Switch Theme:

Add a New Article

Recent Changes
Your Watchlist
All Articles

View a Random Article
Upload a File

Images Tutorial
Editing Tutorial
Articles Tutorial

MajorTom11's Paint and Pigment Recommendations, and links on where to go to learn to use them.

Grey Knight by MajorTom11

Alright, hello Dakkanauts!

I frequently get asked about where I learned this or that, and what type of stuff I use on my own projects. I realize I may just be better off writing a comprehensive article for the things I have learned from others and to pass on maybe a little of my own take on certain things.

Before we start, if you are unfamiliar with painting terms like glazing, washes, or blending, please see my Acrylic Mediums Article - http://www.dakkadakka.com/wiki/en/A%20basic%20course%20in%20Acrylic%20Mediums

Paints and Pigments I use

Anything you put on with a brush or airbrush goes in this section

Where do I buy from?

I buy my paints from a variety of suppliers, some off eBay, some from online stores like Battleroad, Warstore and MiniWarGaming. Even places you might not expect to find mini/airbrush paint, like Amazon. I tend to never buy direct from GW for example, as you can get a discount elsewhere, every time, usually 10-30%. As for the rest, really it is a matter of 2 things, price and availability. Sometimes the cheapest place is frequently out of stock, so you move on to the next. Forming a relationship with a store owner can sometimes be nice though, for example they may be willing to go out of their way to order hard to get items for you, give you little extras or whatnot. eBay is a good place to find tough to find items from across the ocean, like Vallejo Air (much more common now than 2 years ago though), model rail scenery and foliage etc.

So, short answer, there is no one place, know the specific name of what you are looking for, from there, google is your friend if your usual spots (FLGS, eBay, Amazon).

What brands?

Regular' Paints

Primary 'Regular' Paints: Vallejo Game Color

Heavily used supplemental regular paints: Vallejo Model Color, Vallejo Air Metallics

Not heavily used, but quite a few different colors regular paints: P3, various art store paints (neons, blacks), GW

Vallejo is my favorite because of several factors. The game color range is a pretty straight match for GW colors (well, the old ones anyways), even down to the names, so that was convenient. The model color range is very much geared towards military colors, muted tones and natural tones, all the stuff the master painters tend to like. It is also a touch more translucent in general, which helps blending for the advanced painter. The Model Air range can also be used with a brush, they are all extremely high in pigment count, making them very interesting additives into other traditional paints. In particular, their metallics really shine as brush on paint, with such a fine grind to the pigments, Air Metallics have a smoother, less flakey looking finish than normal metallics.

But the most important thing about Vallejo? Dropper bottles. I don’t care what anyone says, a dropper bottle beats a pot, every time. Pots, especially GW’s tend to mis-seal and let the paints dry up way too much, especially if you paint right out of them. Droppers are fast, convenient and pretty much guarantee you will have the expected consistency of paint with no dry-up. Some people complain that it wastes too much to do a drop every time... I would argue back that you can squeeze the bottle just a touch and get a tiny amount of paint out right on the nib, and just dip into that if you are really worried about paint waste. I will tell you this though, I haven't run out of any paints in 3 years... they tend to last.

Besides, any painter worth his salt should be using a palette, wet preferably but dry is ok too. :)

GW I personally find is a bit prone to drying up, but besides that pot related issue, they work just fine and are pretty good paints. Even if they used droppers though, I would still buy Vallejo, as they are simply cheaper for more paint and the same if not better overall quality. Note, I do not have any experience with the new paint line as of yet.

P3 is a nice, dense pigment quality with very nice tones. I do like it, however, as previously mentioned, I chose some particular shades I liked as opposed to committing to the overall line. I think of them as supplementary colors, but would not commit to the whole line on account of the pots and somewhat limited options for more traditional color ranges. Very good quality paint though, I would say in many ways superior to GW and in some colors, superior to Vallejo.

