Sunday, 18 April 2010

I HATE metal minis :-/

On his soapbox again...

The last two days, and the last two that I have painted (namely Kharn and this Commissar), have really brought home to me how much I really hate painting metal minis. I appreciate that metal minis have more depth to them, but I really find them a pain to paint and I've yet to paint one that I dont think I could have done a better job of if it had been in plastic.

In interviews, Jack White from the White Stripes always says that one reason why he uses cheap guitars that barely stay in tune is that he likes the idea of struggling against the medium to produce his art. I feel like this about metal minis, but I don't like the struggle. at all. Leaving aside the issue of having to pin large models or that even superglue is not sufficient in some cases, the main issue for me is undercoating. With plastic minis, I can just put on a thinned black layer and then its ready to go. With metal, it's another story. If i put on thinned paint (after washing the mini in hot water and letting it dry) it just doesn't work, staying on in places but not in others. Even when i spray it, i find that the paint still doesnt stick everywhere (there are places on the Commissar where it was beginning to chip off by the second highlight). In fact if you look closely you can see bits of silver shining through on the finished one (or is it just my imagination?!)

The result of all this is that I'm constantly struggling against the mini to get paint to stick and in places paint over cracks rather than do nice detail-y things that I would do with a plastic one.

If anyone has any solutions, I'd love to hear them. I know people who say that they just put an undercoat on, that they have never had a mini chip ever etc etc. A GW employee once told me was the secret was to wash the mini in washing up liquid; that didn't work at all. Another told me to put three layers of spray paint on. I did it and ended up with a mini that looked like the michelin man, albeit black, and I had to spend a day stripping it back. Either that, or could GW pleaaaaaaase release all its minis in plastic??


  1. I use black gesso (or white if needed). If you're not familiar, it's what artists use to "prime" canvas. Just glop it on (seriously, glop), let dry, and Bob's your mother's brother!
    Works on plastic, metal, resin.

  2. I'll chime in for black gesso as well. (White, however, is absolute trash and should be avoided like Abba's Greatest Hits.) It doesn't make me hate metal minis any less, because they're still top-heavy, hard to convert, and physically dangerous to you in ways plastic never is, but at least the painting isn't as bad.

  3. I prefer plastic minis for another reason as well: they're easier to assemble.

  4. OK - i might try that, thanks!

  5. I have painted hundreds of metal minis, and I have not once had the problem of paint not sticking to the miniature. The biggest thing with metal minis is that you have to wash them after you've prepped and filed them. No soaking, no toothbrushes, no scrubbing: just my hands and some warm soapy water out of the faucet.

    Priming them is no different than priming a plastic mini. If you've missed a dew spots, simply use a coat of thinned black paint over the entire mini.

  6. I've never had this problem. Most of my metal minis painted up just fine without any washing. I dunno if it was a luck thing or if I did something special.

  7. soapy water? When i phoned GW up about a problem i was having with Vulkan, they said that soapy water was the worst thing i could use (despite what a guy in the store said)


  8. Maybe you need to change the primer you're using. I have been painting exclusively metal minis recently (Malifaux alert!), and have had no problems with paint sticking.

    That said, I (a) don't use GW primer and (b) add flow improver and a dash of washing up liquid to all my paints.

    I use car primer or Plastikote primer rather than GW, and the washing up liquid really helps in those rare cases when paint just seems to form into beads and refuse to adhere. Just a touch of washing up liquid on the brush, stir it into the paint in your palette and it works a treat.