Miniature Painting and Hobby Dictionary

This list of terms is a resource for miniature hobbyist.

3 color minimum

A rule used at many tournaments to specify that your army must be painted with a minimum of 3 different colors. each tournament will have various guidelines on what constitutes the 3 color standard.

Airbrush

A tool used to apply a thin coat of paint on a surface using pressurized air.

Ballast

In miniature modeling it is used as a basing material that simulates gravel or rocks. It is typically applied to the bases of a miniature with PVA glue.

Basecoat

The first coat of paint applied after the primer. In general the starting color for the area.

Basing

Coloring or applying materials to the base of a miniature to ground it in an environment.

Battle Ready

See table Tabletop Standard

Blend

Mix two or more colors together to form a transition on a portion of a model.

Brush On Primer

A primer applied with a brush.

Color Guide

A list of colors and Techniques used to paint a model.

Contrast Paint

When applied over a light Contrast undercoat, gives you a vivid base and realistic shading all in a single application. Used to make a miniature Battle Ready in a short time.

DB

See- Dry Brush

Display Board

A board of any size or shape used to display models. Usually used in as part of a model painting competition. Boards can vary widely in scope and detail.

Double Sided Tape

A tape with adhesive on both sides. Used in many instances to adhere models to a priming stick or painting handle.
drill

Dry Brush

A painting technique that uses a stiff bristle brush with the majority of paint removed. The brush is moved across the model to bring out the raised detail.

Edge Highlight

A painting technique were the edges of the models are painting with a lighter color for emphasizes.

Exacto Knife

see X-Acto Knife or Hobby Knife

Feathering

Is a blending technique that uses a back and forth or zig zag motion to pull and push the paint to form a gradation or transition.

Flash (Flashing)

See Mold Lines

Flock

Cut fibers that when adhered to the surface of a miniature give the appearance of grass. Primary used for basing models or terrain. Can be produced with synthetic or natural materials.

File

See Mold File

Filler

A substance used to fill gaps on models.

Frosting

When a clearcoat is applied and turns white or frosty. In many cases this is caused by temperature or humidity.

Games Workshop

Is a British manufacturer of miniature wargames, based in Nottingham, England. Its best-known products are Warhammer Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000.

Gaps

Pronounced spaces in-between parts of a model. Usually found were two or more parts fit together.

Glaze or Glazing

A painting technique were thin transparent layers of paint are applied to change the color of the paint underneath.

Green Stuff

Is an blue and yellow epoxy putty when kneaded turns green. It is used for sculpting, filling gaps and repairing models.

GW

See Games Workshop

Hand Drill

See Pin Vise

Highlight

The lightest part or one of the lightest parts of a miniature. Depicts the area receive the greatest amount of light.

HL

See Highlight

Inking

Similar to a wash but uses an ink medium. Gives\

Jeweler’s File

See Mold file

Kit Bash (Kitbash)

AKA (Model Bashing) when you take parts from more than one model set and combine them with a different set to make unique design.

layer

A layer paint has less pigment than a base paint. It is easier to blend and mix. In most stances a layer of paint would be applied over a base coat, in “layers”.

lining

AKA Black Lining, is a painting technique where you apply a thin black line on the boarder of two colors. This adds distinction between the two parts. This technique is heavily used in Comic Book Style and Cell Shade Style painting. You generally use Ink when lining, but other mediums can also be used.

Liquid Talent

See Nuln oil

Loaded Brush Blending

A painting technique were to colors are loaded on the same brush at the same time. Generally the darker color is loaded first, then the lighter color. The loaded paint is then applied to the model in a zig zag dragging motion to create a gradation or transition.

low lights

The parts of the model that the shadows and darker portions reside. Opposite of High Lights

Masking

the posses of covering a part of a model with tape or other medium so paint will not be applied to that portion.

Mold File

A tool used to remove mold lines from a miniature.

Mold Lines

The lines that run along the seam of a miniatures were the mold came together during casting. It can be noted that mold lines tend to be less notable on early production runs of a miniature and become more apparent once the mold become worn.

Non-Metallic Metal

AKA (NMM) a painting technique that does not use metallic paint, but produces the illusion of a metal surface.

OSL

AKA (Object Source Lighting) – Is a painting technique that uses a light source that is part of the model as a source of light/highlight. OSL is generally used to add a dramatic effect to a miniature.

