+ inload: On the workbench, and experiments with GW's Contrast paint +

+ Experimenting and expanding armies +

+ Games Workshop recently released their 'Contrast' range of paints. I'm always interested in new developments of mediums and ranges, so picked up a few pots to play around with. +

+ The range is explicitly designed to make painting quick, the carrier working to deposit the pigment in a way that suggests natural highlights and shadows – a sort of bizarro-glaze. Where glazing aims to get the pigment applied as evenly as possible across a miniature's surface, the Contrast paints are designed to recede from ridges and deposit in crevices. The result is something that is intended to simulates the same effect as you'd get from laying down a base coat, then adding shading tones to the recesses and layering highlights to the raised areas. +

+ I've been looking for an excuse to paint these figures – lovely characterful sculpts that I've had waiting patiently for a project. Robes seemed like the perfect testing ground for this new product, as working out how the tones should be applied amongst their folds and creases can be challenging. +

+ I can see Gryph-hound Orange taking a permanent place in my palette. It's a lovely warm rusty muted earth-orange, a bit like the sadly-lamented Solar Macharius Orange from the Foundation range. The picture above shows it applied as a single layer over a Halford's white undercoat. You work straight from the pot, so it's quite an odd experience, but it applies nicely, with the right balance between flow and surface tension to stay where you put it. +

+ The effect above was very quick. It took – quite literally – seconds to get an equivalent effect to a more traditional base coat and wash. +

+ GW advise you to work over one of their proprietary off-white sprays, as the paint relies on having a completely smooth surface. You can see here what happens over a standard pure white spray – there's a certain graininess to the finish. You'd want to avoid this if you're using this purely to speed up your workflow, so in those cases I would recommend the GW spray. However, if you're looking to add it as another string to your painting bow, you might find this an advantage. I quite like the effect it has on the fabric here; adding very subtle surface texture and still working into the folds. +

+ The big advantage I see for me here is that the Contrast paint has established the areas of shade and highlight in one quick, clean movement – which means I can now use other techniques to push those areas without second-guessing myself on how the light should fall. Very useful – almost like a 'light map'. +

+ This kroot was an experiment in using the paint wet-in-wet; something that suits these fluid paints nicely. Snakebite leather (no, not that one) is the brown here, and Apothecary white for the belly. You can see how the colours have flowed and merged nicely in the recesses of the belly – something I find very promising. +

+ Again, it's the speed – something all but impossible to show here – that's the impressive thing. He (she?) must have taken two minutes at most; and while not great, it's a hell of a better base layer than I would be able to create with traditional paints and techniques. The figure above is ripe for further development – and when time is at a premium, being able to shave time off the dull 'grunt work' of base-coating to give you more finishing time is very valuable. +


+ My initial conclusions? The Contrast range are a useful new tool. While not miraculous, equally they're definitely not a case of 'emperor's new clothes'. I can see them working very nicely in batch-painting (something I find terribly tedious), and in combination with other techniques, will help out a lot for particular effects. As with any tool, then, it's more down to getting familiar with them, and working out how you can use it for something creative and personal. +


+ Expansion +

+ Painting's been mostly off the boil owing to the heat, but I have got some more building done for various armies. Too many unbuilt kits! +

+ Lamb's World +

+ More Lamb's Worlders – a combination of Forge World Elysians, Cadians and Van Saar, plus Victoria Minature bits. It was nice to build some more basic troops. +

+ Something a bit different – a dog handler. The dog's from Anvil Industries, the handler's head from Victoria Miniatures. Not sure what he'll count as, but the important thing is he was fun to make. +

+ Bleak Vespers +

+ Ho ho ho. Grandfather Nurgle's forces gather in the Warp. A nice ol' pile of Death Guard get their bases and undercoat done, ready for the main painting [+noosphericinload link embedded+]. +

+ A quick close-up of the first few off the priming pad – mostly specialists. +

+ ... and apropos of nothing, this chap got built. Using far more mutated and warped parts than the rest of the (relatively restrained) Bleak Vespers, he'll perhaps be a Lord or Greater Possessed. +

+ Ambull +

+ Giant rock-boring pile of bad attitude. What's not to like? +


  1. Thanks for showing off the contrast paints. I'm excited to play with the black one for marine armour.

    I used to preshade Orks when painting by priming them light grey and washing sloppily with dilute blacks/dark browns. This allowed me to put thin transparent colour layers on top that had preexisting shades, which was a rather fast way to deal with ork flesh.

    The result was rather washed out though and I'm hoping contrast will alleviate that.

  2. That Gryph hound orange is a great color, and it seems like it could come in useful a number of places. Please do let us know how you get on with the contrast paints as you continue to work with them.


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