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Raw Umber.jpg

My Secret Ingredient

Well, not so secret any more!


This is the one paint I simply could not do without


It is a tube of artists' acrylic raw umber. I have tried others but Liquitex is by far the best.  


I use it as a very thin wash which I apply to the entire figure once painted. It really brings the figure to life with a slightly weathered look which blends the colours and brings out the detail without the need to do any outlining.


You can buy it in most artist supply shops or online.

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I put a small amount of paint on the palette, thin it down with a lot of water and wash it all over the figures with a large soft brush. The paint should be very much thinned down —  little more than a puddle of muddy looking water.

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These 17th century artillerymen are painted but have not yet had the wash applied. They are OK but look a little flat.

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The Raw Umber wash picks out the detail and adds a realistic patina to the figures which brings them to life.

Whites will be stained somewhat and mostly this should be fine. Occasionally, however, I like to touch up the highlights with a little pure white as I have done in the photos opposite.


Blues will be given a slight greenish tinge and usually this is OK too, but if you want a nice pristine blue, a bit of touching up on the highlights will help.


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Before touching up the whites

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After touching up the whites

I used to worry about applying the wash over  armour, but no longer. I find that a little of the patina from the Raw Umber adds a realistic campaign look to armour that would quickly acquire rust within the low lights.

I have now taken to applying a wash over the white undercoat before painting small scale figures.


I picked up the idea when I started painting 6 mm figures as it was hard to make out the detail with only the white undercoat in that scale.


The raw umber wash picked out the detail and made it easy to block in the colours. It also provided a darker outline where the wash had settled into the grooves.


This works much better than using a black, grey or brown undercoat as the wash still allows the light highlights to shine through.

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