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"A stupid question about acrylic paints" Topic

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5,919 hits since 18 Jun 2010
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Ermintrude Inactive Member18 Jun 2010 5:57 a.m. PST

So, I can get Vallejo acrylic paints for £1.44 GBP for a 17mil pot, or artists acrylic paint for £2.15 GBP for a 60mil tube.

Can someone explain to me what the difference is between the two? I'm a bit of a 'hack and slash' painter, so if you could use small words that would help!

marcin250118 Jun 2010 6:02 a.m. PST

Main difference is in pigment – in Vallejo it's fine, in artistic acrylics is usually thicker and will cover all small details.

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Jun 2010 6:19 a.m. PST

Artist acrylics will typically take a lot of thinning.

I also use craft acrylics for a lot of my painting (yes not the best quality, but cheap and good results). Ceramcoat is a good brand for craft paint.

Ermintrude Inactive Member18 Jun 2010 6:21 a.m. PST

Marcin, many thanks for the quick answer! Does that mean that I can thin down the artists paint, or is that a woefully stupid thought?

Edit: Dervel, thanks for answering my question before I posted it!

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Jun 2010 6:33 a.m. PST

LOL, no problem…it is an effect of the time difference :)

Marcin is right it is pigment.

You will find some brands cover better than others (and it will vary with color or metallic for example).

Reaper, GW and Vallejo tend to be good right out of the bottle with little fuss (I use them all from time to time).

They also tend to be a bit pricey. Craft paints tend to be ready to go (similar consistency to the GW, Reaper and Vallejo) but sometimes the pigment quality is low. Yellows are often a problem with lower quality paints, and so are metallics.

Artist acrylics tend to have a lot of pigment, but then you have to fuss around mixing them with thinning agents to get the right consistency.

I would suggest you try a couple brands and see what you like. Hit the local Craft Store and see what they have.

There is also the storage factor. Do not underestimate the quality of the container. For example I have some Delta Ceramcoat acrylics that have been around for more than 10 years, GW's old style containers were so bad the paints would dry up in a few years. Their new ones are much better as are the Reaper and Vallejo containers.

Also, keep in mind many acrylic brands are made by the same factory and simply re-labeled.

Ermintrude Inactive Member18 Jun 2010 6:44 a.m. PST

Thanks again!

I've taken a look for Delta Ceramcoat in google and I can't seem to find a UK supplier, so I'll pop down to Hobbycraft and take a look at what they have. I should have thought about craft paint (duh!) rather than just artists paint.

I think the plan might be to use the craft paints for the standard colours, then use the more specialist games paints for the all-important metalics.

Woohoo grin.

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Jun 2010 6:59 a.m. PST

That is what I do..

Plus a few select colors like a particular skin pigment if I cannot find it in the craft paints.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP18 Jun 2010 11:10 a.m. PST

If you're looking to match colors by different manufacturers (or at least get a close equivalent) this online tool is excellent: link

I forgot who posted it here first, but it's very handy.

Personal logo Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut Supporting Member of TMP18 Jun 2010 11:31 a.m. PST

Craft paints are nothing to sneeze at. I made first cut at Golden Demon one year with a craft paint/magic dip job. It's all in the wrist…

CPBelt18 Jun 2010 1:18 p.m. PST

Since blowout sales have been my friend, I have nearly every color Ceramcoat and Americana sell at the stores today. I've been getting a lot of Folk Art also. Avoid anything with the semi-opaque or transparent label--too thin.

I have been keeping track of my experiences with these paints and really should gather my notes into an article to help people pick decent colors/paints. I do have my own triads posted to my blog in a link but I have to update it.

Reds and bright yellows are hit and miss. My bigger problem comes from greens across the board. No good craft paint black exists IMO and I have them all. I currently use Tamiya Flat Black.

For army painting craft paints are fine. I do a lot of individual skirmish figures and get decent results. Wet blending with craft paints can be tough due to lack of pigment in some colors.

Be sure to thin the paint with some flow enhancer and some retarder. Really helps.

Those are my quick tips before I dash out of the house.

My blog. Click on the Western links or WWII links for samples of my figures. I paint all my buildings using craft paints. I always try to list my colors. Hopefully I'll have some more time to blog and model now that I'm on summer break from teaching.

Ermintrude Inactive Member18 Jun 2010 1:39 p.m. PST

Thanks again, everyone. CPBelt, I'd love to read that article, if ever you get around to it!

Mitch K Inactive Member18 Jun 2010 2:47 p.m. PST

Just to stir the pot a little, there are "artists' acrylics" and "artists' acrylics"! From large manufacturers like W&N, there are usually two ranges – a "student" range and an artists' range. The difference is the quality / density / preparation standard of the pigments. Artist grade are also more likely to be single-pigment colours which makes mixing less likely to go muddy.

