Monday, April 18, 2011

[Adept Zero] Speed Painting with Dipping

Care for a dip? Hello, dear readers. Zeronyne here again from Hive Zero. Tonight, I'm going to show you a common technique to get horde armies to the tabletop as quickly as possible. There are dozens of dipping tutorials out on the Interwebs, and they are uniformly (and surprisingly) great, but I thought I'd show you how to dip with the absolute least number of steps and without any special gear. You can view any picture by clicking on it.

Now for the sake of brevity, not all the pictures in this mini tutorial are the same termagant, but they are from the same batch.

Step 1: Prep and Prime

With dipping, it's really important to properly prep your figure. Because one component of dipping serves as a wash, any flashing or fragment of sprue will really be accentuated. This is the one part that I don't recommend shortcutting.

Step 2: Block out your colors

Next, you block out the general colors on your figure. For Hivefleet Zero, all of the gaunts have a Mechrite Red/Bleached Bone/Chaos Black scheme. The biggest pain was the gun. Had I not already painted about 100 of them, I would have made the weapon the same color as the body (as the fluff supports...symbiote and all that). Doing each color in assembly line fashion for 5-10 models really speeds up this step.

Step 3: Dip!

Don't be shy. The trick to dipping is to have confidence. Either dip the model directly into the can, or brush it on. Be sure to use a cheap won't be using it again. By the way, I really like this Minwax Polyshade:

There's a wide variety of colors available, but Tudor Satin seems to be the most effective. It's a little thicker than the Army painter stuff, but it's roughly 8 to 10 times cheaper. If the thickness really bothers you, you can thin it with mineral spirits which I bought a huge bottle of for $5.00. For Nids, I actually like the bit of glaze that the Polyshade provides in its natural state.

Step 4: Give it the brush off.

This part requires a bit (not a lot) of finesse. You should be holding your model upside down to avoid getting the varnish all over your base. Start applying a dry paintbrush to start collecting the excess and wipe it (the brush, not the model) onto a paper towel. This was difficult to show in a picture because I also had to hold the camera, but I'm sure you get the idea.

You must really address the problem areas where the Polyshade might pool: the crook of an arm, in a mouth, at the tips of limbs and tails, anywhere that forms a "closed loop" like between legs, etc. Just keep blotting with the brush and then wiping it off onto the paper towel. As you notice that you are getting less and less onto your brush, be careful not to apply the brush too hard; you don't want to leave stroke marks on the surface. Also, if you brush aggressively, you will leave air bubbles on the model, which looks really bad.

Step 5: Hang 'em High

OK, so I lied - there is a bit of specialized equipment you'll need. You can do this anyway that seems viable, but you need to let your models dry upside down. Even though you've removed as much of the Polyshade as possible, gravity will remove more, so it's best to have it a) not end up all over the base, and b) wick off onto a towel. My rig is simple: for models this small, I just use two paint jars, a little Blu Tak, and two cocktail straws. After about 30 minutes, check the model to see if there's any additional pooling in the problem areas. If you are working in assembly line fashion, you just need to check the drying rack(s) after each batch is done and blot the excess.

Step 6: Take the Shine Off and Conclusion

This last step cannot be shown because you need to wait at least 24 hours prior to spraying Dullcote or any other matte varnish to take the shine off of the model. I will add a picture tomorrow of the finished model. You should be very sparing with the Dullcote. Others have found that it can cloud the varnish. It has never happened to me, but I think it may occur when the varnish has not dried enough, or it may be certain varnishes that react with the dip. YMMV.

And there you have it! I hope this helps some of you who are hesitant to drop your lovingly base coated monsters into the tar pit. On that note, I have successfully stripped dipped models using Simple Green, but I have not done a rigorous test of this, so please keep this in mind if you are a serial repainter.

If you need links to the supplies I've used or have any other questions, please comment on this thread.

I look forward to seeing your hordes on the table!

/transmission terminated


  1. Another point about dipping- is it works best with lighter colors underneath- dipping a black primed model is sort of pointless as you lose alot of detail. Medium or light shades for you base colors will give the dipping solution something to highlight.

    Another trick to dry them- a clothesline! A simple string and some clothes pins clipped to the base is quick and easy. If you get any of the stain on the base- its not a big deal as your basing material should cover it :)

    Nice write up for those unfamiliar with hte process.

  2. I love dipping techniques for nid armies. Sure it obscured some of the fine detail, but who is seriously painting fine detail on 100 gaunts? Lavish attention on your HQ and Elites, and get those troops painted and on the field!

  3. I actually dipped my entire White Scars army and it came out very well.

    I only had one issue and that was on the last batch of models where the clear coat sealer stripped the paint off of the models. I am not sure how it happened, however it was a complete pain to deal with. So be careful with the sealer!

  4. Thanks for the tip! This seems like a great thing for me to try when I'm in a rush to get a bunch of models out fast.

    Do you find this works equally well with "metal" like Power Armor?

  5. My version of speed painting is black primer, white drybrush and painting with inks and washes (apart from some parts like metallic, teeth or human flesh). At the end I use badab black all over.

    Painting with inks/washes is like children color book - you simply cover proper areas with them, and the drybrush makes all work for you as they get automatically shaded.

    Badab black makes all click together. It also makes the figures dark and broody which I like :)

  6. THIS is the $#!^. Anouther way to save a fortune. thanks. It's these tips that let people keep collecting without emptying their wallets.

  7. I like to strip mini's and repaint every once in a while when I get better, and look back at my original ones... also when I pick op old ones in bulk off friends or ebay. Do these strip well? I have ne experience with these and striping, and do not know if they make a chemical reaction or fumes.

  8. In the near future, I will do a little write up on stripping.