Painting

Nothing Compares to playing with Fully Painted Models

Painting

If you have a vision for your finished models but aren’t confident in how to achieve that vision, eliminate the pressure and time commitment associated with painting your models by letting the professionals do it for you!

How We Paint

The White Metal Games Painting Method

Our goal is to create Efficient – Consistent – Dynamic miniatures.

Efficient: Great models shouldn’t take forever to reach the client. We use a team approach to maximize workflow.

Consistent: With detailed record keeping and low painter turnover, clients can count on a consistent product as they add to their collection over time. Our goal is to match the same painters to repeat clients whenever possible.

Dynamic: Great models should stand out on the tabletop, no matter what painting level you selected. Our models should be visually interesting and convey depth.

Painting Levels

Don’t Forget to Tip!
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To tip, head to https://paypal.me/whitemetalgames and enter whatever amount you wish.

At White Metal Games we utilize an artificial level system to denote quality of painting and attention to detail. This system is well suited to a broad spectrum of clients with different expectations, preferences, and budgets.

Darkoath Chieftain painted at (left to right) Tabletop Plus, High, and Display levels

The higher the level the more individual time and attention will be paid to your model/project. If you are a detail oriented person, we recommend High Level or above. If you are more flexible and open to artistic interpretation, then you may find that Tabletop Plus level is immensely satisfying.

This system can seem subjective at times, as different models at the same level will not always reflect equal attention paid to the same areas of the model.  This is because not all details will be treated the same way on every figure. For example, a detail may be more prominent on one figure versus another even at the same level.

Much like tasting wine, not all clients will easily be able to distinguish the differences between each level.  More profound differences will be seen at lower level transitions. At higher levels, the details becomes more realistic and subtle; details picked out at lower levels are refined at higher levels.  That being said, clients are encouraged to tell us what details THEY consider important so that we can treat them as such.

Tabletop Plus (formerly known as Electrum level)

Darkoath Chieftain painted at Tabletop Plus level

These models look good on the tabletop. A zenithal (top down) pre-shade is applied by airbrush.  When the base coat is then applied this will result in a shadow, midtone, and highlight; three levels of contrast.

While all details are distinguished, the most prominent details are shaded (generally by wash).

Tabletop Plus comes with Standard basing and you may select any one Effect or Embellishment.

High (formerly known as Gold level)

Darkoath Chieftain painted at High level

High level is intended for special characters, prominent models, and upscale collections.

At High level we begin to incorporate advanced tools and techniques. and it should be immediately evident these models were painted by an experienced painter.   The pre-shade is better modulated, resulting in more natural blends and transitions.  

All details are distinguished and shaded; highlights are applied to prominent edges, areas, or surfaces

With High level, you may select any Standard or Wilderness basing style for your model and two Effects or Embellishments.

Display (formerly known as Platinum level)

Darkoath Chieftain painted at Display level

Considered by many to be “Pro-Painted”, Display level represents some of the finest work we do in our studio. Display is intended for centerpiece figures that see limited life on the tabletop.

 The pre-shade is carefully modulated, resulting in extremely realistic transitions, distinct values, and smooth blends.

All details are distinguished and shaded; highlights (in many cases several layers) are applied to most edges, areas, or surfaces.  

You may select any Standard, Wilderness, or Natural Wonders basing style and three Effects or Embellishments.

Signature Series (formerly known as Diamond level)

Signature Series

Our Signature Series is intended for showcase only pieces developed for competition, such as busts and dioramas. 

You can watch these models being created every Friday on our Twitch Channel at 2 p.m. ET.

Though not intended for commercial purpose, when requested, Signature Series pricing starts at $1000 USD.

Varnishing

All models are matte varnished to provide protection from chipping and abrasion. It also reduces the sheen left behind from glazes and washes.

In some cases, figures are double varnished (first with gloss to increase contrast, then matte) for added protection. In the case of figures prone to chipping, such as pewter, models are always double varnished to add increased protection.

If you prefer another type of finish, such as Satin, let us know.

Pricing

Painting thousands of miniatures each year, we have learned there is no such thing as a “flat rate” when it comes to painting miniatures.

