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"The Dip: how many have actually tried it?..." Topic

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Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2017 9:47 p.m. PST

I know The Dip painting technique is not for everyone. However, I genuinely wonder how many TMP'ers have actually tried it, before passing judgement?

A) Tried it, hated it.
B) Never tried it, hate it from what I've seen in photo's on the Internet/from what I've seen of it, in person.
C) Tried it… It's OK, but I prefer to do higher quality work.
D) Tried it, do it for speed, when necessary for a pressing need only.
E) Tried it, prefer it.
F) Tried it, love it, don't bother with any other painting approach.

I expect the usual comments on how deplorable it is. Please. Restrain yourself. That aspect has been beaten to death, many years ago -- let's avoid kicking that dead horse, as it is in an advanced state of decay. Think of that dead whale carcass on the beach, where the local authorities tried explosives to get rid of it… Ewwwwww!!!

My purpose is only to ascertain how many nay-sayers have actually experimented with it. The rest of the options are just to pad the responses, in general, and to get an idea how many folks actually like it (that is, those brave enough to admit it publicly).

Remember, TMP will not track your response with your name, should this actually become a real poll. Here, however, your comments will be tied to your membership ID. So. Be brave, if you are in the minority of us who actually enjoy using this incredibly fast method of painting… I'm answering, F, myself. I'm past 50 years of age, and I only care what my figures look like, at arm's length, on the gaming table. Anything beyond that, is pointless with my declining eyesight. ;-) Cheers!

Glengarry505 Nov 2017 10:02 p.m. PST


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2017 10:13 p.m. PST


Hafen von Schlockenberg Inactive Member05 Nov 2017 10:29 p.m. PST

Tried it a little bit with the Minwax Polyshades. Too viscous, till a hardware store guy directed me to a slowing agent,after which it worked well.

So I'd say G)--tried it,intend to get back to it some time.

Night Owl III05 Nov 2017 11:04 p.m. PST

D and a 1/2. Prefer it for high volumes of rank & file but not for individual characters or skirmish miniatures.

Personal logo Wolfshanza Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 12:17 a.m. PST

Never tried it. I use the magic wash option. The dip has worked well for some and not well for others, I know.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 12:32 a.m. PST


TunnelRat Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 12:51 a.m. PST

Don't use the dip method, but don't hate it – it just isn't a method I want to try.

Do use a wash which does much the same thing.

Dagwood06 Nov 2017 2:07 a.m. PST

H Did a similar thing back in the seventies by mixing brown or black paint with matt varnish. Now I just use washes for the same effect.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 2:28 a.m. PST

Never tried it, not likely to try it.

Sysiphus Inactive Member06 Nov 2017 4:59 a.m. PST

E. Have a huge Hittite force done with MinWax Polyshades English Tudor gloss back in 1998.
The figures are as clean and bright as the day they were finished.
Although called a Dip, I have always painted the MinWax on and blown off the excess, waited 5 or so minutess and finished up any puddles.
Because it is an oil based method, and I paint in acrylics, no problem; but some of the oil based metals I use need care, as the Dip may wash them off.

But skin oils and sweat have had no effect on the rock hard urethane finish.

You can also let the MinWax cure a few days then use Dullcote to give a nice flat finish as well.

VonTed06 Nov 2017 5:27 a.m. PST

I never had the courage to "dip", but painting it on worked great.

PzGeneral06 Nov 2017 5:34 a.m. PST


But like Von Ted said, brush it on….

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 6:01 a.m. PST

Never tried it and don't 'hate' it.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian06 Nov 2017 6:33 a.m. PST

E: Brush on. I discovered that my 15mm Minifigs actually had fingers

21eRegt06 Nov 2017 6:36 a.m. PST

I suppose "C" but with qualifiers. For some types of figures, i.e. ancient Peltasts it looks great. For the treads of tanks to have a metallic look peaking through, great. For my 28mm "big battalions," no way.

So the Dip has it's place in my painting repertoire, but in very limited cases.

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 7:24 a.m. PST

I'm a "brush on" E but I've made some changes to the technique that make the end product so much better.

I always hated how dark it made my figures but, I love how it flows to the edges and shades recesses plus covers my not so perfect color separation.

There are things that can be done when using the dip that minimize the color tone change and still provide the flow and shading.

durecell Inactive Member06 Nov 2017 7:24 a.m. PST

Never tried it but am curious about it and might try it in the future.

Vigilant06 Nov 2017 7:27 a.m. PST

Actually dipping didn't work for me. Using a brush gave some reasonable results, but cleaning brushes with spirits and the smell was more problematical than I wanted so I reverted to gloss varnish followed by ink washes.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 7:31 a.m. PST

Tried it once on a giant batch of zombies. Worked great for that particular project. I wouldn't use it for anything but large-batch zombie-ish figures. So call my answer

G: Tried it, will only use it on figures that I want to look dark and moldering.

