DIPPING FIGURES IN MINWAX POLYSHADE
here is the original article on Dipping by Scott Holder, 1997
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Here are some example of figues "dipped" in Minwax Polyshades. The figures are from Foundry Darkest Africa range, primed in white or khaki or dark brown (for bowman) and painted in the old fashion, "spread the paint on the figure" style. They are then brushed with Minwax Polyshade Tudor, glossy (460). I wonder if the satin would be better but these take on a nice Toy Soldier look that is good for individual figure games. Sometimes there is a little too much "puddling" of the stuff as in the kilt of the Arab with the whip (far right of group shot). This can be picked out with a toothpick.
The technique is called Dipping because souls braver than I actually dip the whole figure into the can. I prefer to brush on with big soft brush.
Small picture of officer in khaki I primed this guy in the khaki color so only needed to paint the details, the polyshade is excellent protective covering .
Large pictue of same
Group of recently painted figures I think the polyshade gives the figures, especially the white shirts and robes, a nice dingy effect you would expect from wear in the tropics.
Here is the MinWax web page for color comparisons
Here is some commenary by Dave Kuijt on the subject of dipping. Note he is using the Satin variety:
MinWax Polyshades Satin Tudor (#360)
The Miracle Dip.
Take the unpainted, unprimed miniature; clean off flash and glue it to a nail head (my normal method). Paint whatever is not mail or metal armour. Since the fig isn't primed, this may take an extra coat for some colours, and you have to be careful not to rub off anything.
Dip the fig into Miracle Dip. Shake off excess (somewhere you won't get in trouble for splattering polyurethane stain), then take a beat-up old miniatures brush and remove any further glops at bottom of shield edges, around the neck, between legs, and so on. Let dry 24 hours, then it is done.
I use the same Dip method on a lot of my Dark Ages figures, although there I prime the fig first (as the fig is mostly NOT metal armour). MinWax Polyshades is combined one-coat polyurethane and stain; the Tudor is the darkest stain in their repertoire.
Satin coat is because the Gloss is way too glossy. If the result is still too glossy even with Satin coat, you can spray a coat of matte sealer overtop to take off the gloss.
The stain acts as a beautiful wash, bringing out every tiny pockmark of chainmail and line of plate armour; plus folds of cloth etc. The polyurethane part gives a tremendously durable topcoat to the fig.
It takes a little guts to do this the first time, thrusting your painted fig into the black goopy maw of a paint can. But I now use it on almost all my figs, and my painting speed has nearly doubled; for mostly-mail and mostly-armour figs my painting speed is probably four times as fast as it was (and I wasn't slow before).
The Tudor (#360) is the darkest in their line. Special order it, if you must (I had to look around; Home Depot doesn't carry the darker colours near me).
> Also, how about brush cleanup afterward? Turpentine, paint thinner, mineral spirits? I guess soap and water won't work?
Turpentine, paint thinner, or mineral spirits. Whatever is cheapest; they all work. Odorless mineral spirits is probably your best bet. Soap and water won't work; it isn't a water-based paint.
The product is by MinWax (company name), it is brand name "PolyShades", the colour is "Tudor", and the finish is "Satin" (the other option would have been Gloss finish). The colour/finish code is #360 (which means the same thing as "Tudor Satin").
You follow the instructions on the can -- stir before using. Actually I only stir when it has been sitting for more than a few days; if it has been sitting only a day or two I just swirl it around aggressively for a while before popping thelid off.
Here are some of my comments on the matter
Tudor is the darkest but for some reason is difficult to find. Someone in our group had to special order it from Home Depot. I emailed the Minwax company and they told me to check my local Ace hardware store. I have used the Walnut and find it nice for mostly-white figures, it gives a brownish effect whereas the Tudor is almost black. So I now use a variety of styles, some Tudor, some Walnut, some glossy and some satin. I think 15mm looks better with the glossy Tudor, 25mm Arabs, Indians in Walnut satin. Get a small can of each and try them. I have been dipping buildings (even ones made from precolored card) to give them a more weathered look. It is amazing how a flat painted figure is improved by dipping; not the black-primed, dry brushed style but the simple white prime paint on a color style.
Steve Roper who brought dipping to Ann Arbor suggested for my Africans that are 95% skin or whited robed types that I prime in the color of majority and then paint in the details and then dip, and it works. I even tried it (if I may deviate from DBA) on Khaki colonials; wash the figure (I soak in vineger for while) then paint the bare metal with a Floquil shade for Khaki (different troops in different shades of stone, or buff or whatever is khaki-ish)and then paint details and dip. I feel safer using an oil based paint for primer. I use only one special brush for dipping and then clean with turpentine and then wash with soap and water. It is about 10mm wide so covers one side of a fig in a stroke.
But if you really are afraid to just dunk the figure in the can, you can do every thing he says, except perhaps not put the figure on the nail and use your usual method to mount figs for painting, I put 3-4 on a popsicle stick (now called craft sticks) and then paint. So do your usual thing and then use a nice wide softish nylon bristle brush and paint the miracle dip on to the figures. I think this works as well as dipping and you can keep the usual basing method. Or you could actually just mount the figure on to its gaming base and paint the few parts that are not metal and then paint on the dip. Be sure to let dry well before you add any flocking or the fig will have a nice camoflogue coating.
In our group, even the figs that have the stain painted on are called "dipped" that Minwax makes an unpainted figure look amost good enough to use. see some samples at
I have a number of pretty poorly painted figs in my collection. Done years ago or picked up at flea market tables ("bring and buy") but with a good brush dipping they become fine looking figures.
One of our members says that dipping so improves the look of things, he might do it to his wife. :)
Go Dipping (even with a brush)