As some of you might have noticed by now, this article is in a sense a work-in-progress, I add things as I discover them myself. One thing that dawned on me a while back as I finished up my latest Crisis Suit was that I used a technique that I haven't mentioned earlier, however it is something I do all the time nowadays. And it's high time for me to share!
I've explained two things in detail previously in this article (more like a chronicle now). One thing is to paint smoothly and neat. The other one is how to paint chipping and tearing. What I'll show you now is the technique that acts as a bridge between these two.
Tau design with its streamline shapes sometimes suffer from flatness
, i.e. certain areas, when painted neatly, becoming overtly boring and brand-new looking. This especially becomes apparent as one paints chipping and tearing onto the model, as the clash between the new
(clean surfaces) and the veteran
(chipping) creates a strange appearance. Due to this, I often utilise a technique I call wash blending to dirty-up those flat, smooth surfaces without making them look too shabby.
A note on wash blending: Use two brushes; one that you use for applying the wash. The other brush should clean and a tad bit moist – not
wet. Wash blending require the brush's soak-up capability, and this is best achieved if the brush is just a little moist.
I've done some images to show the process. These images didn't end up being very descriptive, however, but hopefully they'll give a hint on what I try to explain. My apologies.1. THE ”TOO CLEAN” SURFACE
You have a surface that looks really clean. The crevasses are somewhat darker due to washing, and the highlights brightens the edges. But between these two there's a huge, flat area that looks a tad bit boring.2. FIRST LAYER OF WASH
Apply a layer of wash – Badab Black or Devlan Mud, preferably – that covers most of the surface. It should start somewhere in the deepest crevasses and stretch out to almost reach the highlights.3. IT SHOULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS
It should look like that once you've removed the brush. Oh, yes, I mean before the wash has dried.4. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN
If the wash dries up once you've applied the first wash layer it's going to look like this – don't let it happen. And I'll show you how!5. SMUDGE THE WASH EDGES
Directly after Step 2, proceed to smudge out the edges of the wash – quickly now, before it dries up! Use you second, slightly moist brush.6. IT SHOULD NOW LOOK MORE LIKE THIS
By erasing the borders of the wash you'll get what one might call a makeshift gradient – this is good! Now, let the wash dry.7. ANOTHER LAYER OF WASH
Apply a new layer of wash, just like you did in Step 2, but within the area if the last painted layer of wash. Continue to smudge out the edges of the new layer as in Step 5.8. REPEAT UNTIL CONTENT
Repeat this whole process with washing new layers, smudging the edges, etc etc until you're happy with the result.
There you have it, basically. This technique works best on Crisis Suits, but can just as easily be applied to tanks or infantry units.
A final note on the subject. Washes are really
difficult to work with and they require a lot of practise and skill. Wash blending is an advanced technique by all accounts, and it takes practise to master this technique. Personally I'm garbage at this technique, but I'm getting there.