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Author Topic: Miniature painting  (Read 2420 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Miniature painting
« on: August 12, 2015, 05:32:42 AM »
Continuing the discussion from the WH40K thread! :)

Guys, thanks for posting all your recent minis. They look very cool! The Gorax is my favourite, admittedly. Very nice details!

I have a question, guys: how do I make a wash from a regular acrylic paint? I've heard that you can do with water and liquid soap?

BTW. What is Hordes? Is it expensive? Some of the critters look very cool :)

Offline eBadger

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2015, 10:33:40 AM »
BTW. What is Hordes? Is it expensive? Some of the critters look very cool :)

Hordes is a sister game to Warmachine; it's nearly the same game with a couple different rules and a focus on monsters instead of robots.  The major tournaments don't differentiate and it's really more like the split between chaos and imperium in 40k, with each of those categories including several factions. 

"Expensive" is subjective, but it's comparable to other miniatures games like Warmachine, Age of Sigmar or 40k. 

Offline Dhi

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2015, 10:34:06 AM »
Hello!

I have a tried and true formula for making washes. It takes about a $20 investment of materials and two dropper bottles like the ones Reaper Master Series and Vallejo paints come in.

The first bottle is 50% water and 50% Liquitex matte medium. This is a standard ratio for painting with matte medium, which is used to give paint translucency without losing color. It helps the wash to not conceal the color you're trying to shade.

The second bottle is 90% water and 10% Future floor polish (or Pledge with Future). Future is an acrylic finish useful for breaking surface tension, and it helps the wash to flow into all the crevices rather than pooling on the surfaces of your miniature.

I'll put down 1 drop of my wash color, 2 drops of the matte mix, and 4 drops of the Future mix. Sometimes if I'm using inks I'll add another 1 drop matte and 2 drops Future since ink is a very strong pigment and requires a little more to keep it from staining.

Hordes is a skirmish game where you play character warlocks who steer monstrous beasts, and usually a handful of other units. You can get one of the new plastic 15 point armies for around $20, and I believe includes quick start rules. An army for local tournaments will set you back more like $100. It's a companion game to Warmachine, where the monsters are instead steam mechas, and forces of the two sister games can battle one another.

The ladies I used to play Warmahordes with have since moved on to Malifaux, an even smaller scale skirmish game with greater emphasis on characters over units.Although I've painted some Malifaux minis, I find that I prefer Warmahordes. The monsters are neat and the sculpts are so high energy, I generally don't mind that it's a little more expensive and involves a little more samey unit painting.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2015, 10:43:39 AM »
Interesting! I wonder if there are any shops over here that carry these games...

Regarding washes: is there any way for me to make a wash right now, without buying anything? I've really seen a mention online that a wash can be made with liquid soap, but I can't find any details...

BTW. What the heck is a "medium", actually?

Offline Dhi

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2015, 11:00:32 AM »
Medium in chemistry terms is an emulsion. The fine pigments of your paint are suspended in it. All paint has some, else the pigment would just flake off like weathering powder. Adding different kinds of medium can alter the properties of your paint, and what matte medium does is thin out the pigment without adding any cloudiness or shine.

The purpose of liquid soap would be to reduce surface tension, just like the Future polish. If you want to try it, I'd recommend the same 10:1 ratio of water to liquid soap and maybe 4-5 drops of that in your wash color. I have not used this technique before so I can't be precise with the numbers... it just sounds like the same concept. Without matte medium, you're going to essentially have your solid color pooling in the recesses, so the blends may not end up as smooth.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2015, 02:23:20 PM »
Okay, so... I did some painting on a new Wych today. I decided to try out the method I used on the previous mini: paint-wash-repaint. I also tried thinning my paints.

Right now, the mini is drying up after shading. I ran out of steam, so I'll finish painting her tomorrow. We'll see how she works out...

BTW. I tried making a custom wash with water and soap. I'm not sure if the results are too great... hmmm.

Offline Dhi

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2015, 02:41:33 PM »
When you say liquid soap I assume what you're talking about is liquid dish soap, which is designed to prevent water rings by reducing surface tension of water. If you use like Dove hand soap, I think that's unlikely to have borax in it, and may have water hardeners rather than water softeners, giving you the opposite effect than intended.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2015, 02:47:20 PM »
When you say liquid soap I assume what you're talking about is liquid dish soap, which is designed to prevent water rings by reducing surface tension of water. If you use like Dove hand soap, I think that's unlikely to have borax in it, and may have water hardeners rather than water softeners, giving you the opposite effect than intended.

