Privateer: Prepping Models for Painting Made Easy

Dallas Kemp explains how to clean up models made of softer plastics so you can get to painting faster.

There are a lot of new board games coming out with great looking minis that are just asking for a great, custom paint job. Due to the type of plastics being used they need a little extra prep compared to the harder plastic minis you get in wargames.

In this edition of the Privateer Insider studio painter Dallas Kemp shares his techniques for prepping some Widower’s Wood and Grymkin models.

Some models may have bendy bits here and there. This is no issue when you have your handy dandy blow dryer. (You do have your blow dryer at your desk to speed up dry times, right?)

Just warm the model with some heat and straighten out the wobbly parts with your hand. Hold for a few seconds and . . .

Voila! Back to normal.

To take care of mold lines on the board game minis, get a sharp P3 hobby knife and gently remove the excess material. Remember . . . DO NOT PUSH. You should feel no resistance when cleaning your board game minis. If you do, you are pushing too deeply. When working with resin, you can scrape the model, but for soft plastic, use a gentle cutting motion.

Even though they are not soft board game plastic, some plastic models have thin areas that can be tricky to clean. The Grymkin’s Dread Rots have thin weapons that can flex when you attempt to clean them. Use your thumb to hold the piece in place and very carefully and gently slide a new hobby knife along the mold line. Once again, if you are getting resistance, you are cutting too deeply. The knife should remove the material easily with no fuss.

With a little patience, and your favorite music or movie in the background, you can get you models cleaned and prepped quickly and easily.

Now, prime that model as normal and get your paint on!


What are your favorite tips for model prep?

  • Barrington Dailey

    You need to mention that some of the models come with release agent still on them. If you don’t scrub this off the paint wont stick.

    • marlowc

      Yup. And then work over the surface with a fine steel-wire brush, to give the paint a fighting chance of staying on for more than two games!

      • marxlives

        Well if you coat/dip in polyurethane which you can grab from lowes or home depot the paint will stay on. Just make sure you spray paint on a matte finish to dull out the shine.

  • Brian Brodeur

    What set is that skeleton in Orgoth armor from?

    • Brian Brodeur

      NM found him. Boss in Widowers Wood.