A comprehensive guide to diversifying the paints you use to unlock the limitations set by only using one paint range.
What type of painter is this guide for?
This guide is specifically for the painter that gets locked into using only one paint range which can limit what a painter can do by a surprisingly large amount. Sometimes people will find a few colors in a range that they just fall in love with, and that’s perfectly normal! However what happens sometimes is those individuals will stick with that paint range entirely because they know that they like some of the colors offered and don’t want to deal with trying to hunt down a bunch of other ranges.
This will happen a lot because of the inability to buy some ranges physically. This happens often with the Citadel range of paints. It is offered in any place that sells Games Workshop miniatures and as such is very easy to obtain. Where as others like The Army Painter, Scale 75, P3, and Vallejo may not be so easily accessible to the painter. Also given that Games Workshop has made the range very easy to use, as they put everything in stages to increase clarification of what to use when, it makes it hard for some to break out of that range.
Unfortunately, even though this makes it easier to understand what paints to use when, this will also naturally limit your creative mind in that you really don’t have much of a choice in what you use if you are using the framework created by Games Workshop.
Let’s talk about manufacturers.
There are tons of paint ranges to choose from as a miniature painter and here we will cover some of the most known ones, and talk about which paints those ranges make that have been adopted as the best of the best by many professional painters.
Well there is no doubt that this is the obvious first topic, but you may be surprised how few of Citadel paints are used by a lot of professional painters. They do however offer some really good colors but to be more specific Ryza Rust, Troll Slayer Orange and Flash Gitz Yellow are some of the Citadel paints I see most used by myself and a lot of other commission painters that I know. In terms of their washes, the gloss wash line is great, but not so much with the standard washes they offer.
They also have really solid technical paints in Typhus Corrosion, Blood for the Blood God, and Nihilakh Oxide. The three glazes they make are pretty solid as well being Guilliman Blue, Bloodletter, and Waywatcher Green. Unfortunately with any given citadel paint you are getting the worst bang for your buck in comparison with other companies that offer twice the amount of paint for less than the small pots GW offers. Which may be the reason I see so many people who paint for a living, just not using them.
Hopefully Games Workshop will eventually lower their prices to something that is actually a fair deal, but only time will tell.
Privateer Press (P3)
Ahh yes, Privateer Press and the Formula P3 range. This is a prime example of doing a range right. You can pick up almost any P3 paint and find a great use for it. From my personal experiences I will use a lot of the blues, reds, and greens from this range with great results. With P3 I usually stick to using their greens as I feel that Iosan green is one of the best bases, and Necrotite Green being the hands down end all beat all green in the miniature painting world. The flesh shades are really nice as well and you will be hard pressed to find another group of flesh shades that will perform with as much versatility as Khardic Flesh, Midland Flesh, and Ryn Flesh.
The Army Painter
The Army Painter or “AP” as it commonly referred to boasts a solid range of paints that will fill a lot of gaps for painters. They make some nice dark greens and bright reds but for me personally, it is their washes that speak the loudest. Any one of their washes will give you a really nice finish, especially if you have to wash a whole model. There is most likely not a better dip wash out there than that of AP’s. For me though most of their colors are really versatile and can fill a lot of gaps, but as is the point of this guide, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice even with going with a single range as versatile and cost efficient as that of The Army Painters.
Secret Weapon is a great company that has only somewhat recently broke big into the painting world. While they have a very small range, you could easily pick up every paint in their range and find use for at some point and time. This is easily the most specialized range of paints as the creator Justin has made them with the intention of adding realistic effects to miniatures. However they can be used for so much more, if you haven’t heard of secret weapon paints before, just check out the Heat line that came out a while back, you might be surprised at what checking this range out can do for you.
Scale 75 is definitely not the most talked about of all the painting brands but if I am to be honest, they offer some of the best paints for non metallic metal or “NMM” as it is commonly referred to. The golds and silvers they offer can be used to great effect in going for NMM. They don’t have much else to offer me personally, but I will see other commission painters using some of the other parts of their range from time to time.
This is a brand that rivals all others as it has a huge range with most paints being great at their purpose. I personally find myself only using their white and black as most of the other slots are being taken by paints from other brands that do the job a bit better. However when it comes to utility products, you will be happy to know that they basically have almost all of that field covered and they are killing it. From making a solid glaze medium, to airbrush flow improver, airbrush thinner, and they have the best, hands down, primers for airbrushes. The surface primer line is just far too superior to look past and once you start using it, nothing else really comes close to filling that spot which Vallejo sits comfortably upon.