*headdesk*

I... actually used the hand soap...

Offline Dhi

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2015, 10:02:53 PM »
I'm sure you're not the only one! Soap is soap, right? But a soap with borax is going to give you slick, "wetter" water, while the hand soaps will give you goopy water, like what sticks around the drain when you're washing your hands.

Offline Kuroneko

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2015, 01:56:41 PM »
A note on diluting paints.

Miniature paints are acrylics. Acrylic paints are made by combining an acrylic polymer emulsion and pigment, and they are water based. Every time you dilute them with water, you decrease the saturation, meaning you reduce the amount of pigment in the paint, which is what creates the wash effect. This also naturally decreases the surface tension of the paint because you are diluting the emulsion as well as the pigment. Pooling in the miniature's crevices are caused by using too much of the wash, and can be also be reduced by letting the wash set for a few seconds and blotting with a dry brush or by applying layers of color, which will build up a translucent layer of color for more realism. I don't like to add dish soap when I paint because it alters the chemistry of the paint, including the pH level and the lightfastness, and affects the overall archival quality in addition to altering color and drying time; but admittedly, I'm mostly working in fine art applications over miniatures where acidity is a concern. It's all about preference really and YMMV.

Acrylic paint is also inherently glossy by nature, although matte acrylics can be purchased. Diluting it with water or matte medium dulls the shine of the paint. If you want to retain the glossy look, diluting with gloss medium is preferable. Or, you can coat the final painted piece with a thin layer of gloss medium.

Offline Dhi

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2015, 05:24:31 PM »
Archival quality is something I've wondered about when applying 3 coats of dullcote to ensure a paint job survives shipping. We don't really know whether dullcote might yellow or crack over decades of time or beyond our own lifetimes. There's an art academy here which in the 1970s would slather their museum pieces with linseed oil. Only some 30 years later was it discovered that this layer yellows as it ages, and restoring those yellowed paintings has been an expensive, ongoing effort.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2015, 01:22:05 PM »
The new Wych:






I'm... not sure if thinning the paints caused any improvement. Although the metalic parts do look smoother...

Offline Kuroneko

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2015, 05:05:38 PM »
Archival quality is something I've wondered about when applying 3 coats of dullcote to ensure a paint job survives shipping. We don't really know whether dullcote might yellow or crack over decades of time or beyond our own lifetimes. There's an art academy here which in the 1970s would slather their museum pieces with linseed oil. Only some 30 years later was it discovered that this layer yellows as it ages, and restoring those yellowed paintings has been an expensive, ongoing effort.

That's kind of odd to me that they would use linseed oil for that purpose, given that it's the oil used in oil paint since its invention (400+ years) and well known to yellow over time long before the 1970's. Heck, its natural color is yellow.

Longevity of acrylic varnishes and paints largely depends on the type and quality of the paint and varnish being used and whether the acrylic is solvent or water based. Unlike oil paints the surface of acrylic will always be soft and they attract dirt and dust, which can settle into the pores of the paint. Acrylic also becomes brittle if frozen and they soften when exposed to high temperatures, so storage is important. They can also be damaged by the pressure of a fingernail. On paintings, water soluble varnishes prove to be the best in creating long lasting finishes; the same should apply to miniatures, with consideration for the material beneath the paint. I often use spray acrylic sealers in costume craft applications, such as masks, armor and other applications, which often have unusual base materials such as thermoplastics and leather.

Rather than dullcote, if I were going for longevity I would probably use Liquitex Archival Permanent Spray Varnish in matte finish - http://www.liquitex.com/archivalpermanentvarnish/. It's hard when dry, non-yellowing and resistant to dirt. It also comes in a liquid form. Liquitex also makes removable, water soluble acrylic varnishes.

Though it may not be applicable to miniatures, this is one of my favorite articles on acrylic painting care from the Smithsonian - http://www.si.edu/mci/english/learn_more/taking_care/acrylic_paintings.html

Offline Thorne

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2015, 07:43:39 PM »
Hm. I might have to try that for sealing minis, if I can get my hands on a can. I am sealing /nothing/ today, because it's raining outside. Good for things in general. Not so great for sealing anything.