Then there are art store paints... sometimes blacks are actually better from the art store. You may have noticed that some mini-paint blacks dry very glossy, or don't cover completely. For some reason, artist acrylics seem to work better for blacks. There are also a few options for tint in the black too, pure black, black with a hint of brown, black with a hint of blue etc etc. There are also things like neon colors, pearl medium and other things not readily available in the mini line. A high quality artist paint is just that... high quality.

NOTE I have never used Reaper, but I hear they are master quality paints, similar to P3 in tone and consitency. I just have never tried them so I can't say much beyond what I've heard.

Recommended Learning Resources: http://www.massivevoodoo.com/ http://www.miniaturementor.com/

Airbrush Paint

First of all, for airbrush, I recommend buying airbrush paints, especially for beginners. Will explain a bit more below. I use 2 kinds of dedicated airbrush paint, note that I also occasionally use mini paint in the Airbrush too. But first the AB paints -

Primary paints: Vallejo Model air for natural tones and metallics, Createx for bright, saturated colors, black and white.

Secondary paints: Mini paints, any, properly diluted with thinner.

There are two reasons I recommend just getting airbrush paints. The first is because the major hassle of using an AB is figuring out how to thin and dilute the paint to the right consistency, and also to figure out how to recognize and fix any of the many problems that a badly diluted mix can cause. When the Airbrush works, it is magnificent and forgiving. When things go wrong, and you can’t figure out what the hell is going on with it due to lack of experience, this is where many people give up too fast. So using pure AB paint lets you avoid a lot of the beginners hassles and also is more convenient, just straight into the brush and no worries.

Nurgle Lord by MajorTom11

The second is that airbrush paints usually have a finer grind on the pigment, and more of it. They tend to be a bit smoother and cover a touch better.

Now, you can certainly use GW, Vallejo Model or Game, P3, or any other ‘regular’ model paint in an airbrush. Once you learn to dilute properly through trial and error, and learn how to fix your brush for any of the many misbehaviours inherent to airbrushing, using any mini paint is no problem at all. Most problems are quite easy to fix once you know how to recognize the symptoms, it is just that practice you need in between. Don't quit!

There are many off the shelf thinners you can buy, or you can make your own with about 1/10 Isopropyl alcohol to distilled water mix. For more on airbrushing, see my Airbrush Article http://www.dakkadakka.com/wiki/en/Zenithal_Airbrushing%2C_OSL_and_Snow_and_Ice_Tutorial%2C_subject_-_Grey_Knight

Additional Recommended Learning Resources: http://migproductions-usa.com/other/dvd-books.html (Disc 1 for Airbrushing) http://www.miniaturementor.com/ http://migjimenez.blogspot.ca/ http://www.youtube.com/user/awesomepaintjob http://www.youtube.com/user/nuclealosaur http://www.youtube.com/my_subscriptions?feature=mhee&s=cy7hsHt5aIsJ2ghylER33HfKnoMaM6KiBX44jYr3icQ

Washes and Inks

Washes: Secret Weapon and GW

Inks: Vallejo

Before I cover why the companies, first Ink vs Wash -

I recommend inks as being superior to washes in many instances. In many ways, they perform the same function. Inks are much denser colors, but thinned down, they can work quite well as both wash or glaze. They are like a much more powerful and saturated wash. So why not have both options in one bottle? I may be a bit biased because I started painting in the GW ink era though :).

For inks, Vallejo are quite comparable to the old GW inks, similar selection as well. I haven't tried other inks that those 2, but I didn't feel the need to look further once I bought Vallejo either.

