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Painting Philosophy: Paint Train

Painting Philosophy: Paint Train

Back in the days I decided to start the ‘Painting Philosophy’ series to let you in on ‘how’ and especially ‘why’ I do some things in a certain way. In my opinion a proper approach to painting is crucial to maintain healthy and rewarding experience. Final result depends on it in the same way as on techniques, know-how and tools used. Nowadays  internet is full of painting tutorials yet it takes some inner understanding of our own capabilities to find what suits us best and fully benefit from all acquired knowledge. That being said – In this series I will reveal what works best for me as a painter. I hope you will find some wisdom in it…

Painting in Groups

Painting in groups is a term that I use to describe painting entire groups of miniatures, usually one layer at a time. There are many different approaches to painting miniatures. Some painters prefer to paint a single miniature from start to finish, one layer at a time. Others avoid painting by layers and instead paint a single piece of a miniature, applying all the colors, before proceeding to next part. I on the other hand, feel most comfortable when painting groups of miniatures. The size of such groups might vary between six to about a hundred pieces at a time. They don’t even need to follow the exact same colour scheme as long as they share majority of layers. Off course this method is reserved for armies and collections and would not benefit a single miniature project.

Why this method?

After years of practice this method triggered somehow on itself. I love painting miniatures but get really excited once projects enter final stages. I’m really hooked up on that feeling of accomplishment. That’s why I like to plan projects so that by not undertaking unnecessary actions I save time. If I have a bunch of miniatures to get painted I’d rather prepare and undercoat them all in one go, instead of repeating this for every single miniature, one at a time. It not only quickens the process but also leaves a ‘not entirely fun’ part, of a project, behind at some point. It is not limited to undercoat only and instead translates to all the layers. Every accomplished layer brings me a bit closer to the final steps of a project – the place where ‘choirs’ are left behind, most stuff looks pretty cool already and there’s most fun for me to have.

How not to get bored?

I maintain my motivation by taking small, but important steps. My main goal is to accomplish a project, but there are many small targets to achieve between the start and the finish line. I set obtainable targets, then once accomplished I check if I have energy for another round. Never force myself to take more than one step at a time – this one step is important, but all the rest is just a bonus, and as mentioned before – each step brings me closer to project’s completion. In practice it might look more or less like this:


step: Black Undercoat,


DESERT Armour & Uniforms:

step: Airbrushed layers (main colour), Dark Earth (Vallejo),

step: Airbrushed layers (main colour), Light Brown (Vallejo),

step: Highlights on the main colour, Light Brown (Vallejo),

step: Wash, Mix Strong Tone Ink (AP) 1:1 Soft Tone Ink (AP),


step: Edges on the main colour, Flayed One Flesh (GW),

step: Edges on the main colour, Pallid Wych Flesh (GW),


BROWN elements:

step: Secondary colour layer, Olive Drab (Vallejo),

step: Secondary colour layer, Gorthor Brown (GW),

step: Secondary colour layer, Gorthor Brown (GW) + Pallid Wych Flesh (GW),

step: Secondary colour Wash, Mix Strong Tone Ink (AP) 1:1 Soft Tone Ink (AP),


step: Edges on the secondary colour, Karak Stone (GW),


BLACK/GREY outfits & weapons:

step: Secondary colour layer, Skavenblight Dinge (GW),

step: Secondary colour layer, Fenrisian Grey (GW),

step: Secondary colour layer, Pallid Wych Flesh (GW),

step: Secondary colour Wash, Dark Tone Ink (AP),


step: Edges on the secondary colour, Pallid Wych Flesh (GW),

step: Edges on the secondary colour, White,



step: Secondary colour layer, Bugmans Glow (GW),

step: Secondary colour layer, Dwarf Flesh (GW),

step: Secondary colour layer, Dwarf Flesh (GW) + Pale Flesh (Vallejo),

step: Secondary colour layer, Pale Flesh (Vallejo),

step: Secondary colour Wash, Mix Strong Tone Ink (AP) 1:1 Soft Tone Ink (AP),


step: Edges on the secondary colour, Pale Flesh (Vallejo) + Pallid Wych Flesh (GW),



step: Tetriary colours…




step: Applying Varnihs,



step: Modelling bases,

step: Painting bases,

step: Painting base edges,


step: Applying tufts and additional elements to the bases…


As you can see there are approximately thirty steps required to accomplish this project so if I manage to take one step every day I will finish the project in about a month. Let’s say there are just six miniatures in the entire project. Would it be so difficult to accomplish one step with six miniatures in one day? How long can it actually take? It is not some extremely difficult, time consuming task. Easy to motivate myself to do that. Now let’s say I had a free weekend and managed to accomplish a MAIN STEP instead.  This is worth between two to five regular steps. Let’s say I took out five. I just moved five days ahead of schedule. Can spend that time being lazy or move to another step… and there’s that – this is how the process works for me.

Other Benefits

Coherent Colour Scheme – Painting in groups, one layer at a time, translates to a more coherent colour scheme. No need to mix paints between miniatures and try to achieve same exact tones – paint is prepared for entire group and will look exactly the same between first and last miniature. In the end this will provide a nice, coherent look of the entire project.

Understanding Through Repetition – After few miniatures of the same kind muscles get used to the detail naturally. Instead of interpretting every miniature I can follow a sort of ‘programmed muscle memory’ to paint much more efficiently, and thus faster. Quality also benefits from this, as there are no ‘uncertain’ brush strokes.

Reaching Ultimate Concentration – Repetition allows me to find myself in a state of utter concentration that won’t get disturbed by music or audio book, still lets me appreciate and take in anything that plays in the background, including videos. I know it’s not a super-power level state of mind and it is common among painters, still not being forced to reset every time and then to mix paints or plan the paint job helps to lenghten the ‘in the mood’ periods.

Purity of Purpose – With clear, obtainable targets in reach and a plan laid down before me it is easier for me to move forward, each step taken being deduced from the list. This makes my motivation thrive.


If you read through all of this banter – I hereby deem you worthy! With wisdom I bestowed, You now possess knowledge necessary to use the Multi-Miniature Ninja Painter technique. Use it wisely and with good intent and it will benefit you greatly. Do not fear to step in and teach other ‘Muggles’ some of that magic.

I have put a lot of effort into preparing this article, yet I am sure I missed something important. If you happen to have any questions related to it – feel free to hit me with them either at my Facebook profile, or via e-mail. Also take note that what works for me, might not necessarily work for you – still there are many ways to accomplish certain things – mine is just one of them.


3 comments so far

MarcoPosted on12:15 am - Sep 26, 2017

thank you very much
I promise I’ll try (really): I’ve just realized the only minies I really finished were those I painted in group: when I tried to paint “best” focusing only on single models I’ve never finished a squad

ah…. nice hat!

Johann “Nomad Reaper”Posted on6:11 pm - Oct 18, 2017

Good tips as always sir

Seba Brodaty OrkPosted on8:10 am - Aug 3, 2020

Ha! jestem Ninja! 😀 Nie spodziewałem się, że korzystam już z tej tajnej techniki. Super artykuł, u mnie działa to podobnie;) Pozdrawiam Mistrzu 😉

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