Monday, August 15, 2011

A Matter of Opinion - Paints

Image pulled from Google... Props to whomever took it!

Tools of the Trade: Painting, included pretty much everything I currently have at my disposal at my paint station...except the paints. This was done purposefully as I have what I think people should have as a matter of fact, when painting. Then I have what paints I use, as a matter of personal opinion and, what works for me.

Since I didn't want to leave the topic hanging, we're going to start a new series titled "A Matter of Opinion", and we'll dive right on in with the paints I use, the companies I buy them from, and even a bit of what I'd like to try in the future.

Let's divide the paints into three categories; opaque, metallic and wash.


For the longest time, I was a Citadel Paints advocate for this category. Once they released their Foundation line, they were even that much more entrenched in my mind and on my palette. I had tried Vallejo and Reaper (both their standard and their masters series) in the past and while I liked some of the skin tones Reaper had to offer, I wasn't happy with the consistency and pigment concentration of either. Were the Citadel equivalents any better? Not always, but they weren't any worse, I thought, so why change?

The I had the chance this past April to try the P3 Formula paints in a class at Adepticon. I'd heard many good things about them, but I was still reluctant to change from a brand that was tried and true, for me. Given that the paints were supplied and free to use, it was a good opportunity to test them with no investment in money or product.

The week I got back from Adepticon, I spent about 75 dollars on P3 paints.

Does this mean I threw out all my GW paints? No. For this category, I kept ALL of the Foundation paints. They fit into their own little niche for my uses, and I still love them. Their coverage is amazing and they give a solid base for the color and hue you're looking for. But those are basically the only Opaque paints I use from the GW line any more.


So in this category, I've got exposure to GW, Reaper and P3 brands.

I of course started with GW and again, had no reason to abandon them as my primary brand for metallic paints. Their consistency is, well, consistent and the mixture of the metallic flakes is a solid one, also they are easy to thin and feather onto a model, without losing their pigmentation and metallic nature.

Reaper metallics have an amazing range of colors and I was eager to try some of them. I specifically tested their golds and bronzes. I my experience, I find that they don't thin well for finer applications, and their pigment and metallic flake consistency, isn't. No, really. I find that they just are not consistent in their performance on the brush. It was very disappointing for me as I was excited about their metallic color range.

P3 metallics... Well, I was again excited to try them after I fell in love with their opaque line. Unfortunately my excitement ended there. I found their metallics weak in their coverage and thinning them for feathering was out of the question.

In the end, GW metallics have proven their worth, and I use them to mix with plaques, I can thin them if I want, and feathering and blending is easy to do.


Unfortunately, this is where my comparisons end. I purchased the GW washes when they came out and I haven't tried any since. Is it because I think that there isn't any to compare them to? Of course not. Secret Weapon Miniatures puts out a line of washes that have been much lauded by members of the hobby and blogging community, and I look forward to using them. When will I do this? Honestly, I'm not sure. Soon I hope, but that requires funds that are currently allocated elsewhere for the hobby.

Ultimately, folks, what paint brand you choose to use is up to you. I would encourage you to try multiple brands, though, and find what works for you for each application and use. Heck, MiCho (MiCho Miniatures) won a Silver Demon with a project he used LIQUITEX products on! Widen your scope and prospectives, and don't just stick to one brand out of some stubborn loyalty, and you'll be a better painter for it.

After all, it's just a Matter of Opinion.

- Tim


  1. Good to know, thank you. I stick with Citadel not because I believe them to be the best, but rather because they're the most accessible.

  2. And that's a huge upsell for Citadel paints, honestly, Oni. They are much more prevalent at the brick and mortar stores, with Reaper coming in a close second in my town at least.

    Unfortunately, stores will stock what they know will sell 9 times out of 10 to make sure they don't invest in a bunk product. At times that leaves our options lacking. If you still want to try something new, I would say look around and give some various online sellers a chance if what you want to try isn't readily available to you.

  3. I got a ton of reaper paints in a deal when a person I knew backed out of the hobby and sold his stuff to me. I was not impressed at all with their line, much for the same reasons as you stated above. The consistency was kind of chunky and the paint did not work well with my airbrush even when thinned.

    I have had a lot of great experiences with the Vallejo metallics and I prefer them to any other, though I caution that the line is REALLY thick and needs to be thinned and also needs to be shaken with every use.

    I am a Citadel man as well when it comes to washes, though I have tried a Game color sepia, which was more black than brown and really left an inconsistent finish.

    I have also tried the P3 Armor wash, which is like Badab Black, but leaves a sheen on the model. It's OK, but if you use the right techniques, the armor finish will look much better.

    Being that I use an airbrush from time to time, Citadel works very well with airbrush equipment when thinned properly in the brush and Vallejo's Model Air line is second to none when it comes to color selection and ease of use when it comes to airbrushing.

    Those are just my opinions though. Great article, Tim.

  4. Hey I recognize that picture..... It's from the article I did on paint.

  5. Then I thank you very much for the picture, though I had no clue where it came from... There should have been a credit given to whomever took the picture as a caption when you mouse-over it. That's what happens with Googling for images.

    Glad you liked the Article, OST :). Though you realize you're going to have me bugging you for airbrush equipment now that I know you have experience with them!