The Grimdark Compendium – Villainy Inks Review for Miniatures & 3D Prints 7&Wargames Models

Last Updated on Luglio 6, 2024 by FauxHammer

In the realm of miniature painting, achieving realistic effects such as dirt, grime, and weathering is a sought-after skill. Villainy Inks, which aren;t really inks but Enamel paints, are a line of colours, promising to deliver these effects with ease and efficiency. Are The Grimdark Compendium’s Villainy Inks the next “must-have talent in a bottle” or just another option in a confusing ocean of miniature colours?

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Villainy Inks – Summary

Villain Inks are specifically designed for adding natural dirt and grime to miniatures, providing a realistic worn look. With an extended working time and easy manipulation, these paints stand out as a valuable tool for miniature painters, especially those aiming for a grimdark aesthetic. However, they require specific materials and handling techniques, which we’ll cover in detail.

Villainy Inks – What Is The Grimdark Style and what is The Grimdark Compendium

The Grimdark style is a distinctive approach to art and storytelling characterized by its dark, dystopian themes and a sense of pervasive gloom. This style emphasizes a dirty, desaturated colour palette, grim visuals, and textured finishes to evoke a sense of decay and brutality. It often features twisted, dehumanized characters and bleak environments, reflecting a narrative focus on despair and moral ambiguity.

Grimdark art isn’t just about aesthetics; it deeply integrates with world-building and character development, creating immersive, bleak narratives. This approach requires a blend of technical skill and creative vision, utilizing unique painting techniques to achieve the desired effects. The Grimdark Compendium provides resources such as tutorials and courses to help artists master these techniques and bring their grimdark visions to life.

The Compendium offers extensive guidance on achieving the grimdark aesthetic, from foundational principles to advanced techniques. Their resources include detailed tutorials on colour theory, texture application, and narrative integration, ensuring that artists of all skill levels can effectively adopt and refine the grimdark style. Through these tools, the Grimdark Compendium aims to foster a community of artists who can capture the essence of this compelling, dark genre.

The Grimdark Compendium with the support of numerous backers has created Villainy Inks are a relatively new entrant in the market, developed to cater to miniature painters who need to achieve realistic weathering quickly. Their enamel base distinguishes them from the more commonly used acrylic paints, offering unique properties that enhance their performance in creating aged and worn effects.

Villainy Inks – Review Video

If you want to have a look at these in a more visual way, please check out our video review

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Villainy Inks – Packaging

The Villainy Inks set includes seven distinct colours:

  • Goons Grime – A versatile black shade for overall weathering.
  • Dystopian Brown – A deep brown for simulating rust and dirt.
  • Sector Rust – Light reddish-brown ideal for rust effects.
  • Coelia Green – A vibrant green for patina and algae effects.
  • Decay of Death – Pale green for subtle aging.
  • Carrying Crimson – A dark red for blood and decay effects.

The packaging’s design aligns with the grimdark theme, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal. Though the bottles being brown, and surrounded almost entirely with a label, does mean that you cant clearly see the volume of remaining Ink inside. Nor can you determine a thorough mix of the paint has been completed when shaking them.

I do love the style of these, but it does feel a tad “form over function”. Especially considering one slight drawback, which is that both the neck and tip of the pipette are easily clogged.

The Grimdark Compendium are aware of this and are looking to potentially make changes to their bottle design in future revisions.

beyond this the only other gripe I have is that the colour of the liquid on the box of Coelia Green, is significantly more turquoise than the bottle or paint inside. But I’m assuming you are looking at these paints applied to a model before grabbing them, rather than just assuming what is on the bottle is correct.

Speaking of, lets look at the products.

Villainy Inks – Products Outline

These bottles are available individually, and whilst I had the complete set, I expect that unless you are fully invested in this style of painting, it’s more likely you will pick up just the odd one. So lets do an overview of each. Now before that, one thing I want to add is what makes Villainy inks different from enamel paints from a few larger brands.

I spoke directly with the guy who goes by Zatcascagoon, the founder of The Grimdark Compendium, to determine specific differences. Here was the response, though I’m paraphrasing.

