Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Citadel Contrast Paint - "I Have A Use for You"

This Saturday GW are releasing their new Contrast Paint range. GW have promoted the new paints very well, creating hype in the past month. There have been a numerous video reviews online and in the last three days I have watched over 20 of them.

I'm going to say upfront I am not a big fan of the finished models I've seen. There is the odd 1-2 that compare with other painted models GW promotes but generally I find the finish washed out and lacking in colour saturation. I suspect that this is a consequence of them being largely pigment in matt medium.

My view is that there are two markets for these new paints:
  1. People who generally don't paint their models and will use these paints because it speeds up the process. 
  2. People who will find a specific niche use.
The first is commendable and will lead to more painted armies on the table but without wishing to sound like a paint snob - I am a functional painter at best -  the quality of the paint job compared to the current average will be lower. I think as you stray from small organic models to Monsters/industrial/armoured models the paint job gets exponential worst.

The second use is where most people who currently paint their minis will be interested. I believe that these paints work well on organic models lacking armour plates - horrors, humans, plaguebearers, nurgling, grots etc....but largely restricted to skin. Do they achieve better results than a coloured spray plus a wash...I don't think so but they are probably quicker. Where they do look to have specialist utility is as washes over metallic undercoats - I have seen some very nice Alpha Legion effects created.

To test this theory I went into my local GW this morning and checked them out. I was particularly interested in skin tones so directed my activity towards that. I was able to paint a poxbringer undercoated in the recommended Grey Seer. This is the cooler of the two primers.

This is the fruits of my labour. First up, the paints flow really well and this was all done with a medium wash brush. I was encouraged to put the paint on liberally, but I was trying to achieve a muted skin so I was more controlled. The flesh on the torso/head is painted in Darkoth Flesh straight from the pot. As I said I worked it around rather than slapping it on.

This gives a closer view. I think the effect is very good and the Contrast Paints appear to be a very good way to paint large areas of flesh quickly and importantly act as a base for further non-Contrast work. There are two other Flesh colours - a human one "Guiliman Flesh" and a Dwarven one "Fyreslayer Flesh".

I also played around trying to create a realistic crab claw effect - "Flesh Tearer Red", "Blood Angels Red", "Magos Purple" and "Skyish Purple". I think that I may be better served with traditional Citadel Paints but we'll see.

The final thing I did was to mix colours into the Darkoth Flesh to try and change the hue - I wanted a cooler purple/bluish skin. The legs are painted that way but the effect is marginal. I think this will be a more successful use once we get hold of some of the medium.

So I can see a use for them - outside the need to get grey plastic coated quickly - and I will be looking to use them in the next few months. I have 100+ of the Juan Diaz Daemonettes I have put off painting because of the amount of flesh. This looks a great way to get a functional base on them before I start with traditional Citadel Paints.

I'm picking up a spray primer, 2-3 pots of paint and some of the medium on Saturday.


  1. I agree completely. My only interest in Contrast is to use it to paint flesh, something I've avoided for decades and need a solution for. I've got reliable answers to plenty of other painting situations, but skin isn't one of them, and Contrast looks to be pretty sweet for it. I appreciate seeing Darkoth Flesh in action, I think Mengel showed us Guilliman and I was a fan there as well. I may just pick all three up as a flesh triptych.

    1. I’m keen to see how much you can dilute them with medium.

      One thing I forgot to mention is the 15minute dry time Think that will need to be factored into consideration as to whether quicker