Making a simple wash

There’s been talk about washes here on the site and since we will hopefully all be able to start painting our models soon, I wanted to share a really simple wash.

Now, there are likely better guides out there, and not everyone makes their washes the same, but you wont find a simpler wash anywhere.

The first thing to take into account is what you’re going to be using your wash for. You want your wash to be at least one or two shades darker than the primary color you want to use. Sometimes a light brown will work well for lighter skin tones. And black actually works nicely for things like metal (Guns?).

Step One:
Put a bit of paint in a bottle. Most people go with 1 part paint to 4 parts water. I often mix just a little heavier than that.

Step Two:
Add some water. Remember that 1 part paint to 4 parts water. In this case, that filled my bottle. Once you’ve topped off what you need, give that thing a good shake (And shake good before every time you use your wash.)

Step Three:
Paint something. I put a few drops of the wash on a piece of the wrapper I got the bottles out of here just to show you what it looks like. It runs like water at this consistency as you can see. Notice how it’s darker where it’s thin and almost transparent in it’s thinnest spots? It’s going to do the same thing on your model. Those creases and protrusions are going to cause the paint to pool just a little thicker, making for darker shadows on your miniature. At the same time most of the paint is going to run off of the high points shading your paint just a little darker than the original color

Step Four:
Up to this point, you have a two tone model. Some people are happy with their models at this point and that’s what they use. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you want just a little more depth to the model, come back with your original base coat color and give the model a drybrush to bring out some highlights. Some people will even take this a step forward and find a slightly lighter color still and drybrush a lighter shade over the first in an even lighter layer to bring out some additional highlights

My recommendation is to start with a model you don’t care much about, experiment a bit. Most people are tempted to paint their favorite models first and end up being disappointed because of their lack of skill. If you start with models you don’t care as much about, then you have a chance to experiment a little and learn, improving your skill as you work toward the models you are most excited about painting.

Not sure if any of this will be helpful to anyone, but I wanted to share just in case someone could make use of it.

Hope this helps, and best of luck to everyone painting their models!

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Would just like to add that if one has access to inks, and uses that instead of paint, the wash will flow into the recesses better.

Inks are also useful for giving either a richer colour to the same colour base paint, or, with experimentation, interesting effects to paints of a different hue,.

Have also read of some folks using furniture polish as a wash ingredient to help with flowing into recesses but have no personal experience with that technique.

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I know a lot of people start getting worried when trying to create their own elements like this, so I figured this is something of an entry level tutorial. As ramiand mentions, there are other ways to do washes and if you’re a skilled painter then putting a bit of extra work into your washes is well worth it.

I’ll be sure to share a picture or two once I put the wash to use. I figure the bottle I made above cost me about 25 cents for the bottle, and about 10 cents for the paint that went into it. I’m thinking it’s going to be enough to do most, if not all of my super mutants (In total I have 17 Mutant Hounds, 2 Behemoths, 6 Suiciders, and a total of 31 other assorted Super mutants between the starter and core boxes I have ordered.) and if I don’t then it’s going to be really quick to make up another batch.

In total, between making the wash, taking photos, and putting everything away, it was maybe two minutes of my time, so anyone interested in making a wash, it’s quick, just be sure to do it over a sink to minimize mess in case of a spill. :wink:

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