Sunday, February 27, 2011

How to save your dipped models from the dreaded Dullcote Frost

For anyone who has dipped models, you know that there are things about the practice that can be aggravating.

Sticky Fingers - or really, sticky everything.  Furniture varnish (or whatever Army Painter's Quickshade is) is sticky stuff and with all the dipping, shaking, and touchup you have to do you're bound to get it somewhere you don't want it.  Unfortunately, the only way you can clean it up is with paint thinner.  Soap and hot water ain't got nothin' fer it.

Shaking it off - Part of the process of proper dipping involves shaking the dipped model - preferably against newspaper or an old plastic tarp - to remove excess dip.  I've come to dread this stage because inevitably a model or two will slip out of the pliers I use to dip them and either break or get covered in dirt and debris as it goes sailing off into the garage.  I'm sure somewhere in there there's a joke about shaking it too much. . .

But the most aggravating thing about dipping only happens at the very end of the process - making it more than merely aggravating.  Depending on the project it can be soul-crushing, as you find your finished models transformed by. . .


That's right, that wicked intersection of Testors Dullcote spray and high humidity that takes you from nearly completed model to useless garbage in 15 minutes of drying time.  Its not Testors' fault.  Any matte spray can give you the effect.  Dullcote is just a really popular, and effective brand.

No, no, the evil twin in this dastardly duo is humidity.  And here in Florida, we have a lot of it.  And Dullcote reeks of alcohol, so there's no spraying the stuff indoors - not unless you want to incur the enmity of the rest of the inhabitants of your house as you drive them outdoors.

Take a look at the picture below:

Here you have two identical models, dipped and dullcoted on different days.  One came out perfect, the other looks like he's been riding the shelf in the game store for years and has collected the hoar of ages on his shoulders.  Its enough to make a grown man cry.  Not me, though. . .uh, some other grown man. . .

Anyway, no need to fret anymore, for I have discovered a cure and its found on your supermarket shelf.  Indeed, you might already have it in your pantry.  I know I did!

That's right, olive oil spray.  The kind us hippies spray in pans to prevent food from sticking.  Regular olive oil would work too, but would probably be much messier and less convenient.  Other spray oils would probably work as well.  You can see Pam there in the picture.  I don't know what goes into Pam, but olive oil is olive oil and it works really well so I've never tested anything else.

Take that ruined mini and spray it down on both sides.  It doesn't take a lot, but you want it coated for best results.  I recommend doing it over the sink for easy cleanup.

Once you've coated the model, rub it down with a soft cloth or shammy.  You can just use your fingers, but a cloth will allow you to easily get into the nooks and crannies.  You'll see the color start to return immediately.  You'll also get that glossy shine back - like before you sprayed it.

At this point, you might decide, "screw Dullcoting it.  I'll take the shine over frost," and I wouldn't blame you.  After all, there's nothing like rework for taking the joy out of a task.  However, you can absolutely re-apply Dullcote once the oil has a day to dry, and it will work as intended.

The scenario above has happened to me many times.  Discovering this fix was a life saver for me.  I hope you find it helpful too.   

Oh, and I've got all the Morranons dipped and ready to re-dullcote - once I spend an evening oiling them up.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Easterlings Complete

Testers Dullcote applied, and this group is in the books

Well, OK, they haven't been based yet, but I won't do that until the Morannons are finished.  And the Morannons, BTW, are one color and some touch-up away from the dip themselves.

Here's a tighter shot of the command models

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Easterlings ready for dip

I took this week to base coat the Easterling portion of my February Project.

Though I tested the colors with Blood Red for the cloth, I wasn't happy with the appearance and switched to purple.  My original concern with purple was that the models would come out looking like Minnesota Viking* fans , but that fear appears to be unfounded.  :-)


Armor:  Burnished Gold
Weapons:  Bestial Brown, Boltgun Metal
Tunic: Vallejo Game Color Liche Purple**
Capes:  Scab Red
Boots and Shield Inset:  Bestial Brown
Pants and Sleeves:  Delta Ceramcoat Charcoal

They may not look like much right now, but the dip (Army Painter Medium) will sort them out nicely.  There are a few details left to hit (mostly on the banner), but they will be dipped on Sunday and Dullcoted on Monday.  Then its on to the Morannons!

I think I'm right on schedule to have this project wrapped up by March 1st.

*I'm actually a Minnesota Vikings fan, but my customer does not necessarily share my affinity

**This color took two coats to pull off and its still dark.  A good argument against priming black, IMO.  The first coat was my standard dillution of 1:1 and was so dark it was almost indistinguishable from the black undercoat.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A couple of test models

I started playing around with colors for the February Project.  I went into it knowing what I wanted for a color scheme, but when you're using dip its not always clear how different tones will come out.

In this case, the Morannon Orcs were easy:

Skin - Catachan Green - could probably go lighter
Metal - Boltgun
Tunic - Scab Red
Boots & Wood - Bestial Brown
Pants & Sleeves - Charcoal (Delta Ceramcoat)

The Easterlings were a little bit more of a problem.  The models are really simplistic, and I just tried to follow the color scheme Weta and GW came up with.

Armor - Shining Gold - should probably be Burnished Gold
Weapons - Boltgun
Cloth - Charcoal & Blood Red - should probably be Scab Red
Boots & Wood - Bestial Brown

I think these guys turned out altogether too dark, but a brighter gold will help bring it up.  Using Scab Red will help them fit in with the Morannons, and though its darker than the current color it should be a nice contrast.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My February Project

Kicking off another army for the month of February.  This is a commission project and will be a simple basecoat and dip job.

Here's the motley crew of Morannons and Easterlings