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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bolt Action - Using the AK Interactive Enamel Washes to improve your vehicles

A short time ago I discovered the AK Interactive range of enamel washes, prior to this I had been using oil paints thinned down to the consistency of a wash to create a filter and provide depth to my vehicles. On a whim I purchased the three pack for green vehicles which came with a dark brown wash,  dark streaking grime and a light rust wash for around $20 Australian.

The three pack plus some solvent, cotton buds and a brush is all you need

Enamels have a slow drying time compared to acrylic paint and as such are really good mediums to work with when it comes to washes as you can clean up any mistakes or splash with some solvent without ruining your paint job.  A benefit of the AK range over oil  is that you can guarantee a consistency that you can never really get when you are having to thin down the mix to create a wash your self.

The washes are not just for green vehicles as this Tiger 1 demonstrates

There was some thought that these types of products were exclusively the domain of our brethren in the scale modelling world, amazing modellers able to weave ultra realism and amazing detail into their scale kits. Lucky for us war gamers this is most definitely not the case and the AK range is as useful to us as it is to them. Other people are much more qualified than I to talk about the range in detail so instead I will go through how I used the three pack for green vehicles to make my 1/56 war gaming vehicles standout.

Panzer Grey treated with the AK three pack above

As with all our vehicles a primer and base coat is essential, I do not airbrush my miniatures as a general rule so just a flat base coat with a spray can does the trick. Once that is dry I liberally apply some varnish to protect the base coat as the future application of a solvent can really chew into that layer if not protected. Using the dark brown wash I apply a layer all over the vehicles not really caring where it goes or how thick it is as the very next stage is the cleanup. Alternatively you can spot wash just the part you want as any application of enamel will leave a residue and change the colour of your base coat slightly.

You can see the rust used on the bridging sections
You don't have to rush in to commence clean up because of the slow drying time but I usually wait half an hour or so and then using a cotton bud dipped in solvent I clean up all the open areas leaving the wash around any built up areas. Now is also a good time to work in some streaks by drawing the cotton bud down a panel leaving a thin line of wash.
A Blitzkrieg Miniatures Matilda II

I generally leave that to dry and then you can apply another coat of varnish to protect that layer. A good rule of thumb when working with solvents is to protect each layer as it can be unforgiving in the way it strips the enamels. Next step is to use the dark streaking grime to reinforce some of those streaks you left after the wash as well as go around any recesses to make them darker, any going outside the lines can be quickly cleaned up with some solvent.

A JTFM Jagdtiger washed with AK products

The last bottle of rust is applied sparingly, a little to help the streaks stand out and around rivets etc but not much more than that. Put the vehicle aside and lets go back to it tomorrow. Fast forward and all the enamels have dried and your vehicle looks pretty good but being war gamers we want our vehicles to pop on the table. For me I use a bone white and a light drybrush to make the edges and panels stand out from the darker recesses, you can also use variations of lighter green and even light brown colours to simulate some dirt around the tracks and such.

There you go, a quick snappy guide on how I use the three pack for green vehicles from AK Interactive, I also use the same pack for pretty much any colour so don't feel restricted to just green vehicles. I encourage you to do your own research and check out some of the amazing talent out there using these products but from a war gaming point of view I hope you got something out of it. 

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