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Miniature Painting Made Easy: Scale 75 Instant Paints

  • Posted on
  • By A. Hackley / G. Carlson
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Miniature Painting Made Easy: Scale 75 Instant Paints

I turned my attention to Scale 75 Instant miniature paints…and they blew me away! I immediately fell in love.

I started miniature painting almost 2 years ago, picking up an Army Painter starter kit and brushes and going to town. I really enjoyed the process, but it was too slow. This is when I found out about Citadel Contrast and Scale 75 Instant paints. Knowing I’m klutzy, and that I enjoy mixing and layering colors, I very much prefer dropper bottles to Citadel’s pots. Thus I turned my attention to Scale 75 Instant miniature paints…and they blew me away! I immediately fell in love.

What are Scale 75 Instant Paints?

Instant Color paints are a line of paints that straddle the fence between “normal” acrylic paints and “washes.” These paints have more opacity than washes, but still utilize water’s adhesion properties so that the paint will automatically build up in crevices and on edges more than a plain flat surface. This combination of properties makes Instant Paints the perfect solution to anyone looking to produce faster results that don’t skimp on quality.

Here’s an example of what’s possible after only one-coat. See the honeycomb and the tree trunks & branches? The honeycomb was done with just one layer of SIN-24 Rotten Pus. The tree trunks were done in one coat of brown with just a light followup touch with the same brown color to ensure the raised parts were dark enough.

You can see the honeycomb looks a little washed out in a couple of places on the raised edges. While it is not very noticeable in person, a couple extra minutes of a followup with the same yellow color would have ensured color exactness on those raised edges.

Selecting Colors

Choosing colors can be tricky. The swatches on the racks at Fair Game are the darkest color of the paint, not the predominant mid-tone. In general, I would encourage you to try a darker color and paint it over white if you want a rich mid-tone. This color palette image has also been incredibly helpful for me when picking colors.

The color of primer is also very important when using translucent paints. I generally recommend white. Scale 75 also makes a Bone Charm yellow and an Ice Charm blue as primers. These significantly alter the end result of the miniature, but can be situationally useful. Think of these paints like colored pencils on construction paper - you get a much more pure color when coloring on white than you do anything else.

Understanding Opacity

As you may have noticed, the Scale 75 Instant Color paints aren’t the most opaque. Depending on how vibrant you want your colors to be, two or more coats are frequently necessary. If you go with Citadel’s Contrast paints or Army Painter’s new line of Speedpaints, you’ll get much more opacity with one coat. The extra opacity does save time; however, more opacity also makes layering and mixing more difficult.

Take another look at that honeycomb picture. The hornet’s nests effects were achieved by striping with SIN-47 Spectral Wolf and then two quick layers of SIN-41 Savage Beige. Because Instant Colors aren’t too opaque, they lend themselves to being able to effortlessly pull off the exact layering effects you want.

This is where Scale 75 paints never fail to shine. Scale 75 is known for its abundance of color options and ease of mixing and layering. And as an added bonus, there are a whopping 48 colors in the Instants line. Compare that to Citadel's 34 Contrast colors and Army Painter's 24 Speedpaints. I found color mixing to be pretty easy with Scale 75 Instants and definitely had more success than with Citadel Contrast for getting the exact results I wanted.

Brushes

In short, any brush will work. However, given the nature of these paints, you will likely want a brush big enough to hold a bit of paint, yet has a fine enough point to give you control when applying it.

The "instant" part of the paint comes from how fast you can apply it. Much like a wash, you can put a drop of paint on the model and then smooth it around so it has a more even coating. Be careful to only apply paint in the areas where you want that color; you need to leave the primer exposed to keep the next color accurate. That is where the tip of the brush comes in. If your brush is too fat, it will be very difficult to keep your colors neat.

I have had success with Army Painter Regiment or even Basecoating brushes, but an easy way to level up your painting game is to use top-quality brushes like the Kolinsky Sable. Top-tier brushes naturally hold more paint between the bristles; they also allow the painter to easily control the amount of paint released onto the miniature based on brush-stroke and stroke pressure alone. Finally, even the larger size 2 versions of these brushes give you astounding pinpoint control. The tips are always laser-accurate.

Putting It All Together

Choosing the right colors, blending, and using good brushes are the steps I took to get great results. I also found this video particularly helpful:

I am so impressed by the results Scale 75 was able to achieve with these paints. The use of multiple skin tones, including green, is really impressive. And, notice how much the painter is able to control where the paint goes on the model and how much paint comes out of the brush.

I am still a novice when it comes to painting, but I am also very proud of the results I've gotten with these paints. It took a little practice so I could understand how to best use them, but the end results are awesome. Here are the pieces I painted for Catan Junior:

There are a ton of paints out there. Differentiating between brands and lines to find what really suits you can be difficult. I very much encourage you to try some of the Scale 75 Instant paints on white primer and see what you think. Hopefully this article helps you make a more informed decision!

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