Sunday, 18 November 2012


A How To Paint Cheat Sheet

So I have been slowly ramping up my hobby and have been saddened to find out that my painting skills have not only slipped but the quality of painting in the whole miniature hobby has improved. Over the last 10 years that I was absent from the hobby I was aware of the huge leaps and bounds made in the miniature sculpting and casting.  But I was not aware of the massive improvements in miniature painting. White Dwarf was the main source of information on the hobby and their armies were always painted to the highest standard. Now checking out the quality of painted armies on peoples blogs makes me realise that I have to relearn all my old tricks and pick up some new ones.

Old School Orks from 2nd edition 40K.
New multi-part plastics Orks.

So to aid me on my journey of rediscovery I have purchased a book. I have been looking online at blogs for some painting tips & many of the big sites like Dakka and BoLS have some fantastic examples and useful tips. But I was looking for a complete guide to painting something that would help me remaster the basics and then show me how to paint a Golden Daemon winning mini.

How to Paint Citadel Miniatures

The book does not look typical of the many other books produced by GW. It looks like a note pad with wire loop rings. Covers and pages are however of good quality and the wire rings play an important role. Looking at the cover and glancing at the pages there is no mistaking that this book is clearly aimed at painters of GW minis.

Odd looking binding?
A picture is worth a 1000 words.

Flipping through the book you will quickly notice that besides from the contents and a short introduction the pages are arranged  in landscape. The book contains 136 pages split into 18 chapters that are separated into 2 sections, Techniques & Army Projects. Each chapter contains many short paragraphs describing the paint or technique to use. Followed by many large detailed full color photographs making the book's information quite easy to digest. This is where the brilliance of the wire ring binding come into play. The back cover is constructed out of two pieces of thick cardboard that fold out. This allows the book to stand on edge so the landscape pages can be read without hands while painting. It is a simple gimmick that works beautifully.  

This is a brilliant idea.
The angle is just right to sit & read.

Reading the chapter list had me worried, there seemed to be plenty of information on painting techniques but none on color selection or on how to combine colors to achieve a pleasant contrast and composition. The Techniques explained are demonstrated quite well through a combination of short descriptive paragraphs and excellent close up photographs. However I would like to have seen blending included in the techniques. The army Projects are also a mixed bag. The examples shown are quite descriptive and would greatly aid in painting an army in the demonstrated color scheme. I would have liked to see an example for each of the 12 main 40K army's and 15 Warhammer army's. That may have resulted in a very thick book. This book does teach "how to paint citadel miniatures" but does not live up to the blurb of being "a boon to painters of all standards".

The other great feature of the book is it comes with a 90 minute DVD. Elaborating on the technique chapters and then has in depth and detailed coverage of the painting of the Space marines and Tyranids Army projects listed in the book. Again the information is dispensed well easy to follow. A series of close up clips with a voice over describing each step of the process in time with each action being performed on screen.
This is similar to a YouTube painting video except the the sound and camera work is professional quality.
The voice over is well articulated and the sound level and quality is perfect. The camera follows the movements of the brush, stays focused on the point of painting and there is no blurred or out of focus shots. All the scenes are well lit from multiple angles avoiding  the dark shadows of amateur productions.

Only a simple paint guide.
The DVD was excellent.

I like the book as a whole. Both the book and the DVD contain a load of information that will greatly aid anyone starting out painting. The book is also a good source of information regarding the new GW paint range and the associated special paints. I would have liked either more examples of painted army's or greater understanding of what colors match / contrast, especially considering the price.


  • wealth of information
  • layout and bookstand
  • DVD
  • high production value

  • GW price!
  • no use for a high level painter
  • not examples of all races 
  • needs more info on contrast & composition

Overall I give it 3.5  Kolinsky sable brushes out of 5