Despite a brief attempt at building a Chaos Marines army for 40k a couple of years ago, I have not painted a miniature for something like a decade. Following the purchase of some Reaper minis to represent the PCs in our D&D campaign, I became a tad obsessed with searching for other suitable 28mm figures for the wider cast of characters such as NPCs, big bads, antagonists, etc. I may try to document the search and my 'shopping list' in later posts, along with my now fairly sizeable lead pile of shame, but first some thoughts on the first model I've painted in quite some time.

In a fit of possible insanity I decided the best model to start with, out of my cleaned-up and prepped models, would be not an ordinary human figure but a 28mm halfling from Essex Miniatures. Specifically, the chap in the middle of this set: http://www.essexminiatures.co.uk/collections/25mm-fantasy-halflings/products/q93
I was not expecting great quality sculpts as I'd read a few opinions that Essex models can be hit-and-miss, but in person I was quite pleased with the batch of halflings I received. The faces on a few of them are rather oversize and they do seem to show their age, but they are good enough to serve as general halfling rabble, townsfolk, or bandits. In our D&D campaign halflings are a downtrodden race and in the country of Ddaran in particular they have formed bandit groups (or freedom fighters as they prefer to be called) and have had quite some success in raiding caravans etc. - hence I was searching for poorly equipped halflings, without the typical cutesy 'shire' look that many makers seem to favour. Some of these Essex models do smoke pipes, have pot lids for shields etc., but that just about fits the theme of these models in the campaign anyway. As poor folk, they wouldn't have much access to weaponry besides what they can steal or make.

To paint the fellow up I used a range of Vallejo and GW paints, dictated by recent purchases I'd make to bulk out the paints I had left from years ago which were just about salvageable. I bought a new synthetic brush and had several GW paintbrushes left.
Overall, I'm fairly happy with the result to say that I'm effectively a beginner. It's a bit messy and I found that the sculpt was a bit more awkward than it first appeared. Lessons learned:
Thin paints, but not too much
Use specific shades to layer rather than mixing in white/black, or at least write down the mixes used, otherwise touching up errors becomes tricky.
Don't start a new painting endeavour with a tiny miniature!

As I was a little unsure of how to put together a decent colour scheme I've since purchased a colour wheel.
I will also need to find a better way of photographing the minis.

The pictures below show that it's really not a great paint job, but for use on the tabletop and for a first try, I'm happy enough! The images will probably show the model quite a bit larger than it really is too, depending on your screen size etc.
Essex Miniatures 28mm halfling swordsman front Essex Miniatures 28mm halfling swordsman back