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Pink Horror Paint Test – Learning As I Paint

Regular readers of this blog will know two things. The first is that I recently started collecting a demons of Tzeentch army for Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40k. Secondly, through birthday related reasons, I recently managed to get my hands on a really neat Army Painter Warpaints Mega Paint Set that I couldn’t wait to test out.

It’s been around 3 years since I last painted, but I thought it may be interesting to document the progression of someone learning to paint for the second time around. As well as that, it is a good way to review the paint set more than the previous review I did of it. Consider it a working review of the paints.

Okay, so it is far from perfect, but it was a nightmare figuring this much out so I thought I would post it anyway. Note the base isn’t done yet, but I haven’t decided which type of finish I want – I tend to usually go for snow, but this time I may do something a bit different.

So what I did here was, with the Army Painter colours, created a base of Matt Black. This is something I’ll look to redo in future. It, rather unusually for black paint, didn’t cover particularly well, so I needed to put two layers on. In future, I think it’s best to use both a lighter colour and a spray. With that in mind, I think it’s best to use a GW Citadel Spray of Storm Vermin Fur as a primer.

After that, I had a bit of a coverage issue. In great painter mode, I wanted three layers of paint and decided upon using Crusted Sore and Grimoire Purple as two of the layers. This went…well…horribly, so I used a Dark Tone wash to pick out some of the highlights once again. It turns out that Grimoire Purple is the dominant colour, so needed something lighter to pick out the individual muscles.

Off the back of that, I decided the best option to kind of cheat whilst covering as much detail as possible was to drybrush. From there I dry brushed a layer of Warlock Purple to bring forward a layer I could work on. I have no idea what the Warlocks are thinking, but Warlock Purple is definitely the Army Painter equivalent of Emperor’s Children Pink in Games Workshop terms. Apparently, Warlocks have a difficulty with their colour names.

Despite thin paint (I’m sure it will thicken over time) the dry brush worked really well and provided a base for creating a more solid colour at a later date.

After that, I allowed for the whole thing to dry whilst applying a base of Dark Stone (which is brown, not grey – Army Painter paints have weird names) to the bangles and jewellery around the many wrists/ankles of the horror. Once the whole thing was dry, I began layer two of Warlock Purple, this time to pick out the muscles in particular.

Once layer two was done, I, rather originally, did layer three. Yes, I know, please contain the excitement.

Layer 3 wasn’t perfect; however, it covered enough to be able to move onto the rest of the model.

Next came the teeth and claws. These were undercoated in a really nice tone called Mummy Robes, before being tipped in Matt White. The tongue was probably the most fun thing to paint on the whole model, being Ultramarine Blue followed by Crystal Blue. Finally, the bangles (there has to be a better term, but if there is I don’t want to hear it) were finished off with a Weapon Bronze. Last but not least, two tiny Dragon Red marks in the sockets for the eyes.

All in all, the Pink Horror wasn’t the most successful test model I have ever done and this was due to two reasons. The first was, as mentioned before, I haven’t painted in a very long time. I am very out of practice. The second reason is that I didn’t quite realise how much I needed to layer some of the colours on others. Getting used to this means that, for my second model (a Blue Horror), I have enjoyed every second and had a fun time painting it. It’s still a work in progress at the moment, using the same combination I used on the tongue of the Pink Horror as a base.

So, a few final thoughts – all in all, I am now relatively happy with how the horror looks, even if I wanted more of a blended finish than what I ended up with. The bronze seems to work really well for the bangles, although the teeth and claws could be a bit neater. Although it’s not obvious in any of the pictures, I am generally happy with how the eyes turned out and the tongue looks more or less how I wanted it to. The shading could be better, and it may be worth getting a pinkish ink to aid with this, that I shall look into. All in all, it was a first attempt, so it went as could be expected.

At the moment the Army Paints feel a bit inconsistent; however, the more I get used to them and the more used they get, then the better the finish turns out. Blues cover better than any other colour I’ve used so far, and next come the colours like Mummy Robes. Less so are whites (status quo), and pink, which is a bit of a nightmare seeing the model colour scheme. I mean, these are one of the few models in the Games Workshop range that actually have the name of the main colour in their title. I don’t really feel like I can have a green Pink Horror.

