Thought I would have a go at a painting guide for some figures. Let me make something clear from the start...I'm no expert! My painting has improved dramatically over the years, with lots of help from reading materials and most of all friends. The journey has been quite challenging, especially as I am colorblind (lots of labelled pots and memories of good colour matches).
I bought some zombie survivors at Hammerhead, both men and women - sixty miniatures to build. I am probably not alone in finding the building of plastic figures both frustrating and fiddly. I found it a tad difficult to decide which arms fitted appropriately together around the weapons. Also the main torsos are full of movement, and therefore sometimes it was difficult to chose arm options which made the figures look realistic. What I did like about the set was a sprue of equipment and weapons - always useful for scratch building.
Over the years I have used many different undercoats as a starting point. Initially white, which required good basic coverage and neatness, through to black undercoat which provided an initial shade, but could become a little dark.
Now a days I tend to use Browns as they are a good intermediate between lightness and contrast; especially if painting modern figures. However I am not objectionable to using any base colour if it saves time! Red for Napoleonic British for instance.
I don't know if it is my poor eyesight, but I often find it difficult to pick out the detail of a figure from a base coat. I now usually use a wash over the basecoat, and when needed, wash again over basic colours. This often produces quite a stylistic approach to painting, however a friend often reminds me that a figure is judged from at least three feet away when they are on the table. I often use Newton and Windsor 'nut brown' ink, particularly for smaller scale figures. Recently the joys of Buoys came to the fore, with their excellent selection of modelling materials. I discovered Vallejo acrylic brown wash, which I now use regularly. Hopefully part two will show some progress on the figures...