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Miniatures painting - Showing off!


Any reasonable rate for your time will be too expensive for most people to consider. Do you like painting for friends or is this purely for the money? Personally, I would discuss a cut rate with your friend and explain you’ll just do these commissions as you feel like doing them since it’s not much money for the time required.


It was a weird situation. A buddy came over and saw my painting setup and the results of hours and hours of work. And then he saw my just-finished “Blackstone Fortress” models and said, approximately, “Hey, THAT would make a great Xmas present for me!”

I cringed a little and said something like “Those take an extremely long time dude… but I mean, if you really want them…”
To which he said “Okay, I’ll tell you what. You give me those for Xmas, and I’ll buy you a copy of Blackstone Fortress as compensation.”
(I received the first copy for free, so this was basically a 2nd free copy, or about $150).

Fine. It’s a gift giving season, and I do like the guy, so fine.

A week later and he comes over for our weekly gaming night and deposits a stack of Shadows of Brimstone models on my desk. “My buddies were so impressed with your work that we’ve decided to hire you for these.”
“Dude, I don’t do commissions. I work really slowly, it will cost a fortune, and I’m not that talented.”
(It’s true: objectively, I do a half-decent tabletop quality paint job on all my minis, but they’re about 2m jobs… much closer than that and the mistakes start showing up pretty plainly)
“Shut up, you’re great. We’ll pay you for these, so whenever you have time, just paint them.”

Now, that was back in January, and I told him straight up that I wouldn’t even think about painting them until after Adepticon (I had too much personal stuff to paint for the tournament). I was hoping they’d get frustrated with how long it was taking and take them back.

No such luck.

So now I’m in the situation where I think he thinks my asking for $150 for the BSF models (about… 50-60 models of various sizes) is what I mean by “expensive”.

Anyway. I’m probably going to come up with a good estimate for the SoB models, let them know that for future work that will be my rate, but if they want to pay less for this time we can just call it a favour and drop it. But the Armada stuff I’m not going to sweat too much… they are really pretty quick (the hardest part is priming them because they’re so frakkin’ small they blow around in the spray).

I think this will be the figure I will use. Only problem is that I don’t know exactly how long doing these models will take… but I can probably estimate (or paint one, and then factor that for the rest, which is probably what I’ll do).

It just takes too much time. If I had more of it, this wouldn’t be an issue: as it is I work 50-60 hours a week and then write as much as I can in the time I’m not working to try and get published.

If I was a published author, then this wouldn’t be as much of an issue since I can decide when I write and when I don’t write (ah, that will be a gorram luxury), instead of “I will write every moment I can when I have the opportunity because otherwise I will never write ever”.

Thanks for the advice, feedback, and suggestions folks! I really appreciate it. I’m in Boston for another few hours (came down on Friday, back home 2 days later), but when I get home I’ll dig into seeing how long this job will/would take me.

And post pictures. :slight_smile:


You might also find this instructive, as might your freinds. It gives an indication of how much a set of professionally painted minis costs:


Sounds good, but start with the most difficult one (not being greedy, it’s just what you should do. With a full set, there will be unforeseen problems).

@adrian has a good example, although for someone not established, you might not want to sell something that grand, yet.

Also, it’s for a friend, which makes pricing awkward.

My main problem has always been “labor.” How much would I pay someone like me to do what I can do? Plus, I never time myself.

I’m terrible at this. I get lots of good advice from local established artists and teachers that I never actually follow.


One of the reasons I chose to be a writer is that the labour is always measured in words: Professional rates are $0.08/word(USD), and that makes the math nice and simple. If it takes me a year or three months, as long as the end result is 100,000 words, I know it’s worth approximately $8,000 as an initial point for negotiation.

(It’s obviously much more complex than that, but it gives me a very useful benchmark for my work. I recently sold a short story I haven’t written yet for $200USD, and that means I am aiming for around 2,500 words for the finished story).

I started timing myself today. I picked one female and one male model in approximately the middle of the range for complexity (I can’t really tell just by looking which will be the most complicated, but these have a bit more detail than, say, the bear, but less than the guy with the I’m-sure-massively-insulting-and-culturally-appropriating headdress).

