_______________________BEFORE YOU GET STARTED______

Okay, I know what you're thinking.....this guy is an admitted "re-beginner", he even says so in his Bio, so what tips could he possibly give to me?!? Yes, and if you're David Fisher, than you'd be right. BUT if, like me, you are just starting out or rediscovering the hobby, I can help you with some of my learning curve tricks. So in this maiden edition of tips, I'm going to start with the basics: Materials, what I used and where I got it. Keep in mind that I do not use airbrush equipment yet, haven't crossed that bridge, but I intend to someday. Okay, so for you out there just braving the crazy world of figure modeling, heres the materials I have started with.

PAINTS - I am primarily using Liquitex Artists Acrylics. I started by purchasing a kit called "Basics", it includes 6 primary colors that you can use to mix just about every hue, tint, or color you desire. Oh, yeah, I am a big fan of mixing my own colors. It adds to the challenge. I use both the tube acrylics and the Liquitex Medium Viscosity kind that comes in a bottle. Both are good, the tube paints are a bit thicker and tend to cover more area. Some other paints I am trying with some decent results are Delta Ceramcoat and Citadel Colours by Games Workshop. The latter really comes in some left of center tones if your in need of a certain effect. Oh, yes and I still fall back on my ol' favorite from childhood, Testor's. For some details and pieces, Testor's still rocks.
Liquitex Paint
Krylon Primer
PRIMERS - Always use one. Rule number one. It really helps with the paint adhesion, and serves to bring out a kits details for easier painting. I have been using Krylon Grey Primer, but recently have discovered a great light grey one manufactured by Design Master. Have not yet found a white primer, which I think would be preferable on some kits. Part of the reason for this is that I really don't have a good handle on what types of primers will work on vinyl without ruining it!!! I know that you're supposed to use a laquer based primer NOT ENAMEL. However, as you will find when hunting these bad boys down, they don't mention this fact ANYWHERE ON THE CAN!!! So it makes primer shopping a little adventurous for nimrods like me.

GLUE - You know, super glue by any other name, still sticks your fingers together forever if you're not careful. Any good Cyanoacrylate will be fine. I use a brand called Insta-cure+ that you can buy at your local hobby shop.

- - - - - OTHER ESSENTIALS - - - - -

BRUSHES - It's good to have GREAT brushes. Believe me, it is worth the extra dinero for the fewer frustrating paint gaffs. Michaels Art Supply (where I buy nearly everything listed above, because I haven't found a real good hobby shop with huge inventory in my area yet) carries a massive line of brushes, all types, all styles and all price ranges. Get some good brushes, you'll be glad you did. You'll need to get several for different painting purposes, a detail brush or two, a broad brush for large areas, and all purpose brush for,,,,,,uh, all purposes, and a good brush for dry brushing.

THINNERS, LAQUERS, BRUSH CLEANERS - Good to have all this stuff around because it makes your work area look like you really know what you're doing AND it actually comes in handy for lots of stuff! I use a Tamiya X-20A Acrylic paint thinner, Liquitex Gloss Varnish, J.W.'s Etc. Clear Matte Varnish, Better Way Brush Cleaning Fluid, and Susan Scheewe Blue Masking Fluid.

Varnish & Masking Fluid

Some other useful tools are an Xacto Knife, invaluable for modeling, some good liquid gel pens in basic colors like black, red, and possibly brown. They are real helpful for detailing some areas where you may not feel comfortable with your painting skills yet, like around a kits eyes, on scars, and shoelaces and stuff. You'll figure out where to use them like I did.

Now, if you have all this stuff, you are ready to go. In later editions, I'll go through the steps and techniques I stumbled upon using a real kit build up to illustrate and we'll get in to using "pastels", they are really a gas! I know this stuff is basic as all get out, but I warned you. All you really good modelers, don't read this, send me an e-mail on how I can get better!