Contrast Paints Review

I’ve avoided writing up anything about GW’s Contrast paints after viewing them at Warhammer Fest as I knew that it would just be another post in a polarising release. I wanted to avoid the patter back and forth about them so I could approach my thoughts on them without influence from others. 

Now as many have said, this isn’t a new thing for many hobbyists, nor is it necessarily cheap at £4.75 a pot. The principle has been around a long time and you can make up any colour yourself simply using water to thin your paint, or with mixes of mediums, flow aid and what have you; though your initial outlay for this method may cost more dependent on a variety of factors and availability in your area. 

I’ve been using Wyldwood and Skeleton Horde on the various wooden and metal sections of my Warcry terrain. Currently the results are positive, but not without issue. 

For clarity, while I did pick up a can of Wraithbone Spray to use with the Contrast paints, I used Hycote Grey Primer (My go to for priming most projects) on my terrain as it worked as a base for the scheme I wanted. 

Application wise I used both paints straight from the pot (well, from the palette) and they go on as well as any other GW paint. The thickness really does change the tone, so while I tried the “One Thick Coat” method as advertised, I ended up moving it around a lot to thin it down over a larger area, as it was far too dark. So if you want a thinner more even coat, either spread it thoroughly or use the medium for a thinner smoother coat.

Results wise it did what GW said it would do; pooling in the deeper areas creating a contrast against the raised areas. With a simple dry brush and a thin wash of Nuln Oil or Agrax Earthshade over the lot it will give me the look I’m after on the wooden parts of the terrain. So thus far, I’m very happy.

But there is a small issue. Contrast paint rubs off very easily, which is a problem for terrain and areas of a mini that get held a lot. And I don’t mean from a lot of contact, just picking up a piece once 24 hours after drying led to some raised parts rubbing off. So if you are painting a mini, be careful while handling it and make sure it gets a good coating of varnish to lock it all in at the end. With the terrain, I had to give it a dusting of matt varnish before I did anything else for fear it would come off during later stages. But now that’s done I feel far more comfortable handling it.

Overall I’m very happy with the results, even with its issues. While I’m very comfortable making my own mixes, I’m not unhappy about having something consistent that I can use straight from the pot. It certainly won’t replace my custom mixes, but It doesn’t hurt having something else in the tool box to play with. I can also see them being helpful not just for newcomers, but also disabled hobbyists that may not be able to spend time creating custom mixes for whatever reason. If I had had access to these prior to my transplant I would have been over the moon with the time and energy saving nature of them compared to making my own. They are a tad pricey per pot, but for the day to day painter or the hobby novice I can see a pot lasting a while, though less so if you are doing a lot of large scale stuff. I’ve used half a pot of Wyldwood on the terrain so far, which is quite a lot comparatively. 

I’d certainly recommend giving the Contrast Paints a try, particularly Skeleton Horde (I can see it getting a lot of use), having a play around and making your own mind up.

Thanks for reading ~ Mark

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