Choctaw06 Nov 2017 7:38 a.m. PST

E. As with others, I don't actually dip the minis but brush it on instead. I like the results I have obtained.

Old Wolfman06 Nov 2017 7:50 a.m. PST

Never tried it. Usually spray my basecoat on.

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 7:53 a.m. PST

C for me. I suspect there are nuances to it, such as basecoating in a lighter tone than you might think, but I kind of prefer brush painting.

TGerritsen06 Nov 2017 8:04 a.m. PST

Sort of E. I use washes that I paint on, which is very similar to dipping, but gives me better control over it. I also use dry pigments to weather my figures.

Gone Fishing06 Nov 2017 8:16 a.m. PST

It intrigues me. I do share Vigilant's hesitation, however: cleaning the brushes in spirits – with the attendant smell and mess – puts me off. Might still try it one of these days…

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 8:20 a.m. PST

C is close, but not quite on. I've tried it. For certain scales and periods I'm reasonably satisfied with the results, but it's a persistent mess, and worse in that the popular brands require mineral spirits clean-up, while my normal work is exclusively water clean-up these days. I do use the acrylic brush-on a fair bit.
So perhaps C(1) "tried it: it's OK, but not usually worth the extra mess and fuss."

WarWizard06 Nov 2017 8:39 a.m. PST

E with specifications.
I am currently using it for my 28MM ACW armies. I realized that there is no way I would get all my regiments painted in this lifetime unless I implored a painting service or came up with a drastic shortcut. I tried it, I liked it and I am going to continue using it for this period this scale.

I like the look of the figures using this method. Rebs and Union figures look battle worn. Here is how I use it:
1. After painting block colors and very minimal highlight to certain darkest colors, I then use my standard matte varnish that I brush on.
2. After about 30 minutes or longer I brush on the Dark Tone Dip.
3. After 24 hours or more I brush on Testors Dull Coat to remove the gloss effect.

I would not use this method for all my periods and scales, but I am getting large amounts of figures done in lot less time. I do large batches at a time. I think I have about 20 waiting for Dip brush on right now. I am very happy with results.

KSmyth06 Nov 2017 9:06 a.m. PST

Cish. Tried it for an entire project. Never quite got the results I was looking for, so will likely not use it in the future. That said, I have a good friend who uses the dip, and gets incredible results. I figure the problem is me and not the dip.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 9:17 a.m. PST

When you are painting stone grey straps on a khaki tunic, The Dip is your friend.
Ditto painting hunting shirts with linen straps.

It's a tool, and it doesn't have a universal application. I don't use a socket wrench as a hammer. Usually.
I wouldn't use The Dip if I were painting a nude nymph frolicking in the meadow. Well, maybe. grin

Case in point. AWI Hessian with dark blue coats and white straps do not need the Dip. Militia or riflemen would benefit by it.
My Flames of War humans invariably get The Dip. Tanks and artillery, sometimes.

Dynaman878906 Nov 2017 9:23 a.m. PST

F – but with the paint and future floor polish with klear dipping sauce.

Prince Alberts Revenge06 Nov 2017 9:24 a.m. PST

C and D. I used the traditional MinWax "Dip" using the Tudor stain. I liked it but preferred brushing on. I found it gave everything a slightly dark tint (I typically paint 15mm and smaller so that may be a factor). I now varnish with a gloss spray and then use Future Floor Wax with army Painter tint using the eye dropper ink shades. Much more pleased with this technique.

Axebreaker06 Nov 2017 9:27 a.m. PST

D and E depending on the project.

I use Army Painter(brush on not dip)for some projects usually large army ones. However, I add highlights after the dip dries and then a dull coat to remove any remaining shine and further seal the figures. I suppose not exactly the fastest way to use the product, but still quicker then my normal methods and gives me a result I like and the extra protection it offers the miniatures is nice as well.


DrSkull Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 10:12 a.m. PST

E or F for me.

I always had just plain-painted the figures, never did washes or stains.

About a year ago, I started painting on the dip regularly.

It made some figures look a bit muddy/messy up close, but some others looked fantastic up close. And from table-distance they all look better.

Oberlindes Sol LIC06 Nov 2017 10:24 a.m. PST

You need another "never tried" answer.

