Miniature paints

Chosing paints is an important part of miniature painting and there are a lot of different options. This review covers Citadel (GW), Foundry, Coat d'arms, i-Kore, Reaper, and Vallejo Model Colour and Game Colour paints.

If you haven't already, I suggest you take a short look at my Paint Info Page.

I have made seperate reviews for each brand with a "good" and "bad" section as well as some "Must Haves" and some "Avoids" and links to online stores where you can get the paints.

Citadel Colours (GW)

Many of us have probably started out with Citadel paints since they are available almost everywhere. They are sold in all GW stores as well as most miniature stores. The paints come in bottles with 12mL in each. The bottles have recently been redesigned with a flip top lid.

I still use quite a few GW paints since they cover fairly well (most of the at least) and the have some nice colours.

The GW colours are very "fantasy". Bright Red, Greens, Yellows and Blue are quite common while there a not a lot of natural colours to choose from. The Browns they do have are lovely though and I use those a lot.



Good:
- A pretty good selection
- Fairly good pigmentation
- Available almost everywhere
- Inks in different colours are available

Bad:
- Dries out pretty quickly
- Focuses on bright colours and therefore doesn't have many natural colours
- Pigment and binder seperation can occur when the paint have been mixed with water in the pot a few times
- Expensive compared to most other miniature paints

Must haves:
Scorched Brown, Bestial Brown, and Snakebite Leather (my favorites for painting leather)
Bronzed Flesh (my favorite for skin painting though a lot of people find it too orange)
Dark Angels Green, Snot Green, and Scorpion Green (gives a nice glowing green when combined).

Avoids:
There aren't really any horrible ones, but I usually avoid basecoating in Bubonic Brown, Snakebite Leather, Desert Yellow, and Terracotta since these colour don't cover very well. I use them for highlighting and for doing glazes instead.

Where to get them:
Europe: Games Workshop
US: Games Workshop

Foundry Paintsystem

Unfortunately you can only get Foundry paints a few places, but maybe that will change in the fuuture. The paints are divided into Shading/Basecoat/Highlight so if you buy a blue you will buy a dark blue for shading, a midtone blue for basecoating, and a light blue for highlights. The paints come in packs of six. I like them a lot, but I wouldb't recommend them for beginners since they can have a tendensy to be a little grainy.



Good:
- Shading and highlighting is really easy with the three tone system
- Quite a large selection to choose from
- Good quality fliptop bottles
- Good pigmentation and coverage for most paints

Bad:
- Only available in packs of six, which makes them rather expensive
- Needs to be mixed well with water on the palette to avoid a grainy look. Sometime I even have to add some flow improver to avoid the grainy look.
- Can have a tendency to show brush strokes
- Most of the colours are a bit shiny, even when dry

Must haves:
Phlegm Green Set (wonderful natural green for orc skin)
Blue Teal Set (a great deep turquoise colour)
Royal Purple Set (a beautiful and not too dark purple)

Avoids:
Bright Red Set (wierd pinkish colour with bad coverage)
Flesh Set (far too pink to look good)

Where to get them:
Europe: Foundry, Hetzerdog
US:

Coat d'Arms

Coat d'Arms are the old GW paints with different names. They are cheaper than GW (even though there is 18mL in each bottle!) and there are lots of nice colours.



Good:
- Very good selection (both a fantasy and a historical range)
- My favorite inks
- Cheaper than most
- Good quality bottles
- Good coverage

Bad:
- Some of the paints can have slightly different colours from bottle to bottle. I would be a little conserned about using these for army painting.
- Slight tendensy to show brush strokes.
- Some of the lighter colours can be a little grainy.

Must haves:
Bone (a wonderful soft colour)
Ink Wash - Flesh (I wouldn't paint skin without it)
All the old GW colours that you loved

Avoids:
Haven't found any yet, but I should add that I haven't tried them all.

Where to get them:
Europe: Artemis Blacks
US: Brookhurts Hobbies

i-Kore paints

I find i-Kore paints quite interesting. Overall they seem a lot like the Coat d'Arms paints and I also think they are made in the same factory, but there are some differences: The coverage varies wildly! Some paint cover in one layer while others need a about a gazillion. They are also more shiny than Coat d'arms. That said, they do have some really interesting colours which I use quite frequently.

