I was not particularly happy with my technique for painting skin on 28mm miniatures. Hence, I have experimented with several techniques and would like to show you here the technique that I think delivers the best results to present nicely painted miniatures on gaming tables. It is important to note, that this is not a technique with which you can win prices in painting competition, but it is simply a painting technique to produce quality painted gaming miniatures. I’d like to present my technique on a German infantry model from world war two in 28mm that will be used to play Bolt Action.
The paints I use
I use the following paints for this painting technique:
- Vallejo Game Color 72.066 – Tan
- Vallejo Game Color 72.041 – Dwarf Skin
- Vallejo Model Color 70.951 – White
- Army Painter – Quickshade Ink – Soft Tone
Preparation prior to painting.
I always prime my miniatures with the airbrush. For this purpose, I first prime the whole miniature with the black polyurethane primer from Vallejo (73.602). The next step is to dust the mini with polyurethane white primer from Vallejo (74.600) from the top with the airbrush. This will create a first highlight on the primer level. The result of my priming technique for the miniatures can be clearly seen on the helmet.
This first highlight will help during the painting process with miniatures paints as it creates a natural highlight from above. When thinned down paints are used, that do not cover entirely, the paint will be darker where the black primer is dominant and lighter, where the white primer is, thus creating natural shadows and highlights. This is useful to create zones of contrast, that can be reinforced (or not) during painting.
I use Vallejo Tan (72.066) as my base color. I apply the color in multiple thin coats until it covers all parts of the miniature, where I would like to paint skin. I use this rather dark brown to provide a deep shade in the darkest creases of the skin.
My first highlight color is a mix of Vallejo Tan (72.066) and Vallejo Dwarf Skin (72.041). The mix should be about half-way between the two colors for best effect. I paint all areas of the scin, bare the deepest shadow with this tone. I will not paint the eyes, the inner sides of the ears or the mouth with this paint mix.
The next highlight ist pure Vallejo Dwarf Skin (72.041), but I will paint even less than with the previous paint mix. Thus, some of the previous darker highlight color remains visible. Again, I should stress, that I really thin my paints down, so that they are transluscent and don’t cover completely the paint layer underneath.
For the next step I mix Vallejo Dwarf Skin (72.041) with Vallejo White (70.951) with about 3 parts Dwarf Skin to 1 part White. This highlight is only applied sparingly. The previous highlights should be visible on the edges of this layer. I particularly concentrate on the cheekbones, the upper- and lower lips, the ear lobes, knuckles and upper surfaces of the fingers.
The final highlight is an extreme edge-highlight with 1 part Dwarf Skin (72.041) to three parts White (70.951), which I apply only on very few select spots that I want to be very bright and pop out from the rest of the skin.
Once everything has thoroughly dried, I cover everything with the Army Painter Softtone-Quickshade, to blend the various layers together, particularly the highlights together. Also the steps between the various layers of highlights are softer and more blended. The final result in my opinion is a pretty natural skin tone, for Caucasians.
This final step serves also to deepen the shadows between the fingers and anywhere else, where the base coat of Vallejo Tan (72.066) still shows through. Overall this step makes for better contrast between the shadows and the highlights.
What’s your opinion about this technique. Do you like it and the result it gives? Do you have suggestions for improvement? Let me know in your comments.