I’m hoping that, as I document these, they will get better over time, and who knows, one day I may become decent. For the time being though, I am going to keep this article short, but please, any painting advice, please post it in the comments below. I need it and it would be most welcome.


    • It’s a shame the pink isn’t thicker, but I’m starting to get used to the layering. The Blue Horror is done now and that has turned out alright. If you look at the close up image at the top of this blog, I missed some layering on the elbow, and the tongue looks a bit ‘drippy’ on the Pink Horror, but hopefully the next one will be better!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Currently it’s an incredible high tech set up of (wait for it) an IKEA desk lamp and a torch. I’m thinking of getting a light box for photos of game components. Currently most of my pictures are on gaming tables (hence why the quality varies so much), but a better lighting rig would certainly help for closer pics. Good shout that.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Nice work so far – especially just getting back into it – which in turn is awesome. I’m happy to give you some advice, though:

    Spray prime your models – don’t do it with a brush. Black and white paints that you paint on with a brush are radically different to using a proper brush-on primer, and again different to using a spray. Just use the spray.

    Get three cans of primer (cheap spray paint from the hardware shop works – you don’t need GW’s expensive cans).
    Black, White, Grey. Make sure they’re all matte, not gloss. I use hardware shop cans for most models, and have some Tamiya ones for “extra special” models.
    Unless you’re going to pre-shade with zenithal highlighting (and you should try it sometime, anyway),

    Just choose the colour most suited to the dominant base colour paint you’ll use. White for bright and light colours, black for dark colours and metals, grey for “in-betweens” and… you’ll get a feel for it. Reds and pinks get white.

    With Army painter paints – especially the new ones (which you have), they need to be shaken to holy hell and back. Make sure there’s an agitator in there, and shake it like Shakira and Taylor Swift are having a Shake-off. Then shake it some more. Even then you’ll probably need to thin them down just a little bit with a touch of water, Lahmian Medium (GW), or Windex (yes, the window cleaner – it’s a staple of hobbying). The Army Painter mediums have their place, but they’re not the replacement for Lahmian I’d hoped they would be. Hit me up later if you get interested enough in making your own from art shop products (this is going to be long enough as is).

    As Duncan says: Two Thin Coats. Especially with paints that don’t have great coverage. You might need three in some cases.

    I highly recommend getting a big thing of Vallejo Black Surface Primer – 74602. I use it as my black paint and have for a few years now. It is FAR better than any black paint for thin-ness, coverage and is just *beautiful* to use. I just decant from a 200ml container into a smalller pot for everyday use, then refill whenever I run out. Much, much cheaper by 200ml, and you use black pretty much on everything. – Use the AP black for scenery or “junk” tasks. Or give it away.

    Citadel’s Nuln Oil Gloss is a new but very useful tool. I use it to help with blacklining things like around teeth.

    The AP washes are also brilliant for almost everything else. Very versatile and mixable with one another and mediums to thin them down. Try mixing 1:1:1 Strong Tone, Red and medium for a wash over one of your horrors. Then 1:1:1 Purple, Red and medium on another horror. Adjust to taste and variety as you like.

    Don’t be scared of turning paint colours you want to use into washes. Just thin them down with medium and apply carefully to recesses.

    Try using your mid-tone as your base colour after the spray prime. Once you have a solid base to work from, apply your highlight colour, then wash with your darker colour, then re-highlight the raised areas, then (optionally) add some of a lighter colour and do the extreme highlights.

    Any questions – feel free!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dude – I cannot even begin to describe how unbelievably awesome this is. Thank you for taking the time to give such incredible advice!

      Primer wise, I got a medium grey shade (it doesn’t actually look like there is anything on the model once it has been sprayed) from GW (Stormvermin) and it is working well for the Changeling. The blue really does well on it. I’ll take your advice on the white for the horrors.

