Painting dragonborn miniature

Painting dragonborn miniature DEFAULT


For the dragonborn miniature, I decided on a non-metallic color scheme on the armor, compensated by the metallic skin (scales) on the head. As the character is of the silver dragon type, I went for a silvery/metallic skin and blue, icy armor.


In white, due to the bright colors going on.

Painting the metallic skin

Basecoat in gunmetal.

Edge highlight in silver.

To darken the recesses but not resort to black, I applied Drakenhof Nightshade, a kind of dark blue wash.

Edge highlight in silver, to reestablish the color.

Then, for a bluish tint, I went with Guiliman Blue, a lighter blue glossy glaze.

Again, edge highlight in silver, to reestablish the color.

Painting the armor

I tried for a blue/icy look. I didn't have the necessary colors, so I mixed most of what you see. I unfortunately got mixed results.

Start with a light blue basecoat.

Feather a darker shade of blue from the top to the bottom of the armor plates.

Edge highlight with a lighter shade of blue.

Apply Drakenhof Nighthsade to pop the bolts and ridges.

All fine till now. But then I went for a light blue glaze overall to lighten up the color, and ended up just covering everything in not-so-light blue.

Not much to do except re-do a few steps. It came out looking good in the end, though not that much of an icy effect.

So again, Drakenhof Nightshade.

Edge highlight in light blue.

Minimal edge highlight in white.

Painting the cape

To offset the cold blue armor, I decided on a warm white textile look on the cape.

Mix white and bonewhite 1:1 for the basecoat.

Wash in Seraphim Sepia.

Use the same white/bonewhite mix for edge highlighting.

Edge highlight further with white.

At this point I also washed the horns in Sepia.

Painting leather and fur

Basecoat everything in brown.

Reddish brown on the wooden parts.

And a reddish brown pattern on the fur.

Heavy leather brown highlight on the boots and gloves.

Black wash on the handle strips.

Then brown wash (Agrax Earthshade) the fur, boots and gloves.

It starts coming together with the leather brown edge highlight.

Finally drybrush the fur with brown/bonewhite 1:1 mix.


The chainmail, which is the only silver-y part other than the face, got a gunmetal base, black wash, then silver drybrush.

Painting the hammer

With the face already silvery, I wanted a distinct look for the weapon. I decided for bronze.

Mix bronze with black (2:1) and paint over the metallic surface.

Heavy edge highlight with bronze.

Apply fleshtone wash (Reikland fleshshade) over the bronze. I was thinking of doing another edge highlight over the wash, but decided against it, as I really liked the warm bronze color.

Finish the face

Sepia wash on the teeth and red glaze (Bloodletter) on the eyes. I also applied a bit below the eyes for glowing eyes effect, but it was pretty much lost as the face goes almost behind the shield.

Paint the shield

Basecoat the shield in blue. As I wanted to draw a sigil on it, I did not go over all the highlighting steps as for the armor.

Edge it in silver (gunmetal + silver highlight).

Of course I also painted the back of the shield, and the arm that holds it, as visible in some of the photos above. 

At this point I realized that it's hard to hold the shield in one hand and paint it with the other, so I glued it unto the mini.

Next is the sigil of Bahamut. The trick of freehands is to give yourself a guide. I decided on this uneven cross.

Then proceeded to paint the dragonhead around it. Note that I thinned my paint pretty well here. This enabled the paint to be easily controlled, and easily wiped off in case of mistakes.

Apply 3 more thin coats.

After the third coat, the dragonhead was already well-defined, but I did manage to blur some of the edges. So I took some blue on to re-sharpen the edges, as well provide some highlights on the shield.


Start off with the rugged wasteland base.

When the painting is finished (including the black border), apply the snow effect. 



Starter Guide to Painting Miniatures


Step Three: Clean, Cut, Build, and Prime your models

Just kidding! If you got one of the primed models, you don’t have to worry about any of this. Your mini is ready for painting right out of the box!


Step Four: Paint!

You don’t have to be an expert painter. I’m certainly not, as my photos will show. Just have fun with it.

To start with, I wanted to make sure that the D&D paints had good coverage and were overall easy to work with. I started with the Iron Maiden model, and I’ll be honest and say I just slapped some paint around to see what would stick and how well. Since the paints in each kit are produced by Army Painter, I wasn’t at all surprised to find that they were good quality. The kit I purchased had a nice silver metallic paint, though there were no washes included. Some Abyssal Black and Mithral Silver on the Iron Maiden, and it was already mostly done!


I was surprised to see that the metallic Mithral Silver covered up the Abyssal Black nicely. Some touching up, and this model will look fine.


