Monday, 7 October 2013

Army Painter Quickshade Inks - more experimenting

After a weekend of painting (and repairing the allotment shed roof) I'm in two minds about Quickshade.
The initial use of it on some Tyranids and Cadian Troopers was very encouraging - it brought out the details beautifully with very little effort, and added a layer of varnish protection over the paintwork.

I've already ruined a couple of miniatures using the anti-shine matt paint outdoors, in the cold, possibly when it was a bit too damp. So this time, I was determined to follow the instructions to the letter, and make sure conditions were perfect for spraying. I made a little spray booth in the kitchen, made sure it wasn't too hot, nor too cold and sprayed from not less than 20cm and not more than 25cm away - in fact, pretty much everything the Army Painter guys said to do.

The result?

More badly powdered, frosty-looking miniatures, complete with crazing effects! In short, a terrible finish and more miniatures destined for the bin.

With this in mind, I've been trying the water-based 100% colour-match strong tone ink. I love the tin of dip idea, but if it's going to create such rubbish looking results, I'll stick with the water-based ones. But they are not quite the 100% colour match claimed on the label:

The model in the centre was coated with the tin of brown gloop, the outer models using the water-based acrylic strong tone. 100% colour match? Not really.

Personally, I think the effect on the robot models using the water-based strong tone looks just right for them. Dirty, grimy, industrial-looking is just right for robots on the battlefield. But there's also a massive dis-colouration, whereas the brown gloop keeps a lot more of the original colour, and a lot of the underlying vibrancy of the colours.

Water-based strong-tone is great for achieving a dirty-looking industrial effect

The dirty grimy look isn't ideal for all miniatures though - these were heavily discoloured using the water-based strong tone. So much, that I had to re-paint the shaded colour with the original base-coat. This has got rid of the nice shaded effect that Quickshade gives, and now looks more like the two-tone light-on-dark painting scheme I was trying to get away from.

There's much discussion online about "frosting" of miniatures. Apparently it's not uncommon when using spray varnish - so far we've not had great results (and at the same time, had some really cool results) using both the brown gloop and the water-based strong tone. 

While I really like the effect on the robots using the water-based toner, I think the brown gloop is much better suited to the soliders - if only there were some way of reducing the shine without ruining the figures.

Adding a splash of the water-based anti-shine that came with the Army Painter Mega Set on a previously spoilt Tyranid helped reduce the powdery frosted effect (but did re-introduce a bit of a sheen) so perhaps there's some hope...

The water-based anti-shine also helped restore a little bit of the Cadian Shock Trooper - though many of the details that the Quickshade picked out so well were lost, and large areas (like the helmet and shoulder pads) still had a nasty speckled effect all over them.

Before anti-shine, the details on the miniatures were picked out with sharp constrast but left a high-gloss finish on the miniatures

Anti-shine definitely takes the shine away - but sadly, also the colour vibrancy and model details!

I think I'm going to have to burn through a few more minis to get the combination of shade and anti-shine just right. Word has it that brush-on matt varnish works more consistently than spray. Hopefully this will work, as the original Quickshade had so much promise. I'd love to get back my initial enthusiasm for the Army Painter range!

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