Our pricing structure is based on how complicated a model is to both assemble and paint. Larger, more complex models or more complicated color schemes cost more.  A big simple dragon can take less time than a character, depending on the level of detail involved.  Prices are projected from previous models of similar size, scope, and detail level.   Pricing may change over time; currency values may be subject to changing rates and conversion fees.

Terrain / Fortifications / Scenery

Sprue/kit terrain is priced like any other commission. For custom terrain, contact us for an individual quote.

Terrain Tiles (Realm of Battle)

Pewter Handling Fees

Pewter models are prone to chipping, and as such require delicate handling. This handling slows down things and makes painting these figures more time consuming. As such, the cost for painting pewter figures is typically higher than their resin or plastic equivalents.

Test Modeling

Testing modeling allows clients to fully envision potential paint schemes, comparing nuances, offer constructive criticism, and refine details, BEFORE we apply paint to the project overall.  This is a great way for clients with high expectations to ensure that they will love their collection for years to come.

The Test modeling process will vary in cost, based on the number of tests and how many revisions are required.  Here is a simple chart to estimate what the Test Modelling Phase may typically cost.

If the client would prefer, we can apply the test scheme directly to his own miniatures.  This can save you money, as we would only need to revise the figure rather than paint it from scratch.  However, we discourage this due to a loss of detail as happens with repainting of any model.

Once any test models are approved, we will paint all other models simultaneously in an attempt to streamline the process and provide you with the best possible service in the most efficient way.

Routine Test Modeling

A single round of test modeling with up to three variations, or a single model revised once.

COST FOR ROUTINE TEST MODELING:  $300*

Extensive Test Modeling

Multiple models which go through multiple iterations; multiple revisions and extreme attention to detail.

COST FOR EXTENSIVE TEST MODELING:  $500*

*Test modeling fees are waived if you book a commission of at least equal value.

Batch Painting: Character pricing vs. Unit pricing

When models are all roughly the same in terms of size, scope and detail, we can paint them as a group, simultaneously, with only minor variation. The best practical example of this would be a squad or unit of troops.   We refer to this technique as “batch painting” or speed painting. As such, squads are typically cheaper per figure than individual (stand alone) figures, which we call characters. Examples of this might be a Player Character figure in an RPG, or a Captain of an army in a wargame, etc.

Characters have more details than a typical squad member, and are usually scrutinized more closely. We must explore the models as we paint so details are not missed, which takes time and thus adds cost to the model.   Since no two figures are exactly alike, characters are not always priced the same way, even though they may be roughly the same size.

We believe that Characters deserve attention to detail; our lowest suggested level for character models is High or above.

When a character is part of a much larger project, such as an entire collection or army, we are willing to discuss painting characters to a Tabletop Plus level instead, to suit your budgeting needs. In those cases, we look for ways to simplify characters by ignoring certain details which may not be a prominent part of the model (such as pouches, buttons, eyes, and the like). You will lose a lot of individuality, but you save money, and that might be a great trade-off for your current needs .

Details

pouches

WYSIWYG – Pouches and Pistols

In general, our prices reflect a “What You See Is What You Get” approach to the hobby.

Fully decked out models with extra bits take slightly longer to paint.

If you desire all the trimmings, such as pouches, pistols, or other add-on/swag bits, let us know and we will adjust pricing accordingly.

Common Painting Requests

Painting Only / Already Assembled

We understand that some clients would prefer to assemble their own models. For the purpose of “painting only” quotes, assembly charges are simply omitted.

Canon – Paint It Like The Pictures

Necron Walker, Canon Colors Sautekh Dynasty

Anytime a client uses the words “exactly like the box art”, we like to clarify that we take that to mean matching the general colors of the boxed set (e.g., CSM are Black Legion characters in the same colors as pictured, i.e., canon colors).

However this does NOT refer to the level of detail. The figures painted by the Games Workshop staff on a complete boxed set of that level take hundreds of hours to paint to the level achieved.

As a commission studio, we have a way of painting unique to our studio; so while we can match colors and achieve a high level of detail, it will be our studio’s take on the GW canon art.

