When I first started painting miniatures one of the things that was suggested was to not hold a miniature by a freshly painted area so as to not accidentally rub paint off of the model. It’s still a practice that I follow when I can, and part of that has been coming up with a few ways to mount and hold miniatures securely without having to worry about disturbing a paint job. Most painters develop their own methods; here are a few of mine.
The biggest deciding factor on how I mount my miniatures is if I base them before I paint them or after. My usual preference is to base the model after I paint it if possible – that means there’s no base making it harder to get my brush into the underside of the model. I also tend to clip the pewter tab that connects a models feet and pin them to the base with brass rod. This makes it easier for me to base them (no tab to deal with covering) and opens up some options for mounting, as shown here.
One of the quicker mounting methods is to attach a black binder clip to the pins coming out of the feet of the model. This setup also works if I leave the pewter tab attached to the feet. This won’t work if the feet are too far apart to be clipped and I don’t like to use it with just one foot pinned but it works well most of the time. A very similar method is to push the pins of the model into a cork to use to hold it as seen to the left. It works just like the binder clip, with the advantage of being able to (usually) set the model down on the cork. The downside is that the cork can interfere with painting the bottom of the miniature, but I can always remove it for that.
For models that I only pin one foot, I’ve used the handles from Exacto knives to hold the miniature while I paint. I’ve seen many painters that use hemostats in the same way but I don’t have any around the house and my Exacto handles work well enough for me. Depending on the diameter of brass rod I’m pinning the model to the base with the pin may be to small for the handle but wrapping a bit of painter’s tape around each pin adds enough width for the Exacto handles to hold them securely.
Models that have already been based can usually be held by the base itself, but that can be a bit unwieldy for larger models (like the Legion of Everblight Seraph). For models like that I use a few simple components to create the Super Secret Tape the Model to the Can Method. Models like the Seraph here are still heavy enough that if I tip the can too far it will fall right off the tape, but that’s where the Kung Fu Monkey Grip comes in. In addition to securing models I use this method regularly to hold bases while I paint them.
The last tool I want to mention is the 3rd arm stand that’s used by electronics aficionados to hold material that they’re soldering. I don’t like laying miniatures down on their painted surfaces so this handy tool lets me secure them in place while they dry. There are other ways to prop up a miniature but the advantage of the 3rd arm is that I can secure them at any odd angle, so if I’m doing a wash that I want to dry in a certain way I can leave the miniature tilted while it dries so everything stays where I want it.
That’s it – a few ways that I secure miniatures for painting. They’re not all original but they’ve been handly little techniques to store in my painting toolbox. I hope you’ll find one or two useful to you as well.