General Paint Thinning Question
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: General Paint Thinning Question

  1. #1

    Default General Paint Thinning Question

    Hello all,

    I\'m new to painting and currently making my first attempt using the Tau Fire Warrior as my base. I\'ve been doing a lot of research and I think that I\'m having trouble determining what the best water to pain ratio should be.

    I assembled and primed my FW in chaos black. I think used Spaces Wolves Grey (from the GW paint line) and tried to get all the armor in that color. At first I used the paint straight from the bottle and just covered the armor with it. (I think that was mistake #1).

    After doing some reading I found that people usually use a 1:1 or 2:1 (water to paint) mix. I bought some eye droppers and a better brush this weekend. I also bought the equivalent Vajello color, Wolf Grey, and made different mixes. I noticed that the consistance seems to be more like skim milk and that I have to really pull the paint to where I want it, rather than having it just adhere right away.

    I guess that my question is what is the correct way to do this? Assuming that I\'m starting from black should I just proceed with this very diluted method? Right now I would settle for getting my models to talbe qualtiy... right now the one that I have is really bad. I tried performing a black ink wash and just got that all over the place but was able to restore some black into the creavises (I know that ink and wash is a whole other topic in of itself). Hence I tried the diluted technique to go over the wash area to give some color back while keeping the dark color in the cracks.

    I would appreciate any advice you guys could give.


  2. #2


    Skim milk is about the right consistancy, really, according to many. Some say whole milk is better.

    But ultimately, it\'s going to come down to you experimenting, and finding out what you like to work with, best.
    For myself, I thin at 1:1 most of the time, and 2:1 if I\'m working with lighter colours, and do a lot more layers.

    When I can make myself pick up a brush, anyway.

  3. #3


    If you are in a hurry and want minis on the table then just drybrush your highlights.

    Once you have done a few minis you can refine your blending techniques. Ive been painting for 8 years now and I still have to rush minis to get them on the table.

    But the thing that will help is bum in seat time. I would suggest you pick a technique and practice till you have it down pat before moving to the next.
    \\Post some pics as well next time.

  4. #4
    Brushlicker Arma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Osaka, Japan
    Blog Entries
    Rep Power


    Being a new painter myself, heed Ogrebanes advice, i\'m painting a box of Chaos Warriors right now, everyone with the same style and colours (of course it\'s a unit too which helps this), and trying to master the basic techniques with each mini...

    As for the paint problem, many thin coats is much better than one thick coat, take your time, let the previous coat dry and slowly build up the colour.

    Good luck

  5. #5


    I thin the paint very much, probably 3 parts water and 1 part paint. This is very thin, but I use many layers instead, I think that\'s better.

  6. #6


    My advice would be this: don\'t get caught up in exact thinning ratios and worrying about the ideal consistency etc. - everything varies, from paint to paint, from painter to painter, and depends on what you are painting. Just experiment, and go with what feels right to you.

    It is of course true that a few thin coats is better than one thick coat for a smoother finish, and to avoid obscuring the detail etc - but if you use your common sense you won\'t have any problems, you will know when the paint is too thick. If you feel that it is too thick straight from the bottle - as it seems with your description of using space wolves grey - just thin it slightly, and go from there - don\'t get too carried away with the idea of diluting the paint.

    And ogrebane is right in saying that the key is practice, this may be a bit cliche but it is true, with experience you will learn how to judge the consistency without worrying about ratios or anything. I don\'t think I have ever measured paint or water out in ratios!

    Sorry, I know this isn\'t practical advice...but from what you are saying, it seems that you already have the general idea - you just need to experiment a bit and find out what works for you!


  7. #7


    I agree that worrying about exact ratios is a bit silly, but there are general rules that I go by.

    the MINIMUM you should thin your paints I determine by how the paint looks on the brush...well rather in the brush. If the paint is sitting on the outside of the hairs it is too thick, the paint should be absorbed by the brush and the paint stored within the hairs, not sitting on top of them. That is the #1 key.

    Once you are comfortable with this, you will avoid the paint going on too thick and look \"chunky\", the more you thin after that will just be used to aid in your blending.

    There is one more key factor that I think is usually overlooked in the discussion of thinning paints. This is that once people thin their paint, they put FAR too much paint in their brush, so when then applied to a miniature, it results in pooled paint, or just runs everywhere since there is just too much of it in the bruch. Once you thin the paint and fill your brush, a VERY important step is then to remove almost all of that paint so that when you apply brush strokes is goes on just barely damp, rather than completely wet. Unless you mean to do a wash of course. Even glazes don\'t rely on pooled paint, and if you\'re getting a pooling effect, you\'ve likely got far too much paint in your brush.

    Just a couple thoughts on the subject :)

  8. #8


    I don\'t know if it\'ll help or not, but I put together a *very* quick article, not too long ago, on how I approach paint thinning----the sole purpose of the article was to try and get a few folks past the \"what ratio?\" question.

    Not expertly written, by any stretch of the word, but it does provide an alternate view to 90% of the thinning articles in existence today.

    Good luck.

  9. #9


    Great advice from EricJ and article from Rodnik. I painted my first unit of Arrer Boyz with straight from the bottle paint, and even though they turned out pretty decent for my first minis, they\'re not as good as my Orc Boyz I just did with thinning the paint a bit. I love reading and learning on the forum. :)

  10. #10


    Thanks for the help and for the article. I\'m going to start out on another mini tonight and see if i can do a little better using the thinning technique. I think that part of the problem too, was that the paint pooled up too much, I could move the mini and see the paint move which is not good. I\'ll try using less paint on the brush.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Privacy Policy  |   Terms and Conditions  |   Contact Us  |   The Legion

Copyright © 2001-2018 CMON Inc.