An evolving glossary of terms that frequently get used in my posts, with the aim of making certain terminology more accessible.

Note: Every word here has been given a hover-over tool tip, which will provide the definition anywhere on the site!


  • Acrylics / Acrylic Paints
    The most common paints used in miniature painting, being water-soluble and coming in a wide variety of colours. Popular brands include Citadel, ScaleColor, and Vallejo.
  • Airbrush
    A tool by which paint is applied to a model using pressurised air, allowing for faster basecoating and various techniques otherwise not possible with a conventional paintbrush, or more difficult to achieve.


  • Basecoat
    The first layer of paint applied to a model after the primer, and is usually the main colour of the colour scheme being painted.
  • Blend / Blending
    The process of creating a smooth transition between two or more colours or values.


  • Chipping Medium
    A technical fluid that creates a microtextured surface once dry. Acrylic paint can be sprayed over this, and then chipped away using wet brushes or toothpicks without damaging the paint layer beneath.


  • Decal
    Decals printed on waterslide paper, allowing them to be applied to models after being separated from their backing paper after a soak in warm water.
  • Drybrush
    A technique by which paint is not thinned before being applied to the model. The brush used generally has stiff, short bristles and most of the paint is wiped off of the brush before being applied to the model. This way, only a small amount of paint is deposited on the model, giving a dusty or rough appearance.


  • Glaze
    A transparent or semi-transparent layer of paint, usually applied over other paint to either modify the underlying colour, or help smooth transitions between colours/hues.
  • Greenstuff
    A 2-part epoxy putty, commonly used in the hobby for sculpting extra details or entirely new miniatures. Officially known as Kneadatite.


  • Medium
    A fluid that can change the properties of paints, such as slowing drying time or changing consistency. Can also be added to dry pigments to create a rudimentary paint.
  • Metallics
    Paints (usually acrylic) containing fine metallic particles, designed to give the impression of being made of various metals such as steel, brass, copper, etc.


  • Oils / Oil Pant
    A paint made up of pigments suspended in a natural oil such as linseed, unlike acrylic paint. Oil paints are slower to dry and can be re-activated with an appropriate thinner (usually white spirit).
  • OSL / Object Source Lighting
    A painted effect intended to show directional lighting on a model, usually a glow of some sort, either emanating from a point on the model itself or from an outside source.


  • Pigment
    The dry powder (usually synthetic) that gives paint its colour. Can be applied dry to create dusty effects on models, or mixed with mediums and fluids to create your own paint. Pigment is usually water insoluble.
  • Primer
    A special paint layer applied to a model before it can be painted. Primer improves the adhesion of paints compared to bare plastic or resin. The primer layer is usually more resilient to physical damage than usual acrylic paint.


  • Thinned / Thinning
    The process of changing a paints consistency by diluting it, either with water (for acrylics) or white spirit (for oil paint and enamels). Paint is usually thinned to a milk-like consistency before being painted on a model.


  • Wash (Acrylic/Oil Paint)
    A semi-transparent layer of diluted paint, usually acrylic, oil, or enamel. Can be used as a filter (tinting the underlying colour) or as a pin wash focused in crevices to enhance the definition of the model.
  • Weathering
    The technique involving the use of various paints, pigments, and other tools to age the surface of a model, making it appeared worn and damaged.