Beware over thinning artists' acrylics – you can dilute out the vehicle so far that it becomes physically incapable to binding the pigment, and the paint can become chalky / dusty. Something like Liquitex airbrush medium is a good bet if you want to really thin stuff – it drops viscosity through the floor whilst not over diluting the vehicle.

timlillig Inactive Member19 Jun 2010 6:48 a.m. PST

I tend to find that good quality artists acrylics are the best paints, but may take some practice to get them to do exactly what you want. I use Golden Fluid Acrylics.

The difference in price per ml is largely due to the fact that Vallejo is selling fewer units overall and a dropper bottle is more expensive than a tube.

1815Guy20 Jun 2010 3:25 p.m. PST

I've been using tubes of Acrylics for donkeys years.

You squeeze a few colours onto the edge of a palette ( = old plastic polyfilla lid!) and they come out in a toothpaste consistency; using your brush you pull out bits of the colours you want to work with into the centre area of the saucer to mix them and use them, adding a little water to get them the consistency of cream. Then paint. You mix the exact shade you want from the several colours around the edge, never use a shade straight from the tube. You can add white or brown etc to get a deep shade or a highlight, No need to buy triple shades at £6.00 GBP a set!

When its all dry, the paint just peels off the lid like some sort of pigmented scab ready for the next painting session!!

Yes, there are varieties of quality; I tend to use Cryla, which have a superb range of colours, last for years and have a lovely rich pigmentation and a creaminess in use. Their metallics are fantastic btw. They have a range of golds, brasses and bronzes which look superb when mixed up in a unit on Ancient armies. For facings, I use Cryla wherever possible, the yellow gives a great shade, not too lemony, and covers very well.

I also have some cheap tubes which are perfectly fine for wargames figures. The cheap ones tend to dry out quicker, in my experience, and they sometimes take a bit of work to get them mixed and flowing.

If I were you, and just thinking of trying out Acrylics Id pop down to Argos and get one of these:


Its an Acrylic Painting Box Set 267/0861

26 tubes of colour, brushes, palette and a nice wooden box, all for less than a fiver. When you find out which colours you use the most you can get larger individual tubes of your choice! White and black will almost certainly be a high use pair of colours. I also seem to go through loads of Burnt Sienna.

I keep my paints in an old tupperware box, with a lid, and they keep fine for years & years.

I dont know what the brushes will be like in the boxed set, not too great I would think for the price, so you might like to get a few nice brushes. You dont need sable for acrylic paint on wargames figures. Some of the modern nylon and hog bristle brushes are fine. Ive had mine for absolute years and years. Just clean them prompty when you finish, making sure you clean off right down to the hasp, and store them in a jam jar with the bristles sticking up out of the jar to keep the point. If the point starts to go with use, you probably arent cleaning your brush properly. To revive a brush, just pop a bit of fairy liquid on the end and rub it in with your fingers before you store the brush. Amazingly, you can get better detail on a figure with an 0 brush than you can with a 00 brush sometimes! There is more paint in the reservoir of the brush I suppose, as long as its flowing through a point…..

While you are Argos Reeves do a nice set for less than a tenner, or pop into an artist shop and have a look at the range they recommend for acrylics. You will only need a few, and you can probably use the cheap ones in the box set for dry brushing! :o) The stiff flat brushes are great fro dry brushing too btw.

I have used GW paints for my sons Warhammer stuff, and they are lovely. They are very easy to use, have a good liquidity and opacity and are very easy and convenient. Just shake em, pop the top and dip in your brush. They dont mix particularly easily from the bottle compared to tube acrylics, imho so you may well end up with several discrete shades of just slightly varying colours to do half a dozen uniform colours….. nice enough, but be prepared to spend 50-60 to get your paint stock started! If wanted a particular shade Id certainly use them again.

A couple of extra tips I have found useful over the years. For spear tip highlights ( or bayonets) use one of those silver ink pens from W H Smith just a dab here and there on the ends saves opening a bottle or pushing out colour from a tube. Similarly a gold pen can blob a shako badge on a 15mm figure.
I also use Rotring pens to mark out shield designs etc on Ancients prior to painting the designs.

Happy painting.

PS I dont buy wash "dips" or "inks"- Ive been using Alkyd oil paints for years to put on a thin brown or Paynes grey wash over my figures for good effect. Works very well.

Ermintrude Inactive Member21 Jun 2010 4:59 a.m. PST

Wow, that paint set looks like a bargain for a fiver!

1815Guy21 Jun 2010 3:29 p.m. PST

yep, the box alone is worth that!

Bandit Inactive Member29 Nov 2011 11:00 p.m. PST

I use Delta Ceramcoat acrylics. Sometimes I get a bottle that is just crap, too separated and thin or two separated and thick, but that is rare, normally it works quite well.


You can see the results of the paint there. I think they are pretty decent. You will need to ignore the SSL Cert. warning, I use a self-signed certificate on my website.


The Bandit

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