Dungeon Craft – How to use Black 3.0

The goal of this on-going series is to improve all of our RPG and Table-Top gaming experiences with anything from miniatures to world-, dungeon-, and character-building toolkits. Alan has been DMing/GMing for over 10+ years, and painting for 2 years.

“For all my life I have lived in shadow; the shadow of the city where I lie, cheat, and steal for scraps of bread. The shadow of my parents, once proud nobles, killed when I was but a child. The shadow of the empire, whose false light darkens the world around it. I now wear this cloak, black as the Tyrant-King’s heart, a symbol of how dark and broody and edgy I am,”

See how the armor still reflects some light? This is why I mix something into my black.

Or at least, that is how a good portion of rogue players sound in Table Top games. But, how to capture that on a miniature for Dungeons and Dragons? For starters, the first thing you might lean towards is a black. My first bit of advice in that case? No. Stop. Black is not the answer you seek. True black is rare and difficult; it is defined by the absence of light. There are situations where black is totally fine: Deathwatch Space Marines, full-on Death Knights, creatures you might find in The Void or a black hole. It’s up to you to decide when to break the rules. However, if your knight or rogue is going to wear a black cloak, I tend to mix in just a tiny amount of a dark or true blue.

But if you need something to disappear, like a magic cape, or a science fiction camouflage? Well, that is where Black 3.0 comes in. This is not an endorsement, nor are we being paid to write about this paint. I got my hands on a bottle recently, and have a love-hate relationship with the stuff. Its quite thick, like oatmeal compared to cream-of-wheat of Citadel paints. But the effect? Amazing. If there are details you want to see on the model, Black 3.0 is not for you, because it absorbs most light. So, if you do plan on using Black 3.0, here are a few tips.

Use sparingly!

One; THIN YOUR PAINT! I know I haven’t covered this, but thinning your paint is always a good idea. When I put paint of my palate, I typically add a drop or two of water to it to help the paint flow and get a nice smooth finish. Yes, you may need more than one coat, looking at you, yellow, but you’ll get a nice, smooth coat of paint. With Black 3.0, you’ll need to thin it down a ton more than you’re used to. You’ll also need to give it extra time to dry before going back for subsequent coats and be prepared to do four of five coats.

I first airbrushed Black 3.0 across the entire mini, then picked out details with a brush for a cyber-noir feel.

Two; DO NOT use any matte, wash, or drybrush on Black 3.0. You will ruin the effect. I did a test paint on a scrap of plastic and added Testors Matte Finish on it. It was no longer matte, dark, void black. You can paint over Black 3.0 with no issue if you are picking out other details on a model, such as belts or clasps.

Three; I do not recommend using this on metal miniatures. I did one, and it flakes off very easily because I can’t use any sealer on it.

Notice the difference between Citidel’s Abaddon Black, seen on his armor, and Black 3.0, on his cape.

Four; If you’re an airbrusher, the bottle suggests a 60/40 paint to water mix. I recommend a 50/50 or 40/60 mix to still get some detail.

So, hopefully, we learned how to use our black paints a little bit better, and the best way to use specialty black. May you back-stab all your enemies!