The Dwarven Forge Effect, Part II- “I’m not good at painting miniatures.”

The Dwarven Forge Effect, Part II- “I’m not good at painting miniatures.”

When I started out on the adventure that is a Dwarven Forge Dungeon, it’s fair to say that I started without experience or a clear idea of exactly what the challenges would be. This isn’t type of thing that deters me. It seemed reasonable at the time that I could purchase 162 unpainted miniatures, then share my progress as I improve as a miniature painter.

Then I started painting my first miniature, made several missteps, and decided that it wasn’t worth sharing. The results of my second miniature were not an improvement. The third time was not a charm. As it turns out, my mistakes outnumbered my improvements by wide margin. So this week I’ll be sharing my three biggest frustrations as a new miniature painter.

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Miniature #4

Primer isn’t easy, or “I can’t even use a can of spray paint!”

This subject brings me to the fourth miniature I painted, a repaint of the Dreamblade miniature Beetleback Mass, that will illustrate some of my frustrations with primer. While in some ways this miniature looks better than several of my later miniatures, it has signs of the same issue that caused me to strip the paint for my first three attempts–the primer came out looking speckled. This caused the paint on my earlier attempts to easily rub off, and the speckle pattern was visible through multiple base coats. I was fortunate that with Beetleback Mass the effect was a positive, as the speckles looked like the tiny specks that you see on beetles.

Tutorials often assume that you know how to paint.

This certainly isn’t true of all the miniature painting tutorials out there, but it is pretty common for “miniature painting 101” tutorials to assume that you have some knowledge about how to use paints and brushes. I went through a Baker’s dozen of miniature painting tutorials for beginners before learning how to properly apply paint to my brush. I went through a half-dozen tutorials before I learned not to dab paint onto the miniature.

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Miniature #11

Those eyes are EXTREMELY small.

While I’m too inexperienced to offer much in terms of painting advice, I can offer this single tidbit: purchase miniatures without eyes. When you run out of those, purchase miniatures where the eyes won’t require pupils. While the size of the eyes on miniatures of the same scale seem to come in a wide range of sizes, none of them are large enough (at least in the 25mm-30mm range) for a beginner.

This series of posts follows my attempts to purchase, paint, and otherwise procure a collection of miniatures for my Dwarven Forge terrain. I’ll explore painting for talent-challenged, budget miniatures, and what types of tabletop scenarios give miniatures their maximum impact. Part I can be found here.

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