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Post  BDA on 2014-09-01, 13:16

Can I start off by saying if you have anything else to add to this then please to respond and feel free to ask questions and make the most of the forum.

Undercoating is a very important part of painting and much like laying a foundation for a house, If you get it wrong you are in for a lot trouble from the start.

So let’s get started with the basics

You want to look at the miniatures you are painting and think carefully about the colours you want to use and what the miniature is made of as the undercoat you will be using can help you a lot here.

As a rule the basic colours used for undercoating are black, white and grey.

Black will work best with metallic colours and dark tones, it is not all that useful if you want to use washes from the get go however.
I like to use black because if I miss any bits when spraying it then it is easy to go over over with a brush and some paint afterwards. More so than white.

White will work best with washes and inks from the go and if you are going to be doing lots of red then it is not a bad idea to have a white undercoat but you must make sure you get a good coating as white is a big pain to use to cover any bits you missed.

Grey is a good go between and if you are not 100% sure what you want then go for grey but you might have  harder time finding a matching grey that you can paint over to cover any missed bits.

Now there are lots of other colours you can use but these are the most common. Don’t get GW or army painter ones as they are overpriced, instead Halfords or the pound shop do them but make sure you get a matt version and in the case of the pound shop it can often smell rather strong but for £1 what do you expect.

 There are several ways to undercoat your miniatures and you can combine them a bit:

In my day you use to just paint the undercoat on and this was hellishly time consuming but is good in that you have more control over what paint goes where, you can do it indoors without getting into trouble and in any weather not to mention no real mess.

Spray can:
Spray paint has made things a lot quick but is very dependent on you having  a ventilated area to do it and can be really messy not to mention it is hard to remove it if you put too much on. on metal it is just quicker than painting it on but on plastic and possibly resin it seems to create a chemical bond with the plastic and is a pig to get off but is ideal for a undercoat as it won’t chip off. You will find it is a bit of pain as it smells and is not good to do in an enclosed area. The problem with doing it out side is even a little wind will make life hard for you and best not to do it in the rain, at least the cold can be gotten around as you only have to keep the can warm so keeping it inside your coat if it is cold out will help there and put your miniatures out of the cold as well.

Air brush:
An Air brush While expensive to get started does give you the ability to use just about any colour as a undercoat but I am not sure if it will bond like spray paint. Also more control can be achieved but practice a bit first and always remember to clean it out.

Tricks to undercoating
When I undercoat stuff that is plastic I will do it on the spru. This is so I get best covering all over and I can paint over any bits that are reviled with clipping and getting rid of flash lines as I tend to use black a lot as a undercoat and because I know I will be removing them from the spru and damaging the undercoat I don’t get too heavy on it. The other advantage to this is I will often get stuff in batches for birthdays or Christmas so doing this means I can underoat it all in a batch when the weather permits and then have it ready when I get round to painting it.

In the case of resin and metal you might be better off building them first.

Now how do I go about it.
I have 2 main methods. One is to use a A4 flat bit of hard board with a small 1”x1”x10” bit of wood placed on the back of there to hardboard as a handle. This allows me to place a sprue on there flat and spray it from mutable angles. In the case of resin and metal I will use some double sided tape to hold them in place and spray them. this is good for all angle other than from below but that is what the paint stick is for.

The paint stick is just a bit of wood 1”x2”x24-36” the idea is you put double-sided table along one or more of the sides and then stick your miniatures to it. this will allow you to get all angle including from below. The downside is it can be rather tricky to put somewhere to dry if you have all 4 sides covered in undercoated miniatures.

Now this is another important consideration for you to think about. Can I cheat with painting? my eldar and Tau I have a lot of black on their under suits and this is partly cos it looks good but also cos I effectively get half the miniature painted with the undercoat. Can you do the same?
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