Thursday, November 18, 2010

Adventures with washes

Fair warning: I started writing this yesterday, so all references are in that context.  I don't want to change all my "this morning"s to "yesterday morning"s.  

As I alluded to last time, at least in the comments section, I've been looking at posts about using washes to 'paint' with over the last few days.  Having picked up "red" and green washes the other day, I dug up a mini that was already primed white and gave it a shot.  The mini in question is an old, old plastic human wizard.  As such, it doesn't have as much detail as more modern sculpts, which I think affected my results, but more on that in time.

A short encapsulation of the idea behind this technique: by using an initial wash of a dark color, Devlan Mud in this case, shadows and details are naturally picked out.  By adding extra, colored washes on top of this initial shadowy wash, the model is 'painted,' complete with shading and highlighting.  Theoretically, this is a quick and effective technique to mass produce minis that look awful good considering how much effort went into them.

On to application.  As directed, I washed the mini with Devlan Mud over the white primer.

Step 1: Get muddy.

I think I should have gone a little heavier on this initial pass and paid more attention to where the wash was settling.  The right leg in particular looks weird, with the wash collecting where a highlight should be.  Perhaps two passes with the Mud would have been a good idea.  I let this stage dry overnight, then started putting on the colors this morning.

Step 2: Get colorful.
 This is after two layers of Thrakka Green, a layer of Baal "Red", and a layer of old Flesh Wash.  The Flesh Wash worked great, so much so that if I ever find myself doing a Guard army, or any horde army with lots of human-colored skin, I may well use this method. 

You can probably gather my thoughts on the so-called red wash.  Most of the recommendations I've seen for using Baal Red involve mixing it with something else, either Blood Red or Devlan Mud.  I knew it was going to come out pink, but I wanted to see how it worked for myself.  It behaved as expected, and I'm sure I'll find a use for it, but in this instance and application I was underwhelmed.

The Thrakka Green was the real point of this exercise.  Like the Devlan Mud, large flat surfaces like the right leg presented some problems.  Overall the technique is sound, though I wasn't thrilled with the results.  Looking at the picture, my mini looks like it should when compared with the examples I've seen on the internet.  I think the picture makes it look a lot better than it does in person, though I may take a second look to see how things are after some time away.  Since I wasn't as pleased as I wanted to be with the results, I put on another layer of green and red.

Step 3: More color.

Though it doesn't look that different, I did add another layer of each color.  Ultimately the highlights are just too bright for me.  I may adapt this technique in a more traditional manner, say by using a Goblin Green basecoat, then Mud, then a Trakka wash, then another Goblin drybrush to finish it off.  Even though this didn't work quite like I hoped, it was still a good learning experience.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, that result is kind of what I feared would happen. Washes are just too thin to give any real result. Some (Devlan Mud, Gryphonne Sepia, Badab Black) are awesome for quick shading a model. Others (I'm looking at you, Baal Red) are pretty much useless.

    If you want to really get into washing, try what my Golden Demon winning friend refers to as "Chalk Washing". Thin a dark color out until it's the same consistency as the washes you already have (as I suggested before, Dark Angel Green is a good start) and try it over an existing basecoat. You can add in a microscopic drop of soap to get rid of the surface tension. The result is a wash which comes out a bit speckled around the edges (chalky if you will, thus the name) but comes in any color you desire.

    Be warned: this technique does take forever to dry, so it's best applied to models painted en masse. Otherwise, wash a section of the model, sit down and watch a movie, and hopefully when you're done the model will be dry. Seriously, this has taken several hours to dry so you'll have to be patient with it. The result (in my opinion) is a superior wash that can be made far cheaper than buying those little G.W. washes.