Painting Annotations

Whilst working on some tutorials its become apparent that I can serious cut down on the amount of repeated information, or there are times that I might use terminology that a reader may not of heard before (It's also quite possible that I used the wrong term for a technique, having learnt wrong myself!) So this page will house all the terms and descriptions for those things that do not contain enough to warrant a dedicated post, or require repeated mentions. It will be constantly updated, with items being added and removed as required.

Sand Wash:

Sand wash is a home-made wash I created to deal with several issues that arose from using fine grit/sand on bases. Quite often the finest sand- such as bird cage grit or the sand that comes with baccus basing set, is quite often so fine that if does not stick as well to a base with PVA, like a larger grain sand will. I found that it could become patchy, often rubbing off when you go to paint the base. This is usually a non-issue for those people that base before undercoating, as the spray will seal the sand to the base. But most often I paint the miniatures separate before basing, and having to seal the sand with more PVA before drybrushing is slow, tedious and runs the risk of ruining the paint job.

Sand wash allows you to not only seal the sand to the base, but is made to be applied with minimal of brush strokes and is applied by the science of capillary action!

How to make Sand Wash:

I use a plastic pot with screw lid (I picked up a pile in 'the range' in the craft section) The pots are way larger than the amount I make- which allows me to top it up as needed. The jars are about 100-120ml in size, but have wide tops as I like to be able to pour in easily.

To make 60ml of wash, I use:
  • 10ml of Black Paint ( I use vallejo game colour, as it has a good strong pigment)
  • 10ml of Medium (I use liquidtex Matt Medium as its cheap and comes in huge bottles)
  • 10ml Flow Aid (I use W&N flow aid, mixed with water as per bottle directions)
  • 30ml water (just plain tap water. You could use bottled water, but I've never had a problem with tap)

When using sand wash always start with a wet brush, a dry brush doesn't work so well.

Once you have added sand to your base, and the PVA has been left to completely dry (it has to be completely dry, otherwise the wash can 'reactivate' the glue, simple get a brush load and touch the sand with the tip of the brush, and allow capillary action to pull the wash from the brush into all the sand. DO NOT brush or try to paint, as it can leave bold spots in the sand, or pull loose sand from the base.

Leave for a good amount of time (I leave it for about the time it takes for me go online and complain that Rick & Morty season 3 is still not out- about an hour!) to completely dry. Once its dry, is will be almost set. The colour will be a bit weak, as a wash it will not completely coated. I always give it a thin layer of black paint after, but you can probably skip this step, depending on how you wish to finish your basing.

Couple of points-

When using in conjunction with MDF bases or Chipboard/foamcore, go easy with its application. Its high water content will warp bases. I use mostly plasticard, but from time to time I use chipboard for terrain. I use a little less wash and might do a 2nd pass if needed. If possible, weight the base down when drying to help keep its shape. Use bottle caps, as if it leaves any marks or grooves in the sand, the thin edges limit the amount, and at worse will be a small are to conceal or fix. As long as you dont leave it on for the entire drying time, you wont get any marks at all.

If on the first go the wash does not pull down in to the sand and spread out, then mix a little bit more water to some of the wash in the cap. It can dry out, especially in the big cheap craft pots, but will just need a little water to bring it back to life.

You can 'top' the pot up with left over paint. Sometimes I over estimate how much black I need, especially if I am undercoating by hand, so if I find myself with left over black on the pallet, I just add the left over in to the top of the pot, and give it a little shake.  I dont bother adding water at the time, I wait until I next go to use it.

If you use a lot of wood/mdf bases dont use cheap craft paint. The pigment is not as strong and its more watery already. It will cause more warping, and you will need more than one pass to get a good solid coat. I use vallejo because I brought several spare blacks a few years backs, but I find that Game colour black has a more greyish finish, similar to GWs black, and I much prefer the matt finish of Model colour black.

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