Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Preparing metal miniatures to paint

Hi everybody, it's Tutorial Thursday!
No, this won't mean I will post a tutorial every Thursday, but it sounds nice... sorry.

Today I will show you how I prepare metal miniatures before painting.

To follow this tutorial you will need:

  • A metal miniature (doh!)
  • Some clippers
  • Diamond-, or jewelers files
  • A rotary tool with a soft, metal brush attachment

For this tutorial, I am using a model from my box of Godslayer Halodynes by Megalith Games. These are metal miniatures resembling ancient Greek hoplites. 

Metal miniatures often look kind of matt. This is due to the mold release agent used to stop the model sticking to the mold. This is a good thing for the model, but it's a bad thing for painting. Be sure to clean your model by washing in lukewarm, soapy water before priming. 

A metal miniature can have mold-lines and flash. Mold-lines are a visible line where the two (or more) parts of the mold came together and maybe were not 100% aligned. Flash is where some of the casting material, in this case metal, leaked in between those mold parts. You can clean these easily by using a file or clippers.

Sometimes the metal looks really rough. This can be micro-pitting, caused by the metal cooling too fast, or too slow, causing the metal to sometimes even crack. This is bad, and you really want to get rid of this before painting. For this I use a rotary tool with a soft, metal brush. this smooths out the metal of the filler if you already filled the cracks.
It serves two purposes, because it also ever so slightly agitates the metal so the primer will have a better adhesion to it.

This is what the miniature looks before the treatment with the rotary tool:

And this is after:

As you can see the metal looks a lot cleaner, and generally a lot smoother. This will show in your paintjob, so the model will look a lot smoother in general!
In the final picture you can also see I removed the little vent connecting the foot to the little base insert. I did this using clippers and smoothing the foot out with my file. 

I hope this little tutorial helped you in any way. If it did please leave a comment below or share it with your friends.


  1. Great tutorial so far :)
    It looks a lot better(and easier) than using steel wool that I usually use. Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to see more of your works and good luck with the blog :)

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my article! Steel wool is more precise if you use it right but it really polishes the metal, making it harder for the primer to stick to the metal. The brush hairs give it a seemingly smooth surface but it has little brush strokes, which makes the primer stick better to the mini

  2. Great post, wondering where you got that brush from or what I would look for? What rpm do you run it at?

    1. Hi Matthew,
      i got this brush in a box with 100 rotary tool attachment bits I bought of for like €10. Its nothing fancy. Sadly I cant see what RPM Im running my rotary tool since its a cheapy, I just set it fairly high and brush the metal softly because I dont want to grind away any details.