Hobby Mythbusters: Wood Varnish vs Quickshade

As a miniature wargame enthusiast, I own way too many models. If I quit my job and did nothing but paint models than I MIGHT be able to finish painting all of my models in a month.  For that reason, I’ve adapted my painting techniques to focus on speed over quality. One of the fastest painting techniques currently available  is dipping. Dipping is a term used when you base coat models and literally dip them into Army Painter’s quickshade products which will fill in all the recesses of your model and do exactly what the product brand promises, quickly shade them. At a price point of $29.99 for a 250ml can, this stuff is not cheap but its website claims it will shade them perfectly and let your colors come through. However, as someone who is always looking for hobby shortcuts I’ve recently heard that Miniwax Wood Finish will do the same thing that Army Painter promises but at less than half the cost at only $7.99 for a 236ml can. So, I’ve decided to test these two products on two identical minis.

Two identical Games Workshop Poxwalkers that have been base coated and are ready to be dipped.


Both models two hours after their initial dips. Both Army Painter Quickshade and the Miniwax Wood Finish will dry the models with a glossy shine so a matte coat is needed to flatten them out.




Both models with their dips dried, a simple rocky base added and a matte coating sprayed on.

Because the Army Painter Quickshade is more viscous and syrupy-like than the wood finish it did a better job at pooling in the recesses and creating more contrast with the undertone shading BUT the wood finish did a surprisingly decent job for $7.99. My biggest complaint with the wood finish is that it completely changed the color of the model into an orange-tint. Thankfully, my pox walkers are meant to look gross and unnatural but if I was painting models that needed realistic skin-tone and not a Trump-like spray tan than I would be very dissatisfied with wood finish.

So, if you are painting ents, demons, pox walkers or things whose color is not very important than go with the Wood Finish and you’ll get a decent shade. However, the internet’s claim that this product is as good or even better than Army Painter’s quick shade is bogus. Army Painter’s Quickshade still provides the best shading and is worth the extra dollars.

1 Response

  1. Jim says:

    Quickshade is the same as Minwax Polyshade, not the generic Wood Finish. Second, there are dozens of shades of Minwax. Picking the right one is important. Try Tudor Gloss or Antique Walnut.

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