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"Opinions on GW Contrast Paints a few months on" Topic

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wmyers08 Dec 2019 4:24 p.m. PST

Well, Contrast paints were quite the conversation piece a few months back.

For those who tried them, are you still using them? Has your opinion changed/altered/etc?

I have to state I am using them a lot. The colour range is limited (I know, they were designed for fantasy/sci fi) but for horses, hair, flesh, leather items, some clothing I find they are very good to use.

KevinV08 Dec 2019 5:52 p.m. PST

I use when I paint horses, some clothes, Napoleonic uniforms, some vehicles.
I quite like them. My son and his friends use as well.

wmyers08 Dec 2019 7:32 p.m. PST

What colours are you using for clothes and uniforms?

Crucible Orc08 Dec 2019 8:49 p.m. PST

I did an entire AWI project mostly with Contrast paints. They aren't really a game changer, but they will help speed up your paint jobs. you still need decent brush control though.

McWong7308 Dec 2019 11:46 p.m. PST

My experience has been similar, they work well on some subjects and not so well on others. Where there's a clear match for colour they're very useful.

I've used them to speed up completion on a collection of space orks nicely, for example.

Lucius09 Dec 2019 3:14 a.m. PST

They found a definite niche in my toolbox. Like others, I use them on horses, and large color blocks.

Londonplod09 Dec 2019 3:37 a.m. PST

I have just picked up a pot of Apothecary White to try out on my 28mm Perry AWI figure's waistcoats and trousers. I have been using a watered down black wash and then putting the white back on. I am hoping to get a more subtle shading and save a little time.

Personal logo Vis Bellica Supporting Member of TMP09 Dec 2019 5:31 a.m. PST

I still love them, especially for figures without much equipment such as Ancients.

Mind you, I've just painted up a lovely ECW regiment using Contrast…

Bede1900209 Dec 2019 6:07 a.m. PST

Love them.

FusilierDan09 Dec 2019 6:09 a.m. PST

This post begs links to pictures.

Dagwood09 Dec 2019 6:38 a.m. PST

Aren't the dark and light bits in the wrong places for horses ? AFAIK horses are often lighter in places (such as where the legs meet the body) where the contrast paint should gather and give a darker colour ?

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP09 Dec 2019 7:19 a.m. PST

I painted a batch of undead (LotR Warriors of the Dead, painted more like skeletons than ghosts) fairly quickly (for me). Those had started out primed black (before I got any contrast paint), and I had to put light colors on first. I have another batch, and after having done the first, I've gone ahead and primed those with a light color.

I'm looking forward to doing them, but admit I used my free time this weekend on other things. Still, without contrast paint, I'd probably wait even longer.


Martian Root Canal09 Dec 2019 7:28 a.m. PST

I have about six colors of Contrast that are go-to's for me. Skeletal Horde, Gulliman Flesh, Iyanden Yellow, Leviadon Blue, Cygor Brown and Apothecary White. These have saved me quite a bit of time on putting down base colors on a lighter primer, getting my first levels of shading. I always touch up and add additional highlights with regular paints.

So, now a part of my paint kit. Game changer? No. Time saver, you betcha.

tomrommel109 Dec 2019 9:06 a.m. PST

I like them a lot and use them mainly on figures not so much on vehicles. I learned that they work best on well sculpted figures with lots of detail.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Dec 2019 9:12 a.m. PST

I'll use up what I bought. At $8 USD/pot I can get the same result easier and cheaper with home made.

22ndFoot09 Dec 2019 10:12 a.m. PST

I flogged all that I'd bought to a mate. He's still a friend, so I suppose he liked them.

wmyers09 Dec 2019 10:17 a.m. PST

For those not sure how to make there own, as Extra Crispy wisely said:

YouTube link

I have found they (the Contrast "pots") are lasting a long time and going a long way.

KevinV09 Dec 2019 4:08 p.m. PST

wmyers, I agree. Mine are lasting quite well. To answer your question-I am using the dark blue (name escapes me) for Napoleonic French and Polish- worked very well. I used both reds on my Napoleonic British, they worked perfect. The white was a bit of a let down for 7yw and WSS French so I would not recommend, however I am using now as a horse colour. I also use the various browns and tans for horses and that goes really fast.

wmyers09 Dec 2019 5:19 p.m. PST

Yeah, I was less than impressed with the grey, I mean "white".

