Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Review: The Army Painter Warpaints



We at Tale of Painters are probably the first to review the brand new Warpaints range from The Army Painter. We got our hands on a good selection of paints to put them to the test, including regular paints, metallics and inks. Recommended by none other than the legendary painter Mike McVey, and 100% compatible to The Army Painter's Colour Primers range, let's see how Warpaints compete against the already crowded miniature paints market.

About The Army Painter
The Army Painter is made up of some ex-GW members and located in Denmark. They popularised the dipping technique with their Quickshade products, a painting technique originating from Historicals, where you base coat your model with flat colours and then dip it in a stain similar to wood stain for shading. Apart from their Quickshades, The Army Painter offers a comprehensive range of well-priced hobby products including coloured primers, tools, brushes, adhesives and basing materials. To complement their four step method of painting - spray, base coat, Quickshade and varnish - they've now come up with their own acrylic paint range, called Warpaints, which will be available soon.

The Warpaints Range
The Warpaints range is pretty small compared to other brands: Only 36 colours, among them 27 regular acrylics, 5 metallics, 1 varnish and 3 inks. Most of the colours are relatively bright with no directly assigned highlighting or shading colour. This is because of the Army Painter painting method, where you apply only flat colours and then shade them down with one of their Quickshades. On the other hand, this makes it hard for traditional painters to use Warpaints without mixing or the help of other brands.



Warpaints have two other features in favour of them: Quality and their 100% match to the Colour Primer of the same name. The guys of The Army Painter are proud to say that they chose three different manufacturers for their acrylics, inks and metallics respectively to ensure the best quality for each. This convinced even such a luminary as Mike McVey, who tested samples of the Warpaints range and had the following to say:

“After a life-time of painting, I tend to mix and match the paints I use to get the best from different ranges – basic colours from one range, washes from another and metallics from a third. The great thing about The Army Painter Warpaints range is they have done that work for you. The basic colours are great – super-smooth application, wonderful opacity and fantastic blending properties, and the inks are quick and effective. The Metallics are the best out there – very fine metallic flake so you won’t get that sparkle effect that ruins so many range’s metallic colours. Thoroughly recommended.”

Another great thing is the colour match. If you are a fond user of the Army Painter's Colour Primers like me, these will come in extremely handy for touching up mistakes or replicating the primer's colour elsewhere.

Paint Characteristics
Let's see if Warpaints live up to their promises. The first thing you'll notice is their dropper bottle design. Some people love flip-tops, some dropper bottles, it really depends on you, but one thing is certain: dropper bottles keep the paint fresher because their is less air contact. The draw back is that you've always need to apply the paint to a palette, which usually means a lot of wasted excess. To make up for it, each bottle comes with 18 ml of paints for a street price of 2,50 Euro per bottle, which is 6 ml/50% more than in the 12 ml Citadel pots (and 50 Cent cheaper), and also 1 ml more than Vallejo.

For this review, I received Matt White, Skeleton Bone, Tanned Flesh, Lava Orange, Dragon Red, Alien Purple, Goblin Green, Greenskin, Plate Mail Metal and Strong Tone Ink. After playing around with the regular acrylics I can say that these are very good paints. They've got a nice consistency, flow smoothly from the brush and got better blending properties than Citadel Colour. I'd say they feel similar to Privateer Press Formula P3/Foundry/Coat'd'Arms paints. The coverage is good as well, on a par with regular Citadel paints, but all in all I feel Vallejo Game Colour or Formula P3 paints have a slight edge over them in this regard. Paired with the smooth consistency and the good blending properties this makes Warpaints acrylics a good all-rounder for either base coating or highlighting. However, all in all I can't help but think that a thicker, high pigmented Foundation like paint would be more suitable to the Army Painters base coating and dipping ethos.



Above you can see some colour swatches I made on water colour paper. Warpaints are nice and bright. Alien Purple is pretty much the same as GW Liche Purple, as is Skeleton Bone as GW Bleached Bone, Lava Orange is very similar to the now discontinued Blazing Orange, Tanned Flesh is similar to Formula P3 Khardic Flesh. Greenskin is a cooler green than GW Snot Green, while Goblin Green is more pastel than GW Goblin Green. Dragon Red is a nice dark but vibrant red, somewhere in between GW Red Gore and GW Blood Red.

