February 20, 2013
Having used the Army Painter system on my Iron Warriors army, I felt it was time for a review.
Now, the purpose of building this army was to have a fully painted army done quickly, purely to play games while I take my time to beautifully paint my Tau and High Elves. So quality wasn't so much of an issue as getting it all done quickly.
However, I have been surprised by the results and just how good the miniatures look once they have been shaded. However, there are also some unpleasant surprises which I will describe in detail to prevent you from making the same mistakes.
Army Painter Spray
I used the Army Painter 'Plate Mail Metal' silver spray to base colour the whole army and did it one huge toxic session. Having sprayed 55 infantry and 6 tanks I still had half a can left!
It dried incredibly quickly and left a slightly rough surface. However, when it came down to painting on the basic colours, I hit a problem. Unless the paint was fairly dry, it would run straight off. As someone who tends to water down their paints, this was a bit of a problem, although two thin coats, or just 1 thick coat seemed to do the job alright. GW Foundation Paints stuck to the silver basecoat perfectly fine, which was a relief.
However, I've be concerned about painting neat models like Eldar using Army Painter. Looking beaten up and patchy is perfectly fine for Chaos, Space Marines, Orks and Imperial Guard.
Army Painter Dark Tone Quick Shade Dip
I dipped the whole army in yet another highly toxic session. After all, that it what this stuff is intended for.
I follow the Army Painter guide and grabbed the base of a model with a pair of pliers, dipped it in the pot of Dark Tone and gave the model five good shakes to get rid of any excess dip. Bad idea! Not only did I flick goo up myself, the model was still dripping in dip.
I found it was easy to hold the models by their base and simply dunk them in up to their feet. Then I held the model over the pot of dip for a few minutes as it drained off. I then stood each model to one side on a bit of old wood that I didn't mind getting dip on.
1 Week later I came back to collect them and the shading effect was simply amazing! Honestly, I can not recommend the shading enough if you want quick and easy results.
However, some of the obliterators had black blobs hanging from the underside of their huge guns. Meanwhile others were 'swimming' in dip which had leaked down on to their bases.
It was only later I was advised by another user of Quick Shade to only ever paint the dip on and use a bit of white spirit to water it down and stop it from blobbing. Oh well...
I then proceeded to get a great big brush and slap Dark Tone on the Rhinos, which turned out great as well. Although I feel that they would have looked even better had I covered them in skulls, chains, spikes and chaotic bits beforehand. The Quick Sjade seems to bring very detailed miniatures to life far better than simple ones. Still, the tanks look suitably dirty and oily to fit in with the rest of the army.
Army Painter Black Flock
Following the Army Painter guide, I now flocked the bases of all the models using a paintbrush and some PVA glue and their Black Pre-Painted Flock.
Pre-Painted my arse! It looks as though they bought some cheap model railway track ballast and quickly sprayed in black.
I really should water down some Black Paint and go over it, then drybrush it two shades of grey, but I can't be bothered. And that kind of defeats the whole 'quick and easy' purpose of Army Painter if you ask me.
Army Painter Anti-Shine Matt Varnish
But if there's one Army Painter product I cannot complain about, it's their Anti-Shine Matt Varnish. It works and like their undercoat spray, there is loads of it in the can, presenting very good value compared to the other spray matt varnishes on the market.
However, after spray varnishing my army some of the bases went a bit funny. I think this is from layering up silver spray, a lot of dip and then varnish on a flat surface, because the surface started cracking in places. It seems like the GW Chaos Black paint simply can't stick to the silver spray undercoat, even after being varnished.
It seems okay for now, but I may have to scrape the paint off the edge of the bases with a knife and apply a dark grey Foundation Paint instead which should stick to the basecoat without cracking and peeling off.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but considering there are so few Army Painter reviews on the web and I was pressed for time, I had to dive right in.
Luckily I don't really care about the army too much, otherwise I'd be very upset at how the bases turned out, because while they're not obvious until you have a closer inspection, it's just a shame when the army turned out so much better than expected.
If I was to paint another Warhammer 40K army using the Army Painter system, I'd do 2 things differently.
1) I'd still dip the models, but I'd have a brush handy to remove any excess dip
2) I would mount them all on scenic resin bases instead of using flock
There are two reasons for this last one. First of all, the Army Painter flock is expensive and rubbish. Secondly, because of the way that the dip runs down the model and on to the base, it makes sense to have a scenic base that you can dip as well. That way you can paint the bases along with the models, dip them and you're done. It sure beats flocking the models, painting the flock, then adding grass, snow or winter tufts.
So if you're building a big army, or you simply suck at painting, then Army Painter is a brilliant solution which I would recommend. You just need to be aware of the potential problems you might face. But if I ran a painting service, I'd definitely use it on all of my clients' armies.
February 20, 2013
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