Saturday, December 8, 2012

What Does Spiff Use?

I thought this would be a good idea to show you all what I am using to achieve my results. These are not paid advertisements, just simple product endorsements. I'm not telling anybody they have to use these products. I'm just showing you what MY favorites are and if you are just starting out or trying to hone your skills, I hope this might be useful.

I just recently discovered the line of Vallejo paints a couple of years ago. I am absolutely, 100% in love with these paints! A couple of the colors have some consistency issues- yellow and orange, to be exact- but for the most part these are the most painter-friendly acrylics I have ever used.

If Vallejo makes such fantastic paints, then the inks must be good, right? Correct! The inks are very vibrant and I only thin them with water to tone down the coverage. I use the inks primarily as a stain for exhaust vents, tank treads, leg & arm joints, etc. Occasionally I use the inks for my cockpit jeweling effects. The washes, or shades as they are called, are a thinner version of the ink. They immediately flow into the recesses of the surface and hardly affect the surface color. I use these a lot for redefining panel lines and weathering. I use the shades straight outta the bottle- no thinning or strange home combinations are required.

These Secret Weapon washes are very similar to the Vallejo shades, only they come in a wider assortment of colors. They have a slight stain effect, which is useful for when I want something just a few shades off of the base color. Excellent consistency and flow- no thinning required.

I take great pride in the fact that people always ask if that is a decal or did I paint it. Well, this is how I do it. I paint a bit of the medium on the surface where the decal will go. After carefully sliding the decal in place, I use a tiny sponge applicator to press the decal down into the medium and push out the air bubbles. After that dries, I paint on a coat of the matt varnish over the area of the decal. Of course, after the entire mini is done, I give it a shot of Krylon matte spray sealant.

As cheap as these paints are, they are actually good and useful. The white is what I use to lightly highlight all the raised surfaces with. The other colors are good for a rough base coat and painting scenery. They don't cover nearly as well as the Vallejos do, but since they are cheap, it is an acceptable trade-off.

Liquitex ix primarily a canvas-type artist acrylic, but it has some uses on my minis, mostly small detailing uses. These colors are not consistent enough for painting large areas.

FW and Liquitex make some excellent inks, but again, these were not designed with miniature painting in mind. I frequently have to thin them with water to get them to flow a bit better. The red oxide you see in the picture is the ink I use for my rusty effects. The sepia ink I use for tank treads and tires. The other colors I have are used whenever I feel that is the right ink to use....I can't really explain how I know. It is a feeling, like a ripple in the Force.

Well, put them all together and you get a cluttered desktop. A cluttered desk is a sign of genius...right?


  1. I find it really interesting to know what others are using- I have a lot of Vallejo paints also, especially now that I have bought an airbrush, and I'm gradually changing over from the Citadel/Games Workshop products. It's good to get some feedback about the washes/inks etc as well, because that will give confidence to the next purchase. This is a very helpful post- thanks Spiff!

  2. I'll have to try the stuff you're using spiff, I'm still using testors model paints.