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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now everyone keep saying that white is a hard colour to paint and I wonder why is that? Now I have an idea of painting a couple off models in a white scheme and this is how I plan to do it.

1) base the model with white spraypaint.
2) a light wash of grey.
3) drybrush back with white.
4) colour details such as metals, gems and bags.

Anyone that gone by this aproach and can tell me why it wouldn't work?
 

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Its the wash that will cause you a problem. A majority of white paints don't tend to cover dark colours particularly well (this is a general problem and not just restricted to painting miniatures.

I would be inclined to paint a base coat of grey and then build up white on top of this. But then again I have not tried to paint a figure a majority white before so other peoples opinions may be more valid.
 

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I imagine the issue is how any surface inconsistency will stand out a lot when using white, which would be exacerbated by the fact white doesn't layer on too well on dark colours. I'm painting armour plates a very dark blue at the moment and applying very thin watery paints on to the model, but when I look very closely at the model there are a few places with tiny lumps in the paint which aren't apparent because of the dark colour but which would be a lot more apparent with white. Even using a wet palette and thin paints there are still these surface imperfections, so I think white will be a real challenge to get a smooth layer.

Saying that I like your idea of a white base and grey wash. Are you talking about that pale grey ink Vallejo do? The only change I'd suggest would be instead of drybrushing white I'd just paint very thin layers of white until you get the colour you want. Drybrushing seems like it could leave flecks of dry paint that will stand out a lot on a white surface. If you get a nice white colour you still have the issue that every other detail needs to be extremely neat because you can't afford to brush over the white sections at all, but I think it'll b worth it because white models can look awesome. I haven't done white before so I'm not speaking from experience, but I imagine the issues I brought up are what you could run into

I'd be quite interested to see how your white comes out if you decide to update this thread later. I almost went for a white theme for my CSM using that pale grey wash
 

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In my experience with painting white, it stems simply from the fact that you might be looking for a nice, even and brilliant white colour and you start painting over whatever colour and it ends up being patchy and grey and often even has a slight tint of another colour. If there's any paint left over from a previous colour, you will screw up the white when mixing on the palette; red is particularly annoying for this. So I would advise having a dedicated white brush, even if only for this particular painting session.

The problem with your approach is exactly what I described above; you will get a patchy coat. Of course, this can be conquered with lots of thin layers but it's easier said than done and you run a high risk of having paint looking like it was caked on.

Assuming your model is all white, a wash is normally the way to go, but you don't wash the whole model... You get a detail brush and you paint it directly into the cracks and creases of the miniature, so any thing that's white should stay white. Leave this to dry and then clean up the edges around where you used the wash

Practice makes perfect here as you wish probably get a bit of wash on the white where you don't want it and then when cleaning this up you may inadvertently paint some more white into that crevice and this is where the paint starts to build up and eventually you might find there's no crevice left to paint into.

Of course you can take the Lester Bursley approach and instead of using a wash you base-coat the model grey and then paint white in thin gradual layers over the top whilst avoiding the crevices; this leaves the grey in the crevices and removes the step of messy washes. However, this process can take a much longer time than using the wash.



Another option to look at, or another two even, are oil washes and enamel washes. The basic concept is the same, however from what I've read (And I haven't read up on enamel washes in years) there is some difference in the technique.

With an oil wash what you want to get a hold of is an OIL based paint in the colour of the wash you want. Make a wash out of this mixed with white spirits (methylated spirits in the US, I believe).

1. Gloss coat the model (spray, not brush)
2. Apply oil wash to the model in the areas you want (so aim for the crevices)
3. Allow the wash to fully dry
4. Get a cotton bud (q-tip) and rub away the excess oil wash (so any that hit areas you don't want).
5. Apply a matt varnish (Unless you want to keep the gloss finish).

In step 4 you might need to wet the q-tip with some oil wash, I forget but it won't hurt to take 2 seconds and try rubbing it away with a dry q-tip (which is much safer as the white spirits will eat away the other paint as well) and if it doesn't work then move on to a wet q-tip (and be cautious).

The purpose of the gloss coat here is to provide a low-traction surface for the oil wash to flow across. Of course, the gloss coat might also be there to protect against mineral spirits in step 4, but you'll need to test that or google it.


With regards to the enamel wash, the way I remember it being done is just applying an enamel wash straight into the crevices without an oil wash and then using enamel paint stripper to clean around the edges. The idea being that the enamel paint stripper would remove enamel paint put leave acrylic paint un-harmed.

Both achieve the same effect. I don't know which one is more economical or easier as I've only ever done oil washes. If you want to google up about the enamel wash, I was reading a tutorial on painting an eldar vehicle. One of their tanks, it might have been a wave serpent.

Anyway, I hope this post helps because it feels like I've been typing for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input guys! The only grey I have for the moment is codex grey which I plan to water down heavily. I'll keep in mind not to wash the whole models but simply on the recesses I want a shade. I think I'll try with a light blue shade aswell and see what I prefer in the end.

What I'm going for is a White Seer. There is no rules for them but I just would like the look if one joined my Altansar warhost. Once I'll start with it I'll post here and direct you to my Plog.
 

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Your best bet is a mix of the two methods mentioned already.

Prime the model in a gray that you would normally think was white if you weren't directly comparing the color to something that is actually white. Codex Grey is close. Highlight that with actual white then use an oil wash of a darker (still not very dark) gray color. The oil wash will run into the recesses very well and create a crisp line.

The issue with painting white is that there is no way to show a highlight on it since it's at the absolute end of the scale. Much like painting black and not being able to shade it. Starting with a damn near white shade of gray will help tremendously. Remember that there will not be the usual range of shades to it since it's just white.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
See if you can find SilverTabby's post about her awesome Sister-vs-Dark Eldar duel 'Boot To The Head' that went in to Golden Demon, that had great white armour in it and iirc she did explain how she did it.

Thanks for the reminder! I know that one and found silvertabby's tuturial off the paint. Started all black and went up with many fine layers of white. I wonder if you would get the same effect with a grey primer and fewer layers of white.
 

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Grey primer up to white is a lot less work, but sometimes it can be harder to tell when you really have a good coat going because you can't obviously see where the basecoat is showing through. At least in my experiences with switching from black primer to white and grey, depending on the application.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bear in mind that she was doing that as a stand-alone display figure, so if you're trying to do white on troops cutting out a stage or two might be advisable for the sake of your sanity.

Well I'm thinking a single or maybe a pair of modells. As I said earlier it is just for fun. There will be a slight converting to them aswell since they don't wear any masks. I'll need to remove the head of a farseer modell and replace it with a bald eldar head, maybe hooded.
 

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I don't paint white very often, but on my termy heads i used a light brown wash in the crevices for shading. I figure with white armour it's going to show the dirt a lot more and it adds a lot of definition from afar.
 
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