It's not the cost that matters though, it's how they perform that we're interested in, so I set about trying the inks on a couple of (unfinished) models. I've been painting some soldiers to use in the up-and-coming publicity shots for a game we're working on called Starship Raiders. Originally I was going to use the Games Workshop Cadian Shock Troopers (who look more like "regular" soldiers, than their over-armoured Space Marines) but was advised against using too many GW miniatures in any promotional material. Apparently GW are a bit over-zealous in guarding their "intellectual property" so I'm now using non-branded minis, from a variety of sources.
To really try out these inks, I thought I'd have a go at painting a miniature as quickly as possible. After all, the product is called Quickshade. And the water-based inks means no hanging around for 48 hours waiting for varnish to dry, nor messing about with anti-shine matt varnish.
I took a plastic robot model (from e4m miniatures robot range) and base-coated it quickly with white primer (it was actually too late in the day to be spraying, so I painted the primer and based coat colour on with a brush, but then end result was still a totally white figure). Then I coated the whole thing in Quickshade Dark Tone.
The water-based inks leave a lot of pigment colour on the surface, not just in the creases. In the Army Painter painting guide, they even demonstrate that the ink is heavy heavily pigmented by painting an ork face green by simply applying green ink over a white base coat
Personally, I think the effect is rather impressive, left at that: if ever I had to paint an army of Orksies, I'd just ink them green, and pick out the details like eyes and teeth, and call it finished!
Because of the heavy colouring, our all-white robot quickly became a dull grey:
(this is how quickly I was trying to paint: I just kept hold of one leg of the model and splattered ink over the rest. I'll finish the other leg now the rest of the model has dried!)
The water-based Quickshade is obviously not shiny (like the varnish-based tin of gloop) but it's also not quite as brown, once dried (though the ink does look brown while being applied). This model had a really generous coat of ink.
Once dry, I picked out a few details (the bits on the shoulders, the little bits sticking out of the legs and the visor). Lastly I added a thin line of white back over some of the edges of the armour.
And that's it. Although it's not going to win any awards, I think the model is certainly well-painted enough to earn a place on the gaming board. And given this only took about an hour or so (and admittedly, I've not painted the arms yet) it's quite feasible to have a squad of ten or a dozen robots painted up over a wet weekend - now that the weather's turned, it might come round sooner rather than later.
Now it's time to finish the game board and try to actually play a game on it - with some nicely painted miniatures!