Introduction to D&D Unpainted Miniatures | Things You Need to Know Before Buying Them



Hello and welcome to the vast world of tabletop games. 

Now, I’m not talking about just run-of-the-mill board games. I’m talking about the TTRPG board game Dungeons and Dragons. These games blend creativity with critical thinking and are ideal tabletop games for kids and adults. These board games top all others when it comes to replayability, versatility, and personalization. One of the key aspects of personalization is miniatures. So, let’s go over everything you need to know about unpainted Dungeon and Dragons miniatures. 

D&D miniatures come in a variety of styles, from D&D paper miniatures to handmade, but most common are the unpainted miniatures. While you can purchase D&D painted miniatures, you might find that they lack the variety and personalization that unpainted miniatures offer. If you want to buy painted miniatures because painting them seems like a daunting task, go right ahead. This game is all about imagination and the way you play is totally up to you. That being said, if you are looking for cheap D&D miniatures or you enjoy the idea of custom D&D miniatures then unpainted miniatures are going to be right up your alley. 

Before you take the leap to purchase that D&D miniatures bulk order that’s been sitting in your cart, there are a couple of things you need to know.  First, not all miniatures are created equal. Most miniatures are 28mm scale models and have a base that represents their own 5ft space on the D&D boards / battle maps. Some miniatures that are advertised as cheap often vary widely between18-30mm scale and they can throw off the aesthetic of the game. 

After size, the next thing you want to look for is material. Most miniatures are made from plastic/resin, though some of the pricier pieces are metal cast. When buying plastic/resin miniatures, look for figures with deep cuts such as this  Bulette, compliments of Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures. This allows for easy painting and detailing. These types of miniatures are great for beginners and expert painters. 

After you find a miniature you just have to check to see if it is primed. Miniatures such as this  Stone Giant come already primed and ready to be painted. Now, at this point, you might be wondering why priming matters when it comes to D&D miniature painting. Well, priming your miniatures does a couple of things. First, it ensures that your paint sticks to the miniature. Secondly, it ensures a more vibrant color. Depending on your miniature and your preference you can use a  spray primer or a  brush on primer. 


After priming you don’t want to leave your D&D miniatures unpainted, so let’s talk about paint. When it comes to Dungeons and Dragons painting you might find that your normal acrylics don’t get the job done and maybe you’re thinking about getting a specialized miniature paint set. A personal favorite for a lot of miniature painters is the  Army Painter paints, compliments of Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments. Most of the popularity is due to the unique dropper design of the bottle, but that being said, the colors themselves are vibrant, easy to apply, and last a long time. Always remember to shake your paints before using to get the best, most vibrant color. 

Now that we have our paint and miniatures picked out we are ready to paint. Let’s talk about the brushes. Miniatures are what they are, small. So you’ll need small brushes and even smaller ones for detailing. Some paint sets will come with one or two brushes, but your best bet is to buy a few of varying shapes and sizes then experiment with them a bit so you can get used to them. Buying a  starter brush set is a great way to get a variety. A couple of practice miniatures to start with would also help. 




Now What? 

With brushes, miniatures, and paints nothing stops you now! Time to get down to it. Clear off your workspace and let’s get to it. A flat surface with plenty of room will be your best bet here. A table or desk to work at is ideal. Make sure that you have a lot of light, a table lamp might be of use as well. If you’re like me and the details get a bit fuzzy, you can always buy a free-standing magnifying glass to make those straps and buckles a bit easier. If you are using spray paint make sure that you are outside or in a well-ventilated area. This will be more of a concern during the priming and varnishing stages. 

If you get to this point and are unsure of how to get started there are loads of tutorial videos out there showing beginners exactly what they need to do. They will cover everything from basecoat and shading, and to adding details and applying a finishing varnish. If you make a mistake or decide you don’t like the way it turned out they can also show you how to strip the paint so that you can start over. 

Once all is said and done and you are happy with your work I have a couple more tips for you. Make sure to clean your brushes thoroughly. Dirty stiff brushes don’t work well and you’ll want to keep them in pristine condition for your next project. The second tip, share your success! Social media sites have countless groups for TTRPG crafters and painters. Hop on and post your miniature work of art. Share it to the company page as well, help another would be painter take the leap. 

Once all is said and done and you have your very own personally painted D&D miniature get together with your friends and play. Especially in this time where we are all isolated behind screens. Get together with a couple of friends, enjoy some snacks, and make your boring Wednesday nights an adventure. If you can’t get out and go looking for adventure, try social media sites to find people near or far who play online.



Introduction to D&D Unpainted Miniatures | Things You Need to Know Before Buying Them
Written by: Melissa Crosby

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