There has been a lot of talk lately in the wargame community about “dipping”. That is, taking a quickly painted miniature and then dipping it into a shading solution to provide instant depth to a paint job. Now, when it comes to miniature painting, I\'m a bit of a traditionalist. I like nice, clean paint jobs. My own style tends to involve black-lining, dry brushing, and layering in that order. So, when I was first handed a can of the new Army Painter - Quickshade, I turned up my nose and scoffed loudly.

Still, curiosity got the better of me, and I did have a box of the new Warlord Plastic Celts laying around. So I decided to give it a go. Since the main selling point of the Quickshade (or \'the dip\' as I\'ve taken to calling it) seems to be the speed at which you can paint, I decided I would employ no techniques what-so-ever. I grabbed a couple of Celts, sprayed on a black undercoat and got to painting. When you\'ve been painting miniatures for years, it is hard to suddenly stop using techniques, but I managed to force myself to a one area/one colour system. In this way it took me about 20 minutes to paint a figure. I could probably have cut this in half if I had started with flesh coloured primer. When I finished, the figures looked depressingly basic.

Then I broke out the dip. Now I think it is only fair to warn people, the stuff is foul. It has the consistency of motor oil and stinks of turpentine. If you decided to use it, do so in a well-ventilated place. Using a pair of pliers, I dunked in the Celts feet first. I (carefully) shook off the excess dip and left them to dry. It takes a full 24 hours before they lose their stickiness. The final step was to hit them with a blast of matt varnish.

So the final verdict? Actually, they are pretty darn good. I don\'t really understand it, but somehow the dip runs into all the right places giving a great shading effect. Also, it coats the miniature in a very strong layer of varnish that provides serious protection. I showed the miniatures to some of the other gamers here at the office, and everyone was in agreement. The stuff works.

So am I convert? Yes and No. I\'m currently working on a Napoleonic Army and I\'ve decided that I will continue to paint this in my traditional style. However, the speed that can be obtained by using Quickshade has allowed me to start work on a large Confederate Army at the same time! And if the ability to work on a second army at the same time isn\'t a ringing endorsement, well, then I\'m not sure you are miniature wargmer.