy, paint it in the color you want the finished piece to be. You can of course do this with a rattle can too. But it will cost more.
For this I use a big brush and house paint (emulsion or latex paint). It tends to be quite thick so I thin it down just a little with water.
I usually paint over everything with this color. Details can be painted with other colors later.
When you have painted the entire piece, let it dry for an hour. Then paint it again with a second layer. Let it dry again. The paint can easily rest in the palette without drying out.
As you can see in the pictures below the first layer isn’t covering the white 100%.
See the difference between the first (above) and second (below):
Overbrushing is a technique to enhance the details of a model. The brush should not be loaded with much paint so it floods every detail. Instead, by working a small amount of paint into the bristles and pressing the brush quite hard against the surface of the model, the paint sticks mostly to flat surfaces, edges, corners and other protruding parts. Together with a dark (probably black) base coat, you will get a very nice effect with very little effort.
You will probably need at least three coats to get a covering equaling that of normal painting. One advantage is that paint from overbrushing dries much faster.
Here I have a base coated (black spray) wreckage. I want it to be different shades of gray in the end. Also I selected a brush that was good size for the details.
I loaded the brush with lots of paint. Then started working it into the bristles. This makes the brush dryer and dryer. When I start to pick out brush streaks on the newspaper, the brush is ready.
Then I brush all over the model until I am happy. See how the model has lots of definition already. I will work more with this but it could be ready for the tabletop.