This article is from the Miniatures Painting FAQ, by Brenda Klein email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
Of course you can. The simplest are decals, which are sold
by the sheet and have many different styles to choose from.
Technical pens can be used for a lot of intricate work, as
can fine tip permanent markers. There's a catch to the
markers, though, they can bleed when overcoated.
Alec Habig (firstname.lastname@example.org) has a good
remedy: "I used some fine tip permanent markers to do letters
and lines on some minatures. This works well, giving better
results than painting the same sort of stuff. The problem -
the marker would bleed when I coated the minis with the
obligatory DullCote lacquer. The solution - I rubbed a
little bit of good old Elmer's white glue on the spot that
I'd lettered with the marker. Just a bit, and rubbed it
around till I couldn't see it anymore. This stopped the
bleeding, without altering the finish in any noticable way."
Mariano Flores (mflores@SU1AG.ess.harris.com) gives these tips
for decals (used without permission): "For best results of
decals adhering to the surface of your miniatures:
1. Spray miniature with a shiny gloss coat (I use
Testors Gloss Coat). You will find that decals
adhere better to smooth surfaces.
2. Let gloss coat dry, maybe an hour or two. I
usually let the coat dry for a whole day.
3. Apply decals to model. It is suggested to use
distilled water, since tap water is not that
pure and may contain some contamination (i.e. iron).
4. Let decal dry for a day. The wrinkling effect on
decals is usually caused by applying the dullcoat
or semi-gloss coat to a decal that still contains
5. Apply dullcoat to model.
These procedures seem a bit drawn out, but patience is
a virtue. These procedures work for me."
There are probably dozens of other common and unusual detailing
tips out there that the author hasn't heard of yet. She'd love
to have them sent in for inclusion here.