Let's have a look at the metallics and inks. Here I was truly impressed. Plate Mail Metal is as good as GW's silvers. The same shade as Chainmail, it covers excellently in one coat, and has fine metallic flakes for a nice and convincing finish. The Strong Tone Ink was excellent as well, in fact you don't get a small amount of Quickshade dip in a paint bottle, but a wash. It has the same colour as Devlan Mud and is definitely on the same level as Citadel Washes and better than the Vallejo Lavado Washes, which dry a bit more patchy compared to Citadel and Warpaints. I even think Strong Tone is slightly better than Devlan Mud, because since the GW washes got a revised pot design and are no longer produced in China but in France, I feel that some washes have slightly changed in hue and spread slightly worse than before.



Check out the test model above where I applied one coat of Plate Mail Metal and GW Chainmail and washed both Strong Tone Ink and GW Devlan Mud over a Dheneb Stone base coat. I think Warpaints make an excellent substitute for GW's silvers and washes, as you get 50% more paint per bottle for less. Which is great because we all use the washes in greater quantity? Let's hope Dark Tone Ink has the same black colour as Badab Black and I can see some excellent money saving potential here!



Last but not least, the colour match. So far I could only check it with Skeleton Bone, as it is out of my sample paints the only corresponding Colour Primer I currently own. And yes, the match is pretty good. I talked to the Army Painter guys and they told me that they took their current production of Colour Primers (the ones with the American "DANGER" label, as you can see on the picture above), which are around for about one and a half year now, and made their Warpaints to match.

Availability
Available to buy now is the Warpaints Mega Paint Set. It contains all 36 Warpaints, 24 page painting guide a selection of 6 Army Painter brushes and is priced at 100 Euro. The single pots will be available from March 26th, priced at 2,50 Euro each. Also available will be the revised Starter Paint set with 10 paints and a starter brush, priced at 22 Euro. Sadly there is no longer a small can of primer included like in their old starter set. You can buy The Army Painter products from Wayland Games or directly from The Army Painter website or you can ask at your local gaming store.



Verdict
All in all, The Army Painter certainly doesn't disappoint with their Warpaints. However the market for miniature paints is crowded. If you use the Army Painter method of spraying, base coating and dipping and want everything from one supplier, why not pick these up. The truth is, the Warpaint range is pretty limited and most painters have an own personal preference to their basic colours, so it's hard for these to tempt you away from what you know.When you look at the compatibly with the Colour Primers, that is when Warpaints truly shine. Colour Primers can be a great time saver when you don't have an airbrush, especially on those bright colours. Check out my bright red Eldar army, primed with Pure Red colour primer. Not having to build up several layers of Blood Red over a white primer has saved me lots of time. With perfectly matched acrylic paints, Colour Primers will be even easier to use now and I definitely recommend to check them out for your next army, especially if you are a traditional painter and not a dipper. I will definitely pick up more Warpaints to match my collection of primers and also to replace my GW silvers and washes.

What do you think? Interesting offer or do you already have enough paints? Please drop me some comments and get talking!

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22 Comments

  1. I would love hear more about their inks. I use my old GW inks extensively and I've been slightly unsatisfied with GW washes.

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  2. @ Tim
    From what I can tell, Warpaint Inks are basically the same as Citadel Washes. If you look for good inks, I recommend Vallejo Game Colour Inks. They are better than the old GW inks as they dry matt, but the colours are slightly different.

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  3. Well, of course that is assuming that you want a matt finish. I still use a pot of old brown ink to be able to give oil looking effects to particular bits of tanks - such as around working parts.

    I'm sure you may have seen my review of Army Painter Desert Yellow. I've had some issues with colour consistency between cans. This would be my main concern - Can I be sure that a pot I buy in a few months is the same as one I buy today?