Matching Another Painter or Services Work

We are sometimes asked to match another painter’s style of painting, essentially reverse engineering a figure or unit. While we are happy to attempt to match another painter’s work and have had great success in this area, there is no guarantee.

Colors may look differently on a video or photo than they do in real life, and some paints go out of production. We can do our best, but if you really like another painter’s work, we suggest contracting a model through that service.

3D Printed Parts/Figures Disclaimer

Low resolution 3D printed figures often have a ‘gritty’ surface texture, which makes achieving high end finishes on these figures practically impossible.

As a rule of thumb, the more you pay for your 3D printed figure, the higher the level of detail we can achieve.

Re-Purposed Models / eBay Rescues

The second hand market is a great place to get a killer deal on models! But buyer beware . . . many models will need restoration before repainting; missing bits replaced, broken models repaired, and paint stripped down. Check out our Restoration and Refurbishment page for details.

If you find something you like on eBay, Buy-Sell-Trades sites or the like, have it dropped shipped to us and we’ll provide you with an estimate for repair once the lot is fully inventoried! (If you don’t agree to the price, we’ll ship it back to you at no charge to you).

Touch Ups for Life

As your drag your models around to game stores, conventions, and local events it’s inevitable that some of them will chip or get damaged in transit. No amount of varnish can guarantee protection for life. Fortunately, you are welcome to send them back to us as often as needed for touch ups.

Currently, there is no fee for this . . . not even return shipping! We do ask as a gesture of continued patronage for you to add a few models to your order. Our suggested minimum is $300, which could be a new unit, a new tank, a piece of terrain, or mix it up.

We also ask that you ship the models to us with the same care that we shipped them to you. Review our shipping guidelines to see how we ship and then try your best to emulate the method to ensure models show up with as little damage as possible.

If models are damaged to the point that touch ups are impractical, and it would make more sense to repaint the figure entirely, we’ll offer you a 10% discount on repainting the figure to any level you like. Be sure to check out our Restoration and Refurbishment services.

infinity-addendum-picture

Infinity, Malifaux, & Kingdom Death Addendum

Specialty games such as these (with extremely low model counts but high stakes) are a bit of a special case. They demand a greater attention to detail because of the aesthetics of the game and the expectations of the player base.

While not necessarily required, High or above is the lowest level we recommend for figures of this caliber.

Effects and Embellishments

Even painting levels don’t cover all the painting basics! Painting levels refer to the quality of the paint job and attention to detail, where as Effects and Embellishments refer to technical aspects of painting, such as weathering, cinematic effects, and blood/gore.

You qualify for FREE Effects/Embellishments based on the painting level you select:

  • Tabletop Plus: 1 free effect/embellishment
  • High: 2 free effects/embellishments
  • Display: 3 free effects/embellishments
  • Signature Series: Unlimited free effects/embellishments

Gore & Splatter

Gore & Splatter sample image

Lots of blood!

A gory mess!

Great for Chaos, Zombies, and the like.

Rotten to the Core

plague-ridden-sample

Open sores and pustules, weeping wounds and spilling entrails, etc.

Rusty, disregarded weapons, etc.

Object Source Lighting (OSL)

We look for places to put lightning or sparks, the glow of fire, lava, or plasma, even radioactive!

Damaged

Heat damage (weapon barrels), Melta Damage, Acid Damage, bullet holes, etc.

Frozen

frozen-sample

We put snow and ice everywhere.

Hanging off gun barrels or vehicle bumpers, snow packed on vehicle panels, and lots of snowy/ice bases to match!

Weathered or Rusty

Dirt/grime/mud on boots/treads/tires.

Tarnish such as rust, oxidation/patina.

Chipped or cracked armor/metal plating, etc.

Iridescent/Color Shifting Paint

Iridescence is a color shifting property achieved by using special metallic pigments and iridescent mediums.

Great for metallic models such as Convergence of of Cyriss, Necrons, and vehicles!

Great for oozes, slimes, and chitin!

Pricing for these sorts of effects is based on the relative size of the model. If you want extra embellishments, for example, two at Tabletop Plus level, these are our general prices:

 20–28 mm figures and equivalent size40–50 mm figures and equivalent size60–75 mm figures and equivalent size100–170 mm figures and equivalent size
Effect Cost$3.00/effect $5.00/effect$8.00/effect$10.00/effect

Free Hand

WMG quotes free hand technique (such as custom banners, etc.) on a case by case basis.

