Got some tips on washes?

Luke Skyvader

Sr Member
I used to be happy with my washes to bring out the panel lines & fine detail. Looking at some of my stuff latley the washes look..well.. fake.

Anybody got any good wash techniques?



Sr Member
One of the biggest mistakes I see with washes is about 90% of them are dark... when many of them should be lighter. In helping fake a material property or surface type or value (light/dark) it's sometimes more helpful to run a wash of lighter color through an area. These tend to need to be a bit heavier than your normal wash solution (per cent of paint to thinner) but are much more effective. Also, look for opportunites to do some work on the model/panel edges, not just in the recesses... or as you see, they look fake.

Learning to dry brush edges efectively can be as good as running a wash through an area.

For the washes that you do use, never use black. Try to find a good color chart and really study what happens when certain colors (even metals have a color bias) turn dark... seriously, study these. Also, you'll notice that with some metals (well, this is basic color theory, but certain metals really kick this up) ...anyway, some metals will have a warm or cool hue, being bluish or brownish... you want to run the OPPOSITE (complement) color into the panels. This is definitely true for birgher and colored surfaces. Study the color of shadows.

Last, don't be too quick to use washes, let the model sit for a few days. Depending on the scale, you may find that ambient lighting does enough to knock the panels into relief. If so, then maybe run a complementary colory through the lines, but don't try to infulence how much it pops (light or dark)


Sr Member
I don't like using a paint wash on models. I think they always look scruffy.
I use a very good small brush and paint the lines by hand with normal paint. I also airbrush shaded areas and immediately wipe off any paint on the high spots.

This detail below in and around the square in the centre of the shoulder armour has been airbrushed. The panel lines you can see at the back of the head and also all the round rivet/bolt heads all over the model have been painted by hand using normal unthinned paint on a small brush: