A forum to discuss HaT products, ETS, uniformology, modeling, painting, and other essentials associated with HaT products.
For most detailed figures, middle first and then outward to the top and bottom.
Oh, except for armored vehicles.
I paint tanks on the outside only. :)
I have always (its been 50 years now with Naps) started after priming on the main garment. tunic and pants then the musket and backpack. then barrel then hands then belts/straps. I do not ever worry anymore of doing it perfect first time (I paint from 6 -25 at a time). I always to the last usually have several thing to touch up. then they go to clear coating
I usually do assembly-line painting. Using white glue, I attach all the figures in the same pose to a strip of foam core about 1 inch/2.5 cm wide. Formerly I used strips of scrap lumber but they got kind of heavy after hours of painting. And I have lots of discarded used foam core.
I hold the foam core strip at a specific angle, going down the row to cover a certain easily-accessible area of the item being painted. Then I turn it for easy access to another part of each figure. I find this is much faster than twisting and turning the strip for each figure before going on to the next one.
Usually I paint "out from the middle", starting with the pants and top (shirt, tunic, sack coat, whatever -- depending on the period and figure), often doing different shades/hues of color on the various figures. So Italian WW2 infantry in European uniform may have several different shades of grey pants and tops distributed among the figures. I find this makes a subtly interesting visual effect, especially needed for the periods that I paint (ACW, WW1, WW2) where the colors can become boring.
The "sloppy undercoat" method means I only paint carefully where the pants meet the top. I don't care if paint slops over onto puttees, boots, exposed flesh, or headgear. Puttees and socks (for figures wearing shorts) are next, with care taken only where puttees meet the pants but not where they meet the boots. Sock colors can slop onto knees, shins, etc.
Then, big items such as backpacks, kit bags, satchels, etc., followed by a finer brush applying the same colors to straps, belts, webbing, etc.
Flesh tones are next. Again, care is taken only where already-painted clothing meets bare flesh. Otherwise, if flesh color gets on weapons or anklets or headgear, no problem. If hair is visible under headgear, this is next.
Now I do weapons, with rifle stocks done first. Here I am careful to paint over any flesh tones that slopped onto weapons. Black paint for rifle parts or for pistols, sub-machine guns, etc. is next.
Footwear color can slop over onto the base but has to be neat where it meets puttees, socks, etc. I next do the headgear, with care not to mess up the faces.
Once the figures have dried, I carefully pry them off the strips and paint the bases. This practice came about after the experience of painting the bases before detaching them and then discovering that a lot of the color stayed on the white glue anchors!
Sometimes I do a wash for the whole figure, especially for light colors of uniform, and other times I simply do a thin brown wash on exposed flesh to bring out facial features, fingers, etc.
Finally, a matte coat of finish completes the figure and it is ready to be glued (again with white glue) onto a stand individually or with other figures depending on the type of game it will be used in.