Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Coat d'Arms Super Shader and Army Painter Quickshade comparison

I had some 15mm Roman cavalryman waiting for a paint job. I decided it was a good occasion to try and compare the effects of those shaders from two different brands. First the descriptions:

Coat d'Arms

The Super Shader comes in three different forms:

  • Light Brown - a very subtle one, good for soft skin tone gradations
  • Dark Brown - fairly strong and sometimes giving a hard shift of colour towards brown, especially with whites
  • Black - similar to a black wash, stains light colours, creates dark shades. Good for armour, dark horses, stuff like that.

Light Brown and Dark Brown are very thick, paste-like. Black is watery, a proper fluid. All of them are acrylics, dry fairly fast (you can continue painting after 15m - 1h), you don't need to clean the brush in any special way. They come in 60mm bottles, each costing £5.  Bottles are screw-caps, very convenient to use.

Army Painter

The Quickshade also comes in three colours:

  • Soft Tone
  • Strong Tone
  • Dark Tone

I have the Strong and Dark ones so can't share any insights about the Soft one. Strong Tone is roughly the equivalent of Coat d'Arms Dark Brown, Dark Tone however is not like Black.

Quickshade is oily, has to be left overnight to dry completely. I clean the brushes with soap.  It is called a dip, so you should dip minis in the can but I find this procedure to be too messy, getting rid of extra fluid is hard without using a brush and if you are already using a brush why not just paint it on? This is what I do. The can of paint is big (250ml), suitable for dipping. Since I use it for brushing I'm finding the can too large, very inconvenient. The dip tends to dry up inside the cap. After a time you have to remove the hardened fluid or the can will not close. Needless to say you lose product that way. I would be really happy with the Quickshade in smaller bottles, similar to the Coat d'Arms ones.

Both the strong tone and dark tone create nice shading, the dark tone shifting the colours noticeably towards darker hues, the strong tone giving them just a slight sepia cast.

The cans cost 24.99EUR / £19.99 each so per millilitre the Army Painter seems to be slightly more expensive (add to this the waste of drying up fluid).

Just remember - Super Shader is acrylic. It is fast and convenient as acrylics are. Quickshader is oily, it dries overnight and you can't just clean the brushes with water.


The minis are Magister Militum 15mm scale Romans.

The cavalry below have been painted with base colours and then given coats of different shaders. The one on the left got the dark horses and the riders coated with Coat d'Arms Black, softer colours with Dark Brown. The ones in the middle got entirely coated with Coat d'Arms Dark Brown. The cavalrymen on the right got coated with Army Painter Strong Tone. Here you see them just after applying the coat, still we in case of Army Painter, already almost dry in case of Coat d'Arms:

Here they are after fully dried, with the base flocked. I've done additional work on them, I picked out the details or colours where the shaders obliterated them (Coat d'Arms Black stained the flesh a lot), applied additional detailing. Here is the pic before matt varnish:

And after:
(the difference is more visible in real life than in a pic)


After finishing them I have trouble telling one from the other. The Coat d'Arms and Army Painter shaders seem to be very much on par. This however comes with a caveat of Coat d'Arms needing more care with application of Black shader, staining the light colours more and thus requiring more post work than Army Painter. I'd say Coat d'Arms is more convenient to work with, but more inconvenient after application, Army Painter the exact opposite. 

Entire bunch of stands here, most of them being done with Army Painter. There is no noticeable difference really and the Coat d'Arms ones blend right in:

Friday, 4 May 2012

Painting the 6mm British Leaders

Here they are, painted and varnished.
Just as before with Roman leaders it's Coat d'Arms and Vallejo paints, Army Painter strong dip and all covered with Vallejo matt varnish. The minis are 6mm Baccus.

Just as with Romans the miniatures, no matter how painted, will never be distinctive enough on the battlefield to be immediately recognizable as leaders so the bases (coins) will have to draw attention to them.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Painting the 6mm Roman Leaders

I have a few cohorts of Romans by now, but thus far didn't have time to paint the three leaders I need - the Legatus and two Tribunes. So here goes, the minis are Roman Generals from Baccus:

Stage one, basic coats, undercoat with black wash to pick out details:

Top view:.

Main colours applied and some details picked out:

Final colours and details applied:

Army Painter's Quick Shader (strong tone) applied (freshly applied and still wet here):

And I shall see them in the morning. I will pick out some details dulled by Quick Shader and work on the bases.

