News for March 2011
Warpaint for Westeros 17
A guide to painting Battles of Westeros figures by Giles Dorrington
Battles of Westeros | Published 28 March 2011

Today, we’re pleased to offer the first part of a two-part feature spotlighting the work of Giles Dorrington. Giles’ stunningly painted Battles of Westeros figures caught the attention of several FFG employees, and he graciously agreed to provide a step-by-step guide to achieving similar results, even if you’ve never picked up a brush. In this first installment, Giles explains the tools and preparation you’ll need to get started (click any of the images in this article to enlarge them). Thanks Giles!

Straight out of the box Battles of Westeros is a great looking game, but a nicely painted set of miniatures can make it look even better. Although some Westeros players may already be accomplished painters, doubtless there are others to whom painting miniatures remains something of a 'black art'.

However, there's no real magic in painting miniatures and the purpose of this article is to show how even a relative beginner can produce good looking results with a minimum of time and expense.


Before looking at the actual painting process, it's worth spending a moment considering the equipment you'll need. If you've already done any miniatures painting you'll probably already have suitable brushes and paints, but if not, the vast array of different types available can seem a bit daunting (not to mention expensive).

In painting the figures for this article the brushes used were synthetic artists brushes which you should be able to get from any decent art or hobby supplier (I got mine from EM4 Miniatures in the UK and they cost about two or three pounds each, depending on the size). Although a lot of articles on miniature painting will tell you to buy the best brushes available, for our purposes it's not really worth it as some of the techniques we'll be using, notably dry-brushing and painting with metallic paints, are notoriously hard on brushes. When painting the minis shown in this article the brushes used were a size 4 for undercoating and dry-brushing; a size 1 for general painting; and a size 0 for any small details.

As for the paints, except for the undercoat, dip and varnish (don't worry if you don't understand some of the terms used, they'll be explained as we go along), I've used normal acrylic hobby paints made by Cote D'Arms Paints, which are available from Black Hat Miniatures in the UK, and Scale Creep Miniatures in the US. Throughout the article I'll be mentioning the specific colours used, although equivalent colours are available from all the major paint supplies; Vallejo, Games Workshop, etc. It really doesn't matter which brand you choose, or even if you mix brands.

Everything else you might need, e.g. a sharp craft knife, kitchen tissue, etc. is readily available if you don't have it already.

Step 1: Preparation

Luckily, the miniatures in Battles of Westeros don't need a lot of preparation. Just trim off any excess flash with a sharp knife ('flash' is a term for the excess plastic that sometimes gets left from the moulding process); wash all the figures and bases in warm water with some detergent (i.e. washing-up liquid) mixed in; and then rinse it off in cold water. Washing the miniatures might seem unnecessary but it's an important step as the release agent used in the moulding process, together with subsequent handling, can leave a greasy residue which can prevent the paint from adhering properly. Once the figures are dry stick them onto the appropriate bases (I use super-glue as it sets quickly and provides a strong join).

As mentioned before, handling can leave a greasy residue on the miniature, to say nothing of rubbing off paint, so it's a good idea not to handle them too much during painting. I usually just blu-tack them to the top of old paint pots while I'm in the process of painting, but anything that you can hold comfortably will do (some people use wooden coffee stirrers).

Step 2: Undercoating and Dry-Brushing

For the undercoat I just brush an inexpensive black acrylic craft paint (I believe 'Apple Barrel' is a well known brand in the US) over everything, both the figure and the base. Don't worry too much about getting an even coverage. It doesn't have to be absolutely black all over; the important thing is to make sure that the black undercoat gets into all the cracks and crevices (I usually let the black dry and then go back and touch in any spots I've missed).

Once the black is dry, I then dry-brush all the areas of armour and chain mail with #232 Bronze. If you've not come across it before, dry-brushing is basically painting with an almost dry brush. Using a large brush, for example a size 4, put a little paint on the end and then remove most of it by wiping repeatedly on kitchen tissue; then lightly brush over the figure and you should find that the paint will only be left on the raised areas, leaving the black in the recesses untouched. Dry-brushing is great for painting armour relatively quickly and it's worth taking some time to master the technique (if you've not tried it before I'd suggest getting some cheap figures; dollar store plastic army men are ideal, to practise on).

You can see the effect of dry-brushing with #232 Bronze on this Lannister Heavy Infantry Figure, and I've also used it on the hounds of the Stark Kennelmaster (only using #222 Horse-tone Roan instead of Bronze).

Next week, Giles will conclude by explaining the processes of painting the main areas, detailing, and dipping, so be sure to join us. Do you have miniatures, articles, game aids, or other content that you’d like to share with our readers? Email [email protected] and tell us about it, and your content could be featured right here!

