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How to Paint Fantasy Miniatures

Bring realism to your fantasy miniatures, which will spring to life under your skillful hand.


  • Step 1: Set up workspace Place a piece of poster board on a desk or workspace to catch spills. Use a desk lamp in addition to any overhead lighting.
  • TIP: A lighted headband magnifier is a helpful tool if you plan on doing several miniatures.
  • Step 2: Examine and remove imperfections Clamp your miniature in the small vise, and examine it with a magnifying glass. Remove any imperfections with the craft knife and a small file.
  • Step 3: Prime Cover the miniature with a thin layer of primer. Keep a light hand to avoid filling in finely detailed areas. Use white primer on light-colored models, and gray on darker ones.
  • Step 4: Paint from inside out Start painting the deepest, most recessed sections first and work your way outward, covering the highest, raised areas last.
  • TIP: Use an awl or tweezers to move paint out of unwanted crevices.
  • Step 5: Create shade Create depth and shade by going over some areas with watered-down black paint on a dry brush. It will catch in the recesses and bring out details, like musculature, hair, and clothing folds.
  • Step 6: Add highlights Add highlights by adding some white paint to the color of the area. For example, if your miniature has a silver helmet, add a bit of white paint to silver paint and dab it on to create the illusion of a metallic shine.
  • Step 7: Spray seal Spray the finished miniature with a matte spray sealant in a well-ventilated area to keep it looking fresh for years to come.
  • FACT: Did you know? The fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons was published in 1974.

You Will Need

  • Poster board
  • Desk or workspace
  • Desk lamp
  • Fantasy miniature
  • Small vise
  • Magnifying glass or jeweler's loupe
  • Craft knife
  • Small files
  • White and gray primer
  • Acrylic paints
  • Small paintbrushes
  • Spray sealant
  • Lighted headband magnifier (optional)
  • Awl (optional)
  • Tweezers (optional)

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