I have never tried it, but I don't hate it or have any particular opinion about it. I've just never needed to do it. Someday I might.

steamingdave4706 Nov 2017 10:37 a.m. PST

H- tried it, but tin dried up when still half left, and I am too mean to spend best part of 20 quid on another. It also needed solvents to clean the brushes. Switched to " Magic Wash", more controllable effects, can adjust pigment used to appropriate colour for base coat, water to clean brushes and, most important, it's a lot cheaper at around £3.00 GBP a litre for the basic liquid (Future Klear floor polish)

ordinarybass Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 10:37 a.m. PST

E/F for 5-6 years now. Over the years I've got better at it to the point that now most folks have no idea that my miniatures are dipped. I've also tried dipping terrain (works ok) and dipping vehicles (works quite well)

I dip most everything now. The only other technques I bother with are a bit of drybrushing and sometimes painting with washes over white for faux highlight effects also some washes now and then

For years I only brush dipped. I even made a tutorial about it.
Recently I tried the old-school full emersion dip and if the weather is good enough outside and you have enough figs to do at once, the emersion is pretty darn fast and gets good results too.

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

E but brushed on.

farnox06 Nov 2017 10:41 a.m. PST

I'll go with D. I have used it a few times on some mass production troops but prefer to stick with washes.

McKinstry Fezian06 Nov 2017 10:49 a.m. PST

C/D – I found the true Minwax types to viscous and made the figures a bit 'dirty' looking but I am a great believer in a thinner wash that is certainly a cousin to the dip.

On the upside, I truly found dipped figures to be absolutely bullet proof to the point they were invulnerable to chipping and wear.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 10:54 a.m. PST

Thanks, Folks. There are some techniques which can be employed to make The Dip work better, and most people do, in fact, paint it on, as opposed to dunking the figures in the mix. There are a number of tutorials online about it, so I skipped going into details on how to improve it.

I also agree, it is a tool, one of many, in the painter's box of techniques. It is not a, "one size fits all", tool, for most. For me, however, it pretty much goes on every figure which is not snow-based; for these types, I mix up a Magic Wash solution of the proper color (see below).

The Future/Pledge Floor Shine + Acrylic Paint, is the kissing cousin of The Dip: aka, Magic Wash. I agree, it has many advantages over The Dip.

With regards to using solvents to clean up, I use throw-away brushes to apply the urethane-stain; I also wear throw-away gloves, to keep my hands clean. The only issues I have with "mess", is the drying, and some run-off, during application, and drying. These can be managed with a cardboard underlay. YMMV. ;-)

Appreciate the responses! Cheers!

Hafen von Schlockenberg Inactive Member06 Nov 2017 11:08 a.m. PST

McKinstry--that was my experience also,which led me to this:


Works as a flow aid and extender,as I mentioned above. One caution: I put too much in,first time, and all the Minwax ran off,leaving my Butternut Rebs standing in mud puddles. IIRC,about 10% ended up being enough.

And you're right about the hardness--you could drive nails with them.

Personal logo The Nigerian Lead Minister Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 1:45 p.m. PST

C. Tried once, not going to do it again.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 2:35 p.m. PST

Tried it once. Never will again.

KSmyth06 Nov 2017 2:43 p.m. PST

I used the dip with my Aztecs-about 400 figures. It worked passably on the feathers and darker skin tone. I brushed it on rather than dipping. It was okay, but I wasn't thrilled. I've always used washes and will continue to do so. Up in the air about further use of the dip.

Gone Fishing06 Nov 2017 6:17 p.m. PST

OrdinaryBass, that is a superb tutorial. Now I'm even more tempted!

Cyrus the Great06 Nov 2017 10:29 p.m. PST


Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 12:12 a.m. PST

C with brushing not dipping. I will use it again but sparingly.

My son did a large Dystopian Wars fleet with it and it turned our great.

My results show it working better for armies with drab colors like WW2 and modern. Not so great results with lighter colored uniforms.

basileus66 Inactive Member07 Nov 2017 3:23 a.m. PST

Tried it. It is not for me. I prefer inks, which give me more control on what I am doing.

gianpippo07 Nov 2017 4:39 a.m. PST

It is great for speed. It works better with some colours, like brown/beige/red/green. It is very important to remove excess dip shortly after the application. Some highlight after drying of the dip greatly enhance the results.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 8:59 a.m. PST

I've noticed that matte acrylic paints dry with a microscopic rough surface. This rough surface will attract, and hold, The Dip, which results in an overall darkening effect. If you paint on a coat of Pledge Floor Shine, first, and let that dry, the surface will smooth out, and The Dip will flow over the raised surfaces more, only accumulating in the recesses.

The alternative is to paint with 2 shades lighter colors, knowing that The Dip will darken everything. This is my preferred approach -- less work involved. Takes a bit of trial and error, but not difficult to do. Cheers!

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