Friday Quick Tip: Wash Basics I

When I started my Orks oh so many months back, I knew that I would be using the new(ish) Games-Workshop Washes rather extensively, along with a few old school washing techniques I'd learned along the way. You might be new to these wonders of modern painting, and even if you're not, I'm hoping that this set of articles ( which should continue on future Fridays! ) will be helpful in guiding your use of them to new heights.

Today we'll be going over the most basic use of these great paints, adding depth. You've likely seen people all across the net telling people to wash over their entire model with Badab Black or some other dark wash color to bring out all the great detailing that's just waiting to be contrasted with some nice dark recessed areas. And to their credit, they're right! If you're not up for building your colors up from a dark color or going back in and adding it by hand, washing can really speed up the process to great effect.

To start us off, you're going to want your base colors all opaque and in place on the model. Here you can see I've used my US WW2 color set to paint a nice opaque color scheme on this Slugga Boy from the Assault on Black Reach set. I haven't built any of these colors up past their base color. Keep it neat, keep it clean, and keep the coverage even.

Now the easy, and honestly rather fun, part of the tip! Paint over all the surfaces you want to add the depth to with Badab Black. I have spared the skin on this project, as I use a set of other washes and highlighting that I will be sure to share in the future! Watering the wash down just a bit helps get a bit more even coverage. Be sure to not let a big pool of wash form in any spot and only into the recessed details. Play about with it for a little bit and you'll get the hang of leaving the wash where you want. Your colors will get darkened on the whole, so don't try and leave any spot without the wash, that's what we want!

After letting your wash dry ( Completely!! ), break out your base colors again and use them to highlight your model! No thinking, just reapply your paint to the appropriate areas leaving a bit of the darkened color showing. Use the highlights appropriately and you'll really get a nice effect with hardly any effort! It's all about picking out the higher or edged details leaving that washed down color to the lower or recessed areas of the model.

With this model, I've given him a dusting of Bleached Bone at the end of the process to give him a bit dirtier of a look without taking it too far. This also helps to bring out some of the harder edged details even more, again if you do this step, be sure to stick to the upper details and leave your shadows alone!

This model also uses my Rust recipe in a bit more of a wash fashion ( watering down the paints ), as well as a bit of Freehand for the check-marks and star detail.

I've been hard at the washes since they were released using them in all different manners and so far, I'm extremely happy with the results. Anyone have any fun tricks with washes they've stumbled across?


  1. Excellent. Thank you, I'm looking forward to seeing more. :)

  2. I love that Ork.
    I like using the WWII colors too.
    Great tutorial it will come in handy for my Stealers.

  3. Ahhhh, yes. The divine wash. Here's the truth - washes are the biggest forgiver of crappy paint-jobs. And once you start playing with the different color washes you will NEVER turn back.

    Blending, shading, and building up are all nice techniques, but they take just too frakkin long.

    Washes RULE!

    Great article!

  4. I saw a photoshop someone made of a GW wash pot named"Devlin Miracle"
    very aptly named IMO

  5. I prefer using flesh washes on ork skin, it looks more "natural" to me- whatever that means.

  6. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  7. Great tip! Many thanks. I recently acquired some of the new GW inks and I'll put it in practice now in my last IG minis following your comments.