This summer has been the summer of Shatterpoint. I’ve been learning how to play the game and, my favorite bit so far, painting up the beautiful Star Wars miniatures. To aid me in my quest, Spanish hobby company Green Stuff World sent me some paint to help me paint up the massive starter set box. I’ve been enjoying the process so much, I’ve fallen behind with my writing and am now playing catch up!
In this first part, I’m painting the B1 droids, looking at the range of speed paints or “dipping inks” that Green Stuff World provided me with. I’m comparing them directly with Citadel’s contrast paints to see which I prefer and which gives the best approximation to the classic B1 beige.
What are the Green Stuff World Dipping Inks?
Check out the range here. (The official blurb on how the paints work can be found beneath the paint range choices.)
Paint don’t dip!
I’m not sure if there is a technique that actually dips miniatures into these inks, but the instructions very clearly state that you can use a brush with these dipping inks. They’re easy to use if you do so. “Dipping Ink” certainly seems to be a misleading term. Because of the name, I would definitely have overlooked them as a speed paint alternative.
What’s a Speed Paint?
Ever since the arrival of Citadel Contrast paints, every paint manufacturer has tried to catch up with their own brand of speed paint. There have been additional ranges from Army Painter, Vallejo, and Scale Color. The central conceit of speed paints is that rather than painting your miniatures with several different layers of highlighting and shading, you can just apply one coat over a light undercoat, and all the shading is done for you. They’re ideal for busy painters.
The reality is a little more complicated than that, with speed paints simply being another weapon in the arsenal of most painters. Nevertheless, it’s fair to say, with a little bit of practice they can definitely speed up the painting process, with only a slight decrease in the quality of the finished product. They are particularly good for models like the B1 Droids or Stormtroopers.
Check out this video, if you want an insight into the evolution of Games Workshop’s Contrast Paints and there for the whole speed paint market. There are also some fascinating insights into the road GW products travel from concept to market.
Compare on Price.
The most significant thing to compare between Games Workshop Contrast and Green Stuff World Dipping Inks has got to be price. At the time of writing, in the UK, the dipping ink costs £5 for 60 ml, and the Contrast paint £4 for 18ml. This is a significant saving if you buy the dipping ink. Which paint you prefer is always going to be subjective, but objectively, the Green Stuff World inks are much much better value than contrast paints. Of course, if you’re not painting a lot of figures you may not need 60ml. For Shatterpoint for example, you almost certainly don’t.
One edge Contrast Paints have is that the range is larger. You have more options, particularly if you don’t want to mix your own colors up.
The Droids We Were Looking For?
I painted 2 bases of B1 Droids, one with contrast paint and one with dipping inks. I used the “Skeleton Brown” dipping ink and the “Skeleton Horde” contrast paint. Both sets of models were primed with Games Workshop’s Wraithbone spray primer.
With speed paints you have to be careful to only push the paint in one direction and not to revisit once the paint has started drying. If you do, you run the risk of tide marks; unsightly rings of paint on your minis. I am very bad at following this piece of advice.
For each base, I painted each of the three droids with different dilutions.
Working from front to back, the first droid is painted using neat Skeleton Horde. The middle mini is 50/50 with Citadel’s Contrast Medium and the right-hand one is 50/50 with water. Using the medium shouldn’t alter the properties of the paint, whilst scaling back the pigmentation. Using water, the wisdom goes, might cause the paint to act differently. I can’t say I particularly noticed a massive difference (more so when using black, later).
Dipping Ink Base.
The picture below is slightly misleading, as I started to dry brush the droids before remembering I wanted to take some pictures!
Again, moving from front to back, I have used neat paint, 50/50 paint/medium, and 50/50 paint/water.
For a standard B1 Droid, the undiluted Green Stuff World paint was too dark. When watered down either water or medium I arrived at a decent approximation of the color I wanted.
I wanted to lighten the mini on which I’d used too much dark dipping ink, so I tried a drybrush of Green Stuff Worlds’s Parchment – A color similar to Citadels Karak Stone or another bone color. This had mixed results. (Though I have come to love this paint since. More on that in part 2.) Whilst I was cogitating what to do, my son wandered past, and said “They look like Geonosian droids.” Realizing he was right, (the B1’s used on Geonosis in The Clone Wars are much darker) I decided I’d double down on the Skeleton Brown.
Before doing that, however, I painted the guns, with Black Templar Contrast for the GW base and Deep Black dipping ink for the GSW base. Again I watered them down. You can really see this on the contrast base, particularly when watered down with water. I think for the guns, the effect is better for both paints if they’re thinned a little, but on balance, the Deep Black gave better coverage when used both neat or thinned down.
For the bases, I used Green Stuff World paints for both. I want to have a consistent look to the bases across all my Shatterpoint models, so I didn’t want to mix and match paint. The base colors are Parchment, Brown Skin, and Anthrax metal. For the stones, I made a mix of black and teal grey that GSW sent me.
I finished both these bases of miniatures very quickly. GW’s Skeleton Horde does give a better approximation to the classic B1 droid color, but I was pleased with the coverage that the Skeleton Brown gave me, and I like the darker finish too. At some point, I may darken down the other base, and almost certainly add another layer of Deep Black to the GW base, to tie all the guns together. Deep Black will definitely be making it into my regular painting arsenal; I’m impressed by the finish it gives. Overall I’ve been impressed with how the dipping inks performed, for large numbers of models or perhaps for use on scenery, I would definitely use them over Citadel.
In the next post, I shall be taking a look at the main, more traditional paint range. I’ve almost finished the entire Shatterpoint core set, which has definitely given me time to form some likes and dislikes. One of the things I particularly like is the vibrancy of the pigments, as evidenced in the photos below. In Part 2 I’ll be doing a deeper dive into how I found painting with Green Stuff World’s main range. Look out for the post soon.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.