Tuesday 3 September 2019

Contrast paints and black undercoat

In my incessant quest to find quicker ways to paint miniatures, I've been trying Citadel's contrast paints over a black undercoat. After undercoating in black gesso, I drybrush in grey and white before slopping on a coat of contrast. I think it works fairly well. In the case of the beastie above and below, I painted the bone and belly-scale areas buff before the white drybrush.

With these crab-men or selenites or whatever they are, I drybrushed silver-grey over base-coat colours (red and buff) before adding the contrast.

These leeches were straight black/grey/white contrast:

So was this fishy thing:

And these space orcs - very quickly done for friends' children - were my first experiment. Black/grey/white/contrast again; it took just an hour to finish all three:

They may be crude (and it's not a great photo), but I quite like the effect. I'm painting up another batch for domestic use. Here are how they look along the way:

And here's a Reaper Bones troll who's there or therabouts with the same technique:

It's never going to be a prize-winning technique. But for quick monsters, it's actually quicker than using contrast paints over white, because the black undercoat takes care of the joins and recesses. So there's much less tidying up to be done at the end.


  1. That's fantastic. Thanks for sharing, I have been considering a similar technique for getting all my Infinity minis painted and it's great to see your results!

  2. Looking very good! I may give those contrasts a chance, finally.

  3. Very interesting!

    I've always painted with washes and inks over white, even before contrast paints came along. And you're right - one of the problems is that when you miss a spot, it's bright white. I'll have to give this a try.

    Would you mind noting which contrast paints you used on these guys?

  4. Thanks, all!

    Marc - sure: the red on the orc armour and leeches was Blood Angels Red; the green on the titan, orcs and troll was Plaguebearer skin (rather a wishy-washy tone over light undercoats, oddly enough, but strong over black/grey/white); the crab-men got orange (over a basecoat of Vallejo red drybrushed with Vallejo silver-grey) and Skeleton Horde (over buff/silver-grey). Skeleton Horde was also used on the titan's bony bits and belly, over buff drybrushed with white. The fur on the titan was Gore Grunta Fur (over black/grey/white). The fish-thing got Gryph-hound Grey over his black basecoat and grey and white drybrushes.

    The troll's scaly bits were done in turquoise, with another green (forget which) for his scaly loincloth. His straps, etc., were done with Snakebite Leather. I used the turquoise for the orcs' guns and the strongest blue for their blades. Their leather bits were done in Snakebite Leather.

    Hope that helps!

  5. Thank you! I've tried this out on a few minis and like it a lot.

    1. Glad to hear it! I'm using it now on a whole batch of gothic sci-fi stuff.

  6. Another top tip... could you tell me where the Selenites are from? They look just like the Fiend Factory one. Many thanks