Monday, 29 February 2016

Empire bastard's

Hi all,

I thought I'd blog about a sometimes controversial subject today. What is it? Why it's dipping of course. Aaahhhh!!!! Not that cheaty, cheating, cheaters quick painting technique? Why yes, it is! :)

Read on, if you can stomach it, and please do try and control your nerd rage while I describe my seldom used (but IMHO fine and dandy) way of getting painted minis on the table quick smart.

You may be wondering from the outset if this is just gunna be a dipping tutorial using the Army Painters Quickshade product, but no, it isn't. But why not? Why don't I just use Army Painters concoction? For a couple of reasons really. Firstly, when I began down this path of trying to find a dipping product (nearly ten years ago) the Army Painter company hadn't even been founded yet. And secondly, when it did start producing their dipping product I wasn't very impressed with it. The viscosity was way too low for my tastes, which resulted in excessive pooling, which in turn resulted in the mini looking shit IMHO.

But let's back-up a bit first shall we. Where did I first hear about this dipping technique? I first came across it over on the Warseer forum, way back in 2006! If you have a look at that post now -most of the links to the images are broken- but back when the post was fresh, there were a few undead examples on there that really piqued my interest. I was amazed at the level of tonal change that this one dude had managed to achieve, using nothing more than an "off the self" woodstain. Unfortunately for me, this product (or anything resembling it) wasn't available in Australia. Which is what started me on the journey into finding a reasonable substitute.

What follows is a summarised description of my somewhat obsessive adventure into finding a similar product,

First, I tried finding the original product in the UK (bought from a store called Wilkinson's) and seeing if I could get it imported good, the postage costs for chemicals was prohibitively expensive.

So then I found out who the chemical manufacturer was that supplied Wilkinson's, but they didn't have a distributor here in Australia. Fortunately for me though, I was able to find the MSDS for the product. Informing me of the exact make up of it, tinted water based wood varnish.

I couldn't find any water based wood varnishes in the hardware stores here. So I went direct to the Wattyl Laboratory here in sunny Melbourne and pestered them. They were very amicable with me & explained that you couldn't get water based wood varnish here in Australia because we weren't environmentally responsible enough to pay extra for it. I remember some of them looking a little puzzled (but mostly amused) as I dipped a couple of my minis into a variety of their wood stains & then flung them about :) They were generous with their time though & kind enough to give me a few varnish test pots to try out at home, but in the end they weren't much chop.....brick wall moment :(

As a last resort, I scoured the net for an importer of water based wood varnish into Australia and could found only one! I called the rep & he was more than happy to pay me a visit. I explained what I wanted, but he said that they were pulling out of Australia due to the lack of interest for their products. Fortunately for me, he gave me an address of a small cabinet makers just outside of the city, that he said "might" have a little stock remaining. The following week I caught a tram out to the shop on my lunch break, where I was greeted by the owner. He informed me that he was glad to be rid of the stuff! Saying that it had sat there for years without any interest from the public.....if only they had tried selling it to wargamers instead? :)

So, after almost a year of searching I had found it....or something coming close to approaching "it". Now came the testing part, to see if a) It would work & b) What proportions I'd need to mix them in to achieve the results I was after.

These are the products that I found;

Tint, base varnish and white spirit.
And here are the test dummies. With a variety of different woodstains tested on them.
Many innocent Heroquest mini's were sacrificed at the alter of the Dipping God. 
Finally, after a few days of trial & error with the new products, I had succeeded....a mini that looked about right.
With my recipe now worked out I was ready to dip like a madman!

Here's a selection of some of the mini's that I've "successfully" dipped over the years. What do you think?

Thugs, the first "proper" dipped mini's I completed. Back then I didn't have the time or the motivation to paint them normally.
Skellies, I couldn't be arsed painting a shed load of these guys the old fashioned way.
Especially when I was happy with the results I could achieved with cheating.
Beastmen, I know, I know, Blue Beastmen? :) Got a bit bored of the often used & abused variations on browns, yawn!

So, after my usual, long winded intro, we now we come to the meat of today's post. A step by step process of getting a bunch of boring (but sometimes necessary) minis dipped and looking good enough for the tabletop.

One of a bunch of Empire Bastard's that had been in a semi
painted state for almost a decade.
Dipped to perfection, base and all.

This next step was the shields. Being the thrift meister that I am I decided to try out Kingsminis budget shield idea.

Thumb tac's snibbed short, lined up & stuck down with double sided tape onto a paddle pop stick., ready for painting. 
Almost looks like real wood yeah?

After I had finished the backsides I slammed them onto the mini's & set about beautifying the front of them.

Completed Bastard.
Here's some of his kin, with custom shield's. I didn't have any Empire transfers & I also felt like doing a little
 bit of doodling too :)
The whole gang, all ranked up and ready to be ground to a pulp by just about anything & everything that
inhabits the bestiary section of  the Warhammer rule book. 

So, that's how I roll....sometimes.....when I can't be bothered painting up a whole bunch of boring mono pose cannon fodder.

Tips & tricks:

* Brush the stuff on instead of dunking the whole mini into the pot. It gives far more control over where & how much of it you want to lay on the mini.
* Paint your mini with light colours. You'll see hardly any change in shade using darker colours.
* Use dissimilar colours to paint your mini with, not just lighter or darker variations on the same colour. If you do, you'll end up with the mini looking "same same".

Ok, that's me all out of typing energy for today.

Oh, and please feel free to unleash nerd hell on me in the comments section about how crappy or cheaty or downright terrible this dipping malarkey is :)



  1. I've never understood the whole "cheating" thing about dipping, it's just a fucking technique ! Is drybushing cheting ? Is priming with a spray can cheating ? Non sense to me. the only way to cheat is to have your models painted by someone else and claiming them your own. Otherwise, if it's done, it's done !
    Some people dip and make models look stupidly bad but some like you or Mr Saturday are actually able to make models look very good so by all means le'ts use this if it provides gorgeous painted models at teh end of the day !
    I haven't tried it myself because though my style is quite slow, I sort of enjoy the process so don't want to change much about it. If I had a shit load of models to paint in a rush thogh, I'd totally give this a go !
    Your dippage is excellent man. That's all there is to me from where I stand.

    1. Yeah, I don't get it either. I don't see the difference between dipping & using an ink wash....basically getting the same effect, but somehow using one method is "ok" while the other is cheating? Illogical.

      A long time ago I came across an old Papa Nurgle on a forum that had been dipped. It looked awesome, but someone made the comment "looks great, shame it's been dipped though"....I had a facepalm moment then. Heck, one of the old GW painters used Crayons to highlight some Marines once. Didn't see anyone complaining back then.

      It's just another tool in the kit for me. It's not for everything, but useful in some cases.

      cheers JB

  2. Excellent looking results. When done well the dipping technique works wonders.

    1. Thanks Matt,

      It's a shame a lot of the examples on Warseer have disappeared, coz some of them were very good indeed.

      And yes, when done well it's a cracking technique :)


  3. You lazy git. I spend hours trying to come up with something that good...

    1. "Sloth" is not a sin, fielding unpainted minis is :)

      I don't think I'd ever be able to paint up a skellie the traditional way better than how they turned out by dipping them.

      Cheers Mr Leadhead.

  4. What JB said, I love the results!