Army Painter Quick Shade

A trip to The Whiz, Rte 9 East in Westborough, resulted in a special order for Army Painter Quick Shade Strong Tone for $29.99.  Chris Walsh, co-owner with wife Lynne, used this to paint an entire 2,000 point Flames of War French army in record time.  That is all I needed to hear before wanting to know how to use this wonder product.

A 28mm Perry Miniatures horse is the guinea pig for my Quick Shade test.  If all goes according to plan, then my horses and dragoons for my AWI American Militia will be painted the same way.

Chris expressed the importance of using a lighter shade for the base coat than the desired finished color.  He explained that the Quick Shade will darken colors.  When using the Quick Shade be sure to do so in a well ventilated room.  The product has a strong turpentine smell.

I primed the horse with Citadel Chaos Black spray.  Once dry I applied a base coat of Vallejo Model Color 135 Beige Brown to the horse and Citadel Dessert Yellow to the saddle and bridle.  A touch up of Citadel Chaos Black to the eyes followed.  A light application of Citadel Dark Flesh was applied to the tail and mane for added distinction.  After this dries we can dip.

All of my models are temporarily glued onto cork bases, with a small dab of superglue but Blu-Tack also works, so I didn’t need pliers or any other tool to hold onto the model while dipping.  The can of Quick Shade needs to be opened, as you would a can of house paint, with a regular screwdriver.  Gripping the cork I inverted the model into the Quick Shade.  After a few moments I removed the model and shook off excess Quick Shade.

The horse has several areas where the Quick Shade might pool and form an inpenetrable, and ugly, mass.  Between the tail and rear legs, between each leg, and between the head and the reins are the spots to look at.  Chris suggested an Ultrabrush from Microbrush International as a great way to remove the excess from those spots.  A pack of ten brushes costs $2.59.  I inserted the brush into the necessary aperture and the Quick Shade attached to the brush.

Although the instructions say to give 18-24 hours for drying to complete that may not be necessary.  Chris said he only gave 24 hours for drying and was happy with the result.  I took pictures of the horse after the base coat, 18 hours of drying and again after 36 hours.

There is strong debate whether you should dip your models or paint on the Quick Shade.  Gordon, owner of Adler Hobby, prefers to paint the Quick Shade onto the models.  He’s talked about this on his Black Powder New England Yahoo Group.  At first I thought I’d want to paint the Quick Shade onto my model but dipping is quick, easy, and accessible.  A word of caution before you attempt this.  Wear gloves (latex or latex-free if you’re allergic) like they do at the dentist/doctor is strongly recommended.  The Quick Shade got on my hands and the only way I could get it off was by scrubbing my hands with a Lysol wipe.  Save yourself the trouble and wear gloves.  You can get them at just about any local pharmacy, Walmart, Target, etc.

9 Comments on “Army Painter Quick Shade”

    1. Jonathan J. Reinhart Post author

      While looking at the can to reply to Cort I noticed that it says to “Use Mineral turpentine to clean your brushes, clothes, and as a thinner.”

      Luckily, I didn’t get any of the Quick Shade on my clothes (or hair). The Ultrabrush is cheap enough to make it affordable to use it for a bunch of models and then dump it when it is no longer usable.

      A plus of actually dipping models into this product instead of painting the product onto the models is easier cleanup.

  1. cort Naegelin

    so it is not a acrylic product. Not sure i can chance it with my crew. It looks excellent though.

    cort n

    1. Jonathan J. Reinhart Post author

      From the side of the canister:

      “The Army Painter” QUICK-SHADE is spectacular shading and varnishing in one! You will achieve stunning shading effects extremely fast with just one dip, while the varnish protects your miniatures from the wear and tear of the battlefield. CONTAINS: Naptha (petroleum), hydrotreated heavy, C9-12 – isoalkanes, C6-19 – fatty acids, cobalt salts, 2-Butanone oxime. Flammable. Repeated exposure may cause skin dryness or cracking. If swallowed seek medical advice immediately and show this container or label.Keep out of the reach of children.

      So, I’d keep it away from your kids but you would have no problem using this.

  2. Jonathan J. Reinhart Post author

    I have to apologize to everyone. In the article I mistakenly say that it takes 24-48 hours for the Quick Shade to complete dry. On the side of the canister it says it takes 18-24 hours to completely dry.

    If you dip your models before bed they should be dry by the time you get home from work. How’s that for an easy rule of thumb?

    On reading the article, again, I realize that I never gave my thoughts on the final product.

    I really like that the Quick Shade both adds a depth and definition to the model while sealing it at the same time. That saves the long step of gloss varnishing the piece. But, I didn’t achieve as much depth as I would have liked.

    The horse looks infinitely better after being dipped than it does after I base coated it. There’s no doubt about that. Even considering that I am left wondering why it doesn’t look as good as other pieces I’ve seen dipped into Quick Shade. I may dip it a second time to see if better shading will result. If that doesn’t work then maybe I do need the Dark Tone for my horses.

    This was my first time using the product so I could be doing something wrong. Or, maybe my color palette doesn’t let the product truly shine (pun intended). Actually, that raises another issue. Once dry your model will be shiny. Extremely SHINY!

    If shiny isn’t your thing, it isn’t mine, you need to spray on a matte varnish. Do not. I repeat DO NOT use GW’s Purity Seal. It will turn your model cloudy and other than stripping the paint off there is NO WAY you can save the model.

    If you use GW’s Purity Seal you may as well toss the model. You’ve been given fair warning. Instead, please use Testor’s Dullcote. It is a FANTASTIC product in a small can. Any great hobby shop should have it or should be able to get it for you. If they can’t, for whatever reason, then check your local craft store (Michael’s, AC Moore, Joann Fabrics) or box store (Target, Walmart).

  3. Cort Naegelin


    Looks pretty good to me. I probable will stick to my Futura floor wax and India ink mix for a while. it is acrylic. Better to have around with the kids, plus it is a little cheaper. It comes out shine too, but I hit it with dull coat. Problem with it is ink to wax ratios. I have poor quality control, HA!


  4. Chris

    I had problems with Citadel’s Purity Seal only once, and I’m pretty sure it was due to humidity. I resprayed the figures with Krylon clearcoat, then Purity Seal again. I had a little bit of touchup to do afterward, but I didn’t have to strip and repaint anything. A big relief… I had used the Purity Seal on a brigade of over 100 figures! I have had consistent problems with Armory’s dull coat, though.

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