When I saw the new texture paints from Games Workshop I was instantly intrigued by their new thicker variations of each color, as well as the change to microbeads. The thicker Agrellan and Martian crackle paints looked the coolest to me, so I picked up one of those and the Stirland Battlemire for an upcoming project to test them out and compare them to their older counterparts.
I already had Armageddon Dust and Agrellan Earth from previous purchases, but I honestly haven't used them much. I bought Armageddon Dust when it first came out mostly out of curiosity and did the same with Agrellan Earth. I have used them on the random mini here or there, but for the most part I have stuck to gluing sand to the bases. Part of this is because all of the armies I had going on at the time were already being based that way, the other part is because I just find sand easier to work with. I knew I wanted to use the Stirland Battlemire for an upcoming mini-project though, so this seemed like a good time to test out some of this.
To start with I grabbed four 20mm square bases (I had plenty of these spare now) to use as my tests. The two that I was planning on using the Agrellan paints on I painted with Rhinox Hide first so that would be showing through the cracks. My Armageddon Dust was a little dried up so it was slightly harder to put on then it should have been. The Stirland Battlemire is fairly easy to apply. I just used my "basing" brush, which is just an old paint brush I use for potentially damaging things like this, or glue. It's very gloopy and you kind of have to glop it on then spread it around. You can see the fine texture in it from the microbeads right away, but they also have some bigger chunks of stuff in there too. I made sure to put enough on so that I could create divots in the mud.
Agrellan Earth is the exact same consistency of normal paint, you just need to make sure you put it on extra thick so that it cracks well. The thicker it is, the bigger your chunks will be when it cracks. The Agrellan Badlands is just like its counterpart, but with a bunch of the microbeads in it. It is much thicker and has a definite texture to it. You can also see that it appears to be a slightly lighter color. After applying all of this to the base I let it sit for several hours.
When I came back the Agrellan Badlands actually hadn't cracked very much at all. I don't know if I got a bad batch, didn't shake the pot enough, or just didn't apply a thick enough layer, so I put down a second thicker layer and let it sit again. When I came back a second time it had cracked. Above you can see the difference between the different kinds of texture paints. The first one has a pretty organic feel to it, but also looks like it would be harder to get a consistent result across all of your bases. This is one of the older texture paints that uses grit instead of the microbeads, so it won't be available anymore. The Battlemire is really nice. The microbeads give it a very fine texture, like dirt, but it also has the larger chunks in there. I think these thicker texture paints will be great for super muddy, war torn areas, or for anything where you want it to look like your models are truly trudging through some churned up earth.
The Agrellan Earth gives you a really nice cracked appearance, but is very flat, which is one of the reasons I haven't used it much in the past. It's thicker cousin doesn't crack as prominently, but has a lot more texture and depth to it.
I decided to throw some shades and highlights on these really quick to help bring out the details.
I also wanted to experiment with combining the two different kinds of Agrellan paint on one base. I really like this look since it gives you some nice variation in depth and cracks and looks a little more realistic. The example above was shaded with Seraphim Sepia then dry brushed with Karak Stone followed by Ushabti Bone.
Overall I really like the additions of the thicker texture paints and I feel like the microbeads gives you a more consistent texture and also a finer one that's more appropriate for the scale of models it's meant for. I think the best use of these would be to buy the thick and thin version of each one and mix it up on the bases like if did with the last one. I'm going to keep playing around with the Agrellan Badland to see what else I can get it to do, but I think this, and the thicker Martian crackle paint, are the two biggest winners from the range. The snow also looks really cool and surprisingly convincing, but I didn't get a change to try it out. I'm also all for these larger bottles, they just make a lot more sense for stuff like the texture paints and the shades which you will use a lot of.
The only downside to these is the environmental issue of the microbeads. They are really bad for our waterways and are hurting the environment. They had been used extensively in bath and shower products before, so there was a lot more getting washed down the drain, but still, be conscious of that when using them. Try and get most of them off your brush onto the base before rinsing it off.
Until next time,