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Hi again folks,


I followed all the instructions.  I watched several videos on YouTube.  I thought I did everything right....


I tried to do a wash using Reaper Brown Wash.  I made sure to thin it a bit with flow improver.  I liberally applied the wash mix EXACTLY like i had seen done on every possible video I could watch...but the results were very much NOTHING like I thought they would be.


What happened?  It basically looks like I just used brown paint...




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 The Brown Wash comes out of the bottle just a tiny bit heavy, but it doesn't really need much more than a drop of water for every four or five drops of wash...


But other than that, it's pretty much what it's supposed to look like, aside from a few spots you missed... Take a bit of unthinned Wash on your brush and do a more controlled application, just putting it in any of the shadow spots you may have missed the first time.


And then you go back in with your original colors and carefully touch it up - take the base colors you used, thin them a bit more than the base coat, and then carefully apply them on the higher portions to reestablish the color, leaving the shadow areas covered by the wash.

All you need to do is reestablish your base colors, and then add in some highlights. The general rule is that the surface area of an object in standard lighting should be roughly 1/3 the shadow color, 1/3 the base color and 1/3 the highlight color.


One of the main things about painting minis that most of the videos don't really touch on is how much time you spend touching up the work you've just done - and that most of the time, whatever you've just done will look like it made everything look like you've completely destroyed all your previous work, lol.

Most of the time, your mini won't look the way you want it to until you're almost done painting it. It's a constant process of adjusting and readjusting and refining things until you get them where you want them.

Edited by Mad Jack
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Well, for "clean" models (eg. humans and elves), don't apply a "slop and glop" of brown. Looks dirty. That's why I prefer undead and orcs.


Anyway, either strip, set aside, or continue painting. Treat the wash as a shade layer, and start painting the basecoat over it. 

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After washing (re-)apply highlights etc.


The wash will remain in the nooks and crannies for shadow.


Nothing wrong with it, it's just a stage, you're not done yet.


If you wanted to finish the mini with a wash, then use a thinned version ( more of a glaze I guess).

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What everybody else said, pretty much, although I'd use a wash (I have learned a great appreciation for SW's 'Armor wash') on things like chainmail and lightly applied under armor plates and in other similar creases, nooks and crannies; unless you're trying for blood stains, I've found it saves time.

I'm a lazy painter, and I hate cleaning up after myself. ^.~


It's an interesting effect on the inside of the cloak, though, like spattered mud. I might have to try something like that myself.


May I be the first to suggest starting a WIP thread for this? I see people ask for advice there too. ^^;

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All you need to do is reestablish your base colors, and then add in some highlights. The general rule is that the surface area of an object in standard lighting should be roughly 1/3 the shadow color, 1/3 the base color and 1/3 the highlight color.

I think Anne Foerster mentioned 50% standard, 25% shade and 25% highlight in one of the chapters on one of the Dark Sword DVDs, with the exception of Black and White, of course.

Not that it's a hard and fast rule, though.

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Washes can be used all over, and, usually, the results will be better than a plain basecoat.  The wash will stain/tint all of the places where applied though it should collect in the recesses more than on the high areas.


Your mini is fixable: you just aren't done yet.  Next time will be better.


A few tips:

  • If you can, select the wash color to match the basecoat as much as possible.  So a dark blue wash for blues, brown(ish) for flesh, browns, bones, purple, dark red, or green for reds, etc.  For your mini, a wash made from Payne's Gray would have worked a little better since the color scheme is predominantly blue, white, and steel. 
  • Areas with lighter base coats should use a more thinned wash or a wash that isn't as dark as darker base coat areas.
  • You can use different washes (or washes at different dilutions) in different areas.
  • Washes work better in areas with recesses that are perpendicular to gravity (so you may need to tilt the mini and let it dry a bit for vertical folds).
  • You can wick or gently wipe off a wash off the high points of a mini with a spare brush or even a paper towel to preserve the basecoat.
  • You can also apply a wash selectively, just in the recesses.
  • After applying a wash, you will want to highlight areas if you have time.


James Wappel has some videos from his Painting Pyramid series that show how he uses selective washes to achieve some spectacular effects.



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What everyone else has said. Also, every single mini goes through that stage where it's like "Holy cats, I've ruined this miniature." You just have to keep painting through. Also, as long as you thin your paints correctly there are very, very few things that can't be fixed. 


I don't use a lot of washes, but I recommend Sorastro's tutorials on YouTube. He makes really great use of washes, particularly on painting plastic minis.


Keep painting, and keep posting pics. Cheers. 

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My first attempt at painting minis back in the 90s was purely base coat, wash (as you did here), reapply base except in crevices, drybrush highlights; repeat until I got tired of it.


I think Anne Foerster mentioned 50% standard, 25% shade and 25% highlight in one of the chapters on one of the Dark Sword DVDs, with the exception of Black and White, of course.

Not that it's a hard and fast rule, though.

Black and white are 75% base color, 25% highlight (for black) or shade (for white). As you say, not a hard and fast rule, but it will get you through the initial years of painting as a guideline.
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Another thing that helps on these kind of washes (I use them plenty, because Zombies get painted a lot at my house) is to direct where the wash is going.  It looks like you tried to go over it as quickly as possible and then let it dry.  Go back over the figure after you have applied the wash and help direct where the wash ends up.  Remember, where you pick up the brush is where the pigment is going to stay, so you want to make sure that you push the wash into the low areas where you want natural shadow and then lift the brush.  Pull from highlight areas and push to shadow areas.  You want a thin even coat over the highlight areas and then darker pools that will dry on the shadow areas.  Even there, it can be too much, so you may need to wick up the excess wash from the shadow areas and wipe your brush on a paper towel before going back to the figure.  You shouldn't have to do that a lot as you can also pull out too much of the color, but if you have large pools and you want to reduce them, this helps.  

The 100th time you do this will be better than your 1st time doing this.  Soon you will see what is happening just by doing the process over and over.  Good luck!

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Reaper washes are more like paint than some other brands.  If you want a less muddy look, try and find some inks, which are more translucent.  Games Workshop and Army Painter are two brands that come to mind. 

I prefer Liquitex and Daler-Rowney for inks. Much more variety in colors, and better value.

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