December 16, 2011

Games Workshop Washes

I am experimenting with using Citadel washes from Games Workshop to unify the colors and add depth to my models. The concept works along the same lines as the Army Painter Quickshade dips with several differences. The Games Workshop washes have a high degree of transparency, but maintain a strong color even when watered down, which means I can simply apply the wash to the entire model AFTER I've finished all of my other painting. They dry flat and thus require a much lighter coat of varnish to seal. These washes are also water soluble so I don't need to keep turpentine around and I can use my normal brushes to apply it. Of course, the Citadel washes are much more costly than Army Painter since they come in a little bitty jar...

Here is one of the models I painted for the uniform guide in Beneath the Lily Banners.

The model on the left is finished in my normal painting style, simple layers, sans washes. In the photo on the right a simple wash of Gryphonne Sepia has been applied to the entire model, though I was careful not to let any areas 'puddle up' by removing the excess with a clean, dry brush (works like a sponge). The wash seems to add a richer tone and a generally smoother finish with the only sacrifice being an extra two minutes.

In the end, it may not even be necessary. Opinions would be appreciated...


  1. Actually I like the one on the left the most :) I don't like the "washed" look on a mini, it makes them look dirty and quickly painted. You already did a very good job at shading and highlighting, so in my opinion this extra wash doesn't add much to the final result.

  2. Although I use AP, I do have a lot of experience with the GW washes. To real painters, my method is an anathema, I suspect. I prime white. Then used thinned paint to block colour the figure. I now have two depths of colour in a single pass. I then use the GW wash or AP to add a third depth. The washes I found most useful were the sepia and mud. I do like the darkest AP (black pigment) the most though, as it eliminates staining which I sometimes got with the wash over white and it does add a protective barrier. I brush it on and then about a minute later remove the excess with a dry brush. If the colour is a little dulled, I sometime brush on some highlights but this is seldom. If you look at the Prussians just placed on my blog, this was the method for all except for the Lutzows. This method really works well on Calpe and Front Rank and on Perry metals.

    My figures will never look as good as yours, but I spend less then 30 minutes per figure, and I believe they look pretty good.


  3. My painting method is very similar to John's - prime white, block paint and then wash with the GW washed. I prefer "Ogryn flesh" for flesh and either Sepia or Devlan mud. The Sepia tone works very well with armore (my Romans and Dacians) as it gives a slight "rusty" color which I find appealing.

    If a figure has a large bit of fabric - a cape or prominent sash, I will just prime white and add a few layers for the color (usually either the blue or red washes).

    I like the control I have with the washes and prefer them over Army painter.

  4. I bought the citadel was set some 9 months ago and other than a cursory glance to look at the consistency (quite viscous for a wash) I still havent used them, some pro (competition) painters that Im acquainted with swear by the stuff. I use a "lot" of washes and glazes (thinned paint mostly) for smoothing out transitions. I also experiment with painting with only washes over white undercoat and like the affect, there's some ACW stuff on the blog done this way.

    Im not completely sold on washes over very light or white highlight but that is very much personal taste. In this instance I think thinned multiple coats would be the go, gives you more control on how much wash and where subsequent layers are applied. (always make sure layer is dry before adding more) I would be very interested to see this with a less yellow tone, maybe a greyish tone? Enough of me crapping on like I know what Im talking about, good post keep us updated.


  5. I like the inked figure best, I do something very similar with my figures, block paint, maybe a little shading or drybrushing, then I ink all over with Windsor and Newton Peat Brown writing ink. When dry I then hand varnish with matt varnish, this tends to take off some of the ink and keep it just in the crevices.

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  8. Sorry previous two posts deleted due to misspellings. =)
    Really gives them the hard campaign look you were going for. I do the same thing. All my figures follow the foundry three step method. Then if I want that hard look I like to use citadel devlan mud, or badab black. You should give them a try if you haven't. Devlun mud might be the best paint ever invented though. =) works on everything. I think the Gryphonne Sepia gives to much red but really works well on the white uniform. I say Can't wait to see more.

  9. I have tried shading with wood stains, but never liked the results. Your fig looks great! I'll have to pick up a bottle.

  10. Thanks to everyone for their remarks! I'll be posting more pics this weekend - still not sure if I'm going to take the plunge into inks as my 'normal' style, but we shall see...

  11. I'm a huge fan of GW washes, but I'm not certain your figure needed the wash. The visual impact seems to be more of a color changer than a unifier or shader. I'm not a fan of what it did to the white, but it looks good on the red. The rest of it is OK, but again, I'm not sure that your painting needed it.

    For me, the best use I've found for the washes has been for subtle shading on flat painted surfaces. But if the figure is already shaded/highlighted, I'm not certain it adds a lot to a painted figure.

  12. I like the one on the right too and I love using Devlan Mud or AP on my rank and file troops.