Saturday, 27 December 2014

Just For The Craic

I once heard a tale that Post-It Notes were an accidental invention, created by a scientist who was looking for a super-strong adhesive and instead came up with a removable one (presumably on little squares of yellow paper).

I like to think the same was true of the new Technical Paint, the 'cracked surface' Agrellan Earth.

"Damn it Jenkins! What are we supposed to do with paint that cracks when it dries?"

I also understand that there was a problem with the initial batch of paints, which actually did not to crack. Resulting in a lot of frustrated customers who had to watch paint dry in the normal, smooth way, and not appreciating the irony one bit.

Duly assured that I was buying the right kind of defective paint, I helped myself to a pot. And when the Night Goblins appeared on my assembly line, I took the opportunity to try it out.

As with the greenskin flesh tones, I had an idea that I could paint each base slightly different - plains for Savages, steppes for Wolf Riders, woodland for Forest Goblins - and yet still keep it themed alike (probably by using the same colour edging). As Night Goblins would be the rock/cave types, they seemed the best candidates for cracked earth.

Step 1: Slap It On


There is apparently a sweet spot of paint application: too thin and the cracks will be tiny; too much and it will start to flake off. I went with a good globbing on from the brush (you'll forgive the technical language) - basically the amount of paint you would use if you were trying to do two coats in one, sloppy job.

Step 2: Be Patient


Yeah, this was the tricky bit. You have to wait one full hour for it to take effect. even after a couple of minutes, I found my attention straying to the paint, just to see if the magic effect had started. In the end, I constructed a little screen so the model could continue away from prying eyes, and I could get on with some work.

Step 3: Ta-da!


And it worked! It seems not the be flaking off, and the best crackles happened where I laid it on thickest (you'll note the corners got least attention).

The colour was a bit light for what I wanted, so I washed it with Agrax Earthshade (details to the model were added in between, and the light conditions changed - in the interests of science I should point out this has nothing to do with the paint).

Step 4: Scrap the whole thing and go back to flock

This is no judgement on the Agrellan Earth - but when I placed it next to my existing greenskins, it didn't gel as I thought. There's going to be plenty of variety among the different tribes when I'm done - I need the bases to unify the army, not divide them.

Reflections on crackle paint:

  • Generally looks good. Quicker and easier than any kind of flock. If you want a quick and dirty way of basing miniatures, this might do very well.
  • Limitations: you are stuck with light brown as a colour (or whatever variations you can manage with inks). If you want other options, you will be able to paint over the crackle, but that's upping the workload. You'd want a different colour for the edging too - mine blended too much and didn't look finished.
  • Contrast: I didn't use a strong contrasting colour for the undercoat - and I appear to have been quite conservative when applying the effect, so the cracks weren't that large to reveal them. (You can see it done here to better effect.) Again, it looks good, but you're putting more time into the work.
  • With the thickness of the layer, the cracks seemed to be quite subtle - I think I'd want them bigger and thicker on bases if I used them (especially for the cartoony greenskins - it may be more suitable for more slender models).
  • I'll return to using this paint - maybe as basing for a Mordheim band, to break up the gaps on a larger base, or even as paint on a model itself (it might make very good flaky/scaly skin, so the potential for mutations is there).

Right, there are plenty more greenskins to go, so I'd better (ahem) crack on.

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