Thursday, 29 December 2011

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first of a series of articles exploring different paint brands that we can use to paint our miniatures with. These articles are by no means conclusive, but were written with the intention to evoke debate and a rolling discussion on the various merits or shortcomings of each range. Any feedback or personal experience would be highly appreciated.

First up, the one of the biggest hitters on the block; Games Workshop's range of Citadel Paints


Price; £2 for 12ml pots

The Citadel line of acrylic paints is probably what we all started using when we first entered the hobby.
This may explain why these are unfairly stymied by some painters as a beginner paint, or a lesser acrylic paint; this is not the case. Games Workshop's range of acrylic paints are of good quality that are widely available and quite easy to get on the high street. However, these paints fall down in two areas; price when compared with other brands, and current pot design (even though the above picture is out of date, the current pot design still has the same problems).


This range has a good choice of colours (70 paints in total including the foundation, washes and metallic range) and the paint itself is of good quality. The paint has a good consistency, good pigmentation and can be thinned with water alone. The range of acrylic paints are suitable for use in an airbrush, and I haven't noticed any adverse effects when additives are used. Where this line really shines is through their line of washes and foundation paints.

The foundation range is highly pigmented to offer one coat coverage. Although this statement is slightly boastful, and untrue depending on the underlaying colour, these paints offer excellent coverage with thin coats. A must for low opacity colours like red and yellow if you intend to use a dark undercoat.

The line of washes act as ready made 'juices' (used to subtly change the hue of colour) that leave a slightly satin finish when used. These are of an excellent quality and open up a whole new way of painting miniatures to every level of modeler. It is possible to paint very effective miniatures with a simple, neat basecoat and two to three layers of wash. Painting armies has never been so easy with this line of paints. Try picking up devlan mud to experiment and you'll relaise why this colour is the most popular in most people's collection of paints.

One advantage that I think hasn't been mentioned is the heritage this line of paint has through the 'eavy metal studio. I don't think any other line of paints made for miniature wargaming (niche market as it is) has the depth or breadth of material available to explain what can be done with the product. I've grown up alongside 'eavy metal painting articles, and I owe a lot of my current painting style to messieurs McVey and Blanche.

Engrimm Van Horstmann's paint paint scheme is typical of 'eavy metal's style; bright, direct and clean.


Ultimately, you feel like you are paying for a brand name rather than an improved quality of paint. On average, when compared with other acrylic paints in the market, you tend to pay more for less paint wrapped in a duff pot. The availability of this product isn't so much of an issue either with the internet hosting a wide array and variety of products.

The biggest drawback of Games Workshop's range is the pot design. I absolutely hate it. Unless you want your paints to dry out within six to eight months of use, you must use this product with a palette; something which the pot design was designed to do away with. The amount of paint exposed to the air when you open the lid means these paints have a low life expectancy (especially in with blood red).


If you are interested in exploring the world of miniature painting (and if you have read this article on a little known niche blog, then i'll assume you are) and you have found out there are other paint brands out there, don't throw away your Citadel paints away quite yet. Games Workshop's paints offer good quality, for a good price, but there are more economical ways to spend your money.

These paints lend themselves well to a clear, direct and bright paint schemes, typical of the well established 'eavy metal style.

Useful resources:

Games Workshop's 'eavy metal online articles  (Unfortunately Games Workshop have taken down all their online article resources. Let's hope they are just re-tolling this and not scraping it altogether.)



  1. This is a solid review I think, will you be doing any of the other brands out there?
    Also, I would agree with the washes. They are incredibly easy to use and almost always give a model more depth without taking a ton of extra time. I cannot remember the last time I did not use a wash on a model.

  2. I was half-expecting an utter bash of GW paints and was presently surprised when this wasn't the case. GW paints are my preferred paints, although i suppliment them with PVP and Vallejo Paints to get a wider range of colors.

    One advantage of GW paints, is that you can water them down without losing your color value, so they make great paints for washes and blending techniques. GW washes are great for certain things, but I miss the intensity of GW inks. I actually still use inks that I bought years and years one pot seems to last a lifetime.

    The current pot design is fine IMO, much better than previous designs. I like the clear plastic, it allows me to find my paints easier on mu paint pile.

  3. @ fayte: thank you. I started to write the article as an overview of the main paint brands people use, but I couldn't fit everything I wanted to say in short manageable chunks of text. I intend to review privateer press, Vallejo and reaper master series if I can buy some in the uk.

    @ tim; I try and write these articles as impartially as I can. That's a good point you make about how these paints can be diluted. I will amend the article with cross comparisons across the ranges.