Tuesday, 12 March 2013

These are the pros and cons of dipping

A little tip of the hat to Roger Waters in the title of this blog ;)

I have decided on a project of dipping all the goblins for my Orc army. The models I have are mostly current edition goblins and I have to say I really enjoy them. They retain a lot of character and are scaled correctly to older editions of Warhammer Goblins which is very handy. So mixing and matching Goblins from various periods shouldn't pose much of a problem.

I have elected to turn these guys into something of a semi-speed painting exercise using the Army Painter dip that is proving popular amongst many gamers these days. I am certainly no expert in using this stuff, but what I have learned is that you need to paint lighter than expected as the dip will darken all your colours and I have also discovered that the dip is very forgiving of sloppy paintwork as it does a great job of hiding small errors and tying the paint job together. Take these Night Goblin fanatics for example, I sprayed them a grey/khaki colour as this is the colour I want all their clothing to be, then painted the skin, some brown areas and metal. No more than a few minutes spent on each. Very simple painting, nothing detailed and in truth rather heavy handed.

Then I dipped them and left them to dry overnight. The dip does an excellent job of shading the models and bringing them to a standard that I think is game ready. They are nothing spectacular by any means but an entire army painted like this will look very unified and comfortably to a tabletop standard.

I am unable to leave them like this as I have to add some highlights and details, but I am very comfortable playing with them in this state till I get round to doing that. With some flocking on the bases they will be welcome in my army any day. Here are the squigs that I have gone and dipped in the same manner.

Again nothing fancy but good enough to play with. They do all need a coast of matt varnish to get rid of the gloss look though! And finally here is a unit of squigs that have had a little more attention paid to them. Not much more than some simple dry-brushing and basing with a few details picked out. I am very happy with the results from a very simple painting process. More painted miniatures on the table is always a winner in my book! :)

There is a lot I can do to turn them into well painted miniatures but that really isn't the point of this project. So what are the cons of dipping? Well I would say that you are not going to get top quality paint jobs out of dipping so don't use it if you are looking for a Golden Demon winning army or anything that is going to grace the pages of White Dwarf or CMON. But for the time and effort involved I can highly recommend this for certain armies. Anything dark and dirty is well suited to dipping, undead are ideal candidates. High Elves, for example, are not going to suit dipping much though, there a cleaner, crisper paint job is required that dipping isn't going to provide. I do stand to be corrected on this point though as I do think it would be possible to get some good effects with High Elves, but the point in general stands I think :D


  1. I didn't like the glossy effect of the Army Painter and was disappointed with the shading effect too. I have gone back to Agrax Earthshade as you have to spray AP'd models with matt varnish anyway and AE shades better.

    It is not as simple to use as Devlan Mud was but the same results can be achieved with practice.

    It does work out a bit pricier than AP though.

    I am not knocking your choices, I just wish I had heard more criticism of AP, maybe I wouldn't have subsequently wasted £20.00.

    After all the online hype I was gutted with the results when compared to other speed-painting methods.

  2. Dipping rules for rank and file, I recomend strong tone for everything or dark tone for really detailed models, did you use soft tone? as the colour looks quite mellow. The new inks are fantastic, it like dipping without the smell.

  3. Another post that is pulling me toward this idea as well. I have a beastman unit that would be a perfect experiment for this technique...I wish you could get sample sized cans of the stuff though...I'd like to know what I'm getting before shelling out that much money.

    I too like the new inks very much....good replacements for both Delvan Mud and Badab Black....the Gryphonne Sepia replacement (soft tone) is not as good but pretty close. These are very different than the Dip though.

    I might also use this technique for a couple of Savage Orc regiments...would you recommend the Dark Tone for mostly green figures?

  4. I use Army Painter medium shade and it works great, but you MUST use a matte varnish for the full effect. I use Armory Spray Clear Matte Sealer which came highly recommended in different reviews and it works perfect (although full warning, do not by any means breathe anywhere near the spray mist area or your throat will feel torn up for a half hour). The result is a soft, full and rich colours that are detailed in all the right ways. There is a trick to the shade stuff by the way: shake the heck out of the can for five or ten minutes first (really, go nuts), then dip the figure in once by holding on to the base, shake excess back into the shade can and gently bundle the figure in a paper towel. Finally, hold the closed paper towel bundle in your hand and shake it like crazy (without squeezing it) for another minute or two. When open the paper towel, the right amount of shade will be left on the model (if there is still a glob in the wrong spot, soak it up a little with the corner of a piece of paper towel). Let it dry overnight and spray the next day.

  5. Oh and forgot to mention, the real advantage of Army Painter shade and Armory matte spray is that you effectively have two layers of chip-protection. I have dropped these figures off the table before and, even if the metal bends, the paint and the coating do not crack. Really very different than simply adding a GW shade colour in terms of protection.