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WWHSD

Army Painter Strong Tone vs. Minwax Antique Walnut

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I read in another thread someone talking about using Minwax instead of Quickshade to get the same effect.

Based on the blog that was linked by @eilif, it looked like the equivilent to the Quickshade that I was using was Minwax Polyshades Antique Walnut. The recomendation was to buy the satin and not the gloss finish. I picked up and 8 oz. can for just under $8 at Home Depot. A quart of the stuff was $13. I want to say that I had paid around $5-6 for a 0.6 oz dropper bottle of Quickshade.

I had just finished painting and Quickshading a couple of my Reanimate Archers so I set one aside without doing anything after applying the Quickshade. This model was going to be the control for the comparison. 

I got a couple more models painted to the point that they were ready to shade. On one model I applied the Minwax with a brush like I did with the Quickshade (ie heavy-handed and half-assed). For the second model I decided to take advantage of the larger can to just dip the model. The dipped model was shaken off (inside a paper bag to contain the mess) and a brush was used to wick away the bigger pools that didn't shake off (again in a half-assed manner).

Here's what the three models looked like after drying.

RmaNEN0.jpg

 

Here's the things that I took away from this little experiment:

- The Quickshade is much thinner. It flows into crevasses much better.

- The Minwax wasn't quite as dark. I could probably try a different shade of Minwax to get a better match.

- The Minwax was super shiny. An Anti-Shine varnish will be needed.

- The Minwax took longer to dry. It was still tacky to the touch a couple of hours after applying. The Quickshade seems dry enough for light handling after 10 minutes or so.

- The Minwax has a strong smell. Maybe not quite as strong as spray primer or varnish but it's something for the garage, not the kitchen table.

- Brushes used for Minwax will need to be cleaned in a solvent. I haven't had any issues so far cleaning my Quickshade brush in just soapy water.

- I didn't see much difference in the results of applying the Minwax by brush or just immersing the miniature. Someone that's more surgical about applying it with a brush might get different results.

 

I'll be adding some minimal highlights (pretty much just the skulls) and hitting these with a coat of Anti-Shine this weekend. I'll post more pictures when I'm done.

Edited by WWHSD

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46 minutes ago, cyberkeith said:

thanks for this write up.  new to this painting stuff and nice to see the different results.

 I'm new to it as well and figured that by posting things as I figure them may help other folks that are just getting started or get some input from more experienced painters.

I'm glad you found it to  be worth reading.

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Thanks for the comparison.  Although the Army Painter Quickshade in the dropper bottles is different from their dip:

Water based bottles:

army_painter_bottles.jpg

Varnish based dip:

qs1002-2.jpg?1486487043

A comparison between Minwax and the Quickshade varnish-based dip would be more helfpul.  Varnish takes a lot longer to dry than the water-based stuff.

 

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52 minutes ago, bumyong said:

Thanks for the comparison.  Although the Army Painter Quickshade in the dropper bottles is different from their dip:

Water based bottles:

army_painter_bottles.jpg

Varnish based dip:

qs1002-2.jpg?1486487043

A comparison between Minwax and the Quickshade varnish-based dip would be more helfpul.  Varnish takes a lot longer to dry than the water-based stuff.

 

I didn't realize that there was a different product in the different sized Army Painter Quicktones. I thought the dropper bottles were just a smaller quantity.

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Definitely different things, the Quickshade is basically a polyurethane wood stain and very glossy when dry (at least 24hrs, preferably 48hrs before anti-shine matt varnish is applied) - but like all things 'hobby' the Army Painter product is more easily accessible for your regular hobbyist and you know what you're getting every time.
The Quickshade 'washes' in dropper bottles came several years after the original tins and are meant as an easy alternative in their normal range of quick drying acrylic paints and washes - both excellent products but with different techniques and results.

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The quickshade ink washes in the dropper bottles are the same as the old GW washes, Devlan Mud and Abbadon Black(??) before GW redid their paint range and changed to Nuln Oil and whatever they call the black one.

If you never used Devlan mud, it was far superior to Nuln Oil.  I highly recommend the Army Painter inks washes and vastly prefer them to the new GW offerings.  

Though this is different to the topic at hand.  Great to see the comparison WWHSD.  I think you will find that now that you have the walnut polyshades there isn't much point "upgrading" to the Army Painter Quickshade.  I don't really know if you will see much quality difference with the increased cost.  Just follow the Army Painter guides substituting the Quickshade for the walnut stain and you will be good to go.  

Great to see you getting into the painting.  

  

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As others have said, a better comparison would probably be the Quickshade dip, which would have the same drying time, shine, similar thickness and also requires mineral spririts.

Still, I think it's really useful to see the comparison between the oldest version of the dip in Polyshades (Predates Army painter by decades...) and the new-kid-on-the-block army painter washes.  One thing I will add is that both AP and Polyshades dip are also GREAT protectants as they seal the model under a strong layer of polyurethane. After a matte finish or varnish (to cut the shine) figures that have been dipped are really well protected.

Thanks for doing this @WWHSD !

If folks are interested, My blog post linked in the first post also has Minwax near-equivalents for the other two AP dip shades as well as lots of other information and a gallery of dipped figures.

