Posted by : milky kou Friday, October 21, 2016

Something I have recently gotten into are little miniatures that can be used for old table top games like dungeons and dragons, pathfinder, and most famously warhammer and warhammer 40k. These small 2-3 inch little figures are packing details comparable to master grades but on a much smaller scale. While I can never justify or will every justify their price (some basic miniatures for 1 single unit cost as much as a HG or MG in some cases, yet only be about as big as a foot from said kit range.) They do help in learning skills to bring over to your kits, specifically MG and PG with how much detail is packed into those.

In this article I'm going to go over some basic skills you learn from miniature as well as how they transition over to gunpla and painting. Here are 6 reasons why miniatures help with gunpla and why you should give it a try.

1. Removing seam and mold lines.

In most if not all miniatures you will see some small mold lines (small lines of plastic) on the kit that are out of place and all in the same spot all over the model. This is something that will always happen on molds when a kit is made as part of the forming process. These lines are simple to remove and fix with just a knife gently scraping in the same direction of the line. A little scrape and some light sanding will fix these up.

The mold lines from the kit as it was created. Notice the lines up and down the armor as well as the excess plastic sprue
While not as prominent on gunpla kits you will still see these from time to time, most notably on the hands, fingers, and poly caps. You can use the same method above to fix, though more sanding may be required. If the kit is a meki plated kit however, you will need to repaint to fix this. While newer kits are better at hiding seam lines from molding, you still get seam lines when putting multiple parts together that require glue and work to fix.

Older gundam  kits have noticeable seam lines like this that can be removed from glue and sanding.

2. Thinning your paint!

This is perhaps the most important thing you can learn from this is layering and thinning your paint. Since these things are small, it helps to have your paint as thin as possible so as to not obscure details. It is OK if the first layer of paint does not cover the bottom most layer with how thin it is. Let it dry then go over again with a second layer to fully cover the spot as thin as possible. With miniature paints, its typically 2 parts paint 1 part water, to make it nearly milky, kind of like if you were airbrushing. Not so watery the paint runs but not so thick that it covers everything.

This skill helps a lot when your doing airbrushing. Even regular hand painting when you get to those super detailed kits. It teaches you when your doing too much paint and till little. Its better to have multiple thin layers with more work than 1 thick layer with no details.

There are at least 3 different colors on the bottom plate with nearly 10 layers of thin paint.

3. Learning to pain in small tight areas

Probably the second most important skill is learning on how to paint very small very detailed areas, usually in a location not easily accessed. Most warhammer kits are packed with details on details on details. The issue is, most of those are in layers that are very difficult to hit. When you have the right brush even the most detailed spots can easily be painted

This can help you learn on how to paint details on the inner frames of master grades like the Ball ver ka where all detail is in the inner frame unpainted, or for even sections of armor that require multiple colors but are too small to airbrush. 

The ball ver ka is a simple kit until you look at all the detail packed on the inside which requires paint.
4. Brush maintenance

Paint brushes are expensive. It doesn't matter the brand, buying a single brush can run you anywhere from $4 to $30+ a brush! That's insane however it also depends on the type of hairs on the brush and the quality. With how much your spending on brushes you will want to maintain them. While there are multiple methods to cleaning brushes and maintaining them, I will clean my brush after each color till all the color pigment is out as well as when I'm done painting for the day ill clean the brush with some brush cle

5. Working with paints

Not all paint works with each other. Some paints work great with other brands, while others will eat away or ruin the underlying paint. The only way to truly know what paints works best with each other is by experimentation. Minis have quite a bit more the range of paint types than compared to other model kit paints like tamiya or MR. hobby, focusing mostly on acrylics, but it will help you with mixing colors and working with colors on each other I feel is the best take away from this. Ill have a more detailed blog on paints later on what works best, but minis also help with finding your own custom colors for your kits.

My current miniatures stand with most of my miniatures paints and airbrush paints.

6. Customization  

By far I think this is probably the most important thing you can take away from this, more so than thinning your paints. Its learning that you can customize what you want. Some people may want to bite you for not going with official lore colors of said miniature piece, or the army of that part (this is very true with warhammer and games workshop folks, if its not official people tend to get nasty. Get friends that don't bite like this) but if you like the colors, Then go for it. You can bring these custom colors over to your gunpla as well. Don't want a red samurai musha gundam? Make it pink and purple. Want a neon orange zaku? Go for it. Customize them as you want take parts from other kits and put it together. Gunpla and miniatures is all about fun with customization, and that's is what I think is the most important lesson you can learn.

If it wasnt for minis I wouldnt of attempted to customize my Zeong!
I hope this little Mini guide has helped you guys out with showing some benefits of miniature painting and how those skills can transfer over to your gunpla. I will Start doing some work in progress pics and reports on some minis every now and then as well as basic tutorials on them from what I have learned, all to bring over skills from that to gunpla and vice versa. I hope you guys will enjoy this and I can't wait to get started. 

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