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Painting HO/OO Figures

Stuart Jordan




STUART JORDAN shows how to get the best out of your unpainted figures.


Painting Prieser Figures

Adding figures to a layout is a great way to add interest to it. Having passengers waiting at the station or people going about their business in town can bring a model railway to life.
Many people are happy to buy ready-painted figures off the shelf, but others like to get stuck in and paint their own! Model Scene produce OO Scale unpainted figures, and Preiser have a wide selection in many scales, including N and HO/OO, up to G and encompassing architectural scales as well. Noch are bringing out sets of unpainted figures later in 2015 in N, TT and HO/OO scales.

Painting Prieser Figures

For the purposes of this article I will be painting three figures from the HO/OO Scale PR16325 Railway Personnel and Passengers set, in which you get 120 figures. By keeping the figures attached to the sprues it allows me to handle them without rubbing paint off with my fingers!
It is usually a good idea with plastic figures to give them a quick rinse in soapy water to remove any mould release agents which might cause the paint to flake off. I then used a sharp modelling knife to take any mould lines (also known as 'flash') from the figures.

Painting Prieser Figures

Then working in a well ventilated area I gave the figures an undercoat of black acrylic spray paint to provide a base for further painting. You can use white or grey primer, but I prefer to use black for small figures and white for larger figures, as the techniques I use to paint them are different. It is usually best to leave undercoated figures to dry overnight.

I then block painted the basic colours. These are darker than the actual finished colours, as highlights will be painted over the top. I like to use Acrylic paint because water can be used to wash your brushes and thinning, and it dries quicker.

Painting Prieser Figures

Lighter colours are then painted over the raised areas of the base colours to give the impression of depth. You can either use paint which is the same colour but a lighter shade, or you can mix a lighter colour from the original base colour. Often it looks better if you mix it with a lighter version of the same colour than just adding white, but it does vary for example, the man's blue suit is dark blue, highlighted with a mix of light blue and dark blue to make a mid-blue. In contrast, the lady's pink hat and dress are highlighted with a mix of the original pink and white.

Painting Prieser Figures

Once the figures are finished, it's best to give them a coat of matt varnish, which helps to protect the paint and remove any unrealistic shiny finish that they might have. You then need to carefully remove the figures from the sprue, being careful not to damage the heads! The cut will then need to be painted over, which is fairly easy.

Painting Prieser Figures

I used a different method of painting these wargames figures, which are larger than OO/HO scale, therefore have more detail. Working from a white undercoat, again the basic colours were painted on, with no highlighting this time. A dark wash was then painted over the whole figure to pick out the detail.

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