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: 3/28/2011 10:24:04 PM

Bravo FFG!!


Published: 3/28/2011 10:13:30 PM

@ Farin, this is a beginners guide painted by a fan, not something FFG paid an artist to do.  It would be great if you posted your painted version of the figures from this game though.  I wasn't able to find any Game of Thrones figures on the youtube/herfer channel you suggested, but it would be great to see a video guide if you have one.  Assuming you have painted these figures, you know that they are smaller scale than the miniatures I saw on that youtube channel.

Published: 3/28/2011 9:38:13 PM

Also the guide missed things like how to fix bent minis and methods for removing flash, the method for base coating is uncommon and will make the mini loose what detail it has, A spray primer from Armory Primer is CHEAP and sill preserve the detail when applied is 2-3 thin coats, suprisingly he is using high class paints otherwise. Oh and you should LOAD the brush with paint then whip if off so that you dont have dry brissles and it will be better for the life of the brush to be coated because the smaller the amount of paint the faster it drys and it will trash the brush faster then dry brushing, Load up with paint whip about 80-85% of it off and then dust the mini.  For those ready to flame on me check out so you can see that I know what im talking about.

Published: 3/28/2011 9:26:19 PM

Honestly....I expected better paint jobs coming from FFG....these are really bad IMO

Published: 3/28/2011 7:28:52 PM

What about a deluxe collector version?

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