The Tabletop Terrain blog has an illustrated article on using commercial wood staining projects to finish a basic paint job on a Warhammer Orc. More generally known as The Dip, this method actually involves dipping the figure in the wood stain, or painting the stain on. The dark stain settles into the crevices of the figures, making it look like you spent a lot of time shading them. It generally doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny, but from a distance, in massed troops, looks good. For more, see the Miniature Wargaming Wiki entry on The Dip.
I like to mix my own figure washes in various colors using Future Floor Wax, water and acrylic hobby paints. It’s an integral part of my painting system. I typically waste too much of both floor wax and paint, however, because I inevitably mix much more than I need. It’s occurred to me that the thing to do is to mix a standard set of colors and store them in small bottles. But I never have because I could never figure out where to get the bottles.
Then I ran across a site called Specialty Bottle. They carry bottles in a wonderful variety of sizes, in glass, plastic, and tin. I think I’m going to get a bunch of smallish ones with eye droppers.
Over at MacPhee’s Miniature Men, there’s a tutorial on painting a Roman Legionary with craft paints. While I’ve found the craft paints to be of varying quality, they DO have the advantage of being very cheap compared to the Games Workshop, Vallejo and other “miniatures specific” paints.
The Tabletop Titans site has a photo tutorial on inking miniature wargames figures. Inking is a great technique — actually a great time saver.
Hot_Lead has a tutorial on a faux marble painting technique. The green marble column example is really amazing.