Sunday, 10 August 2014

Interlude: Dipping - a UK comparison of Quickshade and two UK based varnishes

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:

  • Price
  • 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!

Drying time
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.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM43 Giant Griffon with GW Eagle wings

Now this is a bit of an oddity. I originally acquired just the body as part of a job lot – no sign of the original wings – and I was going to pass it on an incomplete miniature. As I was digging through the bits box, I stumbled across a pair of wings from a Games Workshop Eagle… but with no eagle body. Asgard body, meet GW wings.

Now, I am not a fan of winged miniatures. They take up too much space, the wings get chipped and break off far too easily, and worst of all they gather dust. But I like a challenge…

The wings actually fitted on to the body quite well using a few dabs of superglue, followed up with Milliput to make the join a bit less obvious. After that, white primer, then base coats of dark brown and yellow for the body and upper wings, and then dark gray for the lower wing tips – and then a wash of Army Painter Soft tone, and lots of lots and LOTS of dry brushing, especially on the lower wing tips. The GW wings really benefited from this – the Asgard body less so. As with so many Asgard miniatures (especially the large ones), the quality of sculpting is really coarse – the claws in particular were just indentations on the paws - and the GW wings did tend to show that up.
The figure needed a decent sized base to make it stable, but it did look empty – so the heads of victims were added, which are just GW plastic heads and various bits and pieces painted up in suitably decaying colours.

I was fairly pleased with this - it might even get some table top time for wilderness encounters. Not too bad for a late 70’s basic sculpt and a dodgy conversion job!