Sunday, 10 October 2010

Marvellous Matt Medium...

KiltedYaksman very kidly asked me if I could put together a little how to on using matt medium and I'm happy to oblige!

A good starting point and where I first came across this technique is Dave King's marvellous blog (he makes and now sells some mean little retrolicious evil dwarfs too!)

I will preface my post with a little disclaimer though - I'm not the greatest painter in the world and really only strive to get a good gaming standard with my minis - especially as I still have lots more to do to finish this project! So it does feel a bit strange giving tips out as I'm still learning a lot as I paint each mini.

So here goes...

First of all a grey undercoat -

Watered down black ink wash with a drop of matt medium in -

Skin tones - Vallejo Goblin Green with Matt Medium. I use very roughly a ratio of 2:1 paint to medium. I also loosen the mixture slightly wit a little drop of water. Play around with consistency here - what you're after is for the paint to be translucent enough to let the ink shading shine through whilst not being too watery that you can't control it or you need 4 or 5 coats to get any kind of coverage!

Leather brown for... guess what? A leather hood! Same ratio of paint and matt medium.

Other bits for the base coat filled in too...

Now onto highlighting the flesh - matt medium is very handy here too. I use a slightly more dilute mixture of green, lightened with yellow and a bit more matt medium - I try to let the dark black shadows and the darker green tones shine through in all the recesses.

Same for the leather areas - leather brown lightened with buff -

... and the rest of the mini is highlighted -

Rust up the armour - leather brown and orange fire (50/50) mixed with matt medium and watered down - dab it in the chain mail and other areas that would have rust on them. I also dab a few smaller dots of straight brown ink here and there to accentuate the lighter orange -

Now as he's looking a bit pasty its time for the inks! Again matt medium is great for, wait for it, matting down the inks - we don't want to go for the wet look for his skin! So green ink with a healthy dollop of matt medium (not too much or the ink becomes too dilute to shade effectively).


To get that worn and slightly shiny leather effect I use straight brown ink - slightly watered down so the highlights aren't too lost under the wash. Works well for the red leather scabbard as well -


Sepia ink with matt medium for the wood and fur areas. I also go back and put in the eyes and teeth once the green ink is dry - give the teeth a watered down and matted brown ink dab - orcs don't brush their teeth!

And finally once all that is dry I mix up a very watery and matted down black ink mixture and wash the whole mini. Take care not to let it pool anywhere or obscure the eyes and other recessed bits - I usually dab my brush clean and use it to spread the ink more evenly on the mini after the first wash.

 So there you have it - a pretty quick and in my humble opinion effective way of achieving a decent gaming standard paint job!


  1. It looks pretty darn sweet to me!

    Thak you for taking the time and the pictures are a great help. Much appreciated.

    What sort of inks do you use?

  2. My pleasure!

    I use Vallejo Game inks although I'm sure there are others that will do as well. I've heard the GW washes are very good, if expensive - plus you don't have to matt them down.

  3. I was just about to ask you for your orc flesh recipe. Luckily, I did a bit of searching on your previous posts & found this :)

    Just a quick question though, is this the technique you use for "all" your greenskins?


    1. I've changed my method a bit recently. If you look at all the Goblins and Orcs I painted up for BOYL 2014 (all the stuff in my most recent posts) I've taken to priming in the same way but giving the mini an additional white dry brush. I then use inks to glaze in the colour. I've been using the inks from the old Citadel Expert Paint Set - probably not much use to you though!

      I've also been using the Vallejo inks - either straight green or a blend of green, yellow and brown to get various other skin tones - probably most noticeable with the Gobbo's. Don't forget to mix in some matte medium to the ink and water it down a bit so that it dries matte and the white highlights still shine through. I'm going to try adding another white drybrush/highlight and a second coat of glaze to see how that looks in the future.

      I've also taken to using Army Painter Dark tone to wash the mini and give it a final bit of shading and to tie all the colours in together.

      Hope that helps!

    2. So your not using any paint now for the skin tone? Just applications of inks?

      Thanks for your detailed reply too Thantsants, I don't think I've tried to "properly" paint a greenskin before this years Orctober event.....even though I won't be able to finish my single mini in time! But I've got a great big bunch of Space Orks I want to do justice & I really like how yours turn out.


    3. Certainly the most recent stuff - just glazes of ink over the white brush and black ink wash. I feel it's a bit cheaty but you get good results and fast!

      I should also say that the old citadel inks seem to have really good coverage - I have to water them down quite a bit and add matte medium. The vallejo inks are pretty good too though.

      I look forward to seeing how your Green Meanies turn out.

  4. I was reading another forum a few months back, where a guy was doing just this very thing, but he was using inks to paint the mini up almost exclusively. He did a bunch of those mounted Death Korps guys from GW & they returned out great!

    I must say -as a general comment- I'm all for getting good results, no matter what the method involved is. There's quite a lot of snobbery in the miniature painting community when it comes to painting etiquette.

    Personally I think it's just a jealousy thing, where someone has achieved the same (or better) results using "unorthodox" methods in a quarter of the time it took them to paint it up the usual way.

    But those same people that look down on the "cheaters" are very quick to forget how the old Eavy Metal guys used to cheat all the time to achieve awesome results i.e. Crayon's to highlight, woodstain to shade, illustrator's inks that were meant for paper etc etc. Christ, any ink or wash is a"cheat" if you think about it, coz your shading without layering paint on with your paintbrush!

    As far as the old Citadel inks are concerned, yeah they do have quite a lot of pigment, but I've noticed some of the newer alternative brands do as well. I've got some Vallejo Game Inks that are really strong too. I think it's a bit of a hit & miss generally, some inks in one companies range are strong, while others in the same range are weak.

    Anyway, that's enough of a waffle from me for now :)

    Thanks for your advice & I'll be giving the ink wash painting method a go real soon.


    1. If your interested, I found the forum post where the guy show's his painting technique;