Monday 1 June 2020

How to paint 2mm medievals

I have often seen it said on many forums and suchlike that 2mm minis look like they would be hard to paint. This in fact is not the case at all. 2mm armies are pretty easy to get table ready. I thought I would offer my method for painting them to show how easy it can be. But first:

About time for some pistols!.

Before I start there are a few things I need to clear up. I am no expert painter, I have had a bit of experience with several scales of mini but would class my skill level as 'enthusiastic amature'. Also I don't use miniature paints, instead I use craft paints that I adapt for miniatures (you can see the Method here) so I won't be giving the names of paint colours I have used (so no 'giant death badger grey' or 'demon semen purple' or whatever). I have painted a few 2mm forces so feel I have a decent handle on getting reasonable result with them.
Also the miniatures I am using are from Irregular miniatures 2mm range.

Two of my 2mm 'punk n'shotte' forces.

 2mm medieval units.

Also it's worth pointing out that I find one of these helpful.
It's a magnifying daylight lamp, I find it useful but not essential. I picked mine up for less than £20 on line.

Now the elephant in the room: 'Why use 2mm minis?'. The main reason they work so well for me is threefold. One, they allow you to get truly realistic looking armies on the table. You can actually work in a 1:1 scale if you want!. Secondly they are very affordable, you can get a really large army for under £20!. Thirdly they are quick and simple to prep, paint and get on the table. You can put aside a weekend to produce a whole army!.

So to painting the little blighters!. The main things to remember are that you are painting for mass effect. You are not producing this:

(Picture nicked off Google images. If it's yours please make it known in the comments so I can credit you)

You are making this happen!:

Or maybe this:

Also keep in mind you are not painting minis that will look neat up close. This is about the look of massed units on the table at arms length, if you want to hold them close and inspect them you will be disappointed, once they are based and on the table they look pretty good in my opinion anyway.

 Right now that's covered, on to the prep. Most of the minis will need a quick file to smooth off the underside of the bases and may have some flash and mold lines to deal with. These are pretty easy to file down. Then the minis are bluetacked to a lolly stick ready for undercoating.
I tend to use a dark brown undercoat on my medievals, in this scale I also use the same brown on the bases so it works to create shade even at this early stage.

I brush on my undercoat at this scale, you could use a spray can or air brush but as the miniatures are so small I find brushing is fine.

The miniatures I am painting are going to be used to represent dismounted Knights so my next step is to dry brush them silver. This gives an underlayer of plate armour on each figure but preserves the brown undercoat between each figure giving the shading I mentioned above.

If I was painting troops further down the social scale such as leve troops or archers I would go lighter with the silver dry brush, I would also keep the bottom half brown to give them an impression of wearing less armour.

 Next step is to paint the banners white so when painted they stand out.

Once they are dry I then paint the banners. I am using these troops for a fantasy campaign so my banner designs are made up, it is possible to paint reasonably detailed designs with a steady hand and good point. I then start to paint the Knights by adding dots of colour to the chests and backs to represent sir coats and shields. Keep in mind the minis are really small so dots are the best you are going to get.

 Banners and banner coloured sir coats painted.

I then finish the stage by adding dots of contrasting colours sparingly to make the minis 'pop'.

At this stage all the painting is done. The next stage is to shade them. I use a thin coat of army painter soft tone just to emphasize the space between the figures and slightly tone down the brightest colours. It's important to keep the shade light so you don't loose the tones.

And that's the minis ready.

To base the units I use card bases. Cereal boxes work fine, you don't need thick card at this scale as there is very little weight to the finished units. I do back the card with tape (any kind will work) just to add some strength. The bases I am using for this project are 6cm X 3cm.

The bases are first painted with the same shade of brown used to undercoat the miniatures. Once dry the miniatures are stuck to the base using PVA glue.

To finish the bases I make a mix of green paint, builders sand and PVA. This mix needs to be course to allow you to create textured ground on the base. Brush it on where you want and try to create clumps to give the impression of thick foliage in some places. I like to sprinkle some of the sand on the mix where it's thickest to create some contrast.

The completed unit....and proof I get more paint on my hands than the sodding miniatures!!.

The whole process is really quick. The drying time between stages are minimal due to the size of the miniatures meaning you can create a whole army in the time it takes to paint a unit in 28mm scale. It's also not about precision, the miniatures are more detailed than they have any right to be for the size of them but if you slip with the brush or go outside the lines it's not noticeable on the table and most of the time the ink wash corrects any minor issues anyway.

An army ready for battle. The whole force represents about a days worth of work.

Anyway, hopefully this post has been helpful. If you are looking at using 2mm scale for a project please don't listen to the 'they look hard to paint' brigade. Get a few bits and have a go. You will be pleasantly surprised.

........'till next time.....