      I am learning the hard way that I need to shake the paints like a polaroid picture. It’s taking a good two or three minutes before I open any bottles at the moment. I’m thinking to just invest in the nail polish shaker you suggested on my review blog. Who knows, it may be in the Black Friday sale!

      Okay, so spray then base, then layer, then highlight, then wash, then re-highlight. Got it.

      So, I take it you use a mix of paints. Which are your favourite to use? Vallejo for the black, but are there any other makes or colours you would swear by? Do you use specific brushes as well?

      Sorry, lots of questions – one final one: How do you get a good blend effect? I want my Changeling’s cloak to be a mix of pink and blue, or maybe purple and blue, getting darker as it gets higher to the torso.

      Once again mate, amazing comment and advice. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yea I have had trouble with army painter paints being thin and not covering well but I seems to be certain colors like yellows and oranges I have had them most trouble with their line of paints. Azazel is right tho good base for painting is key to good looking minis I think the Cheaper the spray paint the better I Predominantly use Armory Grey primer (Dork Tower’s) paint line it’s 5$USD and its in my opinion superior to any of GW’s primer at a third of the cost! The only downside of Armory primer is it has a high particulate count so if you don’t shake continuously while spraying it can dry mid air and stick to the mode if it’s applied to liberally , it’s best if applied in quick strokes to a single model at a time, to avoid the fuzzy model syndrome that happens when gamers try an spray paint 20 minis all at once into a sideways box! Don’t do this this is model abuse ;P but seriously best thing you can do is cut off a box flap and place blue-tack in the middle and place the mini on it and prime just that one then do another one. Tip if you cut off all the boxes flaps you will have 8 cardboard sheets for prepping multiple minis. Sorry for the long post I like talking about painting:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • An epic comment – thanks for the advice! I am one of those people who has a history of spraying more than one model at once (I used to have a Night Goblin horde, which as you can imagine got a bit tedious), and I use a shoebox. Thanks for the advice though – I’ll take things one at a time from now on and use your tack technique. Are there any brands of paint you would recommend for layers?

      Don’t worry about the long posts, we all like talking about paint here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I too play Orks in 40k AoS and Epic 40k and I know what you Mean by a bit tedious, one think you can do is put them on a longer cardboard lid or flap line them up in a row like 5 of them with at least 3 inches between each model then spray them from the front and from the back try to avoid spraying over the other models! Also if when your spraying they look wet you may be spraying too much on the model, that is when the particulate is most likely to stick to the model, if you only spray in up and down motion like your making a pass pasted each model the particulate can’t build up on the surface it should look on the surface of the model only slightly damp if done right! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good work getting back into painting! Your stuff is looking good and you’ve got lots of great advice in the comments.

    A few things about getting consistent results. Consistency is the key here.

    1) As you mention, you need to shake the bejesus out of the dropper bottles. Try dropping a (bigger is better) stainless steel ball bearing or two into each of your paint droppers and then shake them to death before using. Now, you’ll get a consistent bead of paint out of the dropper. With consistency dialled in you eliminate an unpredictable variable thus allowing you to refine your technique. You can then start doing things like thinning paint for better flow and eventually using a wet palette.

    2) Yes, do use a paint shaker contraption, especially with an enormous paint set like you’ve got. As you expand your palette you’ll start to use paints that have sat for months and months with all the pigment congealed at the bottom and the medium floating to the top. If you’ve got it all in a handy carry case, once a week stand the case up on a different edge so the paint is forced to move around a bit. This’ll help with proper mixing down the road.

    3) Fully wash your models with dish soap and an old toothbrush, then rinse, and air dry your models (no matter the material: plastic, metal, or resin) before spray painting. You’ll get consistent adhesion.

    3) As mentioned, do use a spray can of primer as a base coat. Unlike the advice above, opt for a can of the good stuff like GW or Army Painter which will do a pile of priming and give you a satin finish to work over. Matte paint is by definition a rougher surface and it will obscure some surface detail and tends to ‘grab’ at paint or, worst case, actually be a bit dusty and absorbent which will result in an uneven and/or lumpy finish. A satin finish takes paint overtop beautifully while retaining all the detail underneath.

