When I am not painting up old bits of lead, I am also painting up various armies for use with Hordes Of The Things (HOTT). This usually involves me ransacking various old games such as Battle Masters, Hero Quest and Dark World for the miniatures, which are then used to make up the rank and file aka sword fodder.
The majority of these miniatures are painted for tabletop use, and I've previously had good results with a furniture varnish by Blackfriar - I use the Dark Jacobean colour. However, I was given two tins of Army Painter Quickshade - one tin of Strong, one of Dark - and I thought I'd post how they compared. In addition, a friend had suggested using Wilkinsons own brand Walnut Satin Woodstain, so a tin of that was acquired.
I've tried to summarise my findings below by assigning a rating between 1 (poor) and 5 (good) for each of the following categories:
- Preparation for dipping
- Application of dipping
- Drying time
Army Painter Quickshade Strong - £16. 2/5
Army Painter Quickshade Dark - £16. 2/5
Wilkinsons Satin Woodstain - £4.20. 5/5
Blackfriar Dark Jacobean - £7.29. 4/5
And here are the contestants - 4 archers from Battle Masters. all painted in the same base colours:
Army Painter Quickshade Strong - just shake the tin. Easy. 4/5.
Army Painter Quickshade Dark - just shake the tin. Easy. 4/5.
Wilkinsons Satin Woodstain - needs LOTS of stirring and associated mess. 2/5.
Blackfriar Dark Jacobean - needs stirring and associated mess. 3/5.
Application - this was done with a brush, with the figure held upside down.
Army Painter Quickshade Strong - smooth, easy to apply, little or no pooling. 4/5.
Army Painter Quickshade Dark - smooth, easy to apply, little or no pooling. 4/5.
Wilkinsons Satin Woodstain - awful, really sticky and thick. Lots of pooling. 2/5.
Blackfriar Dark Jacobean - thicker than Quickshade, bit sticky to apply, bit of pooling. 3/5.
In all cases, the brush could be cleaned with White Spirits, as long as the brush was cleaned before the varnish dried!
Army Painter Quickshade Strong - good, touch dry in 3-4 hours. 4/5.
Army Painter Quickshade Dark - good, touch dry in 3-4 hours. 4/5.
Wilkinsons Satin Woodstain - fast! Touch dry in 2 hours. 5/5.
Blackfriar Dark Jacobean - slow. Needed to be left overnight. 3/5.
Here are the figures after the drying:
And finally, after a coat of Dullcote:
My conclusion is that whilst Quickshade dips are expensive, the Dark version delivered what I wanted - easy to use, quick drying, and the figure looked good enough for general tabletop use.
If cost was an issue - then Blackfriar varnish is a definite alternative, if you can live with the stickiness of application to the figure and the extended drying time.