Friday Hobby Quick-Tip: Master Your Lines

After a few years of modeling, everyone learns a few hobby tips that make life easier. Each Friday I'm going share a little bit of wisdom I've come across.

Today's tip: Master your Lines.

If you don't have the patience or skill to brush on fine lines in the recesses of armor on your infantry, get yourself a Pigma Micron pen. These pens are available in many colors and a few sizes (although you'll probably want the smallest: 005 = 0.2mm) and you can find them at most chain hobby and craft stores.

If you are lining a tank and are having trouble getting nice clean lines between the armor plates, try using gouache. Also readily available at most craft and art stores, gouache is just pigment suspended in water. So if you go outside the lines, you can easily fix it with a wet Q-tip. Seal the gouache with an oil-based clear coat and it should last forever.

Get out there and master your lines, soldier!

Besides rock-steady hands, what tips do you have for creating fine, straight lines on tanks and infantry?


  1. I use the micron pens where I can but if that's not possible I change the way I paint and overlap my colors but leave a thin line of the first color showing... in effect creating a clean line.

  2. I have started to use the GW washes to help tackle some lines here and there. Much of my style is all about keeping the paint from getting into them in the first place and painting around them. But every once in a while I have to touch up some spots and I've found that GW washes do a pretty good job at helping get them back.

    Before the washes I was using a wash of my own by diluting Chaos Black to about milk consistency and filling in the spot!

  3. GW washes, you know... I just keep hearing good things about them.

  4. I've only purchased two so far and I use them extensively.

    I can only imagine had I picked up the set!

    BTW, Realgenius, I really like this format you've started! A great way to foster some continuous discussion as well as a quick way to get modeling and painting tips out without getting too in depth with a full on tutorial! Plus, it's a great way to pick out what folks really want to know about!

  5. I've tried the overlapping colors-- that was my first lining technique. I'm just not patient enough for it. Especially with hundreds of Orks to paint. :)

    I next moved to using a "liner", which is a long bristled brush (sort of a smaller version of what they use for car pin striping). When I messed up though, it was messy.

    Whatever you do, don't buy into the single hair/threat/bristle myth. To make a fine line with a brush you need a brush that comes to a fine point, and that will hold plenty of paint so it flows smoothly.

    I'd say I stole the format idea from BoLS, but my punchy call to action is green, and theirs is red, so it is clearly very different. :)

    I'll try to put quick tips up each Friday, let's store them on the discussion site if you have them. If people want more in-depth of a tip topic, we can expand it to a full story.

    Maybe we can even have a Hobby Month, where there is a new tip each day.