    4) The key to using a spray can effectively is to lightly warm it in hottish water for five minutes and, once you can hear the ball start to bounce around inside, shake it for at least two more full minutes before spraying. Continue to shake throughout the spraying process. Good spray paint will behave consistently if you do this and you’ll get a perfect, consistent coat every time.

    5) Especially for fantasy and/or bright colours experiment with a non-black undercoat. Black is very forgiving and naturally gives shadows in the recesses etc. but it will darken or muddy even the brightest colours overtop. White primer is more challenging to paint over but naturally makes highlights pop and adds brightness. Try using a dark wash (like GW Druichii Violet wash) as your first step to take care of deepening all the recesses. Then do your top layers.

    For example, here’re my Mansions of Madness painted figs which were done over white GW primer. There’s not way I could have got this level of ‘pop’ or brightness over a black basecoat.

    Happy painting!

    Liked by 2 people

    • These are amazing tips Sean! Thanks for commenting man.

      I didn’t even think about warming the paint, so I will definitely try that. I did opt for GW in the end for the spray, but went for the Stormvermin, so will probably need to get a lighter spray for the Pink Horrors.

      You have me intrigued: What is a wet palette?

      Those Cthulhu minis are simply amazing. Thanks for the awesome advice and links! They are always welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Luke. A wet palette is basically a dish with a thin sponge with parchment (not wax) paper on top with a snug fitting lid. GW and Privateer Press sell an expensive version but you can get them inexpensively at your local good art store.

        If set up properly, the well mixed dropper bottle paint will stay workable for days (never mind drying out in 30 minutes). It is great for mixing paints on and allows you to pick up and put down paint jobs as you like. The paint will stay ready for you.

        It allows you to thin your paint on the spot which, once you paint for a while, will become an important step in raising your game.

        A final note… I think I read in the comments that you were squeezing out the liquid in order to get the pigment out. I’d suggest not doing that. Instead, shake your paint and mix it really well and it should come out of the dropper bottle at just the right consistency. Basically, you’re getting rid of the medium and you’ll end up left with gummy pigment.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I was squeezing out the excess liquid but I will immediately stop if that is the case. That seems to be the main message coming across in all the comments – shake it really hard first.

          Thanks for all the advice Sean, I’ll take to the last remaining Black Friday sales and pick a few things up before trying another mini ☺️ put some of what you guys have been saying on here to the test!


  4. Replying to Sean’s advice:

    1) My first agitators were supposedly “stainless steel” but rusted after awhile in the droppers. This is a Bad Thing as it changes the colour of the paints inside. Also, you now have rusting balls inside your paint pots. I removed as many as I could, but was left with some paints that needed to be disposed of. Because of that, I now only use stone beads (from eBay). Not quite as heavy, but not nearly as ferrous. I often add a couple in there.

    3) Always, always wash resin and PVC. I probably should theoretically wash metal and HIPS plastic as well, but I’ve never had a problem not doing so in 30+ years.

    Other 3) Matte is completely fine as long as you don’t go too thick. You want a bit of tooth for your brush paint to get onto. Satin is okay. Gloss is only good if your first step is going to be to wash the models, but can have its place as a coloured undercoat that is also a basecoat.

    3a) Agreed that it’s worth having some “good” primer as well for those special models. I use either/or Tamiya or Gunze or Mr.Surfacer from “normal” model shops.
    3b) I don’t like Army Painter sprays. They sandpaper your models’ surface too easily, and I’m not into spray can brands that need special snowflake instructions. Over many years I’ve seen a lot of people complain about GW sprays being inconsistent or sandpapering their models and such. I was always fine with them, but don’t bother anymore since I can get custom spray paint cans of any colour made from the paint shop around the corner for less than GW can (AU prices, remember).

    4) Is correct, and reminds me of this – Here’s a couple of good videos on spray primers (NSFW language).

