A few experiments


The later stages of painting figures seem to take longer than the start for me. I guess it’s a result of the initial enthusiasm with beginning an army giving way to the realisation of the effort involved. Also the boots, belts, quivers, spearheads and so on are repetitive and a bit more fiddly than blocking in the main clothing colours. That said, I got everything done that I wanted to and the first elements of my Communal Italian army are ready to base.

First few elements ready for basing.

First few elements ready for basing.

I did a few things differently on this batch of figures as an experiment. Usually I apply a wash using watered down paint or ink, leave that to dry overnight, then spray on a gloss varnish, leave that to dry overnight, and then spray on a matt varnish. As you can see there are a few overnight waits in that process. Also there are two sprays. It’s been a very windy August here in Melbourne and I do my ‘rattle can’ spraying outside, so with a few of my earlier armies I lost time waiting for a calm afternoon to apply the varnish coats.

This time, for the washes I got a bottle of Atelier Gloss Medium & Varnish. It’s the consistency of water, so when it’s mixed with a couple of drops of ink it makes a very good wash. It ‘sucks down’ into creases very well and it seems to be fairly tough. I used to use Johnson’s Klear when I was over in the UK but for some reason you can’t buy it in Australia. Pledge One Go is recommended as being the same stuff – but it certainly doesn’t smell the same! So I’d recommend the Atelier product as a Klear substitute from the varnish and wash point of view at least. People also use Klear to restore model aircraft canopies and as an aid to decalling but I won’t vouch for those uses until I try them.

I also used my Derivan Matisse Polymer Matt Varnish for the first time. It’s very thick but you can add water to thin it. I overthinned and also missed a few areas but because it dried so quickly it was easy to re-do.

So there we are – in a couple of hours I managed to do what used to take a lot longer, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Brown wash on 'warm' colours and black on the 'cooler' colours

Brown wash on 'warm' colours and black on the 'cooler' colours

2 responses to “A few experiments

  1. Interesting stuff. I like the effect of the two sorts of wash, though so far I’ve been too lazy to vary my wash much.

    I’ve had the same trouble with spray recently, it being spring and all. Do you apply wash with a brush, or do you dip? How do you keep it a consistent strength? I find the stuff at the bottom of the pot is stronger and I have to dilute it a little, but as a consequence I end up with fairly variable strength washes.

    • I brush the washes on. I’d have to come up with a ‘one size fits all’ colour if I were to dip. I haven’t come up with any hard and fast rule about the mix yet. I just dip a matchstick into the ink bottle and dip that into a puddle of medium in my palette. I added the ink only a little bit at a time and brushed it onto scrap paper to check the strength. Because it ends up being a shallow pool the ink doesn’t have anywhere to settle, but I do stir it occasionally. One problem I have is that the heat from my lamp tends to dry the paint in the palette! “One day” I’ll measure things up. I have some medicine cups with graduations on the side so I’d like to begin using those to avoid the premature drying. One tricky thing with the Atelier medium is that it’s not transparent until it dries so it makes the colour difficult to judge. The brown wash could have been a little stronger I think.

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