Set in the rich and vibrant world of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, Battles of Westeros is a board game of tactical battlefield combat for two players. With scenarios that include beloved characters and settings, players can recreate the most significant battles from The War of the Five Kings.

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Comments (17)

Published: 4/16/2011 10:55:47 PM

I have seen some of your videos, your Dragonborn was very nicely painted mate. But just because someone can paint 28mm fairly well, doesn't give them the right to speak poorly of others. It also doesn't make your opinion the most important thing ever. Your comments sound arrogant and because of that people will not take to you kindly. Provide your opinion in a nicer tone and you would be better received.

Some notes on your comments. Many people find Armoury Primer appaling and leaves a dusty residue.

Bendy plastic should never be primed with spray paint as over time it can cause a reaction with the plastic. Hand painting on thinned paint is a safer method.

The figures from BOW are really tiny compared to a normal 28mm model (BOW are fairly close to 15mm scale) and there are LOTS of them. You simply aren't going to put as much time into each figure as you would for 28mm Skirmish figures. Painting en masse is always different from doing single pieces. You can check out Gile's other work on BGG and you will see he is an excellent painter.

Also, being a boardgame, this is not marketed to die hard miniature enthusiasts. So if you put up something that is display or competition quality for so many figures, it would not only take way longer to get the article up, but it would potentially scare others from giving it a crack.

I think Giles has done an excellent job with the quality and quantity of miniatures involved and would be proud if mine turned out as nice.

Published: 4/5/2011 11:15:53 PM

If you arnt going to take the time to watch my videos then shut up.  If you dont wana check on what im claiming and just rant then fine...i provided my opinion as a highly skilled painter and hobbest and if you dont agree fine.  If you do wana see what i offer then check out and check out my video about the elf queen or The elf is dont videos to see my work.  For the haters...keep hating...i dont care.

Published: 4/1/2011 1:35:20 PM

 Great job Giles!

Writing a tutorial is really hard work. Hats off to you for this.



Published: 3/29/2011 1:51:47 PM

It would have been better to start the tutorial with the very basics, like how to remove flash and with which kind of knife, how to treat paint brushes so that they remain in shape for a long time etc.

Published: 3/29/2011 9:26:19 AM

Great looking paintjob.  I've always thought about trying to paint figures from a game like this or War of the Ring, however I've always been concerned about the softer plastic.  Is there issue with the paint shipping or cracking with these?



Urlock Gaur
Published: 3/29/2011 9:23:06 AM

@ Farin, Armory Primer is awful.  It's like spraying chalk dust.  GW primer is expensive, but still the best for even coating without texturing the surface.  Oh and when will you give us a link to some pictures of your mini's?  I'd really like to see if your product matches your mouth.  Also, can you please remove your belly from your videos?  Very disturbing.  Almost like some kind of blob creature is about to invade the table.

@ Giles, very nice stuff.  Full army pictures look great. 

Published: 3/29/2011 9:13:36 AM

Oooh, these are looking good. I really like your Gregor. Reminds me, I really need to finish off painting my dudes (got the Lannisers done, but the thought of drybrushing all that fur has lead to me ignoring the Starks).

I think we need a 'show off your painted minis' thread on the forums.

Published: 3/29/2011 8:53:00 AM

I love warpainting, thanks for the tutorial.

Published: 3/29/2011 6:58:02 AM

Very nicely painted, thanks for the tutorial.



Published: 3/29/2011 6:14:11 AM

@ Farin

This isnt FFG doing this. It is a fan of the models sharing his work with you and FFG liked it enough to help.

It sounds like you have plenty to say about it so why dont you follow the directions given at the bottom of the article and submit your own article to FFG. Though after your scathing review of a fans work, I wouldn't expect a glowing response to your own article.

@ Giles The paint jobs look great, man. As usual. The golden lion detail on the shield at that scale is a very nice touch.

Published: 3/29/2011 2:17:32 AM

Would love to see your completed painted set please Farin... reread your post - you may notice that you come off as an arrogant jerk. I couldn't give a toss about your Youtube link, Giles has put in the effort to provide the step by step here, you haven't.

We shall all eagerly await the link to your step by step and full photos of the entire set... in the absence of that I think Giles has done a bang up job considering the quality of the plastic these miniatures are made with.

Also just a note on spray primer and bendy plastic... doesn't always mix. I would always hand brush the undercoat for models like this. But since you are a pro, you would already know this...


Published: 3/28/2011 11:18:45 PM

Oooh, I remember seeing these miniatures on BoardGameGeek and being impressed. Great way to get some community involvement FFG. You should link these articles on the support page after they scroll off the news page so new players can find them easier.

Hopefully we'll see even more articles from the community!

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