Morning, the Quick Shader has dried. It dulls the colours somewhat and blends some that should not be blended. I picked out edges again with brighter colours, refreshed the whites and the pale flesh and started the work on the bases. The mini itself is so minuscule that regardless of the level of painting it won't be immediately apparent we are looking at the leader, so the base (a coin) will have to take care of that.

Below the results before applying matte varnish:

And that's that. British leaders are next.

Warmaster Ancients battle report. Imperial Romans vs Britons, 1000p

This was a first Warmaster battle for me and Lester, my opponent. We would (or I would) from time to time stumble over rules or misinterpret them. Still the game progressed very smoothly, much more so than I've ever experienced with any other system. Warmaster is a joy to learn, I'm really impressed by this game.

Warmaster is all about control. Much less about having insanely tough units, much more about being able to move them around and use them when you need them. Entire flank stalling or a unit failing to move for the entire battle is something quite likely. Providing proper leadership is key. In my first army list draft I had a good selection of troops with one Legatus leading them. I later changed that to include a Tribune as well. I'm glad I did, without that I'd get really kicked.

The forces:


Cohort II of the Legio Ineptica with attached Cohors Militaria of regular auxilia, all under the command of Legatus Incestus (counts as General) and his underling Tribunus Intemperatus (counts as Leader)
  • General
  • Leader
  • 6 centuriae of Roman Legionaries
  • 5 centuriae of Roman Auxilia
  • 2 units of archers

Barbarian Filth

Some mob from somewhere under the command of Warlord Something
  • General
  • 2x Subordinate (young chieftains recently graduated from Sandhurstium)
  • 16 mobs of Warriors
  • 4 mobs of Skirmishers
  • 1 unit of Chariots
  • 1 unit of Cavalry
  • 1 unit of Fanatics


There were some impassable woods on the east flank. In the middle there was a large Celtic village (dense terrain), to the west a hill (mostly open terrain, but partially blocking LOS). Some clumps of impassable woods in or next to the deployment zones.


The Romans deployed with strong eastern flank (4 centuriae of legionaries, 3 centuriae of auxilia, 1 bow under the command of Incestus himself) and weaker western one (2 centuriae of legionaries, 3 centuriae of auxilia, 1 bow under the command of Intemperatus).

The Britons deployed in three main bodies. Strong centre, strong west flank, weaker eastern flank, but supported with chariots and cavalry. The warlord took command of the centre, with his two Chieftains commanding the wings.

The battle

On the west flank the Britons moved forward fairly competently, matched by Intemperatus who despite his noble upbringing could get the troops to move while the bowmen managed to knock some Warriors out of formations and confuse them. They also created a good area denial effect preventing the British centre from supporting the west flank . The Legatus failed to control his troops exactly when it mattered though and when the forces met in the middle he accepted a charge instead of charging. This caused the legionaries and auxilia to take heavy losses. They repulsed the warriors and killed a lot of them (mainly due to insane fits of valour and resilience on the part of a single centuria of legionaries) but for a while it was touch and go. Next two turns of fighting saw some good charges by the Romans. Although their strength shrunk by then to some 1/3 they efficiently killed the warriors with their Chieftain, broken up the enemy units and with Intemperatus still in comand were left in pretty much unchallenged control of the flank.

The Romans ignored the middle, the Britons blundered right into the village (no doubt to greet and beat their loved ones). Since this is a dense area with -1 to Command rolls, the Warlord promptly lost control of his forces. They were barely moving for some three turns. This forced him to come close, pretty much abandoning the cavalry and Fanatics who were left in the deployment zone and wouldn't be active for the rest of the battle. The Romans detached an auxilia and a bow unit to keep the Brit east flank interested and swung around the village to hit the Brit centre. They charged in hard, won the combat easily inflicting some heavy losses and were ready to continue, two fresh centuriae advancing to support them.

On the east flank the British skirmishers and warriors tried to advance frequently stalling. The Sandhurstium graduate was too concerned with remembering how to drink mead with his little finger raised and couldn't remember the proper way of shouting "oi! MOVE!" at his troops. The Roman bowmen caused some confusion and held the ineptly manoeuvring Brits for two turns, but got swamped by skirmishers' javelins taking some losses. The auxilia kept falling back, dodging javelins, trying to keep the Brits interested but outside of charge range. Finally a clash took place on the flank with Brits breaking through the Romans and - unexpectedly - hitting the middle just after the legionaries were about to finish with it.

And that's when the curry arrived and we had to finish :)
The final state of play:
West flank won by the Romans, East flank won by the Brits, middle undecided. The Romans could still lose to the massed Brits, the two spare and fresh legionary centuriae could still cause carnage in the next two turns. Thus we decided on a draw. And some curry.