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Lately, I've taken on the mantle of amateur painter for-hire. However, I've found that lately, I'm spending too much time on commissions, and I have had some trouble meeting my promised deadlines. Does anyone have tips for maintaining a high tabletop quality (as that's what I'm selling-- not display quality, but pretty much the same quality of my armies, which tend to win Best Painted at events) but producing the results in a relatively fast timeframe? My commissions have come in the form of horde armies, and it's hard to get all the guardsmen and orks and tyranids done to the appropriate standard in a reasonable time. An hour per model produces nearly acceptable results-- if I can get it down to an hour a model for a good standard, that's ideal. Any tips are appreciated on speeding up the process.
 

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Paint a squad at a time, or like colored groups at a time,

Look at what paints you use, less coats faster results (what I mean is higher pigment colors vs standard GW paint).

If you find yourself redoing certain pieces alot, maybe they should be painted last if possible.

Invest in a cheap airbrush for basing non standard colors, if you do enough of this it will pay off for itself (180ish with compressor for a good one for what we use)

Or simply always give yourself extra time, if they want you to paint it for them an extra few days will not matter, I would rather have you tell me 2 weeks and I get them back in 10 days then you telling me a week and get them back in 10 days.
 

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Thanks for the prompt response, Djinn.

The way I've been working is doing a handful of models in one week, since the gaming group meets every friday night. It's a very casual arrangement so far-- most of the group doesn't really want to paint their stuff, and I offered to do it for an exceptionally low rate. I figured if nothing else, it'd be good practice for my own models, as well as a change of pace so I don't get burned out on any particular range.

I might look into an airbrush. How accurate are they? Could you paint armor panels with one, for example, or just spray an entire model?
 

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With a 1 needle you can detail decently. I can pull up the exact specs but once you practice you can do some neat things with a fine tip. If you want to go all out and get the equivilant of a 0/30 brush the airbrush will cost you 450ish. With a 1 needle and practice you could probably do plates easy enough once you figure out paint consistancy.
 

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I own 3 Airbrush-Guns

1: A Revell-singleaction Gun for basecoating armys and models
2: A doubleaction Gun with side cup fur finer working with need for a big amount of Coulors (so like Camos on Tanks). The nozzle for this gun is 0,3mm, so i can use thicker Coulors.
3. A doubleaction Gun with an nozzle of 0,1mm for fine working (Lines, small Camos, numbers an so on).

But the best hind for you is maybe:

Try to get yout hand on clear bounding agent. This liquid is the Base of most Basecoats you can buy, only that you can use it to create your own Basecoat in every thinkable coulor you need.

So, if you Paint Ultramarines, you mix the bounding agent with an Pod of Ultramarine-blue, and then you can use it like regular Basecaot.

This will save you much time.
 

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I paint pretty fast ... what you need to do is organize things ... for each type of model figure out the paint scheme and best order to paint the parts, then break this down into several sequential steps, type out the steps as an instruction chart for yourself. For instance when I paint a space marine I have 14 definite steps to completion. Paint groups of 5-10 models at once, the same parts on each all at the same time, until all steps are done. This makes things like a factory assembly line. You should be able to paint about 10 models per day this way, if you force yourself, or about 10 models every 3 days if you just paint casually 1-2 hours each day.
 

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Also one things that can help you out is if you can keep the arms off of models like SMs or simular items off of the other model ranges, it allows you to get chest details ect much easier also speeding your paining up. Get some blue tack poster tack, it is like GS but does not harden to cover up the glue points on the model so you keep that bare plastic for when it is ready to finally glue the arms and weapons on.
 
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