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Nerdarchy > Nerd Culture  > Nerd Craft  > Painting Miniatures and Modding Miniatures – The Basics.
painting miniatures

Painting Miniatures and Modding Miniatures – The Basics.

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Many of you out there might be like myself and have an addiction to plastic.  You collect Dice and painting miniaturesMinifigures.  It can be a consuming hobby that lands in FB groups and Forums looking for the one mini to complete your collection.  You might spend loads of time on Ebay looking for deals and steals just to boost up the extras bin or that one exclusive piece you just found out about.

Well if you are like that, then you are like me, Nerdarchist Ted.  I cannot fathom a guess as to how many hours I have spent searching for deals on Amazon or Ebay because of my habit/addiction.  I have it under control based off of the argument my wallet had with me some years ago.  Enough was enough.

As I sat and looked at the hundreds if not thousands of little pre-painted plastic miniatures It begged to question what was I going to do with it all.  My friends and I spent years playing Mage Knight.  I have loads of them.  I spent years playing Heroscape and I had loads of them.  I bought loads and loads of D&D minis as well as they were perfectly sized for our Table Top role playing game.

Mage knight there was variety and you had lots of uses for them.  With Heroscape unless you were planning to play a 10 player game, not recommended by the way, and everyone wanted the same pieces there was no need to have that many copies of the miniatures. 

The freedom in having the extras and not caring if I screwed up gave me the confidence to begin painting minis as well as hacking the tiny plastic figures apart and modding the miniatures.  I started with guys that came in squads as they were more abundant and the more I did the more inspired I would become to try something else or something new.

Over the years I have dabbled with this never taking too long on a single project.  For those of you who modding miniaturesare into Warhammer I know that you have spent massive amounts of time on a single figure let alone an entire army.  Most of my Dark Angels are spray painted green and left alone thereafter.  It was not worth it for me to spend more time than that on basic troops. To each there own.

If you, yourself are looking at giving this a try there are loads or online resources out there that can help you.  So the tools you should have if you are going down this road.  If all you are doing is painting you will need your paints and a variety of different size brushes, that is easy.

If you are interested in getting into modding miniatures or kit bashing as some call it, there are lots of tools that can make the task go from challenging to easy.  You are going to need a cutting tool that suits the task.  Some use a scalpel or Xacto knife I usually use a utility knife.  The blades change out easy enough and I have a sure grip on it.  Since you should be cutting down and away from yourself to avoid injury you should have a cutting surface that you do not mind getting messed up and that will not painting miniaturesdamage your blade.

For this I tend to use a small sheet of plexiglass plastic.  It can easily slide behind or under something but makes a nice craft surface for many cutting or messy projects that you want to keep the table nice for.

For many tasks a rotary tool becomes incredibly useful.  It can cut sand and shape depending on what attachment you are using.  I have also used it to drill into a mini to allow for better joining connection.  And since you will need to attach things if you are cutting them apart a variety of glues do different things.  I would avoid white craft glue as it will not give you a very strong bond.  I favor super glue though at times I have steped up and used an epoxy for when things are not joining well for me and I have also used hot glue.  Do not forget the head of the glue gun can and will melt your plastic miniatures, be careful.

When you have evolved into trying to sculpt in part or whole miniatures there are options here as well.  You can get a simple air dry clay.  You can go with a more expensive brand called miliput.  If you are slow and not wanting to set until you are 100% ready you can go for oven bake clay, I prefer Sculpey.  All of these tools are very useful and helpful in getting the vision in your mind into a thing at your gaming table.

The thing to remember is that it is a building process and a learning process.  You may not master it over night.  There is a high degree of potential screw up and that is alright.  You never know when a screw up turns into a wonderful thing.


The pictures included here are a small sample of the works I am am proud of.   I am getting back into this hobby how many of you out there like painting miniatures and like modding miniatures.


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Ted Adams

The nerd is strong in this one. I received my bachelors degree in communication with a specialization in Radio/TV/Film. I have been a table op role player for about 20 years 17 of which with the current group. I have played several itterations of D&D, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd and 3rd editions, Star wars RPG, Shadowrun and World of Darkness. I am an avid fan of books and follow a few authors reading all they write. Favorite author is Jim Butcher I have been an on/off larper for around 15 years even doing a stretch of running my own for a while. I have played a number of Miniature games including Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, Heroscape, Mage Knight, Dreamblade and D&D Miniatures. I have practiced with the art of the German long sword with an ARMA group for over 7 years studying the German long sword, sword and buckler, dagger, axe and polearm. By no strecth of the imagination am I an expert but good enough to last longer than the average person if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens. I am an avid fan of board games and dice games with my current favorite being Quarrios.

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