Painting Minis made from Reaper Miniatures Bones Material

Given a lot of questions circulating about painting miniatures made from Reaper Miniatures Bones material, I thought I would try to present a simple and easy to understand article on the topic.

So let’s set a little foundation for the article so that it will all click by the time we get to the end. The Bones material is somewhat hydrophobic, which means that it tends to repel water. Paint diluted with water, sometimes even just a little water, will display a tendency to bead up or pull away from certain areas on the miniature surface. The more water added to the paint, the greater this effect becomes. This also can make the first coat of paint applied to the surface take a little longer to dry than normal, which makes this the most critical part of achieving a good solid finish that will be durable enough for gaming.

So the most common question we get asked is, “do I need to prime Bones miniatures?”. The short answer is yes, you probably should. By priming the miniature with a good primer (Reaper Master Series Paint primers work very nicely on this miniatures material), you avoid the potential for bad coverage and other headaches that can arise later from a bad paint job. Yes, Yes, I know, the claim is you don’t need to. Well, I can only say that just because you don’t need to do something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something. Anyway, I digress and this article is going to end up much longer than I wanted if I don’t stay on topic. So without further delay, let’s get to a couple other quick points and close this topic.

The next most common question seems to be, “do I need to wash Bones miniatures before painting?”. Again, the short answer to this is yes, you probably should. By washing the miniature with a dish-washing liquid like Dawn, you assure that there are no “oils” that remain on the surface of the miniature. Just make sure you gently scrub the miniature with a toothbrush or similar soft bristle instrument and let dry completely before attempting to apply paint. This too is important to insure the paint sticks well to the surface, even for the primer if the miniature has been handled substantially before the first coat of paint is applied. Incidentally, this suggestion applies to ALL miniatures, regardless of their material composition.

Problem aerosol spray primers and paints on Bones material:
Krylon white primer – doesn’t bond, stays tacky
Testors Enamel flat black – stays tacky
Walmart Value flat white – stays tacky
Krylon Primer red-brown – stays tacky
Citadel spray

Any other techniques that are used for metal miniatures are completely suitable for use on miniatures made from the Bones polymer plastic material. Just keep in mind that swords and other spikey bits may flex with handling or transport and cause the paint to crack or break off in the area affected. Really not much different than other miniatures, plastic or metal when it comes to repair.

*Aerosol primer list taken from Reaper Forums post by Wren.