Here are some common requests and previous examples:

Banner/Standard $150
Scrollwork
(character names, etc.)
$50
Freehand Details
(pictures, symbols)
$150+
Knight Shoulder Pauldron $200–300 each

Common À La Carte Upgrades

gun barrels

Gun Barrels Drilled
We drill gun barrels for $2.00 each in plastic/resin, and $5.00 each for pewter.

Decals
We apply a water slide transfer decal. $3 per decal applied.

transfers

Themes

Themes refer to the style of painting, versus the level. It refers more to color choice and emphasis than detail level or technique. For example, ‘Blue Willow’ was a popular style of painting, where painters utilized a mostly blue palette to achieve a desired look.

Generally it doesn’t cost anything extra to “theme” an army, but it may affect how we quote your project, so let us know if you’d like to theme your army so that we can quote appropriately.

Click the button below to view theme details.

Repaints

Many game manufacturers sell pre-painted miniatures. Good examples of this include Dust Tactics, the X-Wing Game by Fantasy Flight Games, and Pathfinder Battles.

Repaints are generally about 25% cheaper than our traditional painting rate since the figures are pre-assembled and primed for painting. Models can optionally be rebased to help them stand out even more (some fees will apply).

For games in a different or unusual scale, such as the X-Wing Miniatures Game, the chart below summarizes our repainting rates. Detail level is commiserate with the original model, but can include a few extra details such as carbon scoring, OSL, etc.

Ship SizeSample ModelPrice
StarfightersX-Wing/TIE Fighter$50.00
Small FreightersMillennium Falcon / Slave I$100.00
Large FreighterHounds Tooth$150.00
CruisersRebel Transport$200.00
Capital ShipsRebel Blockade Runner$350.00

A New Client’s Glossary to Painter’s Jargon

Confused by some of the the lingo on the site? Here are a few of the more commonly used terms and what we mean by them.

Zenithal (i.e., Highlighting)

A top down highlight generally meant to mimic sunlight.

Pre-Shading / Values

Values refers to clearly establishing which areas of the model should be light or dark.

Pre-shading is a technique used to achieve this and separates our service from others in terms of turnaround speed and quality. Even low level models look great and will convey depth through their basecoat.

Think of it like painting in black and white; when color is later applied this will result in very rich shadows and well defined highlights.

Shapes

When we say ‘defining shapes’ what we mean is we are emphasizing a part of the model by outlining its area, generally by successive highlights.

Undershadow
An example of undershadowing

Applying a contrasting color from beneath a model. For example, undershadowing a warm color over cold skintones, etc.

Contrast

Contrast generally refers to opposites and using them to create interest and help parts of the model stand out more. Often contrast refers to light and dark, but it can also pertain to complimentary colors, such as purple and orange.

Layers

Each time we apply a paint to a model, whether by brush or airbrush, wash or glaze, we consider this a layer. For example, if we basecoat a model, then wash and highlight it, that’s three layers.

Other Painting Options

The painting options outlined below are designed for clients that want us to prime their assembled models or to take advantage of our airbrushing expertise, but who still want to have a part in painting their own models.



Tournament and GT Etiquette – Make $$$ By Winning Best Painted on our Behalf

We hope you will enjoy our models in both casual and competitive settings. If an event you are attending has a “painting competition” we have no objection to you using models we painted for you during the event (in fact, we encourage it!) You should, however, check with the organizer about their policies on using models painted by a commission service.

In most cases, simply disclosing the truth of the matter will suffice. We can also provide you with a simple placard to display along with your models (inquire for details).

If your collection wins at any level of Best Painted and there is a tangible trophy or award, send us the award and we will gladly reimburse your Entry Fee (up to $50), as well as the cost of shipping it to us (by way of credit on a future commission).

If you wish to enter the competition with your own painted models, we would request you kindly remove any models painted by our service from the judging area, or if your entire collection was painted by our service, excusing yourself from the painting competition entirely.

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