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Mini Monday #14: Jump into Miniature Painting

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I share why you should take the plunge and jump into miniature painting.

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Many of you already know that I got back into miniature painting after 20 or so years away from the game. In all this time, and the four or so years I’ve been back, my Space Marines have gone unfinished, all because I was too intimidated to paint their Angels Encarmine chapter symbols. Here’s how I took the plunge.

Jump Into Miniature Painting

Blood Angels fans might know about their sister chapter of the Second Founding, the Angels Encarmine. Their chapter symbol is a blood drop between bat wings. Drawing symmetrical bat wings is hard enough, but try painting them freehand on a 10mm wide shoulder guard! There are no transfers for this. I didn’t want them to look cheesy, so I left my minis unfinished.

Now, these were some of the first minis I ever painted. They don’t look great, but I didn’t want to scrap them or strip them. Why I thought badly painted chapter symbols would make a difference, I don’t know, but ego is a powerful thing.

Skilling Up

Knowing how to paint freehand is half the battle.

I had already tried making a template, which worked well for the company symbol — a single yellow-gold blood drop for my 2nd Company. Miniac, a prolific mini painter on YouTube, recently posted a great video on freehanding, which showcased templating along with a load of other freehanding tricks. That got me onto using electrical tape to make templates, and I was halfway there.

But the template didn’t always work. Most of the time it left me with a big black blotch. What did work was painting in the detail with red on the red shoulder guard, hiding the black. Think of it like deleting parts of the image to get what you want. This worked phenomenally well, and turned out to be pretty easy.

But That’s Not the Point

The point is, you have to try, otherwise you’ll never learn. These Space Marines aren’t about to win any prizes, but this has given me a bunch of ideas for improving, and I can move on (finally).

Angels Encarmine First Attempt
Yes, I’m posting embarrassing photos of my poor painting skills, but that’s not the point…

The other thing is motivation. I’m very interested in what motivates me. I realized it would be awesome to do “painted” Adeptus Astartes that looked like they’d been worked over by a Renaissance artist.  Maybe the Angels Encarmine decorate their armor with elaborate images in veneration of the Emperor or as a reminder of past battles. It sounds like a cool bit of lore to me.

So now I’m not just freehanding chapter symbols, but scrolls and oaths of moment, and have plans for much more intricate work. I have a vision, a plan, and all I need to do was jump.

So jump into miniature painting.

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