Washes and Filters


Welcome to the sometimes confusing world of washes and filters. Once you have completed painting your miniature figure, you might want to experiment with washes or filters later. Though both sounds familiar in everyday life, they really mean something else in the modelling realm. I had my fair share of confusing both to be the same thing. Though they both use diluted paint for applications, their uses are technically different.


Washes are the traditional terminology of adding diluted paint onto small areas to shade or emphasize subtle details and make it more pronounced. We add washes to deep recesses, or to details that will be lost once the basecoat and blending are done on a miniature. For miniature figures you normally apply dark to black washes to trouser seams, folds, belt and strap edges etc...


Filters generally can be classified as changing the basecolour or adding a texture onto a basecolour. Filters cover a wider area of a model and may be applied to most parts of a miniature. Applying filters can also to be used distinguish a horizontal plane with an angled or vertical plane. The diferences are noticeble but yet subtle enough to be believable.

Some knowledge of the colour wheel will greatly help if you like to play with filters. Below is a filter example. The base color in the left photo is Yellow Green. A filter of Khaki color was applied to the whole uniform in the right photo to alter the hue. Refer the page Painting a US Paratrooper also.

If you want to do a further reading about washes and filters visit the missing-lynx.com article.