How to scout around for paint color matches


With my post yesterday about the new GW paints and some charts on matching colors, I wanted to follow up with that and show you what I've done to match colors before. We all know the new paints are here to stay. Frantically buying those last few pots of the colors you need is only prolonging the inevitable.

Sooner or later, you're going to need to match a color since you're all out of the original.

My biggest issue when it comes to paints is not wanting to mix colors to get a specific shade or hue. I absolutely despise having to do that. Of course I picked a huge commission that required that very thing (this way a couple years ago now). My friend asked me to match the purple on his models. A purple that he had created by mixing a couple different colors to get. What are the odds of matching that?


With a model in hand, I took it and a small piece of index card to my local hobby store and them my local art supply store. It's one thing to look at paints wet in their bottles... it's another to see them dry on a card. I needed my new purple to match what was on the model exactly or the whole thing was off.

Having store owners who are understanding is important. Once they know what you're doing, they are less likely to freak out if they know you are going to buy the color that matches your model.

All I did was open the one or two paints I thought matched and painted a small swatch on the index card. Sometimes stores have "in-house" paints anyone can use and these are absolutely perfect for this kind of thing.

Let the paint dry on the index card, hold it up to your model and check the results. Sometimes paints can change quite a bit between wet and dry. You'll need to be open to all the paint brands out there for this to work best. From GW to Vallejo to all the off-brand paints.

It turns out that P3 Beaten Purple was an almost perfect match for the color my friend created by mixing on his own models. I bought it that day and I'm still using it. It's one of two or three colors I have from that range and I love it. Mainly because it kept me from having to mix colors.

I'm not saying P3 is the solution here, but in may case it was. What I am saying is that it can't hurt to look around and not exclude any particular paint range until you find the color you need. I'd much rather do some scouting around for a few days and find the right color than spend months trying to make the wrong color work. I can only imagine those headaches.


Adapting to the new GW paint range is not impossible. Look around at what they have now and see how well that matches the existing colors on your models. If it's not what you want, head out and start looking around. The colors are out there, believe me.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

11 comments:

  1. If I recall correctly, Vallejo used to sell color charts made with real paints - not printed, but hand painted. Not cheap, but real handy, at least if you used that particular color range. For other manufacturers, your idea is pretty good, although I'd be hard pressed to find a store owner who wouldn't be all irritated in my neighborhood.

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  2. If you can't find a store that is willing to let you do it, maybe a friend who has a certain color might be willing to let you try.

    The trick with the hobby stores is seeing if they have an "store" set of paints they let anyone use.

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  3. I know for me, I searched around for Scaly Green for a long time, but found that one of the Vallejo colors matched perfectly.
    In the end, it isn't the vendor you are looking at, but the color you are using. That is what is important in the end!

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  4. Fayte: YES! That's the best way to say it right there... it's not the vendor, it's the color.

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  5. I love beaten purple, it's such a rich color.
    <--- as seen right there ;)

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  6. Longscope: I agree. It's my "go to" purple color. If for some reason it doesn't work, then I start looking around for something else.

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  7. Which project were those models from? I'd love to see the full work. That is a stunning paint scheme.

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  8. Iacton: Thanks. That was alarge project I worked on for a friend of mine over a period of time. A unit here, a unit there...
    here's the link to everything: Space Marines Commission

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  9. In that case, does anyone know the Vallejo or P3 equivilant of Shadow Grey? My IG has had Shadow Grey fatigues for years, I really don't want the hassle of these new paints to bugger up my rotation.

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  10. Xi: Maybe Sombre Grey from Vallejo? I'm not sure though. I'd test it to make sure before repainting any models.

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  11. Cheer's guys.

    I can confirm that GW's Shadow Grey = Vallejo's Sombre Grey. :)

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