Playing with GW Washes

I have planning to show some photos of my experiments with the new Games Workshop washes for a while, and the other day, I'd been talking to Jenova about it on her blog. So I've picked a few things I've tried the washes on to see how they would turn out.

The Almost Dip Method (aka Devlan Mud Bath)

I collect Star Wars and Dungeons and Dragons pre-painted miniatures, and one method they use is base colours and an ink wash to define the details. This technique is also used by army painters in what is referred to as "dipping", where the whole figure is dipped into the (usually) ink/wash mixture - usually a varnish. In fact, a company called Army Painter has released tins of special wash for doing armies in this method. I thought I'd try a more conservative approach, and brush on GW Wash instead of physically dipping the whole miniature in, since GW Washes aren't that cheap.

Here's a photo of some Milton Bradley Hero Quest miniatures I painted recently (I blame Insaniak and his brilliant work on painting Hero Quest that got me inspired to pull out these old miniatures again). Here's a photo of them out of the box... well, however far I got into painting them when I was twelve.
The next photo shows some greenskins done up in GW Foundation paints, the colours painted on neatly in the right places. I painted with reasonably thin coats, which went straight over the top of the crappy paintjobs. I didn't even bother with any black (or brown) lining, I figured the wash would do that for me. Sure they're not going to win any awards, but they're fine for my gaming table (and experimentation).
And here is the result - a very matt finish with the shading in the right place. The magic colour is Devlan Mud, a blackish brown colour that is perfect as a lining colour. Just slather it on, no dilution or anything (water makes it go funny). Unlike Tamiya Smoke or their other clear paints, the GW Washes dry really thin, despite the thick feel when it is wet.

Pre-Shading using GW Washes

My next experiment was to see if the washes could be used to provide guidance for zenithal highlights, much like using a spray of white paint over a black or grey undercoat to give hints of lighting direction on display miniatures (or other things that won't end up as monsters and cannon fodder in my games).

Colour intensity can be built up over the initial pre-shade through thinned layers of paint, the wash providing a guide as to where to place the layers. Sebastian has written a great article on OzPainters about blending through translucency.

So below is a work in progress Saruman from the GW Lord of the Rings range. He'd been given a coat of Reaper Ghoul Skin, followed by a Badab Black wash. I spread it quite thin over the robes, so it might be a bit hard to see.
You can see I've started to work in the colours - the front parts of the robe near the ground have been blended back up with layers of RM Ghoul Skin and PP Menoth White Base. Here is Saruman again from another angle.
Next up is a figure a bit futher along on the highlighting process, a Jade Triad alchemist from Kraken Edition's Alkemy range. I've actually finished the robes on him - but I used the same technique of pre-shading as I have on Saruman. First I did a coat of Astronomican Grey, followed by a Badab Black wash (a much heavier wash than I did with Saruman), and blended back to the mid-tone of Astronomican Grey, and finally blended the highlights by added Skull White with the grey.
Here's a shot from the back - eventually I plan to paint a dragon going all around his robes as per the official Kraken studio paintjob.

What works for you?
So that's it for now - I'm sure there's lots of other ways the washes can be used. Feel free to leave a comment with your own experiments!


YsambartCourtin said…
Aarch - good guide and great photos. I love the fact that many painters simply have a picture of devlan mud with a halo as their forum avatars :)
Jenova said…
That looks really nice! I have those Hero Quest figures too :)

I ended up having to dump my Jade mini in acetone today because the many layers of so called matte varnish started peeling off :(

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