One way to achieve fine, raised detail on a figure (short of natural sculpting talent) is to get creative with alternative materials. Sort of like what scrapbookers do with stamps, ink, and embossing powder, a similar, raised effect can fairly easily be accomplished with a fine-grain natural desiccant, such as talc, baby powder (same thing, only scented), or corn starch (same thing, only organic- and not mineral-based) - essentially you want something like these both for their moisture absorbing properties and their fine consistency.
Using thinned-down PVA glue and a brush, you can essentially "paint" a design, shape, or pattern onto a miniature and then sprinkle on a small, precise amount of your talc over the wet lines or shapes. The moisture in the glue will be absorbed by the powder, which will "bloat" slightly over your added design - if you do this in small amounts or over small areas, you shouldn't have to worry too much about evaporation or your glue firming up before you've finished. When completely dry, your new raised detailing will be permanently set by the glue. I've been using this process in a modified manner for building up ground cover on scenery lately, the primary difference is that I've been using materials with a larger "grain" - you could apply multiple applications of this process if you want variable heights or a final result that is noticeably raised from its base surface, but an easier method might be to use something with a slightly larger "grain" for an underlying layer and then smooth out and blend in the outer surface with thinned PVA glue and a desiccant powder. Any leftover powder will easily clean up when you wash your figure before priming, and should be set firm enough to avoid being rubbed off by a gentle rubbing/scrubbing.
The only reason I would recommend PVA glue (or thinned Future Floor Finish, alternatively) over something like CA glue is primarily the aspect of drying time - PVA glue sets much slower - but also the ability to accurately "paint on" the design you want added to a figure. Some CA glue bottle applicator tips are small, but don't have quite the level of accuracy (or ease of quick removal if you make a mistake) as a fine brush point. If you want something quick and easy, like lined scarring or patchy, leprous skin, and aren't so concerned about precision in the manner that a unit insignia would need, then CA glue ought to likewise work excellently.
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- Commissioned Tzeentch Chaos Lord WIP #2
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