As promised in my last post I am now going to give you the results of my Army Painter new products test....with pictures! That said, the pics are not all that I would have wanted but they suffice; stupid camera. Here is a pic of how the figures used in the test come out using the tins of dip (Dark Tone as I think it works better with the lighter base colours than the brown Strong Tone) and the anti shine spray; my traditional method of choice. These are 28mm Wargames Factory plastic Marlburians (French) painted using Coat d'arm Light Grey for the coats.
Being tested are two of the new Warpaints range, the Dark Tone acrylic dip, actually labelled as an ink, and the Anti-Shine matt varnish in a bottle. Dip/ink first I think.
This is what the light grey looks like prior to any treatment.
Once completed, they were then coated with the dip/ink using a brush rather than being dipped; the bottle has one of those nipples that make it easy to dispense from drop at a time but not much use if you want to dip. Anyway, after a liberal coating and careful lifting off the excess with a brush they look like this....
The figure on the far right is from the traditionally painted group in the first picture. Note how much darker the new batch of figures are. I think these are a little too dark, the dip/ink is clearly not an exact match for the tin versions and the acrylic medium works quite differently to the oil based one. It could be watered down of course but then I find the stuff acts very differently again and the pigment tends to pool leaving a very patchy finish. Possibly, the dip/ink will lift a little when a paint on varnish is used leaving a lighter looking figure but, for me there are just a few too many 'if's' and 'possibly's' for my liking. The oil based dip leaves a better overall result and has not overly discoloured the base coat. For me it looks more like a dirtied white, as I feel French coats of the period should, rather than a definite grey that the dip/ink provides.
To be honest, I would much rather buy the Vallejo black acrylic dip. It is a Vallejo quality product, much better value and can actually be used as a dip. If the warpaint bottle was an exact colour match for the oil based tin I would be very happy, for me and my colour blindness issues colour consistency is everything. Sadly this is far from an exact match and therefore not so useful...a missed opportunity perhaps? Black Ink would have been a better name and description, Dark Tone is quite misleading. And who needs an ink if you are dipping the finished figures anyway?????
So what about the Anti-Shine matt varnish? The sprays were originally hailed as pure gold, a varnish that did what it said and gave a flat finish...and it did. Most of the time...almost most of the time....when it didn't do something stupid like blister the dip finish or 'frost over' leaving discoloured patches on the figures. The spray cannot be used indoors without causing hallucinations but outside the conditions must be 'Goldilocks' perfect, not too cold, not too hot...or damp...or if there is an 'R' in the month.... the list is every growing. And even if you did get perfect conditions the results could still be varied. The trouble was that if you used the oil based dips you needed the anti shine varnish; it was the key to everything. Ordinary matt varnishes could be used but were always variable in quality and finish anyway. None worked effectively over the oil dip.
When I saw that Army Painter had brought out a paint on version of the Anti Shine spray product I was quite excited, a product that would give the required finish and not rely upon fairy tale atmospheric conditions! But would it? Really?
Yep... it bloody well does too!
The figure on the right used the spray varnish...that actually worked for once...and on the left the one I used the battle varnish on. Almost no difference and both have a perfect flat finish. The sprayed on varnish has left a slight frosting on the black areas, only really noticeable once the painted version is placed next to it but even then only just. It is a little tricky to apply given that it is very shiny when wet and you are painting it on to a very shiny oil dipped figure, but it does actually work. After some minutes the finish was clearly flatter and as the varnish dried the flatter the finish looked. No hallucinations, no watching the weather channel to find a good day, no anxiety over risking your nicely painted figures to a random varnish event....just matt finished figures that were actually matt finished!
Big happy smiley face! :)
I then tried it out on some other figures I had been working on. These were coated in the oil based Dark Tone dip in the morning, left to become touch dry (about five hours or so on a hot day) and then varnished with the bottled stuff with a liberal but careful brush.