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I'm almost done building my train station. Kit came with 2 - 3 people that need painted. Any advice on the best way to do it? This is HO scale.
 

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Save the time and aggravation and buy a set of Prieser figures.

If you insist on painting though you'll need obviously a set of paints, thinner, and a 0, 00, and 000 set of brushes.

Possibly a lighted magnifier, and a small electronics type table top vise couldn't hurt either. The kind with alligator clips and adjustable arms.
 

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MikeB

It's really not that difficult. Use cheap water based 'flat' paints from Walmart or other craft section..get the basic colors and
white/black. Mix desired colors in bottle caps with a toothpick.
Usually a drop of this another of that will do.

A tweezer or medical device can hold the figure.
Use a TINY brush for base color, then tooth picks to
'paint' faces, eyes, hair etc. If you don't like the way
it looks, wash it off and try again. You'll be surprised at how
good they'll look and have fun while doing it.

Don
 
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HO figures are pretty small so take your time and take breaks when you get tired or antsy.

I have a good light and a hands free magnifier (Magic Eyes). I recommend using something similar, or as MichaelE suggests, a lighted magnifier.

In the worst case, if they look really bad, you can always use them in a location where they are hard to see, and you'll discover that painting figures isn't for you. Since it's only 2 or 3 figures it's a good learning experience and not that big a deal if they don't look great.
 

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Save the time and aggravation and buy a set of Prieser figures.

If you insist on painting though you'll need obviously a set of paints, thinner, and a 0, 00, and 000 set of brushes.

Possibly a lighted magnifier, and a small electronics type table top vise couldn't hurt either. The kind with alligator clips and adjustable arms.
It's really not difficult, and certainly not aggravating, at least not for me. While it does take time, I consider it time well spent.

It really isn't worth investing in paints and brushes just to paint one or two figures. GOOD brushes (and you don't want cheap ones -- the results will reflect it). I can paint most any figure with a size 0 round, a size 20/0 pointed round, and a size 20/0 spotter. If you already have a good selection of paints though, then get a brush or two and give it a try.

You also don't need the fancy gadgets. I simply glue mine to a piece of scrap 1/8" wood for a stand, and use +2.5 reading glasses with a +4 clip on magnifier, and my camping headlamp. I also have a pair of cross-locking tweezers that I dipped in rubber to create a soft gripping surface, which works for figures with no discernible stand.

Wash and prime your figures prior to painting.

Paint from the "inside out" -- IOW, the most recessed details first, and work to the most raised ones last. Finish with a light black wash (15:1 thinner to paint), followed by an acrylic varnish.

As with anything else, you will improve with practice. Take your time: rushing is a quick route to a crappy paint job. Granted, I have been painting miniatures for about 42 years now, but I find it a lot of fun, and very relaxing.
 

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It's aggravating to me.

I didn't realize lighted magnifiers and electronic vises were fancy gadgets.

Are magnified glasses, a magnified clip-on lens, camping headlight, and cross locking vinyl coated tweezers just regular gadgets then?
 
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It's aggravating to me.

I didn't realize lighted magnifiers and electronic vises were fancy gadgets.

Are magnified glasses, a magnified clip-on lens, camping headlight, and cross locking vinyl coated tweezers just regular gadgets then?
I guess the definition of special gadgets is subjective. Since I don't have magnified reading glasses, a clip-on magnifier, a camping headlight and a cross locking rubber coated tweezer I'd call those things special gadgets, and it's true, I don't need them. :rolleyes:
 

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It's aggravating to me.

I didn't realize lighted magnifiers and electronic vises were fancy gadgets.

Are magnified glasses, a magnified clip-on lens, camping headlight, and cross locking vinyl coated tweezers just regular gadgets then?
Ok, it's aggravating to you, so do what you want. But starting of your advice to someone by telling them it's aggravating isn't very helpful. Let him make that determination for himself.

What I'm trying to show the OP is that he doesn't need to run out and buy a bunch of extra gadgets just to paint figures. If he's like most of us, he already has reading glasses lying around; he can pick up a pair of clip on magnifiers for less than 10 bucks at Wallyworld. Most modelers have at least one pair of cross-locking tweezers already, so that's not much of a stretch either.

Bottom line is that you can make any task expensive and aggravating if that's how you approach solving it.
 

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I've heard of very meticulous procedures to painting figures, and the exact approach can vary depending on whether they’re plastic, metal, etc. These steps usually involve cleaning the unpainted figures first, applying an undercoat, then several layers of paint to achieve different artistic elements (wrinkles in the clothing fabric, etc.)

That said, I personally just dove right in and painted my HO scale metal figures with acrylic paints, single application, no undercoat, no fine detailing. I’m sure if I followed the artistic approach I’d have a far more polished and professional looking figure, though I’m somewhat satisfied with the way they look using my lazy man’s method!

figures.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've heard of very meticulous procedures to painting figures, and the exact approach can vary depending on whether they’re plastic, metal, etc. These steps usually involve cleaning the unpainted figures first, applying an undercoat, then several layers of paint to achieve different artistic elements (wrinkles in the clothing fabric, etc.)

That said, I personally just dove right in and painted my HO scale metal figures with acrylic paints, single application, no undercoat, no fine detailing. I’m sure if I followed the artistic approach I’d have a far more polished and professional looking figure, though I’m somewhat satisfied with the way they look using my lazy man’s method!

View attachment 504180
Those look very good to me. I've got to find time to practice. To much yard work going on right now.
 

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I've heard of very meticulous procedures to painting figures, and the exact approach can vary depending on whether they’re plastic, metal, etc. These steps usually involve cleaning the unpainted figures first, applying an undercoat, then several layers of paint to achieve different artistic elements (wrinkles in the clothing fabric, etc.)

That said, I personally just dove right in and painted my HO scale metal figures with acrylic paints, single application, no undercoat, no fine detailing. I’m sure if I followed the artistic approach I’d have a far more polished and professional looking figure, though I’m somewhat satisfied with the way they look using my lazy man’s method!

View attachment 504180

I do tend to get very meticulous with 25mm gaming miniatures (about 25% larger than HO, but for my railroad, I use the 6' rule: does it look right from 6 feet away.

I think you've nailed it.
 

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I model O-Gauge trains and the people are nearly twice the size of HO and so much easier to paint, but I use much the same method.

I have about 1,200 HO model people on my model ships: from 1980 to 2004 I scratchbuilt thirteen models of various British warships from the Napoleonic era, in 1:87 scale. The model and figures below as HO scale. I always put a lot of figures on my ships. The ship pictured here has 186 figures on it.

Whether HO or O, I use flat enamels and detail brushes I by on Amazon with very soft bristles, made for water color painting: they sell nice inexpensive sets of the brushes.

I open all the colors and have a brush for each in front of me, the do half a figure at a time: I paint upper half while holding the lower half, and let that dry a day or two, then the paint the lower half while holding the upper half, etc. Usually do a production line of a hundred or more at a sitting. This works for me.

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ON a second look, I do have one suggestion: things look a little shiny. Hit 'em with a matte varnish or some Dullcote.
 
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