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"My Experience with GW Contrast Paints on horses" Topic

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Asteroid X07 Jul 2019 1:33 a.m. PST

I have given the GW Contrast paints a try. I have come to find a few things while doing this, so I thought I should pass them on in case anyone is interested or has been thinking of using them.

I have a LOT of horses to paint. Ancient, Medieval (that includes the so-called Dark Ages), 19th Century.

So, I thought the new contrast paints might be a very big help in this area.

What I have found is they really are best on plastics. The Old Glory and Gripping Beast horses I tried them on both suffered from the stain/wash settling into any imperfections on the surface.

Of the two, the Old Glory turned out nicer – deeper cuts – while the Gripping Beast horses have almost no body contour detail.

The Wargames Foundry WW2 German cavalry I tried worked amazingly well, for metals. The musculature on the horses is very well done.

They really are best on the smoothest surface possible. Writing of which, the new GW Wraithbone really is a lot smoother to the touch than automotive primer and GW's Corax White. I tried coating over the other two as well, and Wraithbone made them much smoother to the touch.

I have also found that while painting horses, those with zenithal shading turn out, BY FAR, the best!

So, from now on, zenithal it is! I am tempted to try black automotive filler primer for the metal horses because the surfaces on the Old Glory and Gripping Beast ones are so rough, in comparison to plastics…

Tacitus07 Jul 2019 1:40 a.m. PST

Thanks for the tips. I'm hoping to use them to knock out bunches of baddies. Would be great if these could tackle horses as well.

Pat Ripley Fezian07 Jul 2019 1:48 a.m. PST

painting on horseback could be tricky

Asteroid X07 Jul 2019 1:57 a.m. PST

Tacitus, that was what I was hoping and it definitely does work. The Wraithbone has a slight yellowish/beige tone to it so it helps add some warmth to the colours. The Wraithbone really makes the colours look far better than just white or grey primer.

I tried adding 50/50 medium to the darker brown (Cygor Brown) and it made a very nice lighter shade with far more noticeable highlights.

Due to the way you want the paint to run down off the highest areas, I think painting underneath the horse first is the best way to go. Then inside the legs, before tackling the horse from the top down.

It really is a quick way to paint the body.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jul 2019 2:24 a.m. PST

Any pics?

NOLA Chris07 Jul 2019 7:29 a.m. PST


Ive been trying them on large ogres/giants from Reaper Bones,(bigger than horses in 28mm)
and have had some of the same splotched effect on the large surfaces too

(as an aside, the Wraithbone spray worked fine on Bones material)

I'm going to try your advice of starting low and underneath, see how that changes things

How do you use Zenithal shading?
any links to better explain?
(I understand the concept, just haven't seen how to do it)


3rd5ODeuce Supporting Member of TMP07 Jul 2019 8:22 a.m. PST

Spot on in regards to the primer used. I have found that Tamiya Fine Figure primer works really well. It seems to dry to a good surface for the Contrast paints.

Asteroid X07 Jul 2019 10:28 a.m. PST

No pics. Yet.

NOLA Chris, it is super simple. All you do is primer the figure black (especially the underneath – in fact, one may only have to do the "under" parts of a figure) and then from the top apply a very light (white, almost white (ie Vallejo grey primer/Games Workshop Wraithbone/Corax White)) spray from the top down – and only from the top.

This gives a shadowed appearance to the figure.

"In astronomy the word ‘zenith' means the point in the sky or celestial sphere directly above an observer, so in painting terms it means your highlight comes directly from above the miniature."

There is a more complicated way that uses 3 colours (black, then grey then white):

Do NOT use a cheap white spray paint held too far away as the next picture I found online shows:

Games Workshop claimed they could not make a white primer that was smooth enough, so that is why they made the Wraithbone colour.

I will have to try the Tamiya Fine Figure primer.

Perhaps a light sand with 1000+ grit wet/dry sandpaper after priming with white/light grey would help, but I wanted to find something fast and not have to add in extra steps that start to take a lot of time.

KevinV07 Jul 2019 12:45 p.m. PST

I used contrast paint to start my 15mm Napoleonic Polish. Uniform coats, back packs and trousers so far they look fine. I also used a contrast green over Flames of War Chieftain green spray to paint NATO French Gazelle helicopters. They have also turned out well. And I have begun to use for horses on my Forged in Battle 15mm Scythians- they also look good.

So far so good. They have sped up my paint times and seem to give good coverage.

Vis Bellica07 Jul 2019 3:23 p.m. PST

These are Museum Miniatures' 15mm Sumerians all painted with Contrast paints over Wraithbone primer.



That's just one coat for each of the kilt, cloak, flesh, spear-shaft and shield.

Bronze was done separately and in the traditional method.

KevinV07 Jul 2019 4:18 p.m. PST

Vis Bellica. They look great. Nice painting.

Asteroid X07 Jul 2019 7:56 p.m. PST

Vis Bellica, what colour did you use for the skin? Did you thin it with medium?

John de Terre Neuve08 Jul 2019 6:19 a.m. PST

Those Summerians look great. Nice way to get things done quickly.

I wonder how the blues would work on 15-18mm French Napoleonic infantry.

I have used Zenithal priming with some success, I think the 2 step rather than the 3 step process is fine as you have illustrated.

Can you use a combination of contrast paints and regular acrylics on the same figure?

NOLA Chris09 Jul 2019 7:18 a.m. PST

Thanks for the zenith info!
I'll give it a try

John – I've used contrast over regular
regular over contrast
wash over contrast
and found them all to work fine (so far)

those Summerians make me want to get my 10mm Libyans out and started!

Asteroid X09 Jul 2019 2:12 p.m. PST

Let us know how it (zenith method) works for you.

I found it works awesome. Just be careful when priming to not put too much on as every coat hides/lessens details. Thin primers work best. (not "filler" primer)

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