Sunday, July 17, 2011

How Liquid Tallent Is Hurting The Hobby

No talent needed.
Let's say that there was something you had to do that required a great degree of skill but it was difficult and time consuming. Let us further say that rather than doing it the difficult but challenging way, you had an Easy Button. Given the choice between the two, would you use it and what would that mean for you in the long run?

In the world of Tiny Metal Men, we use lots of products to aid us in producing good looking minis. There are lots of washes out there but one called Devlan Mud is so good that many use it as the only tool in their box. I call that using Liquid Talent and that's not a good thing. 

Dev Mud is a great wash. It makes just about everything look amazing. It's good for metals, red, brown, khaki, skin, armor, cloth, you name it. Just paint a base color, wash Dev Mud then maybe a little dry brush of Bleached Bone and you're done. It looks great and the longest part is waiting for the wash to dry.

But where's the skill in that? Using Dev Mud as liquid talent is barely "painting" and just one step above the dreaded dipping. Maybe one step is being generous. It takes next to no effort or skill to crank out minis that look pretty good at arms length.

I ain't saying that if you use Dev Mud you have no skill. It is certainly part of a good paint plan. Dev Mud is not the final word in painting just like the pit stop is not the whole race. There are lots of stellar examples (Blood Angel, Space Wolf) of plans that incorporate Dev Mud into them. My problem stems from when Dev Mud is used as the final step and no effort is made to clean it up.

Dev Mud is for dips
Take a look at this blog-thing. About two thirds of the way down there is a plan about painting a Tau army. Primer to Foundation to Wash to Tidy Up to Flattening to Highlighting to Extreme Highlighting. It does not stop after the wash step and you should not too. (It is actually a phenomenal beginners guide to painting principals. GW should snatch this guy up to write their next painting book).

Washing does just as much damage to your painting and it helps you out. It needs to be carefully applied and cleaned up afterwards or you end up with blotchy, brown and dark models. Trouble is that is what is on the table more often than not. It saddens me to roll into the FLGS and see all these dark brown armies. Like a table full of mud men fighting each other. Muddy red Marines vs muddy Guardsmen vs Muddy whathaveyou. It all looks the same.

Granted, not everyone is into painting just like not everyone is into the fluff or sculpting or competitive play. They aren't handing out Slayer Swords at the door, or at least not that I've seen. Some people are going to want their three colors and be done with it. I guess, I'm disheartened with the ratio of people taking the Easy Button to those trying to cultivate painting skills.

Then again, I'll take muddy models over primed black minis or, Emperor forbid, bare metal and plastic. I am nore than tired of playing against grey Orks, grey Bugs and Grey Marines.

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