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Painting Figures

Painting figures gives you a chance to create something that you might not be able to buy from any manufacturers.  It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.  Here is a step by step look at how I painted a couple of my figures.

I bought these from a Chinese supplier on eBay.  It cost between $5.00 - $6.00 for 100 unpainted figures.  You can buy them painted for the same price, but I don't recommend it as they basically just dip the lower half in paint, then the upper half in paint and call it a day.  The painted ones can be useful though if you're thinking about putting them in a passenger car or in a storefront.  Somewhere where you want a body to be seen, but you can't make out the details.

Tools I Used:

Tiny paintbrush to paint clothes   ---->

Small paintbrush to apply base coat ->


Toothpick for comparison

Hands free over-the-head magnifier (you'll be the coolest kid in town!)

Step 1) Remove extra plastic.

As you can see in the photo, the figures have leftover plastic from the molding process on their heads and backs.  Remove this extra material because when you paint it, it will be VERY obvious.

The easiest way to do this is by using an exact knife or a small file.  Sandpaper also works, but you may wind up sanding off more than you want to.

Now is also a good time to fill any holes in the figures.  You can see that in the figure on the left, the molding process left a recess in the back of the figure.  I use a small amount of clear caulk to fill the hole and use a toothpick to remove excess and make it flush.  Be sure to use paint-able caulk.

Step 2) WASH THE FIGURE!!!  Washing the figure enables the paint to adhere to the figure much better.  If it's not washed and the oils from your hands or from the manufacturing process are on the figure, then you won't be too happy when the pain begins to flake off.


I used two different methods:

-Get a bowl of warm soapy water and a bowl of fresh water.  Dip the figure in the soapy water with tweezers and swirl it around.  Then do the same in the fresh water bowl.  Then place on a paper towel and blot dry.

-You can also put soap on your fingers, wet them under a faucet, and rub the figure between your fingers.  Just don't drop it down the drain!


Either method seems to work pretty well.  After this you should minimize contact with your skin to avoid getting oil back on it.

Step 3) Paint each figure the base color (the color you want the skin).  I prefer to always use acrylic paints as they're easier to clean up


For light skin I mix the following: Tan, Flesh (it's a pinky color), and white

For dark skin I use the colors Espresso (a dark chocolate color) and white or tan to lighten it


Here are two figures I got creative with.  Using caulk, I added long hair to the one on the left and a pony tail to the one the right.  Both figures also received "cosmetic upgrades" to help give them a slightly curvy figure.  Here are the photos before and after their base coat.

While the caulk shows sharp edges on the unpainted figures, the paint helps to fill in some of the roughness.  These rough edges are seen in these close up photos, but not when looking at them in person

3 others with base coat

Step 4) After letting the base coat dry thoroughly it's time to paint the hair and clothes.  Below are some of the results of my figure painting.

Here's the Brunette with Long hair and a bikini.  She will be one of the stars in my cliff jumping scene.

I modeled the other one after someone I know.  Her favorite color is green and she has a blonde ponytail.  She's not wearing any pants right now (the figure I mean) because I might try to use caulk to give her a skirt.


I plan to use her in a future scene in the layout where she'll be watering her flowers with a garden hose.

Here are three other guys I did at the same time as the women.  It's much easier to do a few at a time.

Front                     Back

This little guy was an experiment and despite how it looks here, he looks great in person.  He is suspended in mid air doing a cannonball off the cliff.  Click on his picture to go to the cliff scene pictures.

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