Most of you reading this are probably familiar with dipping - basically, it's heavily applying a polyurethane-based wash to shade a model quickly. A quick search on any of the wargaming forums will lead you to dozens of detailed tutorials about dipping, so I don't feel the need to write another one, I'll just be giving a quick overview.
Dipping models is a pretty polarizing topic in the wargaming community - some people love it, others think it's the worst thing to ever happen to the hobby. Another point of contention is what to use - The Army Painter sells their own line of "Quickshade" - for thirty dollars a pint. A lot of people swear by it, though. Others claim that you can get just as good of results using polyurethane furniture stain, which is twelve dollars a quart. Since budget is a big concern for this project, I decided to try the furniture stain.
After doing some research, it seems the preferred brand is Minwax PolyShades. Make sure you get the "satin" finish. There are lots of opinions regarding which color is the best to use, but the one that came up most for use over "warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows, browns, etc) was "Antique Walnut":
(For "cool" colors (greens, blues, whites, etc) the most frequently recommended color was "Tudor Satin", which is closer to black than brown. I might try that version on my Orks someday).
Anyways, the thinking behind the process is that you quickly put down a limited number of base colors, apply the stain (either through literally dipping the model in it, or, more often, applying heavily with a brush), and you're done. So here's our test model:
The Army Painter Gun Metal primer has already taken care of all the silver areas. Next, I hit some areas with Citadel Shining Gold:
Next, I painted the bags/straps/boots with Snakebite Leather:
His shirt got Foundations Mechrite Red, the beard is Space Wolves Gray, the face/hands got Kislev Flesh, and the inside of the horn got Chaos Black:
...and that's it. It probably took me ten minutes to basecoat the model, and I was being overly careful 'cause I'm rusty.
Now it's time to stir the dip:
Getting the stain well-stirred is a must - I'd stir it for at least five minutes. You want to use something that will reach all the way to the bottom of the can, since the polyurethane will settle down there. Be aware, this stuff is extremely sticky, and doesn't smell very good - it probably goes without saying that it'll ruin any clothes/furniture/pets that you spill it on, so put down lots of newpapers in your work area. You'll also need turpentine or mineral spirits to clean your brush afterwards, or you could just buy a cheap pack of nylon brushes from the craft store and throw 'em away when you're done.
I don't have any pictures of myself actually applying the dip, because I don't have three arms. Basically you want to slop the stain on thickly with a brush, wait a minute or two, then use a dry brush to "suck up" the excess where it has pooled on the model. The Army Painter has a good video tutorial on their site.
Here it is after the stain was applied, still wet:
Before & after:
...and after drying overnight, and giving the base it's first coat of Vomit Brown:
...so overall, not bad - it's not going to win a Golden Demon anytime soon, but I've seen worse-looking models at the FLGS that probably took more time. I think it even brought out some of the details in the chainmail and the beard quite nicely. Overall, a good enough proof-of-concept test for me to move forward...