Villainy Ink is low in toxicity compared to other brands, with almost no smell due to the removal of 99.9% of aromatics, and most ingredients are non-toxic except for a few pigments. So this suggest they aren’t quite as bad for you when airbrushing, but I’d still personally recommend a mask an extraction if airbrushing with them. But I’d recomend that for acrylics too!

These inks are capable of drying from matte to gloss/satin based on the application. For instance, Goon’s Grime can be made to dry satin if un-thinned or powdery when thinned. Carrion Crimson and Coelia Green are unique coloured enamels which are products not commonly found in the hobby industry. (and I must admit, These are my 2 favourite paints in the set) They also plan to expand the range.

Lets have a look at what they have now

Goon’s Grime: Goon’s Grime is a deep-brown wash with greenish undertones, designed for creating the quintessential grimdark effect. It’s versatile for various applications, including unifying washes and weathering. This enamel is known for its consistency and ability to enhance detailed miniature painting with its unique pigment properties.

Sector Rust: Sector Rust aims to replicate a deeply hued rust effect. Although its current formulation leans towards an orange hue, it’s popular among users. Plans are in place to develop a darker, more accurate rust color, aligning with classic grimdark aesthetics.

Coelia Green: Coelia Green is designed for flesh effects and dark patina. It features high granulation, perfect for mottling techniques. The enamel has a higher binder content, resulting in a satin or glossy finish, and should be thinned with mineral spirits for optimal use.

Carrion Crimson: Carrion Crimson is ideal for grimdark flesh effects, offering heavy granulation for creating blotches and speckles. This cool-toned red enamel excels in mottling and filtering, particularly when paired with other flesh-tone shades. It’s a technical paint, requiring precise application for best results.

Ichor of the Damned: Ichor of the Damned is a general-purpose black wash with a warm undertone. It’s used to darken shadowed areas or obscure details, enhancing contrast and directing viewer focus. While suitable for unifying washes, its primary function is to create high contrast and detail obscuration.

Decay of Death: Decay of Death is a decay effect enamel that dries to a grey-green powder. It’s versatile for various applications, such as weathering black armor, creating bronze patina, and simulating moss or decay on different surfaces. The enamel is easy to manipulate before fully curing.

Dystopian Brown: Dystopian Brown is a warm brown wash, similar to Paralume di Reikland. It’s versatile for unifying washes over warm tones and effective in flesh applications when combined with other Villainy Ink products. It’s designed for neat application or thinning with mineral spirits.

Villainy Inks – Performance

Enamel Paints Overview

Enamel paints offer a significantly longer working time compared to acrylics. But also typically dry much faster than oils. This allows painters to manipulate the paint for hours, or sometimes even days, after application when you reactivate them using mineral spirits.,. This extended flexibility is beneficial for achieving nuanced weathering effects but requires specific handling materials like artist-grade mineral spirits for thinning and cleaning.

Necessary Tools & Equipment

Using Villain Inks involves a slight departure from typical acrylic painting processes. To thin the enamel paints, artists need mineral spirits, which are not interchangeable with water. Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid natural hair brushes, as both the enamel paints and the spirits can damage them. Synthetic brushes are recommended to maintain the longevity and effectiveness of your tools.

Application Techniques

  • For Beginners: Start with the comprehensive tutorials to get familiar with the materials and techniques.
  • For Experienced Painters: Experiment with layering and manipulation to achieve advanced effects.
  • For All Users: Ensure proper cleaning and maintenance of brushes to prolong their lifespan.

By integrating Villainy Inks into your painting routine, you can enhance the realism and detail of your miniatures, with minimal effort, bringing your grimdark visions to life.

To demonstrate the application of these paints, I used a Dredge Marine character model, sculpted by Mezgike, this whole process from the bare model to the results image at the bottom of this page took about 4 hours of painting time.

The process began with priming the model in black, followed by painting the base colours: light grey for stones, bright red for capes, white for armour, and a mix of colours for flesh and metal areas.