There are 18mL of paint in each bottle which means that you get quite a lot of paint for your money.



Good:
- Good quality bottles
- Nice selections of blues, browns and greens
- Good coverage for some colours
- Great inks (the two there are)

Bad:
- The range isn't as big as some of the other brands
- No inks except for Flesh and Armour Wash
- Some paints have really sucky coverage and can only be used for washes.
- Most of the paints are quite shiny, even when dry.
- The paints with good coverage have a tendency to show brush strokes.
- The metallics are really wierd to work with, but they can produce interesting results.

Must haves:
Tanned Flesh, Flesh, and Pale Flesh (gives a really nice pale skintone)
Armour wash (super-super for metallics)

Avoids:
Red and Yellows in generel.

Where to get them:
Europe: i-Kore, Caliver Books, Hetzerdog
US:

Reaper Pro Paints

Reaper Pro Paints are a new experience for me, and I must admit that I'm impressed. The range is quite large and includes inks and satins. There is a good selection of both Fantasy and natural colours.

They are quite cheap compared to other brands and there is a lot of paint in each pot!



Good:
- Very good selection
- Nice smooth coverage (the particle size of the pigment seems to be really small)
- Good pigment load = coverage
- Cheap

Bad:
- I find the pots rather annoying (like the old GW bottles). This is especially a problem with the inks.

Must haves:
Walnut (a wonderful brown colour which I use for leathers, hair, darklining, and for bases)

Avoids:
I'll let you know if I find any.

Where to get them:
US: RPGMiniatures.com, Reaper's Online Store.

Vallejo Model Colours

Vallejo Model Colours are getting very popular because of their huge selection and extremely high pigment content. A lot of people also love their handy eyedropper bottles, but for me they are a blessing and a curse. The bottles make getting the right amount of paint easy and they prevent drying in the bottle, on the other hand I feel that they can sometimes lead to was of paint, since you can get less than one whole drop out of the bottle. They also have a nasry tendensy to clog, and this can result in a BIG MESS! Each bottle contains 17mL.



Good:
- A gigantic range with about 200 colours.
- Also has a selection of transparents paints and mediums (media?).
- Eyedropper bottles.
- Extremely good coverage!
- Brushstrokes are invisible.

Bad:
- Not very resistent to wear so either don't touch your models or give them a good coat of varnish.
- Not resistent to UV light (sunlight).
- Eyedropper bottles.
- Need a lot of shaking.
- Need be stirred on the palette quite often since they tend to seperate.

Must haves:
White (and light colours in general because of the good coverage)
Smoke and all the other transparents are simple wonderful and can be used for lots of different things.

Avoids:
Haven't found any yet.

Where to get them:
Europe: Mithril
US: Fozzbozz, Albino Rhino, Brookhurts Hobbies, Fantization

Vallejo Game Colours

Vallejo Game Colous are aimed at the people who use GW paints. The paints have almost the same names as GW and the colours are very similar. The bottles are the same as Vallejo Model Colours, but they clog a little less since the game colour paint is thinner.



Good:
- Same resonable selection as GW
- Thinner than Model Colour so you don't (always) have to mix with water
- Eyedropper bottles
- Good coverage
- Invisible brushstrokes
- More durable than Model Colour

Bad:
- Thinner than Model Colour so you get less pigment for your money
- The coverage is also not as good as Model Colour's
- Still need a lot of shaking

Must haves:
Scab Red (super coverage)

Avoids:
Haven't found any yet, but I've heard that Dark Green is supposed to be nasty.

Where to get them:
Europe: Game Mart
US:Fozzbozz, Brookhurts Hobbies, The Warstore

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. All these paints have advantages and disadvantages. Personally I like to mix the different brands because they all have some good colours, but if I really had to choose one brand (there can be only one?), it would be .......... it would be........ well, if you'd asked me year ago I would have chose Vallejo Model Colour because of the selection and pigmentation, but I've gotten so sick of tired of paint chips, thick paint and clogging dropper bottles, so today I would probably choose Reaper or GW (even though I still feel that GW prices are insane).

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