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"So, Is THIS A Terrain Wash, A Stain Or A Glaze?" Topic

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Cacique Caribe03 Oct 2018 6:26 a.m. PST

This fella calls what he mixed up a wash, but I've heard others call it other things at times, specially with the model railroad aficionados.

YouTube link

1) So what's really the difference between those three terms, when it comes to painting up terrain, as opposed to figures?

2) Or is there not all that much of a difference, other than the pigment concentration?

3) OR do these terms mean something different among miniature terrain makers, specially among the model RR* crowd?


TMP link
* For example, in most of the RR videos I've watched these last couple of weeks a "dry brush" looks anything but dry. The guys in those RR videos (10-12 vids so far) seem to leave lots of paint on the brush.

PrivateSnafu03 Oct 2018 6:48 a.m. PST

I always thought a wash was intended for the deep recesses whereas a glaze goes on the high parts. A stain permeates a medium. Washes can become stains if not applied carefully.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP03 Oct 2018 7:55 a.m. PST

Wash and stain, not much difference. A stain is applied over a primed, unpainted object whereas a wash is applied over a painted object to accentuate recessed areas. A glaze is a protective coating applied to the entire object.

TamsinP03 Oct 2018 8:01 a.m. PST

Wash – Usually has something added to improve flow so that pigment is carried into recesses; generally has less binder. Aim – increasing contrast/relief by darkening recessed details; can be applied sloppily.

Glaze – has some flow improver; usually similar level of binder to paints; often has a drying retarder. Aim – to colour-shift an already painted surface; has to be applied carefully in thin layers, avoiding pooling.

Both can (and will) act as stains. Both can be used to do the other job (I quite often use washes to glaze flesh to achieve sun burnt or sun tanned looks).

jamemurp03 Oct 2018 9:00 a.m. PST

A wash is diluted ink and/or paint applied as a transparent layer. Specifically, as an art technique, it generally refers to the use of only one or two colors with more generally being a full watercolor piece. There is a similar method of thinning used in oils to produce watercolor like effects. Glazing is pretty much synonymous with washing- using transparent layers to build depth or modify color. (Usually glazing with watercolors is referred to as washing) There is an opaque glazing technique with oils known as velatura.

Staining refers to the use of pigments to soak into materials such as canvas or wood. Staining generally emphasizes inherent texture and similar characteristics of the media it is applied to.

ced110603 Oct 2018 9:45 a.m. PST

From a miniatures painting perspective, I think part of it is that wash, glaze, etc. refers to:
* The surface painted. Frex, I paint miniatures, and miniatures are never stained.
* The technique used. Washes and glazes are applied entirely differently on miniatures, but may use the same *material*.
* The material used. Frex, washes and paint typically have different concentrations of medium (eg. water).

The confusion comes from comparing, say, materials, when you should focus more on technique. You certainly can thin down paint and use it either as a wash or glaze. But you certainly won't confuse applying the thinned paint all over the miniature (wash) with applying it in multiple layers over a specific area (glaze).

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP03 Oct 2018 11:25 a.m. PST

Stone Mountain seems clear enough. As regards dry brushing, I try to make a distinction between dry brushing, which only hits the high points, and damp brushing, which only misses the recesses, but obviously they're points on the same line.

Cacique Caribe03 Oct 2018 1:47 p.m. PST

Some people make adding pigment to rocks look so easy.


dampfpanzerwagon Fezian03 Oct 2018 5:32 p.m. PST

Washes = Traditionally, diluted Oil Paint (black or dark brown) applied as a ‘wash' to help define detail. Today there are ready-made Oil based and water based or acrylic washes in many different colours and strengths, although a quick search on the Internet will give you lots of home-made wash recipes.
Tint = Just that, a wash or ‘Filter' that just tints the underlying colour or paint, similar to looking through coloured lenses.
Filter = A very light or watered down wash (1 part wash – 20 parts plus of water or spirit) that is applied to a single colour basecoat to subtly alter or modify the base colour by tinting it. While a Wash would ‘pool' around sculpted detail and help define it.
Pin Wash = Another traditional wash applied in a focused area – for example; Around the rivets or over the access hatches of a 1/35th scale tank. To detail the cockpit or wheels of a 1/72nd scale airplane. For painting faces and hands on a 28mm wargame figure. A pin wash was used around the wooden pegs in the timber framed building to highlight this detail.
On the microscopic level acrylic paint has a very rough texture and washes stick or pool to this texture, lighter highlight colours are therefore easily stained by these washes. Coating the surface with gloss varnish or Future and allowing it to fully dry before adding the wash can give better effects as the wash stays in the valleys rather than on the ridges or in the shadows rather than on the highlights.

Reproduced from my book Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3 – Models For Wargamers. For details see this link


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