    5) Agreed on using the right primer for what’s going to go over it, but I’ve never used a dark wash like violet over a light primer. While it *sounds* dubious to me, that’s because I’ve never heard of it before. I’ll happily give it a go sometime soon and see if it’s useful for me. It might be the next awesome thing that I add to my repertoire (like that paint shaker. I don’t know how I lived without it!) – So be open to trying new ideas and techniques and seeing what works for you.

    Remember, everyone has opinions and advice and often they will contradict one another. Sean and Von and I will agree on some things but disagree on others. Whatever works best for *you* will be the “right” way to do a thing for you. Sometimes it will go against other’s advice, but results are results. I often don’t “two thin coats” as Duncan states, (only sometimes) but my stuff works out fine.

    This is how I prime and base coat (when I spray a base coat):

    I use Citadel (old and current), Vallejo Game and Model Colour, Vallejo Model AIr, P3 (Privateer Press), Coat D’Arms, Reaper Master System, Reaper HD, Army Painter, Warpaints, occasionally Tamiya Metallics. I’ve had some odd issues with some of the newer Army Painter ones, but I’m not sure if that’s just part of colours I never used before (since I haven’t finished the pots of the older ones that were fine). Within that, I’ve got favourites for different colours, for different coverage and so on. Sorry if that’s not super useful, but I’m happy to give my personal opinions on “best reds” or anything like that.

    Best reds are the citadel ones. Great coverage, great colours. Khorne/Mephiston/Wazdakka Red and Evil Sunz Scarlet. Then it depends on if you’re going into yellow, orange, pink, or “light red”. VMC 829 Amarantha Red, and Reaper MSP-HD Brilliant Red are both rather excellent highlights from the Citadel reds before going into orange, etc.

    I use a mix of brushes as well. I use WIndsor & Newton Series 7 for my detail work (anything 000-), and cheapo brushes for everything else (000+). I use 000 as my “workhorse” size – most people use larger, and that’s cool. I occasionally end up with Citadel brushes and they last for awhile then splay their way into drybrushes just like the cheap Deltas or whatever I get from the model or hardware shop’s craft section for a few bucks each.

    Series 7 I get for a very affordable price from Ken Bromley (Black Friday Sale!)

    “Workhorse” brushes I get from the local model store. Whatever brand they have going in the $3-5 range. I just buy a bunch of them every few years ($30 or so) and while I look after them and wash them, I work them until they die and turn into drybrushes and then paint mixers. My current batch is made by a company called “Delta” but whatever.

    Larger square brushes I get from the hardware store for a dollar or two. When they splay they become drybrushes

    Army Painter brushes are hot garbage. Except for the angled wedge shaped one, which was pretty good. So good in fact that I bought some more AP brushes which turned out to be the biggest waste of money I ever made.

    Army Painter washes are bloody excellent. The Citadel ones are also good. I highly recommend the three Citadel “Gloss” washes (Nuln Oil, Agrax Earthshade and Reikland Fleshshade. The citadel technical paints are good too – Lahmian Medium is (unfortunately) the best medium I’ve used. Blood for the Blood God (or Tamiya Clear Red) – but I prefer to use BFTBG because it cleans more easily. The Gemstone paints are great as well – especially for beginners. Nihilakh Oxide is very good for verdigris – and you can make it subtle or harsh.
    I also use it over white for blue-glowing eyes.

    Warcolours paints are …I don’t like using the standard ones myself. They’re different. Though they have some metallics that are very nice to use and have some great colours and his Gemstone paints are also as good as the GW ones (and some different shades). I haven’t used his glazes and washes all that much to decide what I think yet, though I bought a bunch awhile back. Very nice guy, though. Huh. 15% Black Friday Sale.

    The Masters Brush Cleaner & preserver is a great investment. Get from Ken Bromley again. (Or your local art store).

    When you get interested in “Weathering Powders” or “Weathering Pigments” down the line – again check out your local art supply stores and look for “Dry Pigments” for many times the quantity for less moneys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay –
      Citadel Red
      Stone Beads
      Citadel Gloss
      Workhorse Brushes
      Man…I have a lot to try!
      What a shame – I’m going to have to do more painting…


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