Ready for your first X-Wing repaint?? 😀
In this repaint tutorial I will be posting step by step guides for your first X-Wing repaints. I will start with an easy conversion of one of my favourite Star Wars ships, the humble B-Wing. Unfortunately the B-Wing is not very often seen in the current meta but I’m pretty sure we will see it again in the future as the strong and durable jouster we all came to love.
This X-Wing Miniature repaint can be done with any ship you have lying around and because it is quite simple to follow it serves as a nice base guide for practice and further customization.
On the left we have a beautifully sculpted B-Wing from the Rebel Aces Expansion pack. And on the right my repaint of a T-70 X-Wing. It is a fairly simple change with a great impact on the table and immediately makes it standout from the crowd. The big advantage of simple repaints like this is that you can easily apply it to several ships. If you want your whole fleet to look the same this would be an ideal starting point. I will go through the repaint step by step and show you what materials/tools I used and insert pictures along the way. Now keep in mind that I will keep it simple so that everybody can follow and if you are already an experienced painter you might find this too easy or boring. And in that case I would like you to share your experience with us, after all we are here for learning and having fun 🙂
Now let’s get to the brushes!
Choose your weapons….
And by weapons I mean brushes, paints and models 🙂 If you don’t have any brushes or paints yet you can head over to the Painting Tools page to get an idea of what to pick up and where you can find it. For this repaint I will use three different brushes. One for the base colour and shading of the model, one for the details and one for the drybrushing. Theoretically you can use any kind of brush you can find but in reality you might want to stay away from the cheap pony hair brushes from your local crafts store. They are really good for learning and making mistakes but if you want to get serious it will be a good idea to invest in a nicer sable brush. It is very important to take good care of your brushes because otherwise even the most expensive ones will be useless very quickly… You can find some more information about brushes on the Painting Tools page as well. For this tutorial I used two brushes from “Citadel” and one brush from “The Army Painter” and they have served their purpose very well.
On the right you can see all the tools that I used for this repaint. I tried to stick to the minimum as it is much easier for beginners to follow this tutorial. I used 4 different paints, a plastic paint palette, 3 brushes, a plastic bottle with a spout cap, a glass of water and some paper towel. The spout cap on the water bottle is really helpful to mix your paints with water and I can highly recommend this 1-2 dollar investment 😉
You will need either a paint palette or some other container to mix the paint in. I have seen people use individual small round plastic containers with a lid for storage and future use. Especially handy if you mix two paints together and want to use the same mixed paint later on. The glass of water (preferably one with christmas ornaments on it) will be used to rinse your brushes in and the paper towel is there to wipe off the paint and excess water from the brushes.
Lastly you will need a surface you can paint on without your partner/parents/roommates yelling at you for leaving the dinner table full of different coloured space goo. I recommend investing in a self healing cutting mat as it will last you forever and also serves as a cutting mat (surprise!) in case you want to start modding your ships as well. I found the ideal size to be 24×18 inches (60×45 cm).
Now that we have all our equipment ready we can start with the actual work. Before we rush into it we should consider where we set up our painting area and if we might have to move our stuff in case we can’t finish it on time. This is of course obsolete if you are fortunate enough to have your own hobby/painting area that you can just leave after you finished for the day. Make sure the area can handle the occasional paint splash because no matter how careful you are…. it WILL happen! Sometimes you will even get paint on your fingers without noticing it and drag it all over the house or just over your freshly painted Z-95 Headhunter 😛
Next you will want to prepare your miniature for the first coat of paint. Now some painters recommend to strip the factory paint and/or use a primer before starting with the first layer of paint. Personally I do not strip the factory paint as it is a lot of extra work that is really not needed for the X-Wing Miniature models. Depending on the model, I have used a spray primer before but mostly because the base colour was a difficult to paint colour (like white) or it was a very big model (like the Ghost) in order to get a more even coat and save time. The only thing I do is wash the model with a little bit of dish soap and water in order to get rid of any residue from the factory or from sitting on your shelf for too long. I will be putting up some more information about stripping the models on the Painting Techniques page.
If you are worried about painting the base or peg by accident I would take some masking tape and tape off the areas you want to keep clear of paint. Any cheap tape you have lying around will do for this purpose. You can invest in some special painters tape if you want but in my experience they are all very similar and the cheap stuff will suffice for the beginner and intermediate painter.
Later on you might start using masking tape in order to add stripes or patterns on your model but I would not recommend this technique for the start as it can be quite frustrating to get right.
Now it’s starting to get interesting 😉 For this repaint I chose Fenrisian Grey to be my base coat with Troll Slayer Orange for the colour accents. I’m using all Citadel paints here from Games Workshop but there is many other brands you can use out there. I will be discussing some of the brands I have tested on the Painting Tools page but for now we just stick with what we have.