 

Lastly, @WWHSD, to get a real idea of the comparison, could you matte varnish the dipped figs and take pictures so we can really see what the difference looks like when the shine isn't present?  I'd be curious to see how they compare then.

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26 minutes ago, eilif said:

Lastly, @WWHSD, to get a real idea of the comparison, could you matte varnish the dipped figs and take pictures so we can really see what the difference looks like when the shine isn't present?  I'd be curious to see how they compare then.

That's the plan but it was raining this morning. Mrs. WWHSD makes me spray outside because if I do it in the garage our kitchen and front room stink for the next day.

I'm just about to hit the models with a second coat. I'll take pictures when that dries.

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Here's the result after the anti-shine (I also added some color to the eyes and hit the skulls with more of their original color):

 

mUcoQyQ.jpg

 

The Quickshade Ink does seem to do a little better job of shading but I think it might be because it is a bit darker. I'm tempted to try a darker but still brown based Minwax at some point in the future.

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I think you're right.  Perhaps a bit better.  

Honestly though, without getting close to my monitor I'm having a tough time telling the difference.

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Quicksade is stupidly over priced for what it is. After buying mineral oil and a cheap can of midwax, the cost may not be that different. If you already have mineral oil lying around, it is a cheap solution.

If you don't want a cheap solution, General Finishes is a far superior product to anything midwax makes, usually can be found at Woodcraft or online. I wouldn't use the oiled based products as oil on top of acrylic doesn't produce the most durable finish and could lead to chipping problems down the road. The water based acrylics should work on plastic figures though. I never thought about using them on anything other than wood. You can thin them out with distilled water.

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Thanks for the write up and pics.  

I have used minwax much in the past, of different shades.  I always thinned it down with mineral spirits though just like I do when applying it to furniture.  When thinned to the same consistency I couldn't tell the difference between it and AP quickshade although AP product has the advantage of being ready to go out of the can.  I believe my go to was dark walnut.  

I have not used any on miniatures, but there are several makers of water based varnish+stains now.  Might be easier to use and clean up. 

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15 hours ago, Mep said:

Quicksade is stupidly over priced for what it is. After buying mineral oil and a cheap can of midwax, the cost may not be that different. If you already have mineral oil lying around, it is a cheap solution...

... I wouldn't use the oiled based products as oil on top of acrylic doesn't produce the most durable finish and could lead to chipping problems down the road.

You still have to buy mineral spirits if you buy quickshade (the dip product), so that's a cost you incur either way.   If you go with the QS wash that's a different thing, but also a different product.

As for the durability of an oil based product over acrylic.   Polyshade (and now Quickshades) oil based products over acrylic has a long history of being very durable over acrylic.  It's not necessarily what you'd choose for woodworking, but for minis, it's got a very good track record.

Edited by eilif

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FWIW: I've had good success in dipping in the can of Quick Shade with some figures (Skaven, animals, etc.) and not as well with others. It's good to experiment.  Thanks for sharing your experience. It helps.

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@eilif On the durability issue, I would be careful then. QS may be a very different formulation than midwax, which isn't known to be high quality. Getting finishes to stick to each other is always problematic.

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3 hours ago, Mep said:

@eilif On the durability issue, I would be careful then. QS may be a very different formulation than midwax, which isn't known to be high quality. Getting finishes to stick to each other is always problematic.

I understand about Minwax not being a high-end wood finishing product.  My point is that folks have been using it literally for decades on miniatures over oil and acrylic paints and in that particular application it is widely regarded as quite durable.  One of the things I like best about minwax is the protective layer of polyurethane it puts over your miniatures.

I'm not experienced with Quickshade dip though I've never heard reports of it not being durable over acrylic paints which is how it's been marketed since it appeared almost 10 years ago.

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4 hours ago, Mep said:

@eilif. Nor would there be any need to pay $30 for a small can of QS if it provide zero benefits over midwax.

I kind of wonder about this.  I've heard anecdotal evidence that QS is possibly better in pigmentation and possibly it has a consistency that doesn't require any thinning (sometimes I'll add just a bit of mineral spirits to even a new can of Minwax).  

Honestly, it wouldn't suprise me if this were true. After all, assuming Army painter is ordering QS from some manufacturer of painting products, it'd be a simple thing to say to the factory "Please add x% mineral spirits and make the color a bit _____ and x% more opaque".  In fact it'd be a bit foolish of Army Painter to not have made some tweaks to the formulation.  

 

Still, I carry on with Polyshades. The bottom line for me is three-dimensional. (Contradicts the definition of "line" but I digress...)

1 -We're talking about tabletop-level paintjobs here.  No one should miss the fact that even when applied perfectly and with lots of experience, this is still a fairly crude technique.  A minute level of difference between brands is largely meaningless if the figures are intended for tabletop viewing.

2 -The cost difference is rather large.  AP can be as low as $22 if you look around online.  The same size can of Polyshades ranges from 5-8 bucks.  One container can last a long time, but both are prone to sometimes going bad (thicking beyond usefullness).  Further, if you want to have access to more than one color (I use both "Tudor" and "Antique Walnut"), the price difference suddenly becomes rather more stark. 

3- It works. Others' requrements may vary but after at least 6 years of using Minwax I just don't find anything lacking in it as far as my needs are concerned.

Edited by eilif

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