Materials #1: Paints, Washes & Palettes

Friday, 27 March 2009
Okay, down to business.


Those of you who are experienced (at any level) with painting miniatures would have already decided on their preferred materials. I've included a small poll in this blog (scroll down below our Flickr feed) asking after your favourite brand of paints.

For the past 6 or 7 years I've been using Games Workshop and Citadel paints and am really keen to start switching over the set as each little tub dries up. The helpful guys at Tin Soldier over on York Street, Sydney, have suggested a mix of Formula P3 (Privateer Press) and Vallejo.

Vallejo has a good dropper style for using just a little of the paint – rather than dealing with the clumsy Citadel lids that scoop up paint which pools and dries too quickly at the hinge (it's too wasteful). I find Citadel paints have a high pigment content, which is great, but blobs too easily. Thinning with water helps achieve the best results.

I've been told that the Vallejo metals are okay, but don't compare with P3. Although P3's range is limited, its metals are top quality.

To be honest, Games Workshop metals (particularly Golds and Bronzes) have been annoyingly grainy on the brush as they dilute themselves. It doesn't allow for smooth application and you find yourself constantly shaking the pot (lid closed!) to re-mix before re-applying. When it comes to metals, you really don't want your choice of paint to lack enough persistence when bonding with a surface.

We'll see how we go. I'll definitely start posting my experiences with any P3 or Vallejo paints I add to the collection as time goes by.

What's the other benefit with non-Citadel/GW paints such as Vallejo? ... the $4.50ea price-point.

It's economical, you don't lose as much paint to clumsy lid “globbing” and the dropper-style sounds enticing.

Other brands you might like to try: Rackham, Coat D'Arms, Tamiya (the paints I started with back in the early to mid-90's).


One of the guys at Tin Soldier pointed out to me a few weeks back Citadel's new range of washes.

No, I'm not affiliated with Tin Soldier in any way, I just consider their store my favourite supplier in Sydney at the moment.

I've yet to get my hands on a set to review and test-run what are apparently one of the best sets on the market. There's no need to dilute them, the wash goes straight on and saves you time having to ink wash (or create your own). I've been told there's no need for an additional layer of dry-brushing to touch up your highlights as you would after an ink wash. The wash goes straight on as a final coat. This would save a heck of a lot of time (especially as GW ink washes take a bit of time to dry).

Check out the set, they retail for around $6 each, or $33 retail for a full pack of 8 washes.

Scrap Dragon have them for a great price $26.40 + $5.50 postage within Australia = $31.90 total. Or you can skip the postage costs and pick them up directly if you live near Condong, NSW.

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Water jars should have stable bases - don't pick tall ones. I prefer short, stout jars. Preferably with a wider base then neck. This makes them harder to tip over.


A small lint free cotton cloth for removing excess water from brush or wiping off paint, etc.


Buy a decent palette at any hobby store or bargain shop. Or consider white china plates or white china condiment dishes (available at most kitchen shops). Some people use white Corelle plates as they are snow white and when watering down your own paints the wash won't bead on them as it sometimes does on plastic. Nor do the plates stain – in theory – if washed properly. I found my triple-scoop condiment dish at St. Vinnie's in Newtown for $3 bucks!


Make sure you leave your water jars / glass jugs and white condiment trays to air dry after wiping down with a lint-free cloth after washing.

NEXT TIME: We'll have a look at accompanying equipment, “wet palettes” and more.


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