A faster way to add detail to your tabletop terrain - Quickcoat it!

A faster way to add detail to your tabletop terrain - Quickcoat it!

Do you really need to go through the steps and drying time needed to apply at least one coat of paint followed by at least one wash and then drybrushing to make your tabletop terrain look great? That was the question that led me to creating Quickcoat - the one step painting technique used for TERRAINO pieces. In this article, I’ll go over what “washing” and "drybrushing" are and how Quickcoat eliminates those steps with great results in a much shorter time.

A “wash” is a very diluted coat of dark paint that’s applied to accentuate the depressions in terrain. "Dry brushing" is the act of applying paint from a brush that has very little paint on it to the terrain piece resulting in the ridges and highpoints in the terrain being accented by the dry brushed paint. Check out the videos below to see examples of both techniques:

In the early days of TERRAINO, when I released the first edition of the TERRAINO Dungeon Basics Tabletop Terrain Construction Manual, I applied a wash followed by drybrushing to all my tabletop terrain, TERRAINO included. 

Since that initial TERRAINO manual release, I've been obsessed with cutting down on the steps needed to produce great looking terrain. Finding faster ways to paint seemed an obvious place to look for time savings since it was the most time consuming step when making the majority of TERRAINO pieces.

One day, while I was sitting around waiting for yet another round of paint to dry, I realized that the fact that TERRAINO is made with white foam may be the key to cutting down paint steps. Then it hit me:

With white foam as the starting material, you can apply the colors you want to paint the foam as a wash and get a similar effect to painting, followed by a wash and dry brushing! 

Since the thinned paint will naturally want to flow down and away from high points, applying just one coat of thinned paint onto the white foam will give you darker indentations and lighter highpoints because the areas where the paint pools in the depressions will have higher concentrations of pigment and the high points on the foam will be covered with less pigment so the whiteness of the foam will lighten the color.

All terrain pictured painted with single coat of Quickcoat paint formula

That was the start of the Quickcoat paint formula. All the TERRAINO pictured above is painted with a single coat of Quickcoat. That’s it. No washes. No dry brushing. You can also see Quickcoat painted TERRAINO throughout all the other TERRAINO manuals. 

Quickcoat method on the left, traditional paint wash and drybrush technique on the right

Left: Single coat of Quickcoat | Right: Grey paint followed by black wash and off-white dry brushing

Want to try it for yourself? Quickcoat is very easy to make. It’s equal parts by volume of acrylic craft paintTitebond Original Wood Glue and water. Just mix it up and apply it to your terrain. I like using sponge brushes for big areas and regular brushes if I’ll be painting multiple colors of Quickcoat on one terrain piece. 

I hope you give Quickcoat a try as I think you'll see the added speed and less painting steps really do make the whole crafting experience much more pleasant and quick. I’d love to hear what you think of the Quickcoat method. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If you like this content and would like to support further TERRAINO development, check out my Patreon at Patreon.com/GameGearMaster.com.

Happy Crafting!

 Jake

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