This is a review on the HD download version of “Miniature painting secrets with Natalya”, available from CoolMiniOrNot store.
this article I will review the HD download version of the dvd
‘Miniature painting secrets with Natalya’. Natalya Melnik, aka Alexi Z
(golden demon and slayer sword winner), is our host and describes the
techniques she uses to create her masterpieces.
a big fan of the miniatures Natalya has painted, but I would like to
start by mentioning that this review is not intended to review Natalya’s
painting style or her work. In this review I will cover the clarity of
instructions, technical aspects to the video and other points.
some interesting things about Natalya’s techniques, which you may find
important if you think about buying this tutorial. Natalya doesn’t use a
lot of dilution on her paint. No exact numbers are given but I’m
guessing it’s about 50:50 paint to water, or maybe even less dilution.
Natalya paints using a wet blending technique, she also doesn’t pre-mix
the paints on the palette but rather keeps mixing paints over and over
again, almost with every application.
The DVD consists of 4 chapters, each with different sub-parts as described below.
Chapter 1: Introduction
first part of the tutorial covers the tools used by Alexi Z. Amongst
others, she describes the sculpting tools, paint brushes and paints she
uses. An interesting note is that Alexi Z uses mostly synthetic brushes
(instead of Kolinsky marter which is used by many painters). She claims
that brushes wear out too quickly to spend a lot of money on them. With
every miniature she paints she uses new brushes.
This parts also shows some basing materials.
Chapter 2: Preparation & Basic painting
Part 1: Preparation
part covers all steps in preparing the miniature prior to painting. It
covers sanding & filing, drilling and gap filling with green stuff.
Part 2: Smoothing surfaces & Basic painting
sanding & filing. The smoothing is extended by using miliput, both
in direct application of the putty as in miliput washes. Next step is
priming the mini.
Basic painting is explained by two examples: a dwarf slayer from GW and a female barbarian
Part 3: Basic painting continued
see the final touches on the skin of the female barbarian. Also the
leather and fur is painted. In this section there is also a tutorial on
painting hair. It gives great instructions on creating a vivid red hair
colour for the female barbarian. Definitely a part to watch!
Chapter 3: Alexi Z techniques
Part 1: Painting faces
this chapter Natalya shows how she paints faces, of both dwarves and
female faces. For me, especially the part on female faces is really
interesting. Not only does she paint the basic skin colour, but also
paints on the makeup. It’s also quite amazing to see her paint the eyes.
She makes it look real easy, as if the eyes have a diameter of 1 cm.
Part 2: Painting NMM
paints both metal NMM and gold NMM. This demonstration is really
helpful if you have difficulties finding the right way to highlight and
shade NMM, it shows where to place the right reflection. NB: in chapter 4
there is a LOT more gold NMM to learn from.
Chapter 4: Painting Teclis
Natalya paint the Teclis high elf miniature from start to finish,
including the base. Really no parts are skipped. Particularly
interesting in this last part of the tutorial is how Natalya paints
textures clothing and freehand line patterns.
is no visual aid to explain the techniques used, or to show what paint
colours are used. This is explained by the voice-over, but would be much
stronger in visuals. I think this is a big miss.
There is very
little talking by the voice-over in this tutorial. Most of the remarks
are therefore instructional without blabbering about unnecessary things.
It does make the video slightly boring, and sometimes the voice-over
repeats the same thing. The background music, that does change once in a
while but mostly follows a loop, can get really annoying after a while.
parts of the tutorial are shown at 2x normal speed. This means that
brush strokes or file handling goes really quickly. It also means that
sometimes it is really hard to see what exactly Natalya is doing. One
way to circumvent this is to play the video twice as slow, you do get
funny talking that way.
At times the angle of the miniature is
awkward and you cannot see the area that’s being painted clearly. With
some of the tutorial parts the zoom isn’t as great, and a large part of
the frame is hands. However this is not the case with most of the detail
On DVD quality: the download is very solid (the first
version actually wasn’t but the new version you can download now is), no
stuttering and very crisp video material. Sometimes there are large
green areas in the frame, they do not cover the painted area but can be
absolutely enjoyed watching the DVD, though I must say that I fast
forwarded some parts because it gets a little boring for me after a
while. If you consider buying this tutorial here’s some things to think
1) If you are still a beginner I wouldn’t recommend this
tutorial. It doesn’t give you basic instructional information. There are
better alternatives for this.
2) Question yourself if you like
Alexi Z’s painting style? If not, then don’t buy this DVD. It’s all
about showing how to paint like her. If you dilute your paints strongly
and do not want to think about changing this, this might also not be for
3) If you like watching someone paint this is definitely a good deal. A lot of painting, no skipping on parts of the miniature.
really happy that I purchased the download version of this tutorial.
It’s making me re-think my technique and also gives great insight on