Sunday, 14 April 2013

A handy little painting tip?

For some time now I have been working at developing a method of ensuring full control over fine brushstrokes, especially useful when painting 6mm figures. For a guy in his mid Fifties I think I'm lucky to have reasonably steady hands and good eyesight close up, although of course one never knows how long these will last! But some brushwork on these tiny figures demand incredibly fine strokes of paint and this is the method I use for such work as belts, edging of saddle blankets etc. I thought I'd post it here as it might be of help to other 6mm painters. Of course it may be that you all do this already, in which case I apologise.

The method is simply to hold the brush slightly further back than usual and rest the handle on the extended thumb of the hand holding the figures. After a bit of practice you will find you can guide the tip into the smallest area and make very controlled strokes. I should add that I now use only Foundry sables as they last for months of daily use. I wash the tip frequently, often every 2 or 3 strokes to avoid paint drying on the hairs, and keep the paint as open as possible. When painting very fine things like 6mm crossbelts I re- dip the tip before every stroke, ensuring only the very point of the brush picks up the paint and that you don't get any small 'blobs' that will spoil your fine lines. This 'resting method' really helps I find and hopefully the photos will demonstrate how it's done. I hope it's of use to somebody, worth giving it a try?

Thanks to my daughter for taking the pics after several failed attempts to do it myself....... needed an extra pair of hands. So that's another unit of Russian cavalry almost finished. This time I resized and printed a generic Russian banner and glued it to the cast flag which I also think gives a better result.

 Russian progress so far:
4 battalions of line infantry
2 battalions of light infantry
1 battalion of Grenadiers
2 batteries of artillery
3 units of cossacks
2 units of cuirassiers.
1 command base.

Coming along nicely. Back to commission work tomorrow, last few 6mm WoR armoured cavalry to finish off, the first of the 10mm AWI's and more 20mm 'Boyne' figures for John for the week ahead.

Hopefully you can see how the brush is rested on and guided by the thumb?  

Another pic, I always paint directly under a 20watt 6400k 'blue' or 'daylight' bulb for a crisp light, it really makes a huge difference I find.

Finished Baccus Cuirassiers.

Just need to finish off the base.


  1. Thanks very much for that Lee, I'll be trying that out tonight on my remaining cossacks.



  2. Great tip Lee, I'll try that out too. I am hopeless at painting straight lines on larger scale figures with moulding to follow!!

  3. Great tip. I've just recently tried my first 6mm and find it difficult to get the colours "crisp", probably I over-paint them since I am more used to 28mm and highlighting in several steps. I tried the quick shade way by Army painter but find that it mostly makes them look "oily" even with matt varnish. Well, still a lot to learn!/H


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