Hi! Today I wanted to talk to you guys about an effective use of GW washes. The idea for this post came from seeing couple models I have painted recently and how they turned out. Some people say that GW washes make you a better painter; but do they really? Do they make one's life easier or the models look better? I'll try to answer those and probably couple more questions below.
So let's start from the very beginning, when GW didn't have washes in their range and the only thing you could use were inks. The problem with inks was that after applying them to the model they would go into recessed areas and run down the model. It was really hard to work with them. They would also, leave glossy coat on painted areas and sometimes, would stain flat surfaces. Then GW changed the chemical mixture (not sure what they have done exactly) and changed the name to Washes. The idea and techniques are more or less the same, if not simplified, but the results are so much better.
Washes do not run down the model, the stay in the recessed areas and they give a nice coat of a wash colour to the whole model. Only good things! Well there is an issue of the smell, but that's not a big one... unless you do not wash your brush properly and put it in your mouth... yuk!!!
So, how did the washes affect painters all over the world? Well, they quickened the process of painting your standard rank and file models. When it comes to independent characters or skirmish games in which single copies of a model are used, washes allow painters to use wips (work in progress) during the game. To be honest, it varies from game to game. I'll try to concentrate on the games that I play, which will be 40k, Fantasy, Malifaux & Warmachine and Dystopian Wars & Flames of War.
How do I (and probably most of painters world wide) use washes while painting my models for those systems? Well...
Washes are used to speed up the process and allow me to play with wips. Let's say I buy myself a Battleforce of Blood Angels. I can quickly assemble the models and do all necessary conversions. Then I spray them black, use my airbrush to put a base coat of Blood Red and cover the whole model with Badab Black, Devlun Mud or even Gryphonne Sepia (personal preference comes into play: darker or lighter recesses). Then the models are ready to play. Of course they are not tournament ready by a long shot, but when put on the table against another Space Marine army, you can tell the difference and see who's models are where and so on. This way I can have my Battlefroce battle ready in matter of an evening. Later on I can focus on particular units and pimp them up: do the detail work, guns and stuff and all things you want your models to have. Even transfers!
Warhammer Fantasy Battle
Pretty much same thing as with Warhammer 40k. The difference is that in WFB we use rank and file models in actual ranks. This makes your life even easier! (yes, it is possible) I play orcs, I got units of twenty of them. I sprayed them all black, painted skin yellow and give all of them a thick coat of Thraka Green. Then I paint all the weapons and armour Boltgun Metal and cover it with Badab Black. Then, when it's all done I paint only the first five guys! The second row has only their upper torsos finished. Third and so on get their heads finished only. This doesn't make your army look beautiful, but when you are a gamer more than a painter, it saves you time and frustration. Again, you can have a unit painted in an evening.
Malifaux & Warmachine & other skirmish games
With these I would strongly recommend spending some time on painting your models, but I can understand not everyone has time. With skirmish games every model is an independent character (well not always but you catch my drift) and as such should be given as much love and attention as your 40k or Fantasy independent characters. But, when you don't have time, think what colours you would want your guy to be painted with. Then basecoat your model accordingly and give it a coat of a dark wash. This will give the paintjob some definition and at the same time will not ruin the model for future work. You will have to simply highlight and shade the whole model and do all the detail work.
Dystopian Wars & Flames of War
These systems are somewhere in between Fantasy and Malifaux to me. There are plenty of models to use, but I want to give all my attention when painting them. Thus I use washes only to define recessed areas. The rest is done by the use of normal shading and highlighting. But that's my way of doing things. You can easily spray your whole fleet silver and wash it with Gryphonne Sepia to make them look gold or spray your whole Company of troops and tanks whatever uniform colour they should be in and wash it with Badab Black. Done and dusted. Add details and freehands later on but at least you are not playing with white resin or silver and grey infantry stands. Yuk!
So that's it really, that's how I use washes. I am the kind of person who hates playing with or against grey plastic. I always give people hints how to paint their minis quick and easy and at the same to make them look good.
Below I show you couple of examples of models painted with the use of washes. You can see for yourselves how effective (or not) they are. I will also add a brief description of the process.
Let's start off with a commission job. Here you got two vehicles for Crimson Fists chapter. It was the first time I used washes on vehicles so it was a bit of hit and miss.
It gave the models nice gritty look the client and I were after, but I think I used too much of it on some areas and we got a bit of staining. But it's my fault, not the washes. On one of the Battlefront (Flames of War manufacturer) tutorials they were saying that use of Gloss Varnish (of any brand) will make washes go just to recessed areas and one will be able to swipe it off with a brush from all flat surfaces.
Next one is my captain from Space Hulk box set.
I changed the model slightly by removing all blood droplets or painting them as gems if they were in a very prominent spot. As you can see the model has been basecoated with a dark gery, Addeptus Battlegrey I believe, and then washed with Badab Black. I wanted him in black armour for my Raven Guard army. All the detail work has been done couple weeks later. Works? You be the judge.
More recent work. Two test models for a commission I'm doing for a local shop.
Nice and simple job. As you can see the models are nicely defined. It actually took me longer to paint the ork than the space marine (the amount of belts and buckles!). The skin is also done with the washes, but I'll keep it a secret for when I write a post about how to paint orks in the future.
And here is my Mek, an independent character.
As you can see the technique is exactly the same as in the previous picture. The only difference is that all areas, even the flat ones have been recoated with the base colour to bring out the shadows. and lots of attention has been paid to all the detailing of the model.
And last but not least something of a gimmick.
That's what I do with the models I don't want to paint right now, but still want to play with them and, as I said before, don't want to look at bare plastic. White primer and Badab Black. You got all the details, you can easily tell what is a particular model and it's preshaded for base coating and further work.
I hope you found this post informative and interesting. If you have any questions concerning my techniques or just washes please ask me. I'll investigate, and come back with an answer / tutorial / explanation.
Till next time dear readers!