Boldly going where everyone’s been before. Dipping miniatures, or not.


This must be what its like being a time traveller, or someone frozen in the past, waking up to find the world changed beyond recognition, dazzling skylines as far as the eye can see, wondrous technology, making life both richer and easier, feeling your head is actually going to explode with all the new data being pumped in to it by all senses.

What am I on about? The technological advances in miniature painting during my 15 year hiatus, that’s what. I’m consistently being blown away with new shit, the now ubiquitous air bush, the mind bending colour theory on show, using household products to weather and age your models, all this has come to pass, and I’m still of the opinion that thinning ones paints is the pinnacle of technological advancement.sesame street bounce house

The latest thing I’ve had to get my head around is dip. You’ll either know full well what this stuff is or like me, have images of Christopher Lloyd trying to stuff a rabbit in a barrel of slime.


Roger here, not having the best day of his career to be fair.

This stuff is designed to make your life easier when painting armies, lots of similar models that individual shading/highlighting just isn’t an option with modern day life stuff e.g. jobs, kids, other ill shit. Effectively its some sort of thick gloss varnish you dip your models in to or paint on to your models, which will shade them for you, leaving you table top standard soldiers to rank up and go to war with.


Initially I bought some of this by mistake thinking it was a huge tin of black ink, but it wasn’t so I swapped it. But I do have need for such a product at the moment, as I have some chaos cultists I really cannot be arsed painting. I know I need them in my army, I just don’t want to spend hours on each one at they’ll last about 20 seconds in to turn one. So, dip, seemed like a good idea.

…Until I realised how much of an actual ballache it can be. Clarke of Corehammer has had some success with his warriors of chaos and dip, yet Ager has had, essentially, a prolonged nightmare with the dip not settling right, having to spray the lot with matt varnish afterwards to get rid of the shine, models frosting with the varnish, you name it.

This got me thinking, and after a bit of research and help from the ever knowledgeable Byron over at Element, my theory is this :-

  • Strong tone ink is an ink the same colour as strong tone dip.
  • Strong tone ink is a proxy (albeit better) than Agrax Earthshade.

So why am I looking at using boat varnish on models when I can use an acrylic water soluble ink substitute the same colour?

On the back of that revelation, I thought fuck it and painted my chaos cultists, after base coating, in Agrax, then Army Painter dark tone ink on the metallic parts. This option gives you the freedom to wash individual areas separately. Ok, its not the same as doing every texture and surface but non-metal/metals enough for rank and file and more than dip gives you. I did however watch out for pooling, as people warned me dip does this, and I’ve had ink do it before now, so I drew the inks away from  the raised areas and avoided large puddles in the recesses.

Below is a before and after show of one of the models.















Remember this is before any further drybrushing and after the washes have dried. I reckon it looks aright for a first go and saves me spending 20 bar on some actual dip.

I’ve drybrushed a few areas with the base coat to bring them up again and the finished article is below.


I’m on-board with this method now, I’m not gonna be buying dip, I’m just gonna grab a few bottles of army painter strong tone ink off Element and get cracking on the rest. It really sped up the process, was easy, I didn’t have to arse about with varnish etc, and with a nice base, they’re perfectly tabletop ready.


5 thoughts on “Boldly going where everyone’s been before. Dipping miniatures, or not.

  1. Thanks chief, I’m about to begin doing just that, there’s an armour wash my mate is showing me how to make up too that looks great over engines and metal that would have discolouration.

  2. I read your bio and thought I was reading my own! I too have come back to miniature painting after a long time away, and have just bought some Army Painter paints to see if they make it as easy as everyone else says. I too sometimes wish it was 1991 again – the Wildhearts had just hit the UK scene and Blood Bowl still came with Astrogranite. Those were the days….

  3. Good man! Those AP paints are ace, thinner than GW so you don’t need to thin them as much yourself, cheaper, more for your coin, cant fail. I’ve been impressed with every item from their range I’ve tried so far.

    Did the last BB edition have those polystyrene boards then?

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