For washes I like Secret Weapon and GW. Secret Weapon has a huge range, and more pigment than GW. GW washes are very soft and subtle, and work quite nicely when washing an entire figure (We all know what people did with Devlan Mud lol). In general I find washes are easy to use but don't give particularly fantastic or dramatic results, but they have their moments. So I recommend the washes too, after you have the inks. Don’t waste your time with the GW glazes (the only difference between a glaze and a wash is how you apply it, not what it is), the textured paints... sigh... sand in paint is ridiculous, you will never get a nice looking base just with one coat of that. Anyways I'm wandering -

Recommended Learning Resources: http://www.massivevoodoo.com/ http://www.miniaturementor.com/ http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Modelling-Supplies/IMPERIAL-ARMOUR-MODEL-MASTERCLASS-VOLUME-ONE.htmlhttp://www.forgeworld.co.uk/New_Stuff/IMPERIAL_ARMOUR_MODEL_MASTERCLASS_VOLUME_TWO.html

Foundations, a league of their own

You may notice that although I use some GW products, I used to use all GW products. Over time, I migrated to other brands for a variety of reasons. But one area they remain in a league of their own IMO, is foundations. The coverage on these paints is top notch. If you need to basecoat small areas, start with these, especially for typically coverage challenge colors like yellow, red and white. Using them as a mix to semi translucent paints is a good way to give them some 'oomph' too.

So ya, grab some foundations.

Recommended Learning Resources: http://www.massivevoodoo.com/ http://www.miniaturementor.com/ http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Modelling-Supplies/IMPERIAL-ARMOUR-MODEL-MASTERCLASS-VOLUME-ONE.htmlhttp://www.forgeworld.co.uk/New_Stuff/IMPERIAL_ARMOUR_MODEL_MASTERCLASS_VOLUME_TWO.html

Weathering Pigments

Primary pigments: Secret Weapon

For weathering pigments, I recommend Secret Weapon. Justin knows his stuff, the price is right, the variety is huge. He also does cosmetic grade grinds, sources natural oxides and other coloring instead of artificial... overall, quality stuff, on par with Mig and Tamiya.

Blood Angels Contemptor by MajorTom11

Recommended Learning Resources: http://migproductions-usa.com/other/dvd-books.html (Disc 2 for Pigments) http://www.miniaturementor.com/ http://migjimenez.blogspot.ca/ http://www.youtube.com/user/secretweaponvideos


Brush on: Vallejo

Airbrush: Vallejo

Spray: Krylon or Tamiya

Pretty self-explanatory, except for the sprays, Krylon gloss, Tamiya Matte. Otherwise Vallejo just makes a damn fine varnish, Gloss, Matt or Satin!

Recommended Learning Resources:

http://migproductions-usa.com/other/dvd-books.html (Disc 1 for Airbrush) http://www.youtube.com/user/awesomepaintjob http://www.miniaturementor.com/ http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Modelling-Supplies/IMPERIAL-ARMOUR-MODEL-MASTERCLASS-VOLUME-ONE.htmlhttp://www.forgeworld.co.uk/New_Stuff/IMPERIAL_ARMOUR_MODEL_MASTERCLASS_VOLUME_TWO.html http://migjimenez.blogspot.ca/

Recommended Buying Order

1. Vallejo Game or Model color briefcase set – 200 bucks or so, 72 paints, varnish and smoke ink.

2. Vallejo Model Air Metallics set 10 paints

3. Creative airbrush paint set, you can find a variety of sets on amazon (skip if you don't own an airbrush)

4. GW foundations

5. Vallejo inks

6. Secret Weapon Washes

7. Secret Weapon pigment powders (with a bottle of MIG pigment fixer)

Throughout it all, spinkle in the P3, GW or Reaper extra colors you want that your Vallejo case doesn’t have a close match too.

Also worth picking up –

1. Windsor Newton Series 7 brushes

2. Brush cleaning soap

3. Wet Pallette with parchment paper

4. Jewel saw

5. Tweezer set

6. Model clippers (Tamiya)

7. Frogtape and/or Tamiya tape for airbrush masking

8. Latex surgical gloves

9. Masking fluid for Airbrushing

10. Filter Mask for keeping airbrush and spraypaint guk out of your lungs!

Etc etc etc.

I won’t scare the crap out of you by adding more lol, start with the first things on both lists, and work your way down over time :)


Got Comments? Discuss This Page in the Forums. Click Here.


Share on Facebook