A Games Workshop Moria goblin miniature.

Agrax Earthshade: Technique in a Bottle

This post was migrated from my earlier blog:
Painting The Lord of the Rings Miniatures.

Citadel's Agrax Earthshade shade paint.

For two years now I have not painted a single miniature without employing Agrax Earthshade to some end. It is widely accepted as an essential paint for any collection, and is often referred to as “Liquid Talent” or sometimes “Skill in a Bottle” because of its effects on a miniature.  Being a shade, Agrax Earthshade flows into the recesses of the model and, when applied correctly, will bring a model together while bringing its best features to attention.

I have found that it is best applied to the entire miniature in several thin coats.  Make sure that it does collect in the recesses or it won’t have quite as realistic an effect.

On a Moria Goblin Archer

A Games Workshop Moria goblin miniature.

As you can see, this goblin has been fully covered with Agrax Earthshade.  Not only does it give a look of oily skin, but it also makes the metal look older and not so shiny.  Even if you want a miniature to look clean and well bathed, I’d still recommend applying this shade to stop it looking factory-made (factory-made is, in my opinion, not the best look).  In the case that you don’t want a miniature to look filthy (maybe it’s an elf in Rivendell or something), I’d advise a mix of Agrax Earthshade and Lahmian Medium just to give it a realistic appearance.

Other Examples

A Games Workshop mountain goblin.This Mountain Goblin too was painted using Agrax Earthshade (left) as was this stone well from the Mines of Moria and the dwarf (below).  On living creatures (such as dwarves, orcs, men, elves, hobbits, etc.) I use the shade as a penultimate step before final highlights.  On stone such as the well, I often use it early on, before I begin drybrushing the stone.

A Games Workshop terrain piece from The Mines of MoriaA Games Workshop dwarf ranger.

Shade Tutorial

I’ve also made a video explaining how to use shades, which shows me applying Agrax Earthshade to a Moria Goblin.  I made this video quite a while ago, but if you are unsure about how to use washes (such as shades and glazes), this should clear things up.

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