Painting Handle

a tool used in miniature painting that holds the model with an adhesive or clamp. The handle is held by the painter to give them extra control of the miniature.

Pin

a wire or other ridged part that is inserted into to adjoining parts of a model. Its function is to strengthen the bond of the parts and keep them from breaking or falling off. In most cases holes are drilled in the two parts that will be pined and a small wire or rod is inserted with a glue in bother parts.

Pin Vice

See Hand Drill. Is a tool Similar in shape and size to an ink pen. It purpose it to hold a drill bit. It is used to drill holes by hand in a model, in most instanced you use a Pin Vise to drill the hole when pining a model.

Prime

A coat of paint that is general the first coat applied to the model. It purpose is to give a base layers that other coats of paint can be applied to. It is recommended to prime your models to allow the other layers of paint to adhere properly. Primers can be brush on, airbrushed, or spray can.

Priming Stick

A stick or rod coated in a stick substance, primarily sticky tac or double sided tape. Miniatures are attached to it so they can be primed. The advantage of a priming stick is that you can reach every angle of the model on the first coat.

Rattle Can

See Spray Paint

Resin

In tabletop gamin it is a a synthetic material used to cast models. Many manufactures and hobbyist use resins to produce their own models. Working with resin is similar to working with plastics, however the key difference is resin will not bond with plastic glue.

Shade

GW shade, “Shade paints make adding realistic shadows and lowlights to your models easy. They are designed to run into the recesses of your miniatures, providing excellent results with minimal effort.”  Also see: Wash.  Also see liquid talent.

Simple Green

an American brand of cleaning product that many hobbyist use to soak painted models in to remove the paint or “strip” the model.

Spray Paint

Paint that is contained in an aerosol can. In most cases it is used to prime miniatures.

Sprue

The passage Through which a material is introduced into a mold. The extra plastics around the model.

Sta-Wet Handy Palette

A sponge and palette paper combine to keep paint moist.

Sticky Tack

(AKA Blu Tack), is a sticky putty type material that can be used to non permanently adhere object to one another. In the hobby Sticky Tack is commonly used to attached models to painting handles, Priming Sticks, or to Mask portions of models while painting.

Stippling

The process of painting with many small dots or specks.

Strip

To remove paint from a model. To strip a model is to remove unwanted paint from a model. In most cases you submerge the model in a solvent and let it sit for several days. Then a brush is used to help remove the extra paint. This process can be repeated several times until the desired amount of paint has been removed.

Tabletop Standard

In short that a model is fully painted to a minimal level of detail. Many tournaments require models be painted to a Tabletop Standard. There are many  differences of opinion on what makes tabletop standard, but in most cases the minimum requirement is 3 or more colors applied to the model. The model is fully covers with paint and the model has painted/textured base.

Two Brush Blending (TBB)

Is a paint blending technique that uses 2 brushes. The first brush applies the paint, the second brush is dampened with saliva or a blending medium and then used to push the paint around.

Varnish

A spray or brush coating that is applied over the model to protect the paint from chipping or rubbing. Usually applied after the model is fully painted to protect it. Varnish can be found in many varieties such as matt, gloss, and satin. Many hobbyist use varnish to protect or enhance the look of there miniatures. However others do not because of the risk of frosting or other issue that could be associated with varnishing.

Wash

Also see Shade and Ink Wash. Is a mix of pigment and medium that diluted. It is primarily used after a color has been applied to add definition and shadow “low lights”. Also see Liquid Talent

Weathering Effect

The process of using tools and paints to make a model look old, or used. When Weathering Effects are used properly they can make a miniature look more realistic or real world.

Weathering Powder

A dried pigment that is applied on a model to add effects, such as  dust, dirt, rust, or char. It can be applied dry using a brush or can be mixed with water or alcohol then applied. It will then dry and add the desired “Weathering effect”. In most cases it is recommended that it is sealed after drying to avoid it being rubbed away.

Wet Blending

A painting technique were two colors are blended directly on the model while still wet.

Wet Palette

A paint palette that contains a sponge or paper that helps hold water, keeping the paint from drying out.

Zenithal Lighting

A priming technique that uses more than one color applied to a model. The first color is usually black and then white or lighter colors are sprayed from a higher angle to make the model appear that it is lit from the top. This technique emphasis the shading of the model to give bolder effects. It should be noted that other colors can be used to Zenithal Prime, however this is not the norm.

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