Sunday, 15 April 2012
Review: Sigur's Second Look at the New Paints
Hey people! In this article I would like to share my insights regarding the new GW paints ranges.
After the "Sigur's First Look At..." article from earlier this month in which I shared my first experiences with trying out the paints in store I went out and got myself a variety of the new paints to give them a more thorough try and just play around with them to get (and to give you) a better idea of what changed.
First I would like to say that it was rather challenging to come up with a concept for my own review of the new paint ranges after Stahly's epic review and Garfy's great concept article. After some consideration I decided to just go for simply writing down my experiences with a bunch of hand-picked samples from each category whilst trying to answer some of the qestions that were asked in the comments section of earlier articles.
Before I get into details on what I did; the inevitable rant about paint pots because these play an important part of how well the paint is to handle. I was happy to see that for about 80% of the paints they already had the new paint pots with the (huge) plastic appendices to keep the pots open.
In this close-up you can see another interesting change - little plastic bridges that snap when the pot is first opened. Not sure in how far that was required. Maybe people were bringing empty containers to GW stores and secretly stole paint from the 12ml pots? Fun thought but I guess it's more about pots opening by accident during transportation or something. What we get out of it is a mildly entertaining little "rrrrrrt"-sound when we first open the pots. If you, like me, are a man of simple pleasures it's almost up there with opening vacuum-packed goods.
Another thing you will notice when you have a close look is how there's a little ™ next to each paint's name on the label. Interesting times indeed.
The following picture illustrates the superiority of the new paint pots compared to the older ones in the way the lid stays open:
...and for those of you who have to know - the inner part of the lid is shaped slightly different now. Full half circle and a bit larger in general:
In general - alright paint pot. They got rid of the problems with the older kind and they really seem to close tighter now albeit that also means that they require a bit more attention when closing them properly. On an even less important note - you still can't just screw off the top like with the earlier Foundation paints pots. Just for completion's sake.
As you can see in the picture, I got a rather random mix of paints, mostly one of each kind. Here's what I got and why (from left to right):
.) Agrax Earthshade: Devlan Mud very quickly became a favorite for painters worldwide because it worked incredibly well as a wash and gave quick and pretty results. Therefore getting the new range's equivalent to try and see if it works equally well was a must.
.) Reikland Fleshshade: Because it was requested by some of you guys in the comments section (and because I was about to run out of Ogryn Flesh Wash anyway).
.) Ceramite White: Mostly because some people really were up in arms about the announcement of this one. I never felt the need for a Foundation White but I thought I better gave it a try to let you guys know if it's any good.
.) Astrogranite: I almost forgot to pick up one from that range so whilst paying I had to dash back to the paint shelf and pick one of those. I went for the Astrogranite because I had a particular idea I wanted to give a try. Apart from that, it starts with Astro- and that makes it sound cool and all space-like. Has a certain kind of retrofuturistic ring to it, doesn't it.
.) Evil Sunz Scarlet: You've got to have red. When I first approached the paint shelf I grabbed for the red paints because you can't beat a good red. Some developmental psychologists say that red appeals to us so much because that's what it looked like in the uterus.
Anyways, so Evil Sunz Scarlet is the new Blood Red. I don't have a clue why they didn't just go for Evil Sunz Red because that's what the colour is. It's deep red, not scarlet. Frankly, some of you won't give a damn but I had to point it out.
.) Gehenna's Gold: I had to get some metallic paint and remembered someone asking how this one would look like next to Shining Gold.
.) Lamenters Yellow: Despite the fact that I rarely use them, I have a thing for yellow washes and inks and am always interested to see how they work out. Apart from that, I like the Lamenters Space Marines chapter.
One bit concerning the Dry range: I guess I should have gotten a pot of these but honestly I couldn't justify paying for it. I tried it a few weeks ago in store, it's an interesting idea but I can't see me using this much at all. I mean it's not like I ever had trouble getting my paints from liquid to goopey and I haven't had much trouble drybrushing lately so I'll stick to my opinion from a few weeks ago.
Now let's finally get down to business as they say and take a look at how the paints work in practice. Due to the fact that I have a shockingly small amout of dispensable Space Marines lying around (and of course just to be special) I used Stormtroopers to test the paints on. One was primed white, the other one black.