Yes, it's good for horses! (I spray the underside of the horses with black for better shadows, then prime the top and sides via zenithal type.

I'm not sure how GW got their examples to look so white? Lots of thinning medium? Lighting? 3000 grit wet/dry sandpaper before painting?

The dark brown (cyborg?) is so dark it doesn't give good effects, but thinned 50/50 with medium works good (but is almost the colour of the next lightest brown, so a bit less thinning helps to create even more shades).

I bought a larger container of Liquitex matte medium and it works great to thin with. I suppose some flow aid may help too.

Normal Guy Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2019 12:40 a.m. PST

So, how do the contrast paints speed things up? I'm certainly not against better speed.

McWong7310 Dec 2019 2:39 a.m. PST

Depending on the figure, and which paint colour used, you can get a result that approximates base, highlight and wash in one pass. There is an optimal technique, and a learning curve as well, but I'm satisfied with the results I've achieved. Thats a key point I'd make from my experience, I'm satisfied with the result, not amazed with the result.

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2019 7:10 a.m. PST

I think does does base color and wash, but only sometimes looks like highlight as well. Highlight is what I'd most like to avoid doing separately, because I hate dry-brushing. Seems to really kill brushes. So I'd like my contrast paint to more consistently look like all three steps, including highlight.


wmyers13 Dec 2019 11:59 p.m. PST

Andy, have you noted any things that help achieve the highlight better?

It seems to me the depth of the sculpt and the colour of the primer.

I have tried Mr. Hobby 1500 white spray primer and the high points are brighter than with GW's Wraithbone.

Another is the smoothness of the primer – the smoother the primer the more it seems to run off.

A third thing I noted is keeping the figure upright while applying the colour so it always runs down (I do the underbelly of the horses first, then put them upright to do their bodies – after I noted that helped I made the connection to all the GW videos consistently showing the figures ALWAYS being upright when they were demonstrating Contrast colours – seems to be something they should explicitly point out).

Bowman15 Dec 2019 10:45 a.m. PST

Here is a new video about painting Gauls.

There are some that suggest that painting with contrast paints involves some sort of unique skill. Sorry, but I just don't see it. Also the contrast paints seem more viscous than the "home made" versions, including that of Goobertown.

Now, he is a very good painter, as you can tell from his videos, so I expected his painting/washing to be of a high quality.

wmyers16 Dec 2019 3:50 p.m. PST

Thanks for sharing that.

I would have liked to have see the end result up close in the video.

I don't think any unique skill is needed, just being mindful about a few things.

Bowman17 Dec 2019 7:48 a.m. PST

Ok so it's just a photo, and no close ups either, but this fellow is speed painting his Indian Mutiny figures mostly using contrast paints.

Interestingly, he primed them white and then did a white undercoat before using the contrast paints. No mention of the contrast primers.


As far as his picture let's me see, the figures look nice.

wmyers18 Dec 2019 1:14 p.m. PST

Thanks for sharing that one too! Those colours are very nicely used for those figures.

I have seen that light ethereal blue used for ghosts but on these figures it looks great for a light blue cloth! Even though it's a rather limited colour palette used, they are very well done with that palette being put to very good use.

Bowman19 Dec 2019 7:35 a.m. PST

I agree, and the proper palate selection (not too big) facilitates his speed painting. He's been asked for some close up pictures and I'd be interested in a closer look.

Bowman23 Dec 2019 9:15 a.m. PST

Sorry to belabour the point. Here are some beautiful Napoleonic speed painted miniatures using contrast paints.


wmyers23 Dec 2019 10:46 p.m. PST

You're not belabouring the point at all! I find it fascinating what others are doing – it helps inspire.

So, thank you!

(the basing/movement tray is very inspirational as well)

Although, I can't see the photograph in the sergeant's helmet later in the thread …

wmyers24 Dec 2019 6:07 p.m. PST

Here is the link to the video the poster on the other forum referenced:

YouTube link

It seems to be quite good, although I have not finished it yet.

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