It’s taken me 10 minutes to prime and contrast these two models thus far:

Shouldn’t be too bad to get these finished… but we will see, we will see. Always a function of time!

Anyway, off to Job One to pay for editing and cover art costs for Job Two and hope that that leaves me enough time to work on what was previously just recreational relaxing but suddenly has become Job Three…



It sounds to me like you need to talk to Mr. BSF and explain that after 50-60 hours of work each week, you just don’t want to paint models for him because you need a life outside of work, and money will not make up for less life outside of work. If you spent months putting off painting the models in the hopes that he’d get frustrated and take them back, it seems obvious to me that you don’t want to do it, and the pricing is only making the whole situation worse.

I may be totally misunderstanding you, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re obligated to offer a price and accept that in the future, even for friends. Your time is yours, so if you don’t want to invest all that time, don’t. Your friends can’t hire you against your will, and if you feel like the money or the time will do some damage to your friendship, you’re better off bailing now.


Okay, so 40 minutes into the project for the first two models, and here’s the progress:

At this rate, might finish them in about an hour each. That would be acceptable to me. Still means 10 hours of work to finish the heroes and then another 4 or 5 hours for the handful of villains they gave me, but that’s only a couple weeks of painting. I can live with that.

And it is nice to be painting again. Even if this is delaying me finishing my Blackstone Fortress stuff. Ooh, and I might get to use my airbrush a few times on glowy bits, and that’s always a good day.

I’m going to try and put a little bit of blue on each of the heroes as a unifying colour (the scarf on the cowboy, the tabbard on the Native American, the vest on the doctor, etc…). I like doing little things like that. We’ll see how it works.


You are killing it. Those look fantastic.


A lot of posts today, but really keen to figure out how long these folks will take to paint and so I just kinda sat down and did as much as I could.

1:48:51 so far, and here they stand:

Honestly, that’s pretty close to everything. Few feathers (and appropriate washes) on the Native American, the white of the cowboy shirt and a FEW highlights (I am super, super lazy when it comes to highlights).

Which is good, because I am going to spend the next hour of today learning how to play Journeys in Middle-Earth, and therefore I don’t know how much longer I have to paint before people show up for my weekly Tuesday games night.

Hopefully finish these tonight… might even base them, if the mood strikes me. We will see!


Great work, and I love the base grippy thing.


Great work, and I love the base grippy thing.



Yeah, the little grip-things are a GW/Citadel product that I really like. I also have one for huge bases, and one that has little poseable arms to hold pieces together as they’re being glued (I am SO BAD at gluing things together… I haven’t used the arms yet, but it’s been a while since I’ve had to assemble stuff).

Anyway! These fine models are on the precipice of finished (I would finish them tonight, but I need the bases to set cleanly).

2 hours, 7 minutes for these 4 models, but the animals barely count. Basically 1 hour per human figure. And I have another 10 to do.

Current plan is to charge $35/hour, which will come out to about $400-450. I will let them know the price, they can decide how much to pay, and depending on where they land on that spectrum (ie: paying me the amount I quoted or more) will determine if I do more of these for them in the future.

Either way, it was nice to get these done… I’ll post the finished pictures tomorrow!


An admittedly “inspired” and snarky paint scheme for a 5e Hill Giant I recently pulled off of my Anycubic Photon.

The artist and files can be found here.


Okay, these guys are well and truly done (except for the magical rock on the Native American’s staff, which I will probably airbrush? Probably).

Last batch of pictures:

I am going to start on the next 4, but I won’t post in-process pictures, just as I finish them. Don’t want to spam the thread more than I already have been, and thank you everyone for your patience/tolerance!


Your posts are about as far from spam as it gets!


Hahaha that is spot on. I especially love the colouring around the eyes.


Holy cow, @ElleOhElle, that reminds me for some reason of a really bad nightmare I had that combined Fist of the North Star and Ninja Scroll. Well done!


@Marx09, I’m with @SleepyWill, keep it up.


Despite not playing, I still loved painting this model.
The Crimson King, Magnus the Red.

PS. The Thousand Sons are the best :wink:


Holy s–t! That’s gorgeous.
I particularly like the details on the wings (but I have a feeling that you spent a lot of time on the armor and musculature).

(EDIT: Plus, that’s one hell of a mini, everything about it is totally bonkers)