So! I have finished minis.
Ms. Whitegnoll has her shield! I freehanded the shit out of that thing, and I don't care if close inspecting reveals flaws, because goddamnit, I made that thing /my own damn self/! That, friends and neighbors, is a gnoll-sized tower shield!
I'm pretty happy with both, and Bessie's new owner was all thrilled to bits when he saw the pics. So, all is well. I'm really pleased with his armor - that's a lot of bronze, and a little bit of armor-wash to give it some 'I use this!' cred. The bottle kind of splooged a little - I think I'm due a new piece of palette paper now. o.O





Now, to finish the skeleton army that's more or less visible in the background... >.>


that Wych looks pretty good, Beorning. You're really making progress.

Offline Dhi

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2015, 08:30:03 PM »
Liquitex varnish, huh? I'll give it a try, it's certainly less expensive than dullcote, and spraying here in the wind and rain is very difficult. I may even have some left over from other projects. One of the product reviews on Amazon says that when using it on a miniature, cloudy spots may occur if there's any pooling. It worries me a bit that it can't be thinned because there isn't a Liquitex product I'd use for miniatures without thinning first. It's thicker than miniature paints, which in turn are thinned for use on the miniatures.

But speaking of thinning paints, Beorning, that wych is definitely an improvement. The details are much more visible, now you just need some practice making them pop.

Thorne, that freehand is awesome!

Online arkhos

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2015, 09:28:28 PM »
I've been using Testor's Dullcoat spray (item 1960) since the early 90s, and still possess plenty of figs that I've used it on. No discoloration, and even the ones that I've used in games frequently show no wear or degradation. Of course, that could change next week. LOL. I usually give a finished fig 2-3 coats (letting it dry completely between coats) and I don't overdo each coat. It -can- cloud up your work if it's super hot/humid, something that makes a brush-on varnish attractive. But on days like that, I just wait a day or two until the weather changes and do all the spraying I need.

I've never considered 'long term' varnishing. The main thing for my tastes is that I -hate- 'glossy' looks, and demand a matte finish on my figs. There are exceptions, of course (slick-looking tentacles on some of my 'nids, alien mouths/jaws/tongues, etc), but in general, I avoid the gloss. It's not 'better', it's just a personal preference. I have on occasion hit a finished fig with a coat of the thicker gloss varnish, let it dry, then 1-2 coats of matte finish to tone down the shine. Some people claim that 'greatly increases' the protection factor of the paint, but I haven't dropped a bunch of figs to test that out! :)

-ark

Offline Kuroneko

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2015, 02:20:22 AM »
Dhi, I've gotten my husband to use a variety of acrylic paints on his miniatures, especially Lumiere metallic acrylics. They were originally formulated for fabric, but all acrylic paint can be used on fabric. The nice thing is that they have real metal in them, so the colors are amazing, and they have a huge range of metal colors available. Liquitex and Dr. Ph Martin's also make some beautiful acrylic inks that are brilliant and transparent for lovely washes.   

Dullcote and Liquitex Spray varnish (matte or gloss) are very similar products. Looking at their MSDS sheets and ingredients, which are nearly identical, it's clear they're both spray enamel top coats (and consequently highly toxic). Dullcote also takes 48 hours to cure completely, which is a factor for multiple layers as well as longevity. Liquitex's liquid mediums and varnishes are entirely different products, water based and non-toxic. However, they can be put through an airbrush and used as a spray if a thin layer is desired. I'm not trying to push one product over another. I like having multiple options and products for my artwork - it's why I have different brands of paint, pencils and what have you. Sometimes one works better than the other for whatever reason.

I don't think glossy makes a difference on protection factor of paint. At least, I haven't seen it do so in all my years of professional art work. I have some pieces that are close to 30 years old that still look new, with both matte and glossy. I think it's just a matter of preference really. My husband uses multiple finishes on his WH40K depending on the surface texture he's trying to emulate, age and other factors, etc.

Anyhoo ... sorry for hijacking the thread ;)


Offline Dhi

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2015, 03:53:09 AM »
The spray varnish is about the same price by ounce as I get dullcote locally, so I wouldn't say there's any benefit to switching to the spray product. Spraying the brush-on product through my airbrush is not a risk I'm willing to take right now. So I'm going to stick with dullcote for the moment, but keep in mind the Liquitex spray in case Testors stops manufacturing their spray or they start gouging for it.

Dr. Ph Martin inks are the brand I use for glazes and bold colors like gemstones. The brown ink is great for shading orange. I've had bad experiences with the brand's white ink, though... I don't know what's in it, but it's bad about gluing the lid shut and it has a bad odor. The yellow is also a very drab ochre, so I go with the P3 yellow ink, it's much more vibrant.

