Saturday, November 03, 2007

Painting Plastics - Zvezda 1/72 Greeks

A little while ago, whilst awaiting my house build to be completed, and being a little restless at not having anywhere proper to wargame in the rental property we had at the time, my mind went back to role playing games (D&D) of my youth. You don't need a huge table and space for roleplaying, afterall, and with the right game and group of people, its great fun.

I joined an online forum and found some local players. A guy was about to start an ancient Greek setting, and when it turned out he had some figures for it, I volunteered to paint them.

There I was looking forward to some nice Foundry sculpts, (or something similar), but lo and behold I was presented with plastic toy soldiers. Not really my cup of tea, I really consider them children's toys, not really wargames / rpg figures, especially when you consider the quality of metal figures available nowadays.

But I had promised to paint them so off I went. I cleaned the figs up; trimmed off excess mould lines with sharp knife, (filing just leaves an annoying burr - a reason I don't like plastics ), washed the figs in mild detergent, rinsed and dried.

I then tried to find a glue that would stick the spears and shields on. Super-glue didn't work, plastic cement didn't work, bostick was too thick. In the end I used PVA. It seemed to hold OK but not sure if I would trust a lot of handing. (another reason I don't like plastics).

I decided to try painting them in my regular method - acrylics, and undercoated black to start.
I then dry bushed on a bronze colour for the armour, and inked this with a dark brown ink. I then did the usual two layer paint job. Obviously at this scale I didn't bother with the eyes!

When finished I varnished in brushed-on polyurethane gloss, then sprayed over this with GW spray satin finish. Finally I sanded and flocked the bases.

I know people talk of painting them first with thinned PVA, and doing the same again once painted (to try and get paint to adhere to the plastic figure, then try and stop the paint from peeling off afterwards as the plastic flexes - another reason I don't like plastics), but i thought this would clog the detail of the figures, and I figured they wouldn't be getting a lot of handling.

They turned out OK I guess, but I wouldn't rush to paint them again...

1/72 scale Zvezda plastic Greeks...

... and with a little background terrain to make it nice!

PS the role-play session wasn't my style in the end, too much "acting and accents" for my liking, I am more the "knock down the door, kill the monster, steal the treasure" kinda guy :-). Simple but fun and effective.
In a similar, humorous vein, if you like(d) "knock down the door, kill the monster, steal the treasure", then you've gotta try Steve Jackson's card game; Munchkin. Its an absolute scream! :-)

PPS just in case you hadn't noticed - I don't like plastics! ;-)


  1. How did the paint work hold up to handling? The one set of plastics that I painted saw the paint flake off before I had a chance to even put a finish on them.

    1. Hi Andew, I painted these quite some time ago for a friend, and have not seen them since so I cant really comment. They held up OK during our session as I recall but they were hardly touched at all, as the game wasn't really miniatures focused... you just stood them on a chart to show how far apart they were... wasn't really my thing... I prefer floorplans and miniatures interaction in the rule even if it is primarily an RPG... However I would like to think the layer of polyurethane gloss varnish may have sealed them sufficiently to keep the paint on, so long as the plastic wasnt bent, flexed too much?


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