Friday, August 01, 2008

Giving old soldiers a wash

Saucy title eh? Frankie Howerd would be proud. But this has nothing to do with my day with the Chelsea pensioners and a tub of Cillit Bang! No this is another of my steady efforts to make my tired old armies look a little better, so they see some use again.

My Vikings have appeared on this blog once in the past, but generally they've seldom had an airing as they were unsuitably based for any game I'd actually play. Personally DBM fell from favour with me a long time ago, and 60mm wide frontage stands of four figures are close to useless for Warhammer, and overpopulous for Armati. I liked to think the painting of the figures was good and so thought all I needed to do was re-base them and away I'd go.

Of course it's never that simple. On closer examination I found the figures a bit lacking; they were neat enough, but for the most part my attempts - twelve years ago - at highlighting had fell flat, there wasn't enough contrast in most cases to see that I'd even bothered. I've never liked garish highlights, but this was far too subtle.

A solution looked to be using washes, and as it happens my gaming/painting forums were raving about the new Citadel washes. The boxed set of 8 washes is only £12, which to me, considering it was GW, actually seemed like quite a good price; so I got a set and used the Vikings to experiment.

And pretty successful it's proved too. The washes, as promised require no diluting, and dry to a hard wearing Matt finish. They aren't a replacement for a varnish glaze in terms of toughness, but otherwise work exactly as hoped. Here is a before picture of a group of bases:

They look pretty bland to my eyes now. Though ten or more years ago I was really impressed!

Each figure was sliced free of his multiple stand and then re-based singly. Then each was given a was of "Ogryn Flesh" to the skin tones and palest colours, followed by a wash of "Devlan Mud" to everything else bar the metalwork (which as it had been done with an old metal wash technique I used to use, I adjudged didn't need more work). The difference can be seen in the pictures below.

By the way, the guy on the right in the nude is a Beserker, a late substitution into the unit.

I really want to try the washes on other things now, they're the first out the bottle inks/washes I've tried in the last twenty years that seem to work. Although I occasionally use washes as part of my painting process with acrylics, they are always hand mixed at the minute; now I have a set of 8 basic colours ready to go at all times. I can think of lots of uses. And, although they may not reduce the time taken to paint things, they look likely to raise the bar on my painting quality another step or two.

So prepare yourself for this, I had to: "Go buy the new Citadel Washes, they are really good."

And as for the Vikings. Well, I based and freshened up a 2000 point Warhammer amy of 120 figures in just 5 evenings; with another 60+ figures left over. Bearing in mind some of the rest of this force (the even older models) had been recruited into my Ottonian Franks, I've managed to get two large WAB forces out of one medium sized DBM army. I'd call that a good return, and certainly a benefit in terms of variety and flexibility.

1 comment:

  1. I've always been a fan of GW paints. for me they produce some of the most consistent colours and densities around and their metallics are unsurpassed for application and colour control. So like you I'm really pleased with the new washes - I just need to find something to use them on since all my current projects are part way through I've no desire to redo the whole lot.

    Has there ever been a lamer excuse to try a new period - "I bought them because I want to try some new PAINTS?"