Tuesday, May 28, 2013

1/72 Zombies step-by-step Pt. 2: Painting

Last time, we performed some simple head swaps to create the Unpainted Undead.

Now let's get them looking a little less unpainted and a little more undead. These are some pretty basic tips here, as my painting doesn't involve much fancy technique, but everyone needs to learn the basics some time.

1.) The first step is to wash the figures with a mix of dish detergent and water, scrubbing with an old toothbrush. This cleans off the mold release agent miniature makers use, which can keep paint from sticking.

2. Next, I superglued the minis to their base, here a 3/4" fender washer. Usually the base that's molded with the figure will cover the hole in the washer, so I don't usually bother with more complicated basing. I then glued the washer to a framing nail, so the mini can easily be handled or kept in a styrofoam block when not in use.

3. I then sprayed the miniatures outside with a white plastic primer. You need a fairly warm, fairly low-humidity day to do this, or the primer won't stick or dry correctly. I make sure to rotate the figures so I cover as much as I can. I'm not totally sold on Krylon as a primer, but it provides a bright, fairly even palette that along with washing the minis will ensure the paint sticks.

4. One impulsive modification I made was to hack at the zombie bodies with a hobby knife, so they looked a little less like the healthy barbarians they originally were and more like the decomposing undead monsters they are. I painted these areas first. If I was smart, I would have also painted the teeth and eyes at the time.

5. Instead, I started painting the fleshtones, here a livid blue. It's a little bolder than what's probably realistic (for the walking dead, that is), but I like my hordes to have a distinct, consistent color scheme, and I hadn't painted a blue army yet. You can see that since the wounds are a layer beneath the zombie skin, it makes it easier to paint the skin over and around the wounds than the other way around. This is also why it would have worked better to paint the eyes and teeth first.

6. Here are the eyes and teeth painted in. I typically need at least two coats of paint to cover, so it wasn't that big a deal to repaint the flesh around the eyes and teeth once they were colored. I usually don't bother painting facial details, but the mouths on these minis are very obvious, and I thought the yellow eyes would give some zing to what would otherwise be a very unlively (heh) color scheme.

7. And here's our undead friend with all the color on him. I could have showed more steps, but I basically just blockpainted the zombie's clothes, with a little bit of drybrushing (painting raised areas with a brush with most of the paint wiped off) to bring out the details on the scabbard. Most of the paint I use is Delta Ceramcoat, a craft paint sold in stores like Hobby Lobby, along with some even cheaper brands. If I used tricks like outlining or wet-blending, I'd probably use paint specifically blended for miniature painting, but the cheaper paints are just fine for my purposes.
As far as I'm concerned, the zombies are painted, but not complete. The final steps will take the figures away from their current flat, plastic look into something with a little more definition and detail. Hopefully these will be done by the end of the week (update: zombies are complete!); otherwise they'll be delayed just a bit. Either way, I'm please with how my zombies are looking so far.

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