Friday, March 22, 2013

Privateer Press’ Modeling & Painting Vol. 1: Part 1

I recently bought Privateer Press’ Formula P3 Modeling & Painting Vol. 1: Core Techniques. As a relative new comer to painting miniatures, I felt it’d be a helpful introduction for me. They had a nice little sample, which gave me some nice ideas, plus a helpful trick for painting gold metal.

I went ahead and ordered it. Since I’m watching this a bit at a time, as not to be overwhelmed, I thought I’d share my thoughts as they came.

Chapter 1: Tools of the Trade

Getting to know your Brushes and Blades

This chapter provides what seems like it should be obvious; the things you’ll need and want to start off with. Guess what? Its more than paint and brushes! From things like a hobby knife, cutting board, clippers, and more, there’s a lot of stuff I hadn’t really considered. Right now I don’t have a self-healing cutting board, nor do I have files. Moreover, I have no idea where to get a modeling drill, and that really figures into the next chapter.

The included booklet does include a wonderful check-list for your work area, model assembly, painting preparation, basing, and painting. Privateer Press seems to sell most of what’s on the list (surprise!), but worse comes to worse you can hit up your friendly local game store. If you don’t have a local hobby shop (we’ve got a craft store), you’ve got a good number of resources online. My friends turned me onto The War Store, and I got my DVD plus paints from there. 

I do like they make mention of safety, but going in a bit more would’ve but nice. While they recommend a ventilated area for the super-glue and such, overall it’s the normal, "read the directions” which is fair enough. For instance, when I prime with gesso? Ventilation isn’t as important as it is when I prime with spray primer.

Chapter 2: Getting it Together

Preparing & assembling The Figure

While not applicable for every miniature, this chapter will be very important for the ones that need to be assembled. Its covering metal miniatures, but I’d imagine it’s applicable for plastic miniatures. This is definitely an area where tools come into play (clippers, files, hobby knife, etc), particularly when removing the excess metal (called flash). From my experience thus far, plastic minis will need to be cleaned, but just relying on a hobby knife (like I did) doesn’t seem to quite be enough. Removing flash is something that should be done with due caution due to the use of sharp objects – if you can’t concentrate and focus, you might want to wait until you’re able to.

They also go over two different techniques for gluing things together (scoring and pinning). When I was putting together my minis, I didn’t do either. While the glue held well, the minis were plastic. Metal minis would easily benefit from both of these techniques. They’ve got a really cool trick using Blu-Tack that I never would’ve thought of.

They do note that the miniature contact areas need to be cleaned before gluing. They’ve got some other tips for the matter, although they don’t really tell you how to clean the miniature aside from the flash. I don’t know if you need to literally clean the miniature (water, alcohol, etc), or if its just a physical thing.

They also address filling in gaps using an epoxy putty. Some miniatures will have gaps between parts that you might not want in the finished miniature. They illustrate it with a monster miniature, showing how to mix the putty, fit in the putty, sculpt it, etc. Its neat to watch them do it, although the sculpting tools look like they’re from a dentist’s office.

They also show three different ways to attach your mini to the base. Nice, quick, and easy.

Priming comes up next, and I’m quite happy they say why you’d choose a black or white primer. They use a spray primer, and show a nice, easy technique for applying it. They talk about a few other things, including a way mount the miniature so it’ll be easier to paint without having to handle it with your fingers. I’ll have to stop by Home Depot to get a dowel and some double-sided tape later.

Initial thoughts

Wow. I’ve already learned a few things, seen stuff I’m lacking, and in general its great. The narrator is talking throughout everything I’ve seen so far, is easy to understand, and they provide good video footage of what is being talked about. As a beginner, I’m finding this to be very helpful, and has already corrected/improved what I’ve been up to so far.

I’ll get onto the next two chapters by next Friday at the latest. Way of the Brush: The Four Fundamentals of Painting is something I’m really looking forward to, and the next chapter will be one of three Start to Finish chapters of various miniatures. I’ve seen a little of one during a preview, and felt it was great since I could see things in practice. I’ve read some things before, but its easier for me to see than read, you know?


  1. I've not tried the P3 paints myself, but I've heard that they're pretty good. I generally stick with the Citadel paints; I love the Vallejo Game Colors paints, but finding them in the States has become a real chore without ordering them from a distributor out of Canada. I've also, on occasion, used the Apple Barrel acrylics from Michael's (they're a little thinner and usually require 2-3 coats, but in some ways, that's a good thing as it forces you to not try to do a single coat which can create clumpiness).

    I still haven't quite mastered dry brushing and high-lighting, but I'm getting there. My biggest problem when painting models is a lack of patience LOL.

    1. I've told they're good, but they're physically incompatible with most other paints. Seems if you mix them, the two paints will clump/coagulate! Fascinating stuff, that @_@

      I've gotten two sets of Vallejo paints to go along with the Army Painter starter set I got. Looking forward to opening them and getting back to business :)