Although I really like the quality of the Citadel paints you have to be aware of two things: First it is a bit of a hassle to get the paint out of the bottle into the palette. Which would be fine if you can use them straight out of the bottle. Which brings me to the second point… you will have to water the paints down quite a bit in order to use them. I recommend to mix the “Layer” and “Base” paints from Citadel with water at a ratio of 2:1 (paint/water). Not all paints from Citadel behave the same (e.g. Metallic paints thin best with an acrylic medium) but let’s stick to this rule of thumb for now. **other paint brands might need very different ratios**
So I mixed the grey in my palette with water from my spout cap bottle to an approximate ratio of 2:1 (paint/water). You don’t have to be exact, you will get a feeling for it over time. Better to use more water in the beginning as it will be easier to paint and you can easily add another coat of paint but you can’t take a coat away once it is on the model 😉
I took the biggest brush (Wash Brush) to apply the diluted paint all over the model only leaving out the black of the cockpit. I chose not to paint the cockpit at all for this tutorial to keep it as simple as possible. Here is the result after the first coat:
As you can see the red colour of the original paint is still showing in some places. This is perfectly fine, you want the first layer to be quite watery and see through as it serves as a primer for your next coat to go on. Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely cover the model at this point. I promise you we’ll get there 😉
It is good practice to wash your brush inbetween steps and sometimes even after a few strokes to make sure the paint doesn’t accumulate in the brush. Your brushes will thank you for it later.
Second coat (and more if needed)
Before you apply the second coat of paint make sure the first coat has dried sufficiently. Depending on how watery your coat was this might take about 10-15 min. The main reason you want the first layer of paint to be completely dry is so that your second and subsequent layers will make for a smooth transition and there will be no hard edges or differences in colour. With the second coat you should be able to see the original colour vanish beneath your new base colour but if it is still showing you can just apply another coat. In my case I only did two coats with a little bit of extra paint on a couple of patches as a third coat. Depending on the model, the thickness of your coats and the colour you are painting with, you might have to use 5 or more coats in extreme cases. Most of the time 2-3 coats will be enough to cover your model.
Washing / Shading
This is by far my favourite step 🙂 It makes all the difference in the world if you was your mini or not. Now if you are completely new to painting miniatures you might have no clue what washing or shading actually means. When I first started I had no idea what people where referring to when it came to those terms but quickly discovered that this is one of the most important techniques to bring out so much more detail on your miniatures. Games Workshop calls their Citadel line of washes “shades” and I have heard people frequently using the term shading instead of washing. I will probably keep changing between both but now you know what I’m talking about 😉
Basically the shading enhances the details of your miniature by making the dark parts (mainly the recesses) of your model darker and leaving the other parts more or less untouched. It’s like adding a shadow to your 3D sculpture and making it look more alive (as alive as a space ship can be I guess…). A wash is just a very watered down dark paint (mostly black or brown) which you could basically mix yourself. Most miniature painting brands have premixed washes available and they are very useful and time saving. I can recommend the Nuln Oil from Citadel but any other brand will do just fine.
Because shades are so watered down the paint will pool into the recesses of the model and therefore create a contrast between dark and light on your miniature. You will immediately notice a difference when applying a shade:
I think the pictures speak for themselves… On the right you notice how the wash pools into the recesses and you might have to wipe off excess paint with a clean dry brush. Don’t wait too long with wiping off the excess or it will leave a blotch on the model that you might have to paint over. If you are not satisfied with the amount of shading you can always add another coat later on. Make sure you let it completely dry again before adding another layer. The colour of the wash will change when dry and in most cases will appear a bit lighter. Also the shade takes much longer to dry so make sure to wait until it is completely dry. Patience is key to a succesful repaint 😉
Now that we have a completely shaded model it might look a bit dark to you and that is because we didn’t just cover the recesses with a darker paint but also the high raised areas. Now there is a few ways to bring back some of the light and one of the easiest ways to do this is with a technique called “drybrushing”. If you have no clue what I’m talking about you can head over to the painting techniques page for some more information. Drybrushing in a nutshell just means that you wipe off most of the paint on the brush until it is almost completely dry. Make sure to use a special Drybrush or old/used brush for this technique.
Once you have your brush ready with just a little dry paint left you wipe it back and forth all over the model (or just the areas you want highlighted) to bring back the raised areas and contrast the dark recesses. This will give your model an even more detailed look. You usually want to use a lighter colour than your base coat. I used Ceramic White from Citadel in this case to really show you the difference it makes. You might mix the Fenrisian Grey with white in order to get a more subtle difference but for now this will be perfectly fine. Let’s see what we got…
Alright, not bad! It’s starting to look like something 🙂 Now all we need is a final touch of colour.
We now have the framework for the basic model which can be applied to all ships and could be the start of your own customized fleet! In order to differentiate the individual ships I would suggest giving them a touch of colour. Now this is where your creativity comes into play. You can choose any colour or pattern you like to make it really stand out or you can simply add a stripe or different coloured panel. For the very first model I suggest that you look at the small details of the ship that you are painting. The best thing to do is starting to look for patterns or details on the ship while doing the first couple of coats. When you take a closer look you will notice lots of details on the X-Wing Miniatures. The B-Wing for example has many panels on the lower part of the ship that could easily be changed to a different colour, especially since some of them are raised higher than the rest of the ship. This makes it easier to stay inside the lines. I chose to stay inside the lines for my repaint and went with a simple orange stripe kind of theme. I also painted the cockpit frame to make it standout a bit more. I’m keeping it fairly simple on this one so you can really see the impact it has on the model.
And there we have it… your first X-Wing repaint! 😀
Now here are some pictures of the final repaint and as you can see you can easily apply this to another ship:
I repainted the cockpit of the Z-95 Headhunter and added a gloss varnish to make it stand out a bit more but other than that these two repaints are done with the exact same methods.
You can either stop right there with the repaint or add some more detail to it. I will probably paint the cockpit and maybe add some metallic paints to the engines and guns later on. Feel free to experiment and never forget to have fun! I hope you like this tutorial and looking forward to seeing you again on my website 🙂
May the paint be with you.