Tjrez

Flow improver, Lahmian medium and glaze medium differences

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I have been comparing different types of flow improver and well as glaze medium , I watched a video or two and from what I understood Glaze medium will allow the pigment to sit on the surface of the saturated paint till it drys, where as lahmium medium will allow the pigment to rest in the crevasses . Am I correct in this understanding ? So where does Reapers flow improver fall into ideology?

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While I have never used lahmium medium, my understanding is that it is acrylic medium that GW has rebranded, with a bit of matting agent thrown in for good measure.  Glaze medium is acrylic medium with some matting agent and a bit of retarder thrown in to slow drying time.  It is paint without the pigments, which allows you to use it to thin paint while maintaining the paints other properties. I.e. make a transparent glaze that dries evenly. Flow improver is something else entirely.  It is an additive which breaks the surface tension of your paint, allowing it to flow into the crevasses. 

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So the flow improver is technically the same thing as lahmian medium? i heard gw made the lahmian so artist could make their own washes. Off to the testing station to really compare the effects of each product :)

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28 minutes ago, Tjrez said:

So the flow improver is technically the same thing as lahmian medium? i heard gw made the lahmian so artist could make their own washes. Off to the testing station to really compare the effects of each product :)

 

 

It probably isn't.  Flow improver is highly concentrated.  The usual instructions (many different paint lines offer it) are something like, dilute flow improver with 10x as much water as flow improver, then add to paint in drops or other minuscule amounts.

 

While there probably is flow improver included in most wash media, they are not the same thing.

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4 hours ago, Pingo said:

Flow improver is highly concentrated.

Pingo is right, of course.  I only wish to call out that MSP flow improver is not concentrated, but is ready to use from the bottle.  Sadly, I don't have a bottle to test this out, but that is what I've read about it.

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Re Lahmian Medium;

On some of GW's "Tip of the day" videos on Youtube, their painter generally explains the product is actually Citadel paint without any pigment in & it allows the painter to thin down paints without the risk of destabilising the paint as would happen if you were diluting with too much water. They seem to use it for creating thin overlapping layers of colour.

 

With this in mind (& I'm not an expert on this) I would say LM could be classed as both an acrylic & glaze medium & is for glazing, thin layering & tinting whereas flow improver is something very different that would be more suitable for creating washes.

 

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Reaper's Flow Improver is ready to use out of the bottle. Reaper paints are formulated with a small amount of it in the mix. Generally when you would want to use it is if you feel like paint is a little 'sticky' coming off your brush. Working on small details or fine strokes is when I'm most likely to want to use it, but there was a time in my painting development when I used it in much greater quantity. 

Reaper now has a product called Wash Medium. That sounds like more what you're after. Wash medium is the clear binder part of paint with no pigment added. It's less runny than water. So it will feel a little easier to control if you mix a wash or glaze with the medium than with straight water. For washes you might want things a little more watery, but also want to keep the pigment in suspension, so half and half wash medium and water is a good approach. Prior to the release of Wash Medium, many in the Reaper community had been using brush-on sealer in a similar way, 'off label' as it were. 

Note that you can, and I have, do most of these things with just straight water, and Reaper paints are designed to work just with water as a dilutant. Even super thinned down into a glaze that's barely coloured water I rarely have Reaper paints separate on me. I'm adding mediums or flow improvers more to control how the paint handling feels than anything related to the end result. (Other than a medium product is better than water for thinning metallic paints, it keeps the little metal flakes in suspension better, and if you get rings around the edges of your washes adding a little medium, flow improver or a surfactant can help reduce that.)

In 2D acrylic painting, there are loads more mediums, in addition to these. Most of these are to add texture or body to the paint. So you'll get pastes with sand added, or thick clear gels you can add to make the paint stand up in peaks, stuff like that. Those have uses in our hobby, but generally more for assembly and basing, we don't want to add texture to our very thin paint! So if you buy a hobby product that has a gritty texture for making sand or dirt on bases, or something like liquid green stuff, you are buying repackaged acrylic painting mediums. (Liquid green stuff is pretty much the same stuff as modeling paste in an acrylic art paint line.) Buying from the art store rather than the hobby store is more expensive per bottle, but they're much bigger bottles so much cheaper per ounce.

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Wren, 

 

Thank you for the detailed description of these additives. From what you describe, I could use having those in my repertoire. Certainly encountered the stickiness issue. I may be trying out drying retardant soon too, for sake of the lip-splittingly dry air here. 

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Posted (edited)

Great explanation Wren. I just tried the flow improver and I determined it works pretty much same as the glaze medium made by vallejo. Ill try the wash medium next as im sure that is designed for what im wanting it to do. The problem like you said is when im trying to wash using a metallic color it tends to leave spots behind. I dont notice this as much when using colored pigments but it will still look like a light glaze.  Will the wash medium you mentioned also leave a slight residue behind ? or does the pigment stay at the bottom of suspension?

