Miniature painting FAQ (most Common Questions Answered!)

When it involves miniature painting, the category varies. From board games to roleplaying games and tabletop wargames, miniature painting may seem like technical jargon, especially for entry-level painters. 

The magic in getting desired effects is learning how to paint your minis well. 

This guide will answer some beginner painting questions to help you get your miniature kits to a painted finished model in quick steps. 

Can you paint miniatures without primer?

Most people paint without primers, but you really need to prime your miniature kits before painting, especially the metal ones. 

Without the primer, your mini won’t have an even surface, so the paints won’t adhere well. 

Can you paint miniatures with acrylic paint?

Yes, you can paint miniatures with acrylic paints. 

Acrylics are the most common paints used when painting metal, plastic, or resin miniatures because they are non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and easier to use and clean up. 

Can you paint miniatures with oil paint?

Oil paints allow you to explore various techniques, from wet blending to weathering. 

On miniature kits like Age of Sigmar or Warhammer 40K, It helps you create amazing effects that add realism to your mini, so you can paint miniatures with oil paints. 

Just be sure to wear a respiratory mask to avoid inhaling toxic solvents from oil paints when painting. 

Can you paint miniatures with nail polish?

You can paint your metal minis with nail polish, but not your plastic and resin miniatures. 

The solvents in the nail polish are harsh and eat the previous layer. They also extend to the plastic and resin kits, melting the materials. 

Can you prime miniatures with base paint?

On metal and resin, you should stick to brush on primer, but on plastic and bones, you won’t have any issue priming with base paints. 

Can you prime miniatures with acrylics?

Metal, plastic, and resin work well with acrylic paints. However, acrylic paint won’t adhere well when applied to your miniature’s surface, no matter how clean they are, without priming. 

Primer bonds water-based paints like acrylics to your kit’s surface, so they don’t chip easily and last long. 

Can you prime over painted miniatures?

Yes, you can reprime painted miniatures, but you shouldn’t because you might lose some amount of the details on your kit. 

It’s best to strip the paint before priming over the existing paint. 

Can you use any primer for miniatures?

The purpose of a primer is to prepare your kit for painting. So, you can use either spray primer or surface miniature airbrush primer

However, the best primer to use on miniatures is airbrush primer. It allows the primer to reach hard-to-reach corners. 

Can you prime miniatures in the cold?

No, priming minis in the cold can ruin the results. 

You need the room temperature to be at least 65 degrees to avoid failure. 

Can you paint over varnish on miniatures? 

It’s not uncommon to paint over varnish on miniatures.

Painting once or twice over the varnish makes it easier to fix mistakes without accidentally staining other layers of paint. 

The varnish helps protect the paint. So, when you finish painting the model, the paint lasts long and does not chip easily. 


Painting minis is quite an easy task for experienced painters but for entry-level painters, it is not always easy. Hopefully, these miniature painting FAQs will help Prepare your miniatures for painting.