Applying oil washes is one of the quickest ways to make the details on your model stand out. It will define detail, add depth, and generally add “weight” to the model.
However, I’ve noticed over the years that many people often seem a bit intimidated by the technique. The good thing is it’s actually very easy, and doesn’t require materials that aren’t readily available from any art or craft store.
The demonstrator model for this technique is a Games Workshop Chimera, converted to a six-wheeled vehicle. I love building these kits, as I really enjoy weathering a Warhammer 40K vehicles.
Applying Oil Washes
The process of applying oil washes is fairly straight forward. Artist oils or modeling specific products can be employed. Thinned with odorless thinner, they can be applied with any cheap brush.
Once applied around the details, any excess can then be cleaned off. This can be wiped off, or blended in with a thinner-damped paint brush. And because of the long drying times, they are very flexible. You can even clean them completely off the model if you don’t like them. Yet once they do dry, they are solidly in place.
Later weathering techniques can go right over the top of them once they are dry, forming a great foundation for an interesting model.
There are many brands of oils available. I recommend choosing either modeling specific oils, or higher quality artist oils. These will yield the best results. My favorite oil washes come from Wilder Productions, operated by famed armor modeler Adam Wilder. They dry very quickly, and are also very matte in their finish. This is especially important on military modeling subjects, such as this armored personnel carrier.
Grab your oils and thinner, and let this video show how easy it is to add great looking oil washes to your models!
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