Insider 12-23-2011

It’s Christmas time, and again we must wrack our brains to figure out what to get our friends and family. My family and friends can be very difficult to shop for, and some usually ask for a painted mini from me anyway. They’d rather have something personal that represents my interests, something I put the time and effort into making. It’s great to give someone a mini they can admire throughout the year, but I think it’s also nice to paint the mini with a holiday theme and turn it into an ornament!

If your collection is anything like mine, you’ve got more minis than you know what to do with. Minis that work best for ornamentation are lightweight plastic minis or small metal figures. For instance, Aiyana & Master Holt will work great! They are a good size for an ornament—not too big, not too small, and definitely not very heavy! The Cygnaran Squire works really well. It’s a cute little model and should be fairly quick to paint up.

I’m going to show you how I turn minis into ornaments. It’s super simple and quick. The painting is the only part that takes any significant time.

For this conversion you will need:

  • A small or medium mini (such as Aiyana or a Squire)
  • Formula P3 Clippers
  • Formula P3 Pinning Kit
  • Formula P3 Super Glue
  • Formula P3 Primer (black or white; that is your preference)
  • Formula P3 Paints
  • Formula P3 Brushes
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Double-sided sticky tape
  • Anchor to stick the mini on top of
  • Steel wool (optional)
  • First, you need to figure out what minis you want to paint up. Is the person you are creating the ornament for a gamer? If so, do they have a favorite faction?

    You need to keep in mind the weight of the mini and what kind of tree or hanger you plan to use. If the mini is too heavy, it’s going to weigh down the branch and fall off the tree. If you want to use a bigger model, use a plastic kit instead of a metal one.

    Take your mini and clean it up. Get rid of any mold lines and then glue it together. If your mini has a tab on the feet, just snip that off using the P3 Clippers and file it down so it’s flat.

    Once you’ve got the mini glued together, you’ll need to locate a convenient spot to drill a hole and make an eye for a hook. On the Squire, the smoke stack is a good spot to drill. On Aiyana, try and drill through the top of her head. The drill may slip a bit, mine did, but that’s okay. Once the hole is drilled, measure out some pinning rod and bend it into an eyelet using the pliers. You’ll want to have a length of straight pinning rod below the eyelet to glue into the hole you just drilled.

    Voila! You have an ornament! You can leave it just like this and call it done, or you can paint it. There are two ways you can approach painting the ornament. You could do a quick wash of black paint and then buff the mini gently using some steel wool. This way you get the paint in the crevices but the rest of the mini is nice shiny metal so it stands out more. Or you can paint it up like you would normally paint up a mini. Either way, you’ll want to affix the mini to some sort of holder using double-sided sticky tape. The foam kind works the best. I use this in the studio and at home; it’s very secure. Then, have fun painting! Here is Aiyana finished!