Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Painting... and Paints - Part One

I'm currently neck-deep in the spearmen and knights for my Procession of Morr army. I'd take a few minutes to take photos of their progress, but that would take valuable time away from the actual painting of the models. With summer upon us here in Baltimore I'm finding that every spare second of my weekends is being planned away on a variety of fun activities and trips with my two little girls. Not a bad thing at all, but it does reduce the painting time. Hopefully I'll have some great news to report on the progress front early next week.

Until then, here's the first part of that mini-series on Paints that I mentioned a couple of posts back. Enjoy!


When I first started painting toy soldiers I was a young university student barely scraping by (well, I was living at home and working around 20 hours a week, so I had some money, but most of that was being spent on food and beer and general hanging out with friends). I used to use what ever cheap-ass paints I could find. My first models were painted with enamels, acrylics, and even gauche (did I mention I was studying graphic design at the time?)

I was pretty cheap when it came to the paints I bought. Until, that is, my girlfriend at the time bought me a set of the GW Inks (this was in 1994). The additional things I could do with the inks were great, and they looked even better when used over acrylics, so I slowly started to build my GW paint collection. Later in 1994 I started working for GW so the paint was now half off, which certainly appealed to my cheap side.

Some might also call me lazy, the convenience of having so many great colours in the store that I worked in meant there was no need for me to go anywhere else.

So, cheap and lazy? I prefer to think of myself as frugal and efficient. As time went by and I was spending more of it talking to people about how to use GW paints to paint GW miniatures, it really became part of my job. I don't like lying, so it made no sense for me to start painting my figs with Vallejo paints (and later P3), so I stuck with what I knew and I like to think I became very proficient in the quick deployment of GW paint onto GW models.

Fast forward a bunch of years to roughly 2005-6, GW decided to abandon a few great paint colors that had become integral to the way I painted models. These paints included Beaten Copper and Tanned Flesh, and it was then that I started to dabble a little on the dark side, picking up the Vallejo analogues of Hammered Copper and Tan Skin (or something similar, the name has rubbed off my bottle).

This was followed by GW's introduction of the Foundation paints, and later the Washes. At the same time a few more paints were cut from the line, with efficiency quoted as the reason. It seemed that GW struggled to be able to deal with a paint range with more than 75 colours. A confusing state of affairs really, but as long as the new staples of Calthan Brown, Tau Sept Ochre, Denheb Stone, Khemri Brown, Badab Black, and Devlan Mud were always around, things would be fine. I was incredibly happy to stick to the GW range (aside from my small and secretive dalliance with HC) and things went on as normal.

Until I was canned in late 2008. GW paints were no longer the cheapest, most convenient option. My frugality and efficiency were able to open the doors to more paint ranges, and now that I wasn't "tied down" to the GW range for purposes of promotion, I was free to explore.

And explore I did, but rather tentatively.

Next time on Painting... and Paints: The Current Era.



  1. Dave,beware this is a dark side that can run deep :)
    I jumped the GW only bandwagon when I saw MIG in the FW masterclass book,was the point I jumped ship.
    Now I use Lacquer,Enamel,Acrlyic of many different companies my Faves now are GW for Marines,Vallejo for Guard,Tamiya For vehicles
    Alclad 2 for mettalics,and AK interactive and Humbrol for weathering.
    With all these new paints you'll probally need a new paint rack,this guy at sells what we all know and love.

  2. I anxiously await the dramatic conclusion!

  3. I sense a disturbance in the GW hobby. It is almost as if a billion unpainted miniatures cried out and were silenced.

  4. Cant wait to see your next post! I have followed in your footsteps down the same 'paint path'!

  5. I do like GWs paints. but as you are saying there are so many different paints available to us now. My faves being wargames foundry which has a massive selection and Vallejo

  6. I tend to use what ever paints are to hand - GW, Vallejo, Foundry, Coat dArms etc. I even have a huge collection of craft paints that I use when painting terrain.

    I have never felt the need or in fact want to stick with only one supplier - maybe I am lucky having suppliers and stores within easy reach.

    I look forward to part two.


  7. I was annoyed when GW removed a lot of their colours from their old range. When I got back into the hobby in 2006, after a brief hiatus, I joined a lot of forums and ended up seeing how people were using different brands of paint (Vallejo, Coat D'Arms, P3 etc) and was excited to add more colours to my arsenal.

    I had always felt the GW paint range was very lean, which hardly any choice, and the coverage was pretty lousy.

    The new GW range however is great. There's a decent range of colours and for army painting there doesn't have to be any mixing or unusual ratios or too much guesswork. Since half of my Citadel paints were dried up lumps of plastic, I ended up just replacing them with the new Citadel paints. I like the base paints coverage and the texture paints are nice for individual models.

    Nowerdays I jump between Vallejo Game Color, Model Color, the new Citadel range, old Citadel Foundations, old Citadel Washes, P3 paints (excellent for turning into washes as they don't separate) and I make my own washes with acrylic inks and matt medium. For terrain I simply use poster paints.

  8. Great post and I look forward to reading more. I too started with the cheap stuff, craft acrylics and slow moved in GW paint (the old circle and hex bottles before the bolt shell ones). Over the years I have tried lots of different ones and today use a mix of P3, Vallejo Model Color, and GW mostly.

  9. I like many started out with Oils, then moved to GW, I love the Reaper Master Series line, but there is no longer anywhere local that sells them which is a pain when I need something for a quick project, so far I am VERY pleased with the new GW stuff, apart from a couple of the washes [Nuln Oil I am looking at you] which seemed to change consistency or or something.