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NecroMancer

Oil washes vs. acrylic washes

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Hey guys I am wandering if there is a difference between oil washes and acrylic (citadel) washes?

 

Will they provide the same effect when applied over acrylic paint?

 

 

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Oil paint is a totally different beastie from acrylic paint. 

 

In acrylics, a “wash” is essentially paint thinned down with water and some additives.

 

But oils are thinned with petrochemicals. They do not make good “washes,” in my experience, because too much paint thinner can cause the medium and pigment to separate or granulate.

 

The sorts of additives used in oil paints - oils, varnishes, and resins - thin them down for glazing, but also affect their drying properties, usually making them shiny and, if overused, sticky and prone to yellowing.

 

At any rate, as oil paint ages it grows darker and yellower and more transparent owing to changes in the refractive index of the oil film. Since oil paint does not age the same way acrylics age, a figure with a mix of paints will change appearance over time.

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Thanks @Pingo I knew I could count on you!


I had just watched a tutorial and the guy used oil washes instead of just the regular acrylic but he didn't really state why so I was curious about the difference.  I think I will just stick with acrylic wash since I have them and am more prepared for them instead of using oil washes. 

 

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Oil washes can be good.  Good ones (I must stipulate good ones, crap oil washes will look chalky / splotchy) can offer a better gradient than acrylic as they take longer to set, and the pigment has more time to stack better in the crevices.  The down side, is that if you've used acrylic, you'll need to seal the figure before applying the wash as it will loosen the pigment in the acrylic, and your base coat can turn splotchy.   As a rule, use oil washes on oil paints, acrylic washes or water colors washes on acrylics.

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So, I just ran into this and wanted to offer my experience. I've started using oil washes on my last several minis and LOVE IT. There's a few huge advantages :

1. Long working time. You can move it right where you want it without fear of it leaving a staining mark.

2. The flow... Oh the flow. At least compared to the reaper washes they settle down in the crevices so much nicer. Just a touch of the brush and the capillary action pulls it right where it's needed. 

3. Buffing. After it dries, you can take a qtip or cloth and wipe it off any places you don't want with just a little buffing action. 

4. Cost. A set of student oil paints and a can of white spirits is all you need for $20 and you can make enough wash to for armies. 

 

I used this page for setup and the paper towel test there to thin my washes. http://www.leagueofpainters.com/?p=929

Edited by rfusca

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Oil washes have been used for a long time amongst army painters and it is a technique I have used on my Thirty Years war Danish Cavalry. I cheated and used the oil paints that can be thinned with water though (Winsor & Newton I believe). I used enamel as the base coat, applied the wash, waited forever for it to dry and then painted acrylics over the top of that. I haven't had any problems with those figures yet and its been about 5 years. I don't think the adage of not using acrylics on top of oils really seems to apply in the case of the wash. It is very common to apply oil washes over acrylics though, James Wappel does it on a regular basis on his vehicles and its a common technique among armor modelers.

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