The layering gloss/matte varnish for greater protection is a technique I've heard before. I suspect it stems from products like Army Painter Quickshade, which is pretty much a wood varnish. Painters layer a matte over that because it's shiny enough to see your face in, so they're layering matte over gloss and getting marble-hard results. But, that's due to the Quickshade being a varnish you could step on in heels, not due to the layering.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2015, 03:50:18 PM »
Hey Thorne, I have a question: Bessie and Ms. Gnoll, how tall are they? Come to think about it, how tall are the typical Hordes minis?

And thanks for the kind words about the new Wych... I'm not sure she looks that great, but thanks :)

Offline Thorne

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2015, 09:13:59 PM »
Hey Thorne, I have a question: Bessie and Ms. Gnoll, how tall are they? Come to think about it, how tall are the typical Hordes minis?

And thanks for the kind words about the new Wych... I'm not sure she looks that great, but thanks :)
You're welcome. ^^
As for height .. a little over two inches, I think. I haven't actually, y'know, taken a ruler and /measured/, so, I'm guessing. ^^;

Bessie would probably take a 2" base easily, although that one is intended to represent a medium-sized mini, and should be on a 1" base... oh well. The player wanted a minotaur. Minotaurs are usually Large. Krynnish Minotaurs? They're classed as medium-sized creatures. Thanks, guys...
Ms. Gnoll would actually fit a 1" base, barely.

As an example, that Absylonia mini? She's sitting a 2" base, she'd represent a Large creature. Granted, she's probably close to five inches tall, what with the tail and the wings and the way she's posed and all. Your Wyches and Sisters are what I think of as Medium creatures, and I'm willing to bet that most of them are on a 1" base. Does that help, or just completely confuse things?
(By the way? Yes. That WAS the mini I'd seen, and thank you for pointing me. She's too big for a succubus, but she would make a lovely half-dragon, and I might just scrounge one for said purpose!)

Offline eBadger

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2015, 12:50:14 AM »
A few WM/H minis next to my old sisters (not many GW figures left around here).  The figures are on small 30mm/medium 40mm/large 50mm bases. 

eAbby is actually medium, not large.  Her torso is comparable to a GW mini's.  Pictured here without the wings on yet (letting the rest dry before tackling that pinning job) and I'm presently considering swapping the wings out for something slightly smaller (the middle set of wings from an angelius, pictured just behind her). 


Offline Thorne

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2015, 02:34:16 AM »
Unrelated to pretty much all of this- anyone ever made use of this: http://www.firemountaingems.com/shop/kwcrafticeresin-jewelry-supplies - to enhance certain aspects of a miniature? Like .. I'unno .. doing a river or making it look like a given character is literally standing on a pool of water.. ?

I was thinking it might be effective with the barest touch of colour, on that Brain-in-a-Jar that Reaper's latest Bones Kickstarter is going to produce..?

Offline eBadger

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2015, 02:48:06 AM »
I haven't explored it personally, but I've seen lots of minis based with water effects or resin:

spoiled due to size



It works well, although it does need some painting beneath it to give the illusion of depth and color; basically paint a much darker color than normal.  It also helps to hollow out bases and add a plastic bottom to give some real depth. 

Offline Dhi

Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2015, 10:55:49 AM »
I've use the Envirotex. It's tricky to get perfect because it needs to be de-gassed, it wants to climb the walls of whatever you pour it into, it takes up to 3 days to cure completely, and if dust settles on it or it ever gets lightly scuffed the illusion is ruined. Mixed with a single drop of ink for color, I had a pond-sized pool of this product crack apart due to the epoxy bond being weakened.

I got it to work alright but have had to go back and repair those surfaces because they get mysterious burrs. I wouldn't use epoxy for a water effect again, not at all.

Vallejo instead makes a series of water effects and textures which are acrylic gels. They dry quickly, remain reasonably flexible, can be cut without ruining the effect, aren't toxic like resins, and go for about the same price. This is a far safer alternative.

Online greenknight

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Re: Miniature painting
« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2015, 03:23:58 PM »
Vallejo instead makes a series of water effects and textures which are acrylic gels. They dry quickly, remain reasonably flexible, can be cut without ruining the effect, aren't toxic like resins, and go for about the same price. This is a far safer alternative.
Thank you. Now all I have to do is get my FLGS to order some.