I finished the Iron Maiden up with some Dragonfire Red on the inside to give it a bit of a bloody look. Here’s my super secret painting hack: you can use part of a clean sponge or foam paintbrush to give your mini a nice blood splatter look. Just dip the foam into the paint and dab the excess off onto a napkin or a clean section of your palette. Too much paint will make the effect look lumpy, but if you get just the right amount you can give your mini some extra wow. You can use this trick with other colors to mimic mud splatter or anything else.


The blood splatter look on the inside was fun and easy to do.


For the Adventurer mini, I decided to paint a Dragonborn Fighter. The picture of the supplies and miniature above includes a Dragonborn Sorcerer, but I changed my mind and went with a Fighter instead. I was also more careful when painting this model. I wanted to figure out how well the paints could blend together to create new shades and how well the provided paintbrush worked on details.

I started by painting my Fighter’s flaming sword. This was pretty fun! The model’s sword is made from clear plastic, rather than grey, and I had never painted something like that before. Perhaps I did this wrong, but the effect is still really nice, so I don’t mind. Some Dragonfire Red for the base of the fire, then a layer of orange (created by mixing a bit of red and a bit of yellow) for the heart of the flames, and then finish it all up with a light layer of Angelic Yellow. These paints blended well, and I’m very pleased with how this sword turned out.


I was able to easily blend the paints in my kit to make new shades, and it made this flaming sword look amazing.


The rest of the model was painted fairly quickly. I used Treant Green for the Dragonborn’s scales and Kraken Blue for his clothing. I did have some issues with my blue paint separating, meaning the different pigments that were used to create the color were no longer staying mixed in the media properly. The only way to fix this is to shake the paint bottle like crazy, and this eventually helped to even out the color. If you decide that you want to make miniature painting a permanent hobby, investing in some paint mixing balls might be a good way to extend the life of some of your older or more stubborn paints. Just drop a few of the stainless steel ball bearings into the paint pot, and they’ll help to mix everything when you shake the bottle.


Some Kraken Blue and Treant Green help to bring this model to life.


I finished this model out with some Mithral Silver for the armor, a bit of Bugbear Brown for the straps on the greaves and the gloves, and a quick dash of Dragonfire Red for the eyes and a small gem detail on the hilt of the sword. For the base, I mixed a bit of Abyssal Black into some Bugbear Brown paint to get a nice mud color. For the claws on the Dragonborn’s feet, I mixed just a touch of Bugbear Brown in with some Lawful White paint to get a bit of a dirty bone color. If I were to paint this model again, I would paint the hands the same color as the scales and skip trying to make it look like he’s wearing gloves.


The finished Dragonborn Fighter model. You can see some of the uneven hues on his cape from the blue paint not mixing well.


Overall, I’m quite pleased with how these models turned out. Since the D&D painting kits don’t include shades or effect paints, these models don’t quite have a finished look to them. However, for the beginning hobbyist or a GM with a desire to liven his or her campaign a bit, the Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigment kits and WizKids or D&D Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures are a perfect choice.

I hope this has been helpful, and if you want to give miniature painting a try I would highly recommend starting with Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures and Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments paint kits.

Good luck and Game On!

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Converting Miniatures with Greenstuff

Painting the Miniature

I began by priming the miniature with a can of Krylon flat white spray primer paint (the kind you find at the hardware store). It cost just under $3 at Walmart.

You'll probably notice that most of my materials I buy on the cheap at hardware and craft stores, rather than lightening my wallet buying tiny bottles of paint with miniature manufacturer's names on them. If you can afford more expensive paints, you may be happier with the results.

However, as long as I prime my miniatures and blackwash and drybrush them, I haven't had problems with coverage even with plain old craft paint like you find at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or Jo-Ann Fabrics. I use primariliy Ceramcoat paints, which has excellent coverage. In testing I have done, it performs silimarly to paints produced by miniatures companies such as Reaper, Games Workshop, and Vallejo.

I have also used brands such as Apple Barrel, Folk Art, and a few other lines of paint, but I don't find that they have as good of coverage as Ceramcoat, so I mostly use these cheaper paints for large areas that I need to cover, such as when I'm creating dioramas. My red may be named "barn door" instead of "gore red," but they seem to work well, at a fraction of the cost. Your results may vary.

Note that the one exception when I often use paints produced by miniatures paint companies is with some metallics. Craft paints, especially the cheaper ones, tend to have metallic particles which are not as fine, and which don't cover as well with thin layers.

For inking and washes, I use Pelikan inks, which cost about a third of what "miniature" inks cost.

Featured Product - Metallic Paint by Vallejo

Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures Dragonborn Fighters Review

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