In this one we got a range of things to see, from top to bottom:
.) Layer - Evil Sunz Scarlet: This one covers really, really well. The berets you can see in the picture were painted with one layer of Evil Sunz Scarlet straight from the pot. To be honest, it covers quite a bit too well for a "Layer" paint. This clearly goes straight into Foundation paint/Vallejo territorry when it comes to coverage rather than Coat d'Arms, older GW Paints or P3. Not saying that these covered badly, they are just thinner and therefore in my opinion more suited for actual layering. Very nice colour though, not much difference to see from other Blood Reds.
.) Glaze - Lamenters Yellow: Just for fun I tried it straight on white. As you can see, it turns it yellow. Excelsior! But what we can observe already is that this actually works as a Glaze rather than a wash. It covers the surface in the respective colour rather than pooling in recesses to create the illusion of shadow. I'll talk about the glaze a bit more in-depth later.
.) Shade - Agrax Earthshade: On the guy in the left I tried what this one looks like compared to Devlan Mud. On the guy's left leg (his "real left leg", so from his point of view) is covered in Agrax Earthshade straight from the pot, no water added. The right leg was painted with Devlan Mud, also straight from the pot, also no water added. To get this right out of the way, I did shake (AND stir) the Agrax Earthshade before use but I would like to mention that the water in the Devlan Mud might have evaporated a little so it may be a tad stronger than usual. But if that's the case, just to a miniscule amount.
Anyway, what I saw was really disappointing. This is nothing like Devlan Mud. First, it's brown. Not brown like mud (i.e. with a green-ish tint and a very natural look), it's brown like cocoa. Second, it's weak. It's a nice quality wash but it's not the flash of genius that Devlan Mud was. First I panickingly looked through various online retailers for remaining pots of Devlan Mud to order but after a while I realized that it's a nice challenge and that there surely were tons of alternatives. Sure, I tried Vallejo Game Color's washes before but wasn't particularly impressed compared to the GW washes. Of course there are more alternatives and of course it's not biggie making washes yourself but sticking to the topic at hand, Agrax Earthshade is nothing like Devlan Mud. Still, good quality washes of course. Pooling might be a tad worse though but that's possibly also just the way it looks on that one because it's a wash straight on white (which almost always looks kind of bad).
Next picture, please!
.) Base - Ceramite White: Just a very quick one. One layer, straight from the pot, covers perfectly well. On the new Base paints in general: They don't have the pastell-like colours any more, just regular, very vibrant shades. Maybe a bit of a loss in certain cases. The formula definately is new. It's less grainy than the Foundation paints and the taste isn't as horrible any more.
By the way, the smell of the paints overall is somewhat unified now. They all have a faint smell of turpentine-based solvent to them now whereas the Shades also smell a bit like the older GW Washes. I doubt they develop that smell of Nurgle's body orifices with time though as the older ones did.
.) Texture - Astrogranite: On the front half of the guy's base I used one layer, on the back half two layers, both drybrushed with Space Wolves Grey. As I wrote in my previous article one layer definately is too little to get you a well-textured base as you'd have it using sands and such. It's also a bit iffy to get right around boots because you can't just paint it onto the base with even strokes. That said, it looks less bad when drybrushed and has more texture to it than you might think from the first peek. I noticed that Astrogranite looks pretty good when you try to get an effect like pavement with a few small rocks and gravel on it. For that, one layer is enough.
I also tried out what happens when you thin it down with water or water effect and was not pleased - most of the grit in the paint just seems to dissolve so making mud from brown coloured Texture paint may work a bit worse than anticipated.
Next thing I did was taking a closer look at Shade - Reikland Flashshade(TEE EMMM):
Two different plans. The guy in the left simpy got a basecoat of Dwarf Flesh mixed with a bit of Coat d'Arms Tan Earth and a bit of Dheneb Stone while the guy in the right got the same basecoat plus two layers of highlights using a similar mix with some more white added. Then I applied the Reikland Flashshade:
The guy in the left got a full load straight from the pot with no water added, the guy in the right got the Shade watered down a bit. As always with GW flesh washes since the dawn of time, the outcome is very red which always looks a bit like the faces and hands of people are made of cooked ham, even on the guy in the right. It looks a bit better when dried and it's a perfectly viable look, just not really my kind of thing.
