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What's in your gunk? Magic wash?


JCas
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New to the hobby and wondering both what people use to thin their paints, and whatever other 'essential' mixes are in your painting caddy. FLGS carries primarily Reaper MS paints/additives, so that's the stock I'm learning on. Planning on getting some empty dropper bottles soon, and trying to figure out what'd be most useful to put in them. I've seen a few stickied tutorials/threads with some info, but most are a few years old, and have either dead links, or are based off older paints, so I'm curious what works best with the current formulas.

So - do you have a particular favorite mix? Does it vary for base coats, layers, washes, etc? Metallics? Metal vs Bones? 

Basically, what's your homebrew secret?  :;):

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99% of the time distilled water which if you're new to the hobby is probably what you should stick with at first. Learning how to properly use a brush will make a bigger difference at the start.

 

Once you've got a few minis under your belt then you can learn what all the additives do. If you're using reaper paints all you'll really need is matte medium as reaper's paints already have some flow improver in it. The article posted above is great for an ink based wash.

 

I'm personally not a gunk fan, term in general and it's history, and the reason all the articles are old is a lot of people have moved away from the crazy mixes as they're just not needed most of the time. When you do start mixing stuff into your paints please remember to only use additives that are designed for acrylic paints and not household chemicals like some people suggest. They do that to save money but acrylic additives aren't that expensive so you're risking ruining your paints over a few dollars savings. Adding chemicals to your paints that aren't intended to be mixed with paints have a chance of ruining them--don't risk it.

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99% of the time distilled water which if you're new to the hobby is probably what you should stick with at first. Learning how to properly use a brush will make a bigger difference at the start.

 

Once you've got a few minis under your belt then you can learn what all the additives do. If you're using reaper paints all you'll really need is matte medium as reaper's paints already have some flow improver in it. The article posted above is great for an ink based wash.

 

I'm personally not a gunk fan, term in general and it's history, and the reason all the articles are old is a lot of people have moved away from the crazy mixes as they're just not needed most of the time. When you do start mixing stuff into your paints please remember to only use additives that are designed for acrylic paints and not household chemicals like some people suggest. They do that to save money but acrylic additives aren't that expensive so you're risking ruining your paints over a few dollars savings. Adding chemicals to your paints that aren't intended to be mixed with paints have a chance of ruining them--don't risk it.

Couldn't agree more, though I do sometimes thin my paints with inks (depending on what I'm doing).

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MSPs are very well-behaved and will work great with just a little water to thin. You might need distilled water if your local water is hard (ie, has a lot of dissolved salts in it).

 

For making them into a wash or thinning for glazes I use either Les Wash recipe, linked above, or Vallejo Airbrush Thinner, which is probably my current favourite.

 

For cheap craft / student paints on terrain or other cheap projects I thin with "Long Life", which is  floor wax acrylic,  but using it with your expensive paints, brushes, etc is ill-advised. For sealing terrain before painting I use diluted "Bondcrete" which is a builder's acrylic emulsion for... well, for sealing before painting; but don't let it anywhere near your best brushes because it's also formulated as an adhesive and it sticks things.... like brush hairs... together very firmly even when very (1:5) dilute. Neither of these products is recommended for use on miniatures or for mixing with your quality miniatures paint, though.

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I don't really use gunk anymore. I use some premixed washes to achieve certain results like rust and dirt, but otherwise I generally just use water. I don't even use distilled water most of the time. I do use some of the RMS brush on sealer to thin metallics and liners for washing Bones. That's about it. I'm not saying gunk wouldn't work well, I just never got into the practice of using it.

 

If you think it might be something you want to play with I'd say go for it. Experimentation can help you learn to achieve a variety of results, so don't be afraid to mess around. I would recommend however starting on a very small scale. It's easier, and less painful given the cost of hobby materials, to find out you don't like something with just a small test. Please don't be the guy who ruined an entired set of paints :).

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I use artists paints and pretty exclusively use water to thin. I have used Reaper paints a few times and also thinned with water. Sometimes I may add a drop of matte medium, but that's about it.

 

There seems to be a recurrence of secret formulas in the arts. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there was a positive plethora of mediums to mix in wih one's paints to produce the effects of the Old Masters. Most of them caused catastrophic failure of the paint film eventually. The problem was of course that the secret of the Old masters was to use simple mixes of good ingredients, good linseed oil and good pigments, and after the collapse of the apprentice system and the rise of the academies in the Counter-Reformation, most of that had been forgotten. Then with the Enlightenment fixation with alchemy, paint recipes got extraordinarily messy for a while.

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80% of the time, it's straight water.

 

For diluting metals I have some airbrush thinner mixed with water.  For things like freehand, I have some flow improver mixed with water.

 

My custom washes use Les' base recipe. 

 

If I want a glaze, I usually add a little matte medium to help prevent pooling.

 

Don't go overboard with stuff.  I've been painting almost 20 years, and have played around with all sorts of stuff.  Straight water works for any hobby-level painting you will do. 

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I don't have standard one size fits all gunk. I keep a dropper bottle of glaze mix (matte medium, distilled water & a hint of flow improver) handy and a dropper bottle of distilled water handy. The actual adds to the paint depend on what the paint is. For whites & yellows I usually mix in some matte sealer with the water. It helps the chalkiness a bit when thinned. Some paints thin just fine with water and others need a bit of help. I guess the important bit is getting to know your paint. If a particular paint doesn't do well with just water then try different stuff until you find a solution.

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