I often preach the gentle art of slamming 3 colors on a miniature and leaving it in that state for months if not years.
And while this may seem like the lazy man’s approach to a fully painted army, it is not. In fact, it’s part of most competition painter’s approach to miniature painting, and it’s called color blocking.
It’s also the best thing ever to have fully painted armies in no time.
Read on to block out with your brush out!
Color blocking is doing all the base coats on your model before moving in with the shading and highlighting.
In competition painting, this method is mostly used to get a general feel of the colors and make sure they all fit with one another. It’s quite frustrating to paint a belt buckle filled with details for an hour only to realize it would’ve looked better in silver rather than gold.
Another reason for color blocking is because glazes and oil paints take forever to dry, so working these steps on multiple areas in a row is much smarter than waiting half a day between each coat of paint.
This is a great trick to learn if you are stepping into the competition painting game and want to slightly speed up your super high end painting experience.
This is fine for Mr. Pants, first name Fancy, that paints for competitions, but how can regular-toy-soldier-playing-joe like you and me can use this?
This trick works on our armies too, as blocking all the colors will usually tell you if your scheme is going to look tight.
Color blocking is the perfect tool for army painters as it can be used as it fits right in the 2 main goals of our painting approach: having a playable 3 colors army and not wasting time.
So the general idea is to do all your air brush parts, then lay on 2 of the main colors, usually guns and either faces or belts and accessories.
Once this is done, you have a playable army that is well on the way to become a much better finished product without having to start over.
You are going to paint these colors anyway at some point, so we make the most out of it by getting something playable in return. And if the army changes, you wasted a whole less time with having only 3 colors on those dudes that you are not gonna plan, and your new additions will get up to speed much quicker. Win, win, win situation.
Some sort of step by step
To showcase this, we’ll use the afore mentionned 3 colors Plaguebearers
These dudes are easy enough to paint, because there are like 5 surfaces total on them: Skin, Eyes, Sword, Teeth and Guts.
The 1st step is the skin. A fine green that we do in full. All the airbrush, and also washes and everything and we’re not touching it again, ever. So, airbrush a basecoat, a highlight. Then shade with brown, then highlight again with the airbrush.
Now the actual color blocking. Sword with Typhus Corrosion, Guts with Red. We can paint bases with dark brown and call it a day right here. Bunch of Stinkies ready to take on the field.
But we can also finish blocking it out. Teeth in bone, eyes in bright green.
Now it may not look like much, but when done on 40 models at a time, it works magic. Fully Painted Magic.
Are they done? Absolutly not, but they are playable in every event/tournament ever and look fine like wine for summons.
Next time, just pick a color, and finish that color on all of them. Drybrush orange, drybrush silver, Wham Bam! Swords are done. And so on.
Until next time,
No excuses, hobby like a champion!