Sunday, April 20, 2014

WWII Soviets: Dirt Wash

Easter & Dirt Wash

Yesterday it rained all day, and so I had a little extra time away from yard and house chores to apply dirt wash to my Russians.  Late on Good Friday afternoon the rain began to fall, steady and cold.  Today, Easter Sunday morning dawned a beautiful clear  and warm sunny day.  All of the dirt and dust had been washed away and everything looked fresh and clean.  I could not help but notice the Spiritual implications of the weather this weekend.  By the grace of God and the blood of Jesus, all of my dirt and sin has been washed away, and He has made me a new creation, holy and righteous.  But instead of washing away the dirt, this post will be all about applying dirt and grime to miniature soldiers.

Making Dirt Wash

A long time ago I used to use a wash that consisted of black paint thinned with water.  This method would more often than not make my figures look like they had been in a fire.  They had black splotches all over their clothes, not just in the recesses of the model.  Straight up ink was my next attempt at a wash, but it was often too vibrant, not subtle enough for what I was trying to achieve.  Finally I found some acrylic matte medium at a craft store.  Matte medium is essentially acrylic paint without any pigment.  (Gloss medium is the same thing but shiny)  By mixing a small amount of ink with some matte medium I could get a less vibrant color than straight ink, at a thinner consistency than paint, that would still adhere to the recesses of the model!  Eureka!
dirt wash ingredients

In the picture above you can see my WW2 dirt wash bottle along with the ingredients I used to make it.  Truth be told, I have no clue what is really in my WW2 dirt wash - when it gets low I just add more matte medium and some ink to get a nice brownish, blackish, slightly greenish hue.

Applying Dirt Wash

I am always tempted to use a big brush and just slap this stuff on all of my figures.  Resist this temptation!  Use a small brush and apply it carefully all over the model with the possible exception of the flesh.  I put a lot of it into recesses around the model's gear and then spread it out onto the uniform and clothing areas.  By using a small brush I can make sure that no bubbles are left on the model because bubbles can dry in weird and ugly ways.  A small brush will also allow you to build up the dirt thicker in some places and thinner in others.
Here are some comparison shots of models with, and without dirt wash applied.
With, without, with, and without.

Dirt wash on top right and bottom left

German camo orange ochre - without and with dirt wash.

Finally, here are all of the figures in this batch with dirt wash on them.

Next Time: Highlights

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