Tuesday, October 15, 2013

From the Desk: Custom Ad Hoc Washes

There's a lot of options for paints out there, but often there will be that one specific pot or dropper of something that is only available from a single company. Folks that have followed my blog for a while are probably aware that I have a huge array of paint brands on my desk, but with the change in the GW paint line recently, I find myself debating how to handle the retraction of the old washes. To that end, I did a little experimenting myself on how to create my own.

First, I want to acknowledge that my research and experiments ended up with something very similar to what I found on the Awesome Paint Job site. You can watch his rather lengthy video if you want, but my own final decision and rational are below. I just wanted to give credit where it's due since his advice was a good confirmation that my own recipes were similar to what others had found.

So when I realized that my supply of the various GW Washes was steadily running out, I figured I should find an alternative. After some experimenting I was able to deduce the basics of what made them perform they way they did. I'll skip the various formulations I tried out and cut to the chase:
  • Flow aid - This is what gives the wash it's ability to flow into deeper crevices.
  • Water - Cause straight flow aid is both insane to work with and, to be blunt, tastes disgusting when licked from a brush.
  • Matte medium - This is what gives the "wash" a thicker consistency and helps it coat to the surfaces. It also reduces the glossiness.
  • Ink - I use ink for multiple reasons, but the main is that I'm already working from a base including matte medium. Inks are essentially just pigments in a water suspension (not exactly, but for my purposes here they are). Normal paints are pigments in an acrylic suspension instead of water (again, not exactly). Anyway, the inks tend to work better using this mixture than trying to use a normal paint.
Now what I decided to do was rather than mix up a specific color wash, I just made a batch of the "wash medium" and then I add ink to it later. This has the benefit of being more flexible both in color and consistency at painting time. I used this bottle with an eye dropper built into it and mixed up the medium using the ratio 5 parts matte medium, 4 parts water, and 1 part flow aid.

Here is an example of a testing it out on a practice model. The base coat was a simple flat silver metallic coat and then washed with a mix of wash medium and black ink at roughly a 4:1 ratio. Note that this medium can be further thinned with just water to make it flow even more, thus thinning the effect.

Now I'm sure a bunch of people out there already knew how to do this, or have other recipes or just other advice, so comment away! I'd love to hear other thoughts on the subject.

1 comment:

doom_of_the_people said...

Les recipes are a really good starting place for getting into making your own washes. I think having the base mixed is an interesting idea and something I will consider in the future. I would get a small dropper bottle of a preferred wash for larger army projects though.