Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Matter of Opinion: Which Paints to Stock

So in my last article about the Pros and Cons of owning an entire paint range, I went and opened my big mouth. At the end of my entirely factual, and wholly opinionated findings, I stated the following:

"I don't care if the paint set is 6, 12, 72 or 144 paints, I would rather buy a core set of colors and then build out from there."

I was very quickly asked what I would consider a "core set of colors", and to give suggestions on what exact paints and from what ranges I would pull from.

Let's address the basic color palette first. We'll dive into colors I would want on hand, at all times, no matter the project. Some may seem like a no-brainer, and a few may seem like they aren't needed, but after all, this is my opinion, right?

Basic Color Palette: 31 Paints

Warm Brown
Cool Brown
Olive Drab Green
Deep Red
Neutral Grey
Warm Grey
Cool Grey
Pale Flesh Tone
Warm Flesh Tone
Dark Flesh Tone
Neutral Grey Metallic
Bright Grey Metallic
Gold Metallic
Bronze/Beaten Metallic
Black Wash
Brown Wash
Flesh Wash

Yup, 31 paints. I guarantee you that in my paint collection I have a representation of every one of these. I also guarantee that the moment I run out of one of them, it gets replaced quickly. The primary reason for each of them is that they will serve as bases for more complicated applications. Some are difficult to mix consistently, like pink, and need to have a place as a base paint, and others work amazingly well as a mix for shadows or highlights. Those of you that are used to the print industry also will notice I've got both RGB and CMY represented. Having these 6 colors for a base is great for me, and actually serve as my primary palette of colors for any color scheme I concept. I'll play with those 6, then branch out from there.

Now I suppose you still want to know which paints and from which lines I would choose for them? Well, don't be surprised if I pull from at least three different brands for this.

Basic Color Palette: Brand Choices and Colors

Red - P3, Khador Red Base
Green - P3, Gnarls Green
Blue - P3, Cygnar Blue Base
Cyan - P3, Trollblood Base
Magenta - P3, Murderous Magenta
Yellow - P3, Cygnus Yellow
Purple - P3, Beaten Purple
Orange - P3, Khador Red Highlight
Pink - P3, Carnal Pink
Warm Brown - P3, Bloodtracker Brown
Cool Brown - P3, Bootstrap Leather
White-Blue - P3, Frostbite
White-Yellow - P3, Menoth White Highlight
Yellow-Green - P3, Wurm Green
Olive Drab Green - P3, Ordic Olive (Though Traitor Green works well too)
Deep Red - P3, Sanguine Base
Black - P3, Thamar Black
White - P3, Morrow White & GW, Ceramite White (All depends on the application)
Neutral Grey - P3, Ironhull Grey
Warm Grey - GW, Slaanesh Grey
Cool Grey - GW, Russ Grey
Pale Flesh Tone - P3, Ryn Flesh
Warm Flesh Tone - P3, Midlund Flesh
Dark Flesh Tone - P3, Iridian Flesh
Neutral Grey Metallic - GW, LeadBelcher OR P3, Pig Iron
Bright Grey Metallic - P3, Quick Silver
Gold Metallic - P3, Rhulic Gold
Bronze/Beaten Metallic - P3, Blighted Gold
Black Wash - Army Painter, Dark Tone Ink, OR GW, Nuln Oil
Brown Wash - Army Painter, Strong Tone Ink
Flesh Wash - GW, Reikland Fleshshade

See, 3 different brands. Now, this isn't to say that these are the only paints I stock. I own other P3 and GW paints, in opaque, wash and metallic varieties. Sometimes a paint color just fits what I need it to, so I buy it. The above, though, are my foundational paints that I do not begin a project without. Yes, it is primarily dominated by P3. They put out a good product, and I'll continue to buy until they don't. That's not to say I don't care for GW's line of paints. I think the new line is better than the previous, I just don't buy as many of them any more. You'll also notice I've begun to buy P3's metallics now, even after choosing not to in the past. They've fixed the issues I had with them, and I'm happy with how they perform now.

I hope this helps anyone who is unsure of what to keep stocked or what to start out with. And if it doesn't?

Well, it's all a Matter of Opinion anyway, isn't it?

- Tim


  1. You clearly like P3 so I'm not going to ask what you think of them. Instead, I'm going to have to get some P3. I have been a Citadel guy forever and they are still my favourite line but I recently branched into Vallejo for priming and love them in my air brush. Plus I keep hearing people singing the praises of P3 so it looks like I'll have to try them out too. Yay! More paint for the paint gods!

    1. hah! Yes, I have a fondness for P3 paints. I didn't until abotu a year and a half ago or so when I took a painting class at Adepticon and just fell in love with them. BEST thing PP could do to promote their paints is sponsoring all the painting seminars at Adepticon with the use of their paints. I literally came home and blew 80 bucks on them.

      Man I need to get an airbrush though..

  2. I have been using more and more vallejo because of my airbrush.

    1. SONOVA... Josh, you didn't tell me you had an airbrush!!! Now we need to get together for more than just a game!

      After the new year?

    2. If you actually read my comments, I have mentioned a number of times that you can borrow my airbrush. :)

    3. I read your comments!!! I just keep forgetting that you have an airbrush :P

  3. You got me thinking about the whole paint set question - while I stated previously that I wouldn't buy a paint set, it occurred to me that I probably have 50+ different colors on my painter's caddy. So in reality I essentially have bought the equivalent of a paint set, more or less! That said, of those 50-some-odd colors, only about 15-20 get used on any given project.

    I'll have to investigate the P3 metallics, since switching over to using a wet palate I'm much more fond of the paint dropper style bottles, and I've made some horrible messes attempting to transfer GW metallics into clean dropper bottles. My painting desk is decidedly technicolor!

    Out of curiosity, what do you use to keep your paints organized? Recently bought one of these...

    ...And I absolutely love it. Honestly wish I'd bought one years ago.

    1. You could definitely say that I've compiled my own "paint set" with the above post and statements. But it's one where I know I will use MANY of them in a single project, and certainly across an entire army.

      I've never had much fondness for the dropper bottles, and I use a wet palette as well. Reason being is that when the paint dries a lil in the dropper bottle, then it shakes loose, I get paint flakes in my paint... which can cause intense amounts of swearing when I apply said paint flake to a model while blending. Not saying they always do that, but I got burned by murphey's law apparently.

      Definitely check out the P3 Metallics, but make sure they have a Black label...the old ones have a white label, and aren't worth crap.

      I've been looking for a decent paint organizational method myself and can't seem to decide on one, though I'm leaning towards the tiered ones.

  4. I am susprised to see the metallics under the P3 brand. Mind you, I'm seeing the 'black' band comment but where I go, I never see such a band. All white.

    1. Agreed, of all the paints i love of GW i am a huge fan of their metallic. Maybe P3 has improved theirs recently because they used to be terrible. Their other stuff was great but their metals sucked.

    2. That's really the key here is that black label on the P3 metallics. I hated their metallics before. Now... Now I'm warming to them. I really enjoy their warmer metallic colors, and their Pig Iron is a nice neutral base for steel.

  5. I've been eyeing the Back2base ix paint caddy. On my phone currently so can't link them. On the paint front I use mostly GW paints but have recently been trying out Vallejo and P3 liking them so far

    1. Hmmm... this is me, moving to check out the paint caddy ;)

  6. Right now, all I care about is the perfect combo for Deathwing.

    1. hahaha... you'll get more info come january when the white dwarf hits. I'll be doing an indepth review then.