Edited by Tjrez

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Metallic paints have little flakes of mica in them to create the shine. They're tiny, but they are larger than pigments in paint, and they are heavier. So when you thin a metallic paint with just water, those mica flakes sink, and the paint doesn't stay as cohesive as a matte paint will. If you thin it with medium, it's a thicker substance and suspends the flakes better. They still thin out to have a smaller percentage of flakes to liquid. I don't think you can get a very diluted wash of metallics to look as smooth as you could get a diluted wash of pigment paint. Flow improver is very fluid like water, so it would not thin metallics as well as a thicker medium.

I'm not 100% sure I know what you mean about leaving a glaze or spots behind. Do you mean that you're trying to apply thin paint to an area and you want the colour to just fall into the crevices and darken or alter the colour of those, but you don't want any colour change on the upward areas of the paint? If so, the idea of washes (thinned paint applied liberally to an area) is that the bulk of the paint settles into the crevices. But there's no way to get all of the paint to go where you want, and have no colour change to the higher spots. There's no additive or medium I know that will do that. When painting with metallic paint, you would still get a shimmer everywhere you applied the paint, you'd just end up with more flakes in the recesses. Generally what you do is apply the wash, and then use drybrushing or layering with the original colour to go over the raised spots and lighten them back up. 

A glaze is similar to a wash in that it's very diluted paint, but instead of applying a whole lot of paint, you wick out the brush so you can control the paint you deposit it and paint it over the whole area (or into small sections of it) In that case the aim is to tint everything where you put the paint, so it does leave a film everywhere.

I may not have understood your question, so apologies if I didn't answer it. Also I should note that I rarely work with super thin metallic paint. I tend to apply metallics as a basecoat and slightly thinned for layers, but do shading on them with matte paint, since that both darkens and reduces shine so it's nice for deep rich shadows.

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7 hours ago, Wren said:

Generally what you do is apply the wash, and then use drybrushing or layering with the original colour to go over the raised spots and lighten them back up. 

Right on , i was just trying to figure out the benefits from using a commercial medium as opposed to water . I was thinking there may been a product the didnt ,leave toning to higher areas. So what can you say the noticible difference between water and wash medium would be?

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If I don't want to leave toning on higher areas I go over them with a clean just-damp brush before they are fully dry.

 

There can come a point where trying to find that one magic medium becomes less useful than trying some different handling of the paint.

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Posted (edited)

To correct it , is not that big of deal . Im just wondering whats the difference in these products. I havnt tried the wash medium yet. How does it behave differently from water? also the drying retarder , how is it different then the flow improver? as I havnt been able to see a difference or maybe havnt found the correct application to notice.

 

Edited by Tjrez

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Posted (edited)

For washes, if you just use watered-down paint (or ink?), the water's surface tension, as it dries, pulls the paint to the "rim" of the water, sort of like a bathtub ring. I just use premade washes so I can get my *bleeping* orcs painted: http://www.theeclecticgamer.com/2011/03/16/creating-washes-for-miniature-painting/

 

What effect were you looking for when making a wash with a metallic paint? Since I paint to advanced tabletop, I've yet to need to wash with metallics. However, Secret Weapon Miniatures has an Armor Wash that, I think, is a metallic wash. Also, you can mix metallic paint with non-metallic paint for this-and-that. I will mix black with metallic silver to make a dark shade undercoat for metallic surfaces, then paint over this with pure or a mixture that has more metallic paint.

 

My solution to using additives was... to use water. :lol: I do stupid amounts of glazing (because I'm too lazy to blend, go figure) and water works fine. Uh...especially when I'm supposed to just basecoat the miniature. 

 

Reaper paints already have flow improver, so I don't worry about adding anything to them. Army Painter paints are designed to be used with their washes, so I use them with their washes. Stuff like humidity *is* important, but I'd just post your paintjobs and ask for advice (as well as to what painting standard you're aiming for), rather than burden yourself with trying to learn everything at once.

Edited by ced1106
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13 hours ago, Pingo said:

There can come a point where trying to find that one magic medium becomes less useful than trying some different handling of the paint.

 

As someone that has been down that road, I agree with Pingo. Seeing @Tjrez other post about the brushes he uses, and my own experience, the main "problem" you might be trying to solve is actually fluidity of the paint off the brush... when the brush is too small for that. 

 

Switch to a larger brush and use just water, a bit of improver if you want as a crutch. But when you have a good quality brush with a decent belly holding humidity, you can suddenly understand why so many top painters use only water and get "magical" effects on blending and etc.

 

At least, that was my own experience. YMMV.

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