3 Colours Up Review – Formula P3 Paints

September 21, 2011 by elromanozo

Formula P3 Paints

Made by Privateer Press, it was advertised almost as sycophantically as the usual latest release from Games Workshop… While they’re not exactly the second coming, they are a great range indeed!

For beginners, they have clearly labeled tones designed for the basecoating and highlighting of their faction colors… Other than that, they only have one range with one consistency, plus inks. If you need washes, you can make your own with glaze medium or water… The paint takes to it very well.

I really like that range, because they have the finest, densest pigments I’ve seen in paint so far. It’s akin to the Vallejo Air range, but it’s a LOT thicker, which allows for excellent coverage for basecoats (even with reds and yellows!) and colors that are still quite vivid when diluted.

I don’t know how they do it, but I have yet to see a P3 paint separate… Whether inside the pot or outside of it, the pigments don’t pool and the thinner doesn’t surface uninvited ! Their tones are bright, even over a black undercoat, even dilute… More vivid than most ranges.

That said, this thicker consistency can put some painters off, especially those who are used to a more liquid paint… Painters who were there before the advent of the now widespread use of pre-mixed washes will, however, take to P3 like a duck to water.

As for variety, they’re not an especially wide range, but they do have all of the “usual” sci-fi/fantasy tones, as well as many colors specific to the Iron kingdoms, such as Trollblood Skin and Blighted Gold, and many very interesting nuances.

These are excellent choices and variations especially made for the fans of the Privateer Press games, a nice change from the usual palette, introducing to Fantasy painters colors you had to find by trial and error in other, wider ranges…

It’s also a shame this great paint comes in such pots. It looks like the old Coat d’Arms paint pots… The ones used by a certain other paint manufacturer years ago.

They open and close easily enough, but it’s quite impractical to put paint to palette… You’d be tempted to paint from the pot, as it seems the lid was made for it… We all do it from time to time… But you shouldn’t, of course, because that would ruin your brush!

Finally, I can but deplore the fact that, while some miniature stores stock the P3 paints, a lot of stores (especially in Europe) do not… And when they do, they only carry paint sets, and the trouble with paint sets is that you always get some colors you don’t want. Distribution is still a weak link in the P3 selling machine…

I have recently discovered Formula P3, and I’m an enthusiastic convert… Sure, you can find every one of those tones in one range or another (as is the case with most brands), but they won’t have that special P3 smoothness!

IMPORTANT UPDATE : Users have reported that the P3 gold paints separates a lot, and that the metallics have thicker pigments than the rest of the range. While the flow of the metallic paints I’ve tried is adequate, and the pigments are as fine as any other range (except those designed specifically for airbrushing) generally, some amount of clogging and granulosity has been found, mainly in golds…

In fact, Privateer Press has recalled all pots of Molten Bronze and Rhulic Gold to redo the formula because of a flaw in the process : these pots tended to clog and be granulous, indeed, sometimes drying inside the pot. hence the problems experienced, presumably. The problem has been corrected, and the next pots of these tones to be sold will, in all probability, be just as perfectly flow-y as the other metallic colors in the range !

However, just in case, let the buyer beware…  Check the gold pots in the store before buying.