Army Painter saves my sanity

I don’t know whether I’m getting lazier or just more impatient, but whichever it is, the saving grace has been the use of the Army Painter dipping system.

I fancy that at my best I am a pretty good figure painter.  Not in the Kevin Dallimore or El Mercenario league, but certainly not a hack with the brush.  Trouble is, my best was probably a year or so ago.  Since then I have been finding more and more ways to paint fast to a good gaming standard that I am happy with.  This has seen me experiment with black lining technique letting black undercoat show through, and with spraying my tanks with Tamiya colours and using dip or home-brewed magic wash to shade them.  This has worked and I have churned out my FoW modern Egyptians and Israelis, piles of WW2 Germans and Soviets and now I’m starting the Italians.

The question has always been whether I would be irritated when I was finished that the troops I have painted are not my best possible work.  However, I just finished my second squad of 28mm US troops today using Army Painter dip, and thought I’d put up a photo comparing identical figures with one of the totally hand-painted figures that I have done.

The figure on the right was painted with a base coat followed by washes then highlights.  It involved drybrushing and paint mixing, followed by a satin varnish and then a matt varnish.  The figure on the left had base colours painted on, followed by a brushing of Army Painter Strong Tone.  It then had a spray of Matt varnish followed by the eyes being painted in.  There is a visible difference in the figures.  The ‘dipped’ figure has deeper shading, the highlighted figure is more subtle.  I haven’t painted in the 5 o’clock shadow yet, but this will take 5 minutes for the whole squad.  To be honest, there isn’t that much between them as far as I’m concerned.  But here is the key thing: The ‘dipped’ figure took a third of the time to paint as it did to paint the figure on the right.

It might be cheating for some, it may be lazier, it may be settling for second best.  But it means that I have a show of getting way more figures painted up for gaming.  That has to be a good thing.  Let me know if you think that I’m fooling myself and that ‘dipped’ figures are really a horrible abomination in the gaming world.



3 comments on “Army Painter saves my sanity

  1. Hey Nate, good post. I have been curious about army painter my self for some time, for the same time saving reasons you mention. The trouble is when I have done any web search about it I come up with a great many posts that slate the product with comments of ‘how it wrecked my figures’… I am wary of trying this stuff as its reason for use (time saving) would be wasted if I ended up have to strip models if it went wrong…
    However, your finished results look excellent. If anything I prefer the figure one the left. The contrast looks better and it has a grubbier on-campaign look that is appealing. The figure of the left looks pale and washed out in comparison, though that may the effect of flash or lighting through the photographing…?

  2. Hi Scott
    To be fair, I have had my army painter issues as well. The problem seems to be that if you don’t let it set for long enough and spray the matt varnish – I use Tamiya but have also used Testors – then you get the paint crinkling up in places. I’ve had this happen on tanks surfaces and on the first batch of Arthurians that I used it on. I now leave the dip to set for between three and five days. The tin says 24 hours, but I have found that the longer you leave it the better.
    Definitely brush the dip on – I tried dipping the whole figure and it was like smothering it in toffee. Tease the dip around into the areas that you want it and control quantities with the brush.
    The only way you will know if it is for you is to do a few trial figures, and be prepared for the odd one or two disasters. I’m pretty happy though.
    Cheers, Nate

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