Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Musings - Paint Before Glue?

Good tips here...check out the comments.  Feel free to add your own input, as well.

Just a question today, for all the hobbyists out there.  Many have often wondered if it might be easier, more economical, to paint components on the sprue before they are assembled.  Has anyone ever tried this?  What were the advantages?  The disadvantages?  Some are more obvious than others.

A deeper question...has anyone done this for more than just a squad, over the course of an entire army?

So let's have your input.  Leave your comments and let's attack this subject like the devoted Imperial subjects we are.


Cadian 127th said...

I did use to paint the models whilst on the sprue. This was partly due to my low painting ability and I just find it easier to paint the various components before assembly.

I still leave the components attached to at least one piece of sprue so I have something to hold onto whilst painting.

I think that the main advantage that I found was that I could paint everything up in a production line way which is great for Imperial Guard. Also it meant that I could see what each model would look like painted but also be able to change arms/heads etc before finishing the model.

- Courtney @ Cadian 127th

Hudson said...

I've done both with vehicles and figures. Paint before assembly upside: it's much easier to paint each part cleanly, particularly hard to reach places near joins etc. Much easier to keep a clean separation etc.

Downside: First you'll frequently end up painting stuff that will never be seen. Secondly you'll need to either keep paint-free the surfaces or scrape clean where pieces join or else be forever re-gluing those joints. I experienced this with both a Valkyrie and my Drop-Pods.

A decent compromise I've found is to put together sub-assemblies prior to painting that won't interfere with painting. For example the inside and outside halves of Drop-pod doors can be assembled then primed and painted without worrying about fouling a glue joint, etc.

the other Kevin said...

What Hudson said...

Other Upsides:
1. I think it works well for heads, as long as you remember to paint the hands in the same style.
2. It works well for large pieces, like parts for Valkyries and Drop Pods.
3. Anything that would lend itself to magnetizing could be painted separately (even if you don't magnetize).

Other Downsides:
1. If the sprue connects to a highly visible spot on the assembled figure, you'll have some touching up to do. It may help to remove it from the sprue, clean up the break, and then insert a long pin to hold while painting.
2. Arms, legs, heads, and other body parts often don't line up well when finally attached, so GS might be necessary. More touching up...
3. Unless the finished piece has a clean separation at the joint, gluing together before painting will provide a smoother painting transition between the two pieces.
4. If you handle the figure a lot while assembling it, you run the risk of rubbing off your paint.

This is another one of those discussions that can best be answered by, "It depends." It depends on the mini, how well the mold was designed, how the pieces transition, and your preferred painting style.

Admiral Drax said...

I've done this on-an-off for years - mostly to stave off the boredom of painting hundreds of guardsmen.

One interesting downside I've noticed: I use superlue for pretty much everything as I like the brittle bond if I change my mind later. BUT if doing so with a superglue that has a brush applicator, be warned that contact with paint can ruin the brush instantly!

Ed Mlynar said...

I found that for infantry it actually takes more time. This is due to the sheer amount of touch-ups needed after removing the parts from the sprue, painting over the glue and joints, repainting what I filed off to get rid of mold lines, etc.

For vehicles, however, it's the best way to go - especially with super-heavies. See .

Karitas said...


ever, ever, ever.

I have once or twice primed vehicle sprues, that was okay.

But for me, the look, feel etc of a mini dictates how I will paint it, and I cant do that on the sprue.

Moreover, any sense of light direction is nonexistant, so shadows/highlights would be totally arbitary.

I hate to be the voice of dissent, but I honestly wouldnt ever reccomend this.

Unknown said...

After years of painting on the sprue I have found that assembling the figures and then painting them appears to have about a 30% time advantage; also, plastics glue far easier BEFORE any primer is applied so at least for 28mm, I would highly recommend everyone glue first THEN paint.