+ Common Core Concepts +

Thursday, December 19, 2013

+ inload: Agrellan Earth review +

+ inload: Craquelure effects +

+ Games Workshop recently released a new paint in their Technical range, called Agrellan Earth. It's a neutral colour that results in a craquelure effect on the finished piece. I've experimented with a couple of craquelure mediums before, and have liked the results, so I thought I'd pick up a pot. +

+ I've had a load of orks sat around waiting for basing inspiration to strike me, and this seemed the perfect opportunity. It's also a sneaky preview for you on the Blakk Kuttas, the M37-era tribe I'll be using in next year's PCRC campaign (cor, dat's ded sneeky). +

+ Use of the product +

+ The orks were painted completely then glued to their bases. Each base was then painted with a dark brown (Rhinox Hide). This is because Agrellan Earth will shrink – this is what creates the cracks – so you want a sympathetic colour underneath to see through the gaps. Since this was an experiment, I also textured one with sand (he's second from left in the images below). +

+ The craquelure effect usually requires a thick layer, so I sloshed it on using a 12mm (¼in) flat brush. I've found these useful for basing with the GW technical paints as they allow you to carry a decent amount of the pigment and spread it easily while being flat enough to let you avoid the model itself. +

Paint freshly applied.

+ The models were then left to dry overnight in the spare room where I mostly do my painting. 

+ Here are the results after eight hours:
+ Dried effect after eight hours. +
+ As you can see, the effect has worked quite nicely to suggest mud flats. I'd be tempted to use a more midtone colour in the future to avoid the large dark gaps on models like the one second from the right – I hadn't realised the effect would be quite so pronounced. The bases need a little tidying up around the rims, but otherwise look pretty good. A little experiment saw me able to scrape errant bits off the rims of the bases easily, so I'd be a bit concerned about the longevity of the effect for models you're transporting or use for gaming. I'm also a bit sceptical that they'll hold up to any simple highlighting effects like drybrushing. +

+ Here's a closer look at the two effects. On the left, Agrellan Earth was applied directly on to the untextured base (these are 30mm bases from Heresy miniatures [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]), while the ork on the left had a base pre-textured with sand. The effect is less extreme (fewer, smaller gaps) on the right, and I suspect it's probably going to be more resilient. Both effects look quite nice, though, in my opinion. +
+ In future, I'd like to experiment with layering the paint over some of GW's textured paint range like Armageddon Dust, as I think it would provide a nice mid-point between the two extremes in the detail image above. I also wonder whether you could get some nice lava effects by painting the base bright orange and lightly spraying black over the drying Agrellan Earth before it cracks. +

+ I think this is quite a fun product to play around with. Caveat emptor, though, as you don't get much in a pot (12ml, I think) and have to layer it on quite thickly to get the effect. If you want to work quickly, the GW paint is pre-coloured and mixed, which will save you some time and let you get stuck straight in. I don't get as much time to paint as I'd like, so I'm happy to pay for the convenience. I have heard there's apparently a bad batch of Agrellan Earth (kudos to the GW saleswoman at Brighton for warning me of this before purchase, and explaining how to go about getting a replacement) so, if possible, ask about that when buying. +

+ Alternatives and addenda +

+ However, you can pick up colourless craquelure medium from art shops very cheaply, which will achieve the same effects with slightly more time and layering (it may be sold as crackle glaze medium or as a two-part medium). Vallejo do a crackle medium that works well, though I've found it a bit more faff to use – you have to be quite careful with your timings and the results can be fragile. +

+ Alternatively, you can use PVA glue for a similar – though less controlled and more extreme – effect, as seen on the bases of these Epic Eldar grav tanks. The trick to craquelure is simply to get a thin layer of paint on over a slow-drying layer. Aerosol paint works well for this because it creates such a fine layer. Lay on a thick layer of PVA, then simply spray normally over it before leaving to dry overnight. +

Halford's white primer applied over wet PVA glue (white crafters' glue).

+ Conclusion +

 In conclusion, I think Agrellan Earth is a good, if slightly pricey product. Like a lot of GW's stuff, it's aimed at fuss-free and speedy work, and it does this very well. There are good, cheaper alternatives that will give you comparable results and are more versatile (only having one colour rather restricts the effect) but I'm happy to recommend this if you're on the fence.+

+ Since writing this review back in the heady days of 2013, Games Workshop have released a couple of other craquelure paints – Martian Ironearth is a red version, for example. The review applies equally to those; it looks like the carrier medium is identical – just a change in hue. +


  1. Great review mate, have you thought about a watered down layer of PVA over the top to add some hardnes and resilience to the crackle? I think it would help a lot, and then you could dry brush it to make the cracks really pop.

    Remembered where I'd seen what I was talking about with regards to the crackle medium and dry brushing.


  2. You referred to the one on the left twice. Please clarify.


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