The different brands of paint I use

I've been running to my FLGS almost once a week to buy paint. Of course, that makes sense seeing as that I'm painting almost everyday and this stuff is bound to run out.

But Gold paint?
How do you run out of gold paint?

I can see something like black or white or a color like that, but gold?
What in the world do you have to paint to run out of gold?

And then it hit me.
Twenty Adeptus Custodes.
Oh right, that'll do it.

But GW stuff is not the only paint I use. I'll use whatever it takes. I don't care at all who makes it. Especially if it means I don't have to mix colors to get the exact shade I'm looking for. I'll use whatever brand will save me the most work. Even if I have to pay a bit more for the specific color. Whatever it takes to make my life easier.

Naturally, my collection of paints covers a wide variety of brands because of my mercenary attitude towards paint. And this means there are different things I have to consider when working with different brands.

Games Workshop paints
These are the colors you see all the time. Using these means you can match what you see in WD the closest.
I like the consistency of these and don't generally thin them down.
What I don't like is the paint pot. The flip lid with that little half spout thing is horrible.

Privateer Press P3 paint
I've only got one bottle of this stuff but I love the bottle it comes in. Way better than the GW paint pot. Same concept but better execution as it allows me to crack the lid open halfway and not make a huge mess.
This stuff seems kinda thick and requires watering down and multiple coats.

Vallejo paints
Again, I've only got one bottle of this stuff and I love the little dropper tip on it so you can squeeze out a single drop onto your palette.
This stuff seems to want to crack all the time and I end up using mutiple layers to fill the cracks. Good coverage, but the cracking drives me nuts, regardless of how I water it down.

"Brand-X" paints
(Americana, Folk Art, Apple Barrel, etc)
This stuff is made for crafting but I use it anyway. I like the bottles they come in, huge amounts of paint and the lid can be flipped open like a dropper. And, you can take the cap off completely and use it as a mini palette and get the paint out of the cap. Sometimes I water them down, but I usually use them straight out of the bottle.

And, last but not least, I found this site here, (Silicon Dragons) a long time ago and figured I would share it with those of you who haven't seen it yet.
Very helpful if you're looking to match colors across different brands of paint.

With their online program here, you can pick one brand and then select another brand and it will match the colors between the two brands to show you how close they match.

ADDED: Zorcon's World has a great post about paints that is even better than this one and is worth checking out.

Additional related links:
Color: Purple and others too
Color: HOw to paint Red

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!


  1. I have replaced my entire GW paint collection (yes, I had every color, even before we opened the store) with P3.

    I believe the same company mixes and bottles Citadel and P3 paints.

    Vallejo is excellent for historically accurate shades. I just got the Vallejo environmental pigments last Friday (soot, snow, mud, etc.) and they are _awesome_. Dry paint you can apply with a brush or mix with mineral spirits to get a nice caked on mud appearance or very subtle soot.

    I use the craft paints extensively for terrain and bases for my models.

  2. I use all vallejo paint. primarily because it was on sale at a game shop in Champaign, IL. that went out of business, and some of the experienced painters there recommended it over GW paint.

    I've not had much problems with the paint cracking. I do dilute the paint with water at about 60:40 paint:water.

    it might take a coat or two, but it does look good.

    I agree with you on the dropper tip. I like it a lot. It's easy to make custom washes with the tip.

    Every so often, I bring my paints to the lab and mix them on the vortexer.

  3. I'm a big fan of Vallejo paints, if for nothing else that the dropper bottle - I've never liked GW's paint pots. My only complaint for Vallejo paints is that some of their warmer colors - reds and yellow, mostly - just do not give good coverage. In those few cases, I fall back to GW, which are somewhat better. On the other hand, GW Foundation Paints are wonderful for providing good opaque coverage.

    Also, Apple Barrel has a special place in my heart for being one of the first brands I used when I started mini-painting. :) I still have a few bottles sitting around.

  4. I mostly have GW paints as they are my favorite, but I am building my collection of Vallejo (because they have WAY more variation than GW). For simple colors that I run out of quickly like Grey, White, Black and some Browns I use whatever craft paint I can find.

  5. Did you know back in the day, GW used to be bottled in the exact pot P3 comes in now?

    Ha, Ive has a "paint post" in my head for a few weeks now...

  6. As zorcon said GW used to have the P3 style of pot. I still have mostly that style of GW paints from back in the day. Even an unopened skull white & elf flesh!

    I like the P3 paints, and was thinking of picking up some Vallejo paints. Have you done any analysis as to why it's cracking? (heat? humidity?)

  7. I've slowly been replacing my GW colours with Vallejo as they run out. As much as I like GW's colours, I can't justify the price when Vallejo gives me more of the same colour for less money. They're also far easier to mix in large batches. I do prefer the GW pots though.

    I haven't encountered any problems with cracking, although I have found that they usually require quite a bit more shaking than GW paints do.

  8. Tristan: It (the cracking) could be operator error on my part, I expect them all to work perfectly with just a bit of shaking.

  9. A note on the old P3 style GW paints. I recently found a box of these from over 10-15 years ago, and with a bit of shaking they are just fine. I don't think the same would happen with the new GW style of paint pot.

  10. I have a mix of GW and reaper paints. The GW foundations and washes are the best out there, but the reaper triad setup makes base-mid-highlight a breeze.

  11. I'm surprised no-one mentioned Coat D'Arms! When I found out they did the original mixtures for the GW paint sets I had to grab them up!

    Especially the more obscure colors: Deadly Nightshade doesn't really exist in any other line, as it is as close to Indigo (a deep dark black-blue with a green undertone) as I've seen in a hobby acrylic.

    They also have the color metallics that GW had for a short time (Amethyst Purple etc.)

    They had a clear-out of them at Brookhurst hobbies just recently. As far as I know, they were the only place that imported them so they will be a lot more expensive now!

    I only have two Vallejo paints: Bald Moon Yellow makes a great proxy for Bad Moon Yellow, and to make a nice & easy blue-purple I use Nauseating Blue.


  12. I use Vallejo. Never had the cracking problem but I always water down 1:1.

    Also use a little bit of Reaper for some colors not found in either of the vallejo lines, mostly purples.

    I also have some of the old school Citadel/Coat D'Arms colors with the white lids from 20 years ago.
    Still good but, they are a mess to use compared to the dropper style bottles.

  13. I'm really digging the P3 line of paints. The pigment they use is a liquid as opposed to a powder, so I can cut them down ridiculously thin and they never seperate. I haven't been able to do this w/ vallejo.

    One thing though, their metallics are TERRIBLE. I've purchased a few pots of different colors from different stores and they're a gummy, dried out, chunky mess. Avoid the metallics. The rest are fantastic.


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