That aside, the flesh wash seems to work very well and isn't too different to Ogryn Flesh, albeit possibly a bit thinner again like the Agrax Earthshade. Speaking of which - because someone in the comments section requested it I wanted to get this one to compare to my Ogryn Flesh wash only to notice that the litte remains of my Orgyn Flesh wash was completely dried up. Sorry, no direct comparison, you'll have to take my word for it.
Now let's look into the Glaze:
First, to get to know the glaze, I just slapped some Iyanden Darksun (you will be missed, buddy) onto the arm of a glorious Stormtrooper. I gave it some quick highlights using a mix of Iyanden Darksun and white and then applied the Lamenters Yellow. It worked as planned, turned the lighter parts more yellow and therefore "tied" the layers "together". What surprised me a little is the glossy finish.
For the next test I went for the full programme - Iyanden Darksun base, a wash using Agrax Earthshade (just so the wash wouldn't feel too bad for having disappointed earlier. I thought it might work rather well on yellow and it did), some highlights using a mix of Iyanden Darksun and white. What it looked like at this point you can see in the left picture.
The right picture showst the same bit after the application of Lamenters Yellow. A bit smoother, a bit more yellow, and the most pronounced highlights were toned down. In this picture you can also have another look at the use of the texture paint I mentioned earlier.
To finish this off, a quick look at the Metallics:
From left to Right: GW Dwarf Bronze, Vallejo Game Colour Glorious Gold (very close to Shining Gold and according to several charts the equivalent of the new Gehenna's Gold), new GW's Layer Gehenna's Gold, Vallejo Model Colour Gold.
This one's a very, very red gold. In fact, it's much more bronze-looking than gold. The quality of the paint itself is good. It's very thick, like the other Layer paint I got (Evil Sunz Scarlet) but of decent quality. I don't particularly like colour but I guess I'll get back to it if I ever need a very red gold.
So what do I make of all of this?
The new paints are of really good quality. I would prefer some things to be different but other people may view it differently.
The Base paints are very good and people will love them.
Layer paints are really good as well, they just require watering down (much more so than ever). In fact they cover so well that I found blending with them a little too much of a hassle.
Of the Shades I tried two kind of particular ones. I'll have to shop around for a new Devlan Mud. The new Washes seem to be a tad thin and in my opinion they could have been much thicker without a problem.
Texture paint is a commendable idea, it's just not necessary. I find it very awkward to use, it's pretty costly for what it does and there's plenty of alternative products out there. I think it can be put to good use in particular situations, just not as what it's been advertised. I can't see me spend money on any of those very soon.
I haven't gotten any of the Dry paints because I think that I got my opinion on those. Kind of like with the Texture paints they're a nice idea but essentially unnecessary.
Glazes could be more useful than I initially thought they would. I got reports from some people who weren't familiar with the concept before hearing about these paints at all so for them it at least introduced them to this technique. They definately are more than thinned down washes and can be useful but I think I prefer to make my own.
Which brings us to one point I want to talk about and which adds to the bitter-sweetness of this release: Ever since GW have become the big name in tabletop wargaming they have been doing an amazing job at drawing new people into a niche hobby. This has to do with the designs of their models, the overall quality of course as well on-going simplification of entry (and everything really). Which isn't a bad thing in itself but along with that goes a certain degree of standardisation.
The amazing thing about tabletop wargaming is how unique everything is. Each gaming group is different, each table is different and it's impossible to have two that are exactly the same. Each single painted soldier in your army of a hundred of models is unique just as each player of the game is unique. It's a hobby which is very individual and a unique experience to each player and this in itself, to this level, is what sets tabletop wargaming apart most other things people do nowadays. You create, you put thought into your work and you end up with something tangible you did.
Now with GW's strife to make things easier on the customer, by taking him or her by the hand and guiding them through "the hobby" each of these simplifications and ready made formulas seem to take away from or make people less aware of the virtually unlimited range of things they can create.
These new paints ranges are a good product. I don't have an single major complaint across the palette. But I think that a little less categorization and guidance wouldn't have hurt. Maybe I'm putting too little faith in the people who will actually paint with these products and maybe I'm just a bit intimidated by GW's marketing effort.
Anyhow, It's very good paints, you can buy them if you like. That's it. :)
...and now a big round of applause for my fearless assistants!
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this article interesting and maybe even entertaining. I hope you got some of your questions about the new GW™ paints™ range™ answered. For questions, comments, critique and so on, it would be great if you left a comment below.
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