23/11/2008

To dip or not to dip, that is the question...

Recently i started to play with the "Army Painter" series of minature dips as a way of bulk painting squads of miniatures. Being an imperial guard player ive found that it can be soul destroying to finish painting a ten man squad and realise that you have only added 100 pts to your army total!

On a random trawl around the web, i started to read more and more about the painting technique of "dipping" - essentially you block colour a miniature and then "dip" it in a stain - the stain acts as a wash and a coat of varnish. For a more complete description of dipping, check out this article over at Dysartes.com.

So after a bit of research i went with a tin of "The Army Painter Dark Tone" - This is the darkest shade available, and i quickly discovered that the tone is very dark - to achieve the final shade that i wanted, i generally had to paint the base coat 2 shades lighter than i normally would. However, with a bit of experimentation i found that i was achieving a reasonable looking set of models, especially when used 'en-masse'. Suddenly i was able to have the uniform looking, large army that I had always wanted - I never was much good at painting armies, because i would focus too much attention on each model and never get squads finished!

Unfortunately its given me a bit of a pause for thought - whilst i enjoy being able to paint a large army quickly it does mean that im not painting 'properly' any more. Because of limited time around work, i have to make a decision about what to work on - and usually its the army. At the same time it feels like im losing my painting 'skills' because they are not being used.

So im wondering, how do other people deal with this impasse - Do you have ways of working single models in to your painting schedule? I had considered enforcing a 'one unit for the army' then 'one single model' rotation, but knowing myself, im sure ill find that hard to follow...

3 comments:

Peter said...

I would recommend not dipping Sargent(s) (or similar) because by painting them normally you can add and extra level of detail and keep your skill up

Paul Chana said...

I had considered doing that, but the problem then is that you end up losing the uniformity that dipping provides, which is the thing that i really like about it. However, it is an good idea i think for the really special models (maybe a company commander or similar). I can probably deal with him being painted differently...

mearleycf said...

I have dipped several armies myself, and have painted several armies to competition level also (and won several painting awards).

I recommend either dipping a whole army, or not dipping any of it. The inconsistency doesn't work.

Having said that, I usually pick one army to be my 'really well painted army', and then I tend to dip armies that I want to get done quickly and don't care as much about their play quality. I can't really tell you how to make this decision--usually it's fairly obvious to me (those guard are getting dipped).

Anyway--the other thing about dipping is, if you're a highlights-based painter, it's always easy to go back and highlight up a squad at a time, after you've dipped it. Remember, dipping is just a quick way of shading, and doesn't preclude later highlighting.