With help from: BiRell, Sneeky git, Quase, Insaniak, GuRu, 1865

Roight, welcome to this small tutorial in basic modelling! Here we've tried to list all those small experiences that has piled up like fungus at our modelling desks over the years. Most experiences are simple things that you can utilize right away and will save you lots of time avoiding simple mistakes and making modelling and painting much more fun and easy.




The workplace is one of the most important places in your modelling and painting hobby. Here you'll sweat and groan with your new models, here you'll quarrel with your wife/mother/little brother/pet over many things. Anyway, there are some things you can do that will make your workspot a better place.

  • Select a workplace by a window. Natural light make it easier to discern the colours and what you are painting.
  • Use a placemat or anything that can keep paint and glue from your table. This will make cleaning up so much easier and as an extra plus, you won't ruin your table.
  • Having a towel or suchlike in your knee will keep paint from your lap. It is also an ideal place to wipe wet brushes or painty hands.
  • Having a sheet under your workarea will also spare you troubles with cleaning. On the sheet it will also be easy to spot runaway parts.
  • Mark your paint pots on the top with the colour inside to get a quick overhead look of your colours. When you have lots of colours, it's much easier to find the colour you want this way.


When working with models, we've found the following tools to be very handy.

  • Basic tools:
    • Modelling knife
      To clean models and for taking them out of the sprue. Also used for minor conversion work.
    • Clip
      Taking parts out of the sprue.
    • Glue
      • Plastic cement (various types)
        To glue plastic parts together.
      • PVA glue (or white glue as it is called)
        To use for bases
      • Super glue
        To glue everything else (not your fingers though)
  • Advanced tools:
    • Drill
      For "pinning" and drilling muzzles out of your guns.
    • Hobby saw
      For cutting metal pieces and plasticard.
  • Other things that come in handy
    Sand, gravel, model grass for bases.


Now we've come to the art of assembly and the hard question of painting before assembly or not. We're supportive of painting after assembly since it is easier to paint and to assemble.

  • Wash your hands before assembly, or you'll have greasy figures which will keep the paint from adhering well.
  • Before assembly, cut every piece from the sprue and remove the mold lines using the knife.
  • If you cut plastics, cut away from your hand (or any other body part for that matter) and towards the table. That way, if you ever encounter a small airbubble in the plastic, your table will get cut up instead of yourself.
  • Make sure you know how to position a part before glueing it on. If you are unsure, assemble the model using adhesive tack first and glue the parts successively.
  • Don't use too much glue as it will run over the model and look "slimy".
  • Painting after assembly is preferred but not necessary. If you paint before, you can either paint on the sprue (easy) or cut out and paint (hard). If you paint on the sprue, it is very hard to remove mold lines. If you cut them out and paint, the pieces are very small and hard to keep still while painting.
  • The super glue is stronger than you think, I had to cut my fingers apart using a scalpel when I first experienced this. Nail polish remover with acetone is a better choice than scalpel though.
  • Glue isn't edible! So don't try to open the glue cannisters with your teeth. Don't ask.
  • Hot water is a very good solution to remove anything you've superglued to the table, floor, cupboard,... It is NOT a good solution to remove anything you glued to your hand.


Before you apply the base coat to the model, you'll need to prime it.

  • It is much easier to spray your models than painting the primer on. Later when we refer to priming, it is spraying that is meant unless otherwise stated.
  • If you're priming with ordinary paint (instead of spraying), water it down a bit before painting, this gives a smoother priming and isn't prone to "hide" details under thick layers of paint.
  • Use black primer if you prefer dark painting schemes, white if you prefer lighter schemes.
  • If you're using black primer, remove and assemble the models before priming. Also add your basing if it should be primed to save time.
  • If you're using white primer, you can prime on the sprue with no penalty later on. Removed mold lines don't make much difference.
  • When priming your models, either find a good shady spot outside with no wind or place your models in a large plastic sack and spray into it to keep the colour inside.


This gives general guidelines to painting.

  • Use only three or four base colours when you are starting out. Too many colours will give the model a messy look unless you are very good at choosing colours and at painting.
  • When you are starting out, use mostly dark colours. If you start with four colours, only one of them should be light. It is very hard to get light colours look good without experience.
  • Begin with painting normal boys. That way you can decide on a paint scheme and master the basic techniques before moving on to the more interesting models.
  • Save the painting of your more fun stuff until you get bored of painting normal boys. The characters and other fun painting should be seen as a way to lighten up the load of ordinary models and inspire.
  • Stick your model to an old film canister or suchlike when you're painting it to keep your fingers from messing up your paintwork.
  • Don't try to be too elaborate with your painting of basic troops unless you're really sure you can do better with your characters. A simple, neat paint scheme looks more effective than a riot of colour where you can't tell which model is which.
  • If your paints dries fast or if they're very thick, water them down a bit to get better results.
  • Watch out for getting paint near the shaft of the brush since this quickly ruins it. Keep the paint on the tip of the brush if possible. If the brush gets all painty, clean it directly and prolong its life.


Think you were done when you had painted and based your models?

  • Use a matte varnish to finish your paint jobs, since you're touching the models much, the paint gets worn off quickly without.
  • Gloss varnish can make nice shiny effects when applied carefully.
  • Before applying your Varnish coat with a spraycan, always double-check that you're not holding the Black Primer can.


This is small, other tips which we couldn't fit with the other ones.

  • Never throw anything away! Off-cuts, spare model bitz, old kitchen utensils, car parts, left-over chicken, computer parts, spray-cans... Particularly with Orks, you never know when you'll be working on a particular project, and need that one 'special' part...


Thanks for reading through this small guide! We hope these small tips will help make your modelling and painting career a more fun and fulfilling experience.