15 February 2014

The Art of the Dip (Part 2a of Painting WLG's Primus Pilus Centurion 28mm metal mini)

To prep the dipping of the mini I warm-up the Army Painter Quick Shade Dip in warm water for a little bit (you don't want it to hot or the varnish will be too thin).  This ensure the thick varnish is "fluid" enough for application and let it flow into the mini's nooks and crannies.  For tools I layout a larger in-expensive synthetic brush, white mineral spirits, paper towels, popsicle stick to stir (very important -- do not shake the can as it creates tons of bubbles in the varnish).  I use the varnish dip from the stick directly for painting onto the mini.
Starting at the top of the mini and working my way down, with extra attention to all corners and edges, I drip and paint the varnish onto the mini, letting it flow.
I go back for more dip as needed without thinning it or wiping the application brush off and apply it thicker on the sandals and legs and bottom of the tunic edges.
I check the mini and see that the dip covers the areas pretty well.  There is no need for perfection at this point in the process (you want more varnish then needed, not less).  As the view from the back of the 28mm Centurion shows, you want the dip to be most concentrated in the corners and "shadowy" parts of the mini as if the light was coming from the top of the figure.
Now I allow around 5 minutes for the varnish to "set" on the mini.  I don't do anything and as you can see for the stick being clear of dip, that is about the correct amount of varnish I like to use per mini. Once the timer expires I look at the mini and see how the varnish set-up.  I use white mineral spirits to remove the dip from the highlight points and remove any excess from the corners and edges (with special attention to the weapon).  I repeatedly wipe the brush clean on the paper towel to remove the dip from the smaller synthetic brush and add more mineral spirits to the brush.
I like this part of the process, the varnish responds very well to mineral spirits as the varnish is now tacky and really wants to stick to the figure (which is good!).  I try to allow some extra varnish to stay in some places as the mini needs to look slightly campaign worn.
Now the mini must be left alone and you have to let the varnish dry for 24 hours.  Once dry, I will wash the flesh with P3's Flesh Wash and then highlight the whites and the metals with the appropriate paints.  I only do this on the foreground figures, for the line soldiers I don't do the highlighting just the flesh wash.

Once 24 hours passes, it will be time to finish the basing and apply the final matte spray coat.

To be continued...