Spotlight: The Army Painter Products

Get your army finished quickly and get more time for gaming!

We at Warlord Games have been huge fans and advocates of The Army Painter products for years now – their system drastically reduces the amount of time taken to get your army from the sprue to the tabletop battlefield!

For those who are unfamiliar with their product range, we’ve put together a break-down!

AP LogoColour Primers

AP Sprays

No need for undercoat with these cans – one coat is enough! They do need to be used slightly differently to other sprays though to get the best effect. Here’s how!

Some modellers and hobbyists have experienced a sandy/dusty texture on their models when using The Army Painters Colour Primer sprays, instead of the usual smooth and perfect coverage that their Colour Primers are renowned for.

Due to the very nature of the unique Colour Primer formula, the pigment is heavy and the matt finish requires a quick drying time. Extensive testing based on the feedback from customers has shown that this combination (heavy pigment/quick drying time) can – on rare occasions – produce the said grainy surface. However, our testing also proved that this is quite easy to avoid!

Follow the 3 simple guidelines:


You must shake the can for minimum 2½ minutes. Don’t skimp on this part it’s very important to get good coverage.


Do not spray in tiny bursts, but use longer bursts where you smoothly move the can back and forth from a distance of maximum 10”.


Try it on an old model or leftover of an old plastic sprue first, to see if you have shaken the can enough.

The points above are to make absolutely sure everybody gets a perfect result every time. Of the tens of thousands of Colour Primers sold in the past few years, we’ve heard of only a few issues with these sprays but felt that one ‘grainy’ model is one too many and hope this tutorial gives you better results in future.


Once you’ve primed your models, it’s time to work on some basecoats – and The Army Painter’s Warpaints are a fantastic acrylic paint range specifically designed for wargaming miniatures!

With all of the core colours covered – including Metallics and Inks – they offer unparalleled quality, and are supplied inl 18ml. dropper bottles which enable you to administer the exact amount of paint needed, without having to open the lid all the time – thus avoiding the paint to dry out.

For quality, coverage and usability, the Wargamer Warpaints perfectly compliment the Army Painter Colour Primers and Quickshade dips!

AP Warpaints


The “dipping” technique has been around for years; people have experimented with all sorts of chemicals – whether it’s pre-made floor varnishes, or home-brew concoctions. The Army Painter’s Quick Shade is the first specialized “dip” designed for painting massed armies of toy soldiers. It comes in 3 different tones, to suit the individual gamer’s taste.

AP Quickshade

Dipping or Splash-On

On our Roman army we dipped the models into the can of Quick Shade holding the base of the miniature in a pair of pliers. It’s a very effective and super fast approach to adding shading and varnish to your standard troopers. However, for bigger miniatures or for gamers without outdoor facilities (yes… dipping is a messy business), you can easily apply the Quick Shade with an old brush – this is what we refer to as the “Splash-On” technique.

When you paint-on the Quick Shade, make sure you put plenty on! In fact, you have to almost drown the model to allow the Quick Shade to settle in the crevasses and the right spots. Leave the model for a minute then remove the excess pools of Quick Shade using the same brush or a piece of tissue.

Big or odd sized models are difficult to dip into the can are often done with the Splash-On technique.

Shading and Highlights

As the name subtly hints – Quick Shade is a … shade. It adds definition and shading to the deepest areas of the miniatures (in the same way as an ink). To get the best effect, always start with a brighter nuance of the colour, than what you want the end result to look like. For instance, if you want a nice deep red, start with a bright red – the Quick Shade will shade it and tone it down.

You don’t need to add highlighting afterward – we didn’t on our Roman Army. However you can do so if you want to and if you’ve got the time! Indeed it might be well worth going back and adding a few highlights to your army commanders.

Shading black is somewhat of a challenge – it’s hard to find a darker tone than black! An option is to add a thin grey highlight before the Quick Shade or simply to add an old fashion highlight after the Quick Shade is completely dry.

Soft, Strong or Dark Tone

So – which Tone should you use? A difficult question to answer, as taste is very individual. A good rule of thumb is to use the same Tone to all models in the army, if at all possible. This will create a coherent looking force which will look really good.

Quick Shade comes in 3 different variants; Soft Tone, Strong Tone and Dark Tone.

Soft Tone: This Quick Shade is specifically designed for lighter colours and looks extremely effective on light colours (white, pink, yellow for instance) as a consequence. Alternatively Soft Tone will give you an effective light shading effect, good for large surfaces and “clean” miniatures.

Strong Tone: This Quick Shade looks extremely good on models which need a deep shading and the rich brown pigment has a battle worn feel to it. Strong Tone is the most common of all the tones as it will add a fantastic shading effect to an army and give it a stunning overall look. In doubt: pick this tone!

Dark Tone: The ultimate shading for metal and armour. Dark Tone uses black pigment instead of brown and creates a very fine black shading on your models. Dark Tone is also superb for models needing a sharp contrast such as furry animals, machines and knights for instance.

Again – there’s a fantastic video guide available from the guys over at The Army Painter;


From here, it just remains to base your models! The Army Painter have your covered here as well – with a wide range of their ‘Battlefields’ range of basing materials –

They offer an extensive range of flocking and basing material to match all major battlefield types…

…as well as Tufts to add to the depth of your basing!

Roman Colour Variants

As an example of the flexibility and effectiveness of The Army Painter system – we have painted up a few different colour schemes for the Roman Legions illustrating the process of using Coloured Primers, Warpaints, and Quick Shade in a number of combinations,and have shown the outcome.

White Uniform: This Roman soldier was sprayed Colour Primer: Plate Mail Metal, then given a white uniform and dipped in Quick Shade: Soft Tone, adding fine subdued shading.

Bone Coloured Uniform: This legionnaire was sprayed Colour Primer: Skeleton Bone before standard bright base colours were painted on, he was dipped in Quick Shade: Soft Tone. Soft Tone works best on bright colours, such as this beige uniform.

Red Uniform: For this miniature we just started off with a Colour Primer: Pure Red spray, but it was otherwise painted and dipped in the same manner as our main army.

Blue Uniform: We sprayed this Roman Colour Primer: Matt White, base coated it GW’s Enchanted Blue with flesh and metal and applied Quick Shade: Dark Tone with Splash On technique.

Green Uniform: Started with Colour Primer: Plate Mail Metal; then flesh, green uniform and brown leather straps. Finally the trooper was dipped in Quick Shade: Dark Tone and given a bit of Battlefields: Field Grass on the base.

Musician Blue Uniform: The horn blower also got a blue uniform and lots of bronze armour on his armour and horns. He was dipped in Quick Shade: Strong Tone and finally given a winter base for a bit of variation. The wolf pelt was base coated with a mix of browns making it darker towards the middle.

The Army Painter products are a huge time-saver, and are particularly useful for gamers who have large armies to paint!

If you’re UK-based and looking to get started using The Army Painter products, we offer an all-in-one bundle which includes your choice of Colour Primer, your choice of Quickshade dip, and a can of Matt Varnish – all for just £35.00!


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