    In principle though, the idea that you can colour match a potted paint to a sprayed undercoat is great - and should allow you to take the dipping principle beyond to a much more advanced paint technique... blending up from a sprayed & shaded base.

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  4. Even if the quality of their washes is similar to GW's, they still have the better bottle advantage. Thanks for the review, always nice to read about new products for the hobby!

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  5. Thank you so much for the review. I've been wanting matching pots for years. I'll be first in line for them on the 26th!

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  6. Very well written review! I have followed your site, and I hope you don't mind but I have provided a link back to this article from our site. http://fourhorsemen40k.blogspot.com

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  7. @oink
    Yeah I read your review, as far as I know the Army Painter guys changed and improved the nozzles over the years which might result in a slightly different finish. But maybe your colour variations were bad luck or cans from different production runs. You can never count that out, e.g. I had a pot of Dheneb Stone lately which was more yellowish than my old one. Sucks, though. Well, all I know they took the latest production run with the Danger label on the fron and made the paints to match those.

    @ Throatpunch
    Thanks for the shout out!

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  8. The paints look good, but I'll probably stick with Citade Colour as they are more readily available. I'd be truly surprised if the Primer matches the paint range. I can't even get 2 cans of the same primer color to match.

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  9. Great Review, I think I'll give it a shot.

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  10. Helpful review. I think these paints would be great for anyone getting back into miniature painting, who wanted to avoid citadel paints. The full paint set looks like a really economical way to get "up to speed" for painting all sorts of minis.

    I think the paints have less appeal to those who have been at the hobby a while and amassed quite a collection of paints already. Unless that person happened to be disatisfied with all their paints, the whole sets have limited appeal.

    However, the individual colours are more appealling. Especially the silver, which looks much stronger than the GW equivalent. That said, I'd like to see how it compares to Vajello and Reaper, which are also superior to the Citadel range.

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  11. Thanks for the review!

    I have been wanting to move to a different brand (currently Citadel) for a long time as I have been unhappy with the quality and how quickly they dry up.

    Happy Painting,

    Allan

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  12. Excellent in-depth review, Stahly. Thanks. I don't use metallics that often, but I'll have to check out the Army Painter washes, they look really good.

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  13. These are rebranded vallejo paints. Take a look at the bottom right two bottles in the picture posted at the bottom of the of the article. They still have VMC labels on them.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-J0NNeVJ7Z8Q/Tzj4aL2NrwI/AAAAAAAACGM/x8FqTjOSb4Y/s1600/WP8002_Mega_Paint_Set_box_front.jpg

    So, of course they're good. Everything that can be said about VMC can be said about these... they're the same paint.

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  14. @CJP
    I think it's just an optical illusion. The Army Painter labels are not completely yellow, on the back they are white with black type. The bottles are different to Vallejo bottles, too, the same cap but a little higher and more angular. So no straight rebrands, but it might be possible that one of the three manufacturers The Army Painter chose for their paints might be the same paint company that does Vallejo.

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  15. Sorry for coming so late.

    Is the paint think enough for drybrushing? I'm actually liking the 'sparse' range since I don't have to be confused with 12 shades of blue. And due to my lack of artistic senses I only paint in cartoony schemes.

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  16. Hi Sevej, I'd say the paint is rather thin so I'd advise you to let the paint dry a little bit on your palette before you start drybrushing.

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  17. Ah, mighty thanks for the answer!

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  18. I appreciate this review. Thanks for writing this up!

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  19. Excellent review. I'll definitely pick up some silver and that wash!

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  20. Great review, thanks. As a beginner I am going for this set. the color match with the primer's convinced me especially since I'm still learning how to water down the GW bases and for Ultramarines, it still takes me 3-4 coats to cover the black. I see this as a great supplement for the GW colors, by using AP basic colors and then just going for the layer paints in the GW series. Especially since I found a ship over here selling this set for 65 Euros.

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  21. Have you or anyone you know tried using the army painter paints through an airbrush? I'd love to know if people have had success (or failure) with this. I love the range, but simply can't afford to buy a primer of each colour, especially when I'm only doing 10 or 12 figures using each.

    Thanks!

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