Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Army Painter Saga Part 3

The Army Painter system has two major components. The first is the primer and that was a good success. The second component of the system is the "dip." This is a brownish liquid in a metal tin that you dip the miniature into and then set off to dry. The liquid is designed to seep into details and crevasses and leave shadows. The idea of a wash of some sort isn't new but the Army Painter dip is advertised as new and improved and who can resist that?

I lined up my minis and set about dipping away. Quickly I learned that if you're dipping in a freezing cold house in frozen New Hampshire your dip is likely to be thick and viscous. Granted this information is also found in the instructions if you were prone to read them. Well, experience is my instruction manual, and so the process took about twice as long as it should have as I tried to get excess dip off of each stand of soldiers.

When I finished I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Army Painter dip settles nicely into details and doesn't darken the basic paint of the miniature. In past years I had tried turpentine and oil paint dips and also various washes and each of these darkened the paint they touched. Not Army Painter! The nice light blue coats of the soldiers remains a pretty sky blue. Of course, Napoleon's infantry wore dark blue jackets so this was actually a bit of a disaster.

The manual by the way recommends trying the dip and primer on One miniature before painting up a whole batch. Hmm.

At this point I set about repainting all my trooper's coats with dark blue paint. After some huffing I then added details and the minis were done! In the end the Army Painter system was a moderate success. The primer was easier and faster than hand painting gesso although in the end a bit more expensive as well. But, for painting hundreds of troops, spray primer is the way to go. The dip process is slower than using Games Workshop washes but the dip does respect the base paint colors more. I also suspect the dip will be faster if done at traditional room temperature and not New England farmhouse room temperature. I'll probably use the dip again when painting massive armies, especially in 10mm. And if I choose a primer color better the process should really race along.

I can see a role for the Army Painter system in creating large forces of uniform figures. I'll use it to finish my eastern Imperial Romans and to spruce up my Warmaster orcs. I think I'll stick with gesso and washes for my Infinity and Saga units and for skirmish forces in general but all-in-all it's a nice addition to the toolbox.

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