Step-by-Step Application:

  • Priming and Base Colors: Prime the model in black. Paint the stones with light gray, the capes with bright red, the armor with white, and the fleshy parts with a mix of beige and flesh tones.
  • Applying Enamels: Start with Goons Grime for an all-over weathering effect. Apply it generously as a 1:1 mix, or neat in specific areas. When drying, manipulate it with a soft brush to create natural streaks and variations.
  • Layering Effects: Use Dystopian Brown and Sector Rust on metal areas to simulate rust. Apply Coelia Green and Decay of Death to gold areas for a weathered patina.
  • Detailing: Add Carrying Crimson to flesh areas for a mild gore, or sore skin effect. Use a cotton bud to remove excess paint and refine the details.
  • Final Touches: After the enamels have dried, touch up areas with additional layers or details as needed. The flexibility of enamels allows for continuous adjustments until the desired effect is achieved.

And I learned all this from one tutorial video, Villainy Inks come with comprehensive support from the Grimdark Compendium, including free video tutorials and detailed guides. These resources provide invaluable assistance, especially for those new to using enamel paints to generate these and similar effects.

Beyond this, they also have a Patreon page with mode videos and an incredibly supportive Discord channel for memebrs.

The model allowed me to showcase the full potential of Villain Inks, with rich, layered effects that highlighted the ease of use and flexibility of these paints. The ability to manipulate the enamels over an extended period allowed for detailed adjustments and refinements, resulting in a finish I’m easily proud of in very little time..

Villainy Inks – Final Thoughts

Extended Working Time
Versatile Application
Unique Colours
Comprehensive Tutorials
Specialized Materials Required
Bottles are a bit crap

Now, these are great, but the one thing I prefer to avoid in a review is talking about the price of a product. What is expensive to one person may not be to another and whether you want to buy these at the price they charge for them is up to you.

But in this case, yes, there are alternative products for a few of these paints at less than half the price for a bottle that contains another 5ml of actual liquid you can use. And yes I was advised that you these have fewer pollutants in and harmful chemicals, but that won’t save you anything elsewhere because you should still take the same safety precautions as you would with any sprayed paint. So why not save the money and grab the alternative product.

The only place you do save here is in pipettes. Here they are integrated into the bottle. is annoying that you need to dig out this crud on a regular basis. and unless you empty it from the back of the pipette due. it will just keep blocking.

however, the coloured enamels are definitely a USP of this range, I have not seen such vivid greens and crimsons as I have with Carrion Crimson and Coelia Green. Those were my 2 favourite paints in the set because they really did something original.

Where the value really comes from is the support of an incredible creator in our industry. If The GrimDark Compendium inspires you, and helps you. this is a great way to give back to them and in turn they will continue to provide more content. because lets be honest, their guides going forward will focus on these products rather than the competitors.

And this model has been adopted by other brand and accepted in the community. Look at companies like Workshop sui giochi and Artis Opus. Yes they have some of the most expensive paints and brushes. But They also have the most guides on product usage than their competitors, and for many people, knowing how to use any tool properly is where the true value comes from. any “talent in a bottle” product is only as good as the person using it and what they know. Even Dirty Down Rust is a bit crap if you haven’t read a single how-to guide for it.

The Grimdark Compendium’s guides are a significant value addition. They offer in-depth instructions on using each paint, making it easier for beginners to achieve professional results. The combination of video tutorials and written guides ensures that users have all the information needed to get the most out of these paints. So if you want to paint like this, get these…

Villain Inks are a versatile and powerful tool for miniature painters, especially those interested in achieving realistic weathering and grimdark effects. While they require some specialized materials and handling techniques, the comprehensive support from the Grimdark Compendium makes them accessible and user-friendly. Whether you’re a seasoned painter or a beginner, these enamels offer a valuable addition to your painting arsenal.

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(Affiliate links will result in compensation to the site on qualifying purchases)

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  • FauxHammer

    Caporedattore nominato capo di - Ma devo ringraziare il team per l'esistenza e quindi permettermi di ricoprire un ruolo - senza di loro, sono solo un secchione con un computer e una dipendenza plastica.

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Caporedattore nominato capo di - Ma devo ringraziare il team per l'esistenza e quindi permettermi di ricoprire un ruolo - senza di loro, sono solo un secchione con un computer e una dipendenza plastica.