Prepping 1/72 soft plastic figures for painting

From time to time there is always somebody who asks what is the best method to prepare soft plastic figures to prevent chipping. I remember my first times painting these bendy figures without any information, and how frustrating it was to see how the paint flakes off the miniatures after a while, so I decided to publish the way it works for me after much experimenting. I hope someone may find it helpful.

First of all, rinse with dish soap and warm water and the help of an old toothbrush.

Once dry, use a primer with a brush. I am using Vallejo acrylic-polyutrethane Surface Primer for aerograph, but with just a brush and the same results. Many spray primers have chemicals that do not go well with soft plastics. This method of priming with a brush was recommended by Reaper miniatures to use on his Bones soft plastic range and it really works.

Optionally, you can reinforce bendy parts like a spear with PVA or white glue.

It is a good idea to give several coats of diluted acrilyc paints to the figures. Acrylic is more flexible than oil paints, and several diluted coats are more elastic and resistant than one thick coat of paint. Speaking of which, new contrast or Xpress paints work really well with soft plastic as they are thin and very flexible. I'm attaching a video I made for you to see how flexible are the new paints (the spears were painted with Vallejo Xpress). Also, at the back you can see the primer I'm using. It is sold in white, grey and black colour.


I'm giving two coats of varnish to all my miniatures, be soft or hard plastic or even metal. Glossy is harder than matte, so I give first a gloss coat and then a second matte coat at the next day as I don't like my miniatures to be bright.



  1. Great tip!
    I've been using Matte ModPodge for sealing figures, a product you can buy in craft shops. It' stays very flexible, and gives the figures a sturdy finnish which is good if you're handling them in wargaming etc. Even if I'm been using the Matte ModPodge, I usually gives them an overspray with some flat varnish.

    1. Hi Roger, I've never seen ModPodge in Spain stores but I'll check as it has sparkled my interest. From what I've read about it, it seems to be PVA diluted with water but with matte effect, but you say in your blog it is more a sealant than a primer, and I am more interested in the first one as I usually use spray varnishes. Are you also using it on hard plastic or metal miniatuers? Cheers.