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Citadel Contrast Paints - first impressions

At the UK Games Expo 2019, I managed to try out the Citadel Contrast Paints. There has been a lot of hype about these 'miracle' paints and from the fuss, you'd think they painted Tartan straight from the can! As the Games Workshop painting tables were full all weekend, I had to be very quick to grab a seat and try them out.

The paints come in a variety of vivid colours, most of which I avoided like the plague. I recall my first paint set and my first painted miniature with a blue cloak, red trousers and yellow armour... he looked like a clown! So I chose as close to a normal figure (normal for Games Workshop) from the nice young lady with the miniatures tray and started to paint.

Before I started, I laid out the paints on a piece of folded paper to see how they flowed. They are like strong pigmented inks, quite viscous too. I tried mixing them - they mixed well - and tried seeing how they looked concentrated and thin on the paper. So far, so good. Now to time myself on a single figure...

Start the clock. I added Gulliman Flesh Contrast to the main areas of the body and Skeleton Horde Contrast on the 'spiky bits'. Mixing the Skeleton Horde and Black Templar Contrast, I made a leather colour for the belt and ammo pouches. To finish I used Black Templar on the weapon plus the base. Total time 5 minutes... I simply painted it on each section and then was careful to remove the excess liquid from the model.

So onto the results. The speed was amazing, I was very impressed. Everything was one coat. However, this isn't a Golden Daemon winner, it's a basic strong wash. I'm sure I could highlight the model further from here to make it more effective. The choice of colours will be limited for historical wargamers, I'm sure in time people will find their perfect recipes for German green-grey or US Army drab. So it's not Tartan paint but I think it is a useful addition to the painter's arsenal - I also bet the idea will be copied.


6 thoughts on “Citadel Contrast Paints - first impressions”

  • Tomas Ingvarsson
    Tomas Ingvarsson June 4, 2019 at 1:29 am

    I can't help but to think of a mix between Coat d'arms super shaders and ak interactive filters :)

  • Gregory Sapara
    Gregory Sapara June 4, 2019 at 3:25 am

    Years ago, the venerable American wargamer Duke Seifried had a handout for quick army painting he dubbed "stain painting"; basically, a white undercoat and strong washes/glazes. The exact same idea as contrast paints. All of my early armies are done this way, and I'm still proud to display them. So, the contrast paints have their uses, but they are only a tool.

  • Nick Hughes

    A gimmick of sorts but a useful gimmick.
    Speed painters will rejoice.
    Those of us obsessed with detail will barely look up.
    Great option for newbies to the hobby.
    Overall - well done.

  • Mike Adams

    I tend to agree with the other comments, although I have yet to try the paints. They are a useful new tool, anything that helps to speed up painting is most welcome, but as some sort of 'miracle cure' to our grey plastic mountain, I really can't see it. Games Workshop have been promoting small armies painted only with Contrast Paints, and to be honest they look pretty bad. They look like what they are - a combination of high pigment and ink-like wash - if only painting was that simple! And although they are also promoting it as a complete reversal in the way we paint (i.e. white undercoat plus wash vs dark undercoat vs layers), to be honest I was already using that technique. However, not to be too negative I still think they will find their place and they will speed things up a bit. Ironically, I think they will be much more suited to historical subjects than Citadel miniatures, because historicals are more 'organic' and less 'precise'. I'm looking forward to trying them out on a big batch of Vikings in my metal mountain.

  • Rob Westbrook
    Rob Westbrook June 15, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Any tool we can get is a tool worth having. The only certain way to turn out amazing figures is practice, practice and more practice. I look forward to trying these paints out for myself.

  • Pete Flynn

    Like a previous post, Duke Siegfreid influenced my technique and methods.I do not use GW paint, and will not. I use acrylic paint from a big craft store chain that has all the "high contrast"shades and colors I will ever need. It's good paint, and my results have been appreciated by my fellow gamers. This paint is just another gimmick.

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