Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Painting Zombies

I've been having a good time with Last Night on Earth, but poking around on BoardGameGeek I've always been a little jealous of those swank miniatures that some people have painted. I've also noticed that it's very possible to confuse the heroes while playing, so the painted figured do serve some functional value. So I decided to take up an arts and crafts project to paint the pieces from my game.

I've never painted anything like these soft plastic miniatures before, so I posted a query to the BGG crowd for tips. And I'm so glad I did, because those people were ridiculously helpful. Armed with pages of discussion on optimal painting techniques I headed to Michael's to get my materials.

Supply list:
  • Apple Barrel 24 color acrylic paint set - $4.99
  • Apple Barrel white, 2oz - $0.79
  • Apple Barrel black, 20z - $0.79
  • Delta Ceramcoat matte interior varnish - $2.29
  • Loew-Cornell set of four sable brushes - $6.99
  • Elmer's adhesive putty - $1.99
  • Solo bathroom cups (package of 80) - $2.39
Total: $21.88 (including tax)

The first step was to wash the minis. Apparently they have some residual stuff on them from the mold, and if you don't wash them the paint will have problems sticking. So I washed all the minis and left them to dry for a couple hours.

The next step was to prime them. I started with the zombies, because you've gotta screw up pretty fierce to make zombies look bad. Two coats of black paint later, my zombies were looking like freaky little tar monsters.

Someone from the boards had the excellent suggestion of using sticky tack to affix the figures to something so I didn't have to actually touch the figure while painting. Thus the plastic cups. There are two colors of zombies, green and brown, and since I needed to preserve that in my final output I marked the cups with either a "G" or "B".

With all the prep complete it was time to break out the color. I wanted to preserve the original skin tone difference between the two sets of zombies, so I mixed two not-quite-human skin colors. After the skin was painted on zombies I was able to go nuts applying various clothing colors to them, making full use of the 24 colors in my palette. Lastly I finished off the bases, starting with a dark-green base (to match the game board) and then accenting them with either a light green or brown to bring back the two zombie team colors.

The final step was to apply a coat of matte varnish to make sure that the paint won't wear down as the figures get handled during gameplay.

You can see more photos of the final result here. Personally, I'm extremely happy with how they turned out. Now that I've cut my teeth on the zombies, the next step is to tackle the heroes. There's more detail to worry about with the heroes, but the core steps should be the same. I'll post photos when I'm done.


  1. You might already know this, but Bissy-Poo is quite the prolific model painter. If you haven't already, probably worth comparing notes with him...

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. Proper colors will depend on how much "grave time" they've had. Classic fantastic "undead" were probably buried first and likely have had a good bit of decay time. GW's advice applies best to this type. Thanks so much for sharing.

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