Friday, 16 March 2012

How dip works for me

I have been blogging away about the various benefits of dips for some time now, I think I should show you some of my figures so you can see the results for yourself.

First let me say that I do not have a good camera so some of the dip effects may be somewhat masked by poor photography.....and a dodgy photographer. But I am sure enough can be seen to give you all a good idea of the dip effect. Any questions, you know where to come.

The first picture is of some Dystopian Wars Prussian destroyers. These were painted with simple block colours with no undercoat or primer. They were then left for a day before being given a liberal wash with Vallejo acrylic brown dip, the bigger areas of pooling were lifted with the tip of the brush.

My first thought here is that the varnish, which I painted on, lifted some of the dip. I think they look lighter in colour and cleaner then they did. Of course, you wont be able to see that with these models so here is a picture of the larger Dystopian Wars Prussian cruiser; first with just the dip.

This picture does show how the dip can find and illustrate minor details, even brush strokes in the centre white stripe. Now, you decide, does the next picture look different? This one has been left for a day or more and the had varnish painted on. Has it made a big difference?

It seems there is another effect happening here, one where the varnish brings things into a clearer focus. This is what the Army Painter Anti-shine spray does with the oil based dip; I don't think fully appreciated how much even ordinary paint on varnish does the same thing. So, has the varnish washed some of the dip away or just brightened the model up....perhaps a bit of both?

These brilliant models from Spartan games are highly detailed with some very clear textured surfaces, the dip has plenty of detailing to play with.

Figures, either metal or plastic, tend not to have the textures but can still have plenty of detail for the dip to pick out. I find that the oil based dips tend to give a greater degree of overall shading, turning lighter colours darker but also more evenly than the acrylic. The red coats of the figures in the next picture started out as quite a garish lighter red, the Army Painter 'Pure Red' primer spray. Given my experiences I am confident that the acrylic dip used above would not give the same colourisation effect but would still provide good shading.

These British WSS figures by Front Rank have been dipped into the tin of Army Painter strong tone dip. I find that less is more and I shake off as much of the dip as possible to achieve and much more even coating than Army Painter suggest. I still get the shading and the details are still picked out well; at least I think so. I also found that you do need to be very neat and tidy when painting the figures, this allows the dip to better define the various areas. I think the dip does faces well too, not good at faces, me. All I do is paint in block Elf Flesh from GW and let the dip do the rest, much better effect than I could do on my own. I hate figures with the eyes painted in, the scale is usually wrong and the figures look, well, creepy.

I am not saying that these figures are perfect, far from it, but I am very pleased with the results. The anti shine spray is a vital process, just use it sparingly and do not hold the can too close to the figures, this will stop a lot of the 'frosting' that spray varnishes can cause. Also, leave the oil based dip to dry for several days. If the sip is still uncured, even though touch dry, the spray will blister the dip and your figures are ruined. You can paint varnish on as soon as the dip is touch dry, you just wont get as good a result.

The next picture is of my British WSS artillery, also by Front Rank; love those figures. These were painted in the same way as the infantry, guns too, but I used a flash this time, stupid camera.

actually, here is a shot of the infantry with the flash too, just for comparison.

So there you go, me and dip. In another blog I will compare the effects of the three different Army Painter dips, soft tone, strong tone and dark tone.


  1. Some excellent painting!! The WSS figures look fantastic, just realised its you I;ve been talking too via email!!!! Doh!

  2. Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the kind words about the figures, glad you liked them. And yes, its me on the email! Thanks for you help and advice on the rule issue, I am trying to find a copy that I can at least read through before I decide what to do. As you can see from the pictures, I have only finished one battalion so a change would not be disasterous.

  3. That's my major bug bearer about new rules, you have to buy them to find out if you like them, and at £25+ it works out very expensive if you don't like them!!
    Just remember this link below, its from Clarance Harrison's blog, he did the artwork and helped write the rules with Barry Hilton. What he did is post several pages of the rules on his blog, so take a look, it may give you some ideas on the rules before you decide to buy them or not??

  4. Hi Ray,

    I am glad we are of one mind about the cost of rule sets; but what can you do? Fortunately, a club member has a set I can borrow...I will let you know how I get on! thanks to for the link, i will have a good look at that later; top guy Ray.