When GW released all their new paints, I started looking around for a new line of paint after hearing the GW metallics weren't all that good. I recently decided to do a small comparison of a few metallic colors to see how each one compared to the old Boltgun Metal.
A little background on my metallic use
I used to use the cheap stuff all the time. No problems with it at all. Sure, it wasn't the best and coverage was a little less than desirable, but I didn't know any different and it was cheap. It got the job done in the end.
Then I found GW Boltgun Metal. I became a huge fan of it overnight. From the shade of it to the coverage and the consistency. It did everything I needed it to do. Then GW revamped their paints on me. Cries of, "It's not the same!" and " The new stuff stinks!" were all I was hearing from folks I knew. Enough that I decided to go looking around before buying some of the new stuff myself.
The metallic I use today
Instead of picking up the new GW metallics, I opted to try something from the P3 paint line. I went with P3 Cold Steel. I'd used some of their golds before and I loved them. I figured the silvers would be just as nice right? And it worked just fine. I'm not a huge stickler for paint and I'll use just about anything really when it comes down to it. Then I decided to do this test to see just what the differences were.
I'm not attached to any particular brand or company either. My loyalty lies with the paint that can provide me the best coverage and consistency overall. I decided to keep my very scientific experiment here limited to "silvers." There was no way I was going to try and compare all different kinds of metallic colors. The only silver I did not get my hands on was anything from Vallejo. I would have liked to, but I couldn't find anyone who had some I could borrow for this little test.
The metals I used in this test
1. Old GW Boltgun Metal (the standard for the test)
2. The new GW Base Leadbelcher
3. P3 Cold Steel
4. Army Painter Plate Mail Metal
5. Reaper Master Core Color Honed Steel
6. DecoArt Shimmering Silver craft paint
So what did I learn?
I decided to use the old GW Boltgun Metal as the standard. All the other paints would be compared to it. I painted small swatches of each metal, made some notes on my initial impression and then put all of them into a chart that covered four aspects (coverage, thickness or body, watery and consistency).
I chose these four aspects because they made sense to me. I know they are somewhat subjective, but I'm looking to replace my old Boltgun and want to mimic the qualities it had. I want a metal that covers as well as the old Boltgun did. Thickness or how much body a paint has is important too, too thick and you start obscuring details quickly. If a paint is so watery that you end up with streaks and such, it means more layers and work. The last aspect was consistency, with an appropriate amount of shaking before use, I wanted the metal to go on the model nice and smooth.
I don't mind doing two passes to get the absolute best coverage, but I want to get the most from each pass. One pass over an area that has been primed correctly would be super nice, but I'll take what I can get.
The interesting results
A metallic color got a green checkmark if it was as good or better than the old GW Boltgun Metal and a red X if it was not as good in terms of quality in a particular category. Simple as that. I had a much more complex system, but boiled it down this... either it's as good or not.
After looking over the results, it looks like GW has been able to keep the consistency up with their new "Boltgun Metal." I'm going to be buying my own bottle of the new Leadbelcher metallic since I borrowed one for the test. The next best metallic I believe is the one from Army Painter. After that, you start sacrificing quality here and there.
I didn't get into all the different shades of silver out there and there are tons of them available. Cool metals, warm metals and so on. If you're looking for a very specific color for your painting style, then the chart might not help much. You'll need to buy what matches your need. If you're looking for a basic metal color that you can use for tabletop quality, I'd say to try the new GW or Army Painter metallics. Those are the two I'm going to look through first.
Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
My replacement for the old GW Charadon Granite
What to use for Devlan Mud and Badab Black now
The new GW paints on my Novamrine model