Mistakes with Washes

Continuing from my last post on my progress on storage containers, I wanted to weather them.  For anyone who has seen my Ultramarines, you’ll know that I have a very 2nd edition era scheme that doesn’t include any weathering.  As such, I don’t have much experience with the techniques, nor do I own many tools/paints to assist.  I’ve heard of weathering powders and the like, but I’ve never used them.  Most weathering options I use are one-offs that I hear of on the internet.

WH39kMistakesWithWash (1)Of course, this isn’t one of those.  My thought was that I would just slather watered down brown/black inks onto the models to make them look like they’d been aged.  I don’t recall exactly which I used–though I think it was an old pot of GW chestnut wash primarily.  I can say that it was a mix of a couple of washes I had around, and I wanted it to be lighter than a pure ink/wash, so I watered it down considerably.  I wound up washing all of them at my table (and making quite a bit of a mess in the process) before I realized that it was far darker than I had wanted.

Well, since the washes were still wet, the easy answer was simply to run them under the faucet to wash off some of the excess, right?


The thinking was logical and even worked out–to a point–just not quite in the way that I wanted.  The problem arose from the fact that the washes pool into recesses and corners, so they’re thickest in those areas.  As a result, the washes had dried in the spots adjacent to the recesses where it was thinner, but not yet in the actual crevasses themselves.   So, when I ran water over them, it wound up washing away the parts that I wanted to keep, and keeping the parts I wanted to wash away.

WH39kMistakesWithWashesOh bother…

At this point I found myself trying to do damage control.  I did wind up rinsing them all because I wanted them to at least look consistent, but then I was left with models that didn’t achieve the effect I wanted.  I figured I could go back and apply more ink/wash to them, but that would only make them even darker than before (and if you recall, I was rinsing them to make them lighter to begin with), or I could scrap the whole thing and start over.

I went with option #3: just accept the flaw, commit to writing a blog post about it, and move on with my life.  After all, it was merely terrain anyway, and it didn’t look that bad from a distance (maybe I’m kidding myself?), plus it could potentially serve as a warning to others that might think about rinsing off washes that have partially set.  Beware!  Don’t fall prey to my folly!

After that, I splashed a little blood effects on them and then considered them finished–well, until I noticed something else….



11 comments on “Mistakes with Washes

  1. Rough! While I know it’s not the end result you were looking for, they do look great. I found old washes get really thick over time. If you want to darken the recesses a bit, try adding a dark pin wash instead, basically just add dark brown to the recesses and let capillary action pull it around

    • Spot on advice. I tried a bit of it, and it does look markedly better. I’m not sure that I want to back and redo it all, but at least I know what to do if it happens in the future. Thanks!

      On Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 8:05 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  2. Most of us have been in your spot, and we’ve all learned the same lesson you did. For what you were doing, I would have just gone in and dry rushed the metal back on after it all dried. Even when weathering, or using washes in general, I rarely ever leave it at the wash stage.

  3. Yeah I didn’t notice anything wrong with them at all though I wasn’t critiquing them when I saw them. Thought they looked good to me!

  4. This is exactly how you weather. Make horrible mistakes that don’t look the way you envisioned…then dive right back in. The more random, the more off the wall it looks, the better it ends up being! The dynamic colors and amazing aspects of weathering are so difficult to replicate because so few of us ever really let go.

    The way things degrade and fall apart is nothing short of extraordinary!

    Keep going. It’s just part of the weathering :).

    • I appreciate that. I’m always a little uneasy getting into something new, but you’re right: you do have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

      On Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 2:58 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


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