3 Colours Up Review – Citadel Paints

August 17, 2011 by elromanozo

If there’s a question I’ve been asked a hundred times, it’s this one: What’s the best brand for miniature paint?

There’s one very simple answer: the one you like.

It’s true! A painter will always excel with his own favorite paint pots, if he is used to them, whatever brand they are… And no one holds alliegance to a single brand : all acrylics can be mixed, wherever they’re from!

Now, there are certain paints that are more adapted to certain situations, but all of them have their perks and their disadvantages… and if you’re a beginner painter and don’t know where to start, it’s useful to know about it before diving right in and buying a plethora of pots.

Citadel Paints

That’s the brand most people start with… the most well known, made by Games Workshop. Those weird looking paint pots (I’m told they were supposed to look like bolter ammo, or something) are omnipresent in the hobby… the whole range is readily available in pretty much every brick and mortar store, even the non Games Workshop ones.

The price is high, especially if you start buying accessories. Usually, for paints, price is relative… the average paint pot will last you a long while. However, a weakness of the range (that you can turn into a quality) is that it dries quicker than most… the more you use it… the more it dries inside the pot.

They’re also beginner-friendly: by dividing the range into Foundation paints (more natural, opaque colors), colour paints, and pre-mixed washes, they have made it so that you can achieve tabletop result in very little time, with very little training… If you want more, however, there is a steep learning curve. Many painters use this range quite well, but have to find ways to compensate its biggest flaw… it’s glossy.

All the washes and all the paints have a “satin” finish that makes your minis look like toys. It’s all right when painting armor, chitin or vehicles, but it’s annoying when painting cloth, mud, flesh… Or when shading. It doesn’t help that the Games Workshop spray varnish is “satin” as well!

Not only that, but Citadel “blood red” and “sunburst yellow” are notoriously thin and the Chaos Black spray tends to go slightly gray when it dries… although I’m told that’s not as bad as it used to be… however, the Skull White spray is good.

Finally, I would say that the Citadel range doesn’t have many colors… Which forces the painter to mix pigments a lot. That means there’s little chance of getting that exact, complex tone you spent ten minutes to find by mixing YESTERDAY… Not too good if you’re painting your whole army with it. Unless you mix large quantities of it and store it in an empty pot, of course… Another hassle altogether.

Here are my thoughts:

All in all, this is quite a good brand. Ideal for beginners who want quick results, their limited palette is specific to the Games Workshop universe, which makes it easier to pick… And they also have some good surprises for the more experienced painter.