Tuesday, July 5, 2011

39. My Nerve...Restored

Good news, everyone!  I no longer consider myself a painting coward.

It came about like this:  After my failure at the tree, er, sorry, my failure to man up enough to "dip" my figures, I was faced with the option of what to do.

Because the whole point of dipping is to save time and money (but mainly time), I decided to throw money at the problem.  I went right out and bought another can of Minwax's Water-Based Wood Stain, and this time I very carefully considered the color samples in the store.  Here are a couple of pictures I took with my phone, using ambient lighting.
You can see that the Classic Black has some brown in it (which is why I went with it the first time); the American Walnut is less dark and more brown, and the Coffee is lighter still.  I opted for Coffee.

Here are the results of my first attempts.
After washing in Coffee stain, no highlighting.
I was afraid that it was still too dark.  I began to wonder if there was something even lighter brown than Coffee.
Left:  washed with Classic Black stain; Right;  washed with Coffee stain.  You can really see the difference in colors this way.
However, before I spent another $11 + change, I decided to try the Future Magic Wash.

I took the darkest brown paint I have, and liberally added it to the Magic Wash.  I then washed this mixture on the two figures on the right (picture below).  The two on the left are washed with Coffee stain.
Left:  Dipped in Coffee stain; Right:  washed with Magic Wash.
I added what I felt was a sufficient quantity of paint, but it barely even stained the figures, as you can see.  Apparently I need to add a lot more paint.

So I got to thinking:  the point of using either Polyshades or Future is to both wash and seal the figure in a protective clear-coat layer all in one step.  That is part of the time-saving feature.  However, I don't like Polyshades and the Future didn't work for me, so any time advantages I might have gained I would have to give up.

I realized that I am less interested in the time-saving aspect than I originally thought.  I still want a good-looking figure, but I could just as easily have taken my brown paint and washed the figures instead of diluting it in the Magic Wash.  I still don't like non-water-based agents, which is a shame because you can get a pint of Minwax Polyshades for around $7 which is more than enough to cover all the minis I have; instead I had to buy a quart (because the color is custom mixed) and it cost me around $11.  So now I have two quarts of two different brown stains, plus a bottle of Future floor polish (mostly unused) which originally cost me around $5.  In other words, I've spent roughly $27 plus tax, and for $30 I could have had one of The Army Painter's Quickshades (although, again, they're non-water-based and only about a pint in size).

But, y'know, sometimes I enjoy the discovery process.  And I like to be reminded that more often than not, time-saving shortcuts are not.

Therefore I finally committed to the Coffee stain, and through trial and error on the amount of stain-on-brush to use I got the following results.
Washed with Coffee stain.
In the end, I ended up going back over the figures with a quick dry-brushed highlight, then spraying a clear-coat protectant like I do for all my normal painting.
Simple drybrushed highlight over the wash.
I'll have to double-check my records when I get home, but these twenty men took me (I think) about 10 hours start to finish (that is, from first paint application to finishing the bases; it does not include filing the metal).
The two on the right are the same two that I earlier Magic Washed.
That works out to 1/2 an hour per figure, which for me is pretty darn fast.  I expect it will go even faster on the next group, and the next, etc.  Unfortunately, with 6-8 more groups of twenty to go, and the ability to paint only 10 days out of the month (and spread out, not ten in a row), it will still take me forever to finish....


Still, I persevere!

Thanks for reading.  Here are some pictures of the first group of 20 men completely finished.  You can click them to enlarge them slightly.

Red turban for Leader, light purple/blue tassles for Second in Command.
Update:  It's taken me so long to even get around to posting this, I have almost finished my second group of 20 figures.  The good news is it's still averaging around 30 minutes per figure.  I had hoped to finish them before I had to leave for work again, but I wasn't able to.  Pictures will appear when I am next home!  I do think the dipping is a time-saver, but I might be slightly biased into believing it because I want to believe it.  But after this group, I am going to take a break from Arabs and "have a go" (as the English say) at some zombies.  I think the dipping will help with them as well.  Will report soon!


  1. Could I ask who makes the figures?

    Very nice effect and well worth the effort to learn the best way - thanks for the warts and all post :-)


  2. They are Old Glory Arabs. See http://oldglory25s.com/ under their Sons of the Desert range.

    And thanks!