Once you have cut off the figure from the spur/frame by a craft knife, clean them up by removing any flash that remains on them from the moulds and then give the figures a good wash is soapy warm water for a few minutes to take any grease off. Once dry you are ready to paint.
I have never given any of my figures an undercoat of paint, although a lot of wargamers do. I think that the paint will still stay on and it will take you even longer to paint your army. But saying that, I do give the flesh parts a splash of undercoat with white, depending on the colour of the plastic.
Acrylic or Enamel Paint
I have been using enamel paints since I have started to paint my Napoleonic armies, which has been for many years and they have always given me great results. Well for me anyway. The main company then back in the old 70’s was Airfix. Now I use either Revell/Humbrol.
But there are some colours that you can not get hold of now in enamels. This is where I have had to turn to Acrylics i.e. for British crimson and violet colours and no doubt there will be many more in the future. Always make sure that you shake the tins well before painting and if need be, use a match stick to stir up the paint at the bottom of an old tin.
Painting your little 20mm army means that the paint brushes do not have to be big, so you do not need to go out and buy every size of brush that you can find. If you look around in Stationary shops or craft shops, you can find little bargains here and there.
The only ones that you would actually want is a size 1 to do the main paint jobs like coat, trousers, hats, horses and the stands. To do the finer detail on the figure you will need 5/0 fine line brush. Always remember that after each colour to clean your brushes properly. That way they will last you a little bit longer. If they do start to fray at the tips and you need the point back again, cut the ends off and reshape the tip of the brush.
How to paint your figure
The way that I start my painting is to start from the inside and work outwards. In other words paint the biggest parts of the figure first i.e. coat/jacket then trousers or horse colour. Next step would be for backpacks, knapsacks or saddle cloths.
3rd step all the fiddly things like belts, boots, muskets, straps, hair, coat/saddle trim, hats. 4th step flesh and the last thing the stand.
What I have learnt from painting over the years is to do as much as you want. When you consider that you will be seeing the figure on the table about 3 feet away from you? Do you really need to see his eyes? The other thing is that once you have painted a few regiments, your confidence will improve and you will then want to paint more things on your figures, like buttons and medals for your officers.
Everyone has their own style of painting so do not be put off with your end result with what other people in the Wargaming World do with theirs. After all it is YOUR army so paint them as you see fit. Good luck