Painting freehand is a great way of adding some character to open spaces on minis. There are a lot of different and specific ways to paint freehand on a mini, so today I want to talk about painting hot-rod flames.

The first step is to get the outline of the flames right. I usually start out by painting the flames in white. As with all freehand, the simplest way to get the shapes right is to start out getting them close, then doing some clean up with the base color underneath.

Fire should always be brightest at its source, and get darker as it licks away from it, but for a hotrod flame you don’t have to follow that rule. Since these flames are meant to look like designs or decals, they don’t need to look like actual flames at all.

So, the next step I normally take is to take a strong red color and apply it to the base of every one of the flames. This is an ugly stage for the mini- it will be bright white with a stark red at the bottom.

The way to bring this all together is to apply a yellow ink or wash over the flame area. it will turn the red a little bit orange and start to bring the colors to a good medium.

Sometimes, that is where I leave it. Often the blend between the red and yellow doesn’t need any more work. At other times, however, there needs to be an intermediate color.

I find it is easiest to do this is you work while the yellow ink is still wet. Take an orange (or a mix of red and yellow) and apply it over the area in between the two colors. If you do this while the ink is still wet, it will start to blend into the other colors with little effort (you can wet blend the two together, or just leave it and let it blend a little on its own).

Overall, this is a great way to break up the composition on large areas of a mini, or add some character to your veterans.