A couple of months ago I acquired 19 different colours of Vallejo Game Color acrylic paint from Angel Barracks and while it's fair to say that I haven't yet used it enough to give it a really in depth review, it is a fact that I'm already a convert. I think that this in itself is worth an explanation.
In truth I have a lot more experience of Citadel Acrylic and could blather on for ages about which colours cover well, which don't, and so on. However although I like Citadel paints, I hate the pots. Granted, the current flip top version is much better than the older screw top (which tended to jam up, and even when it didn't often resulted in bits of dried paint finding their way down into the liquid stuff). However, seasoned model makers will remember an even older style of flip top pot made from a softer plastic than the current style. It's a fact that the hinge used to wear out in next to no time but I still have pots of that stuff, getting on for 15 years old now, and the paint is still good. You won't get that with the current pots which seem to dry out in the space of about 12 to 18 months. Of course this situation is not helped if you use the paint direct from the pot such that you're exposing the contents to the air. What you should do is transfer it to a palette with a brush or a cocktail stick. We all do that don't we? Yeah, right.
So given that this a review of Vallejo Game Color paints you might be wondering why I've been ranting on about the Citadel pots. A quick glance at the image to the left should provide you with an answer and an immediate understanding of why I just love, love, love the Vallejo bottles: they're designed to allow you to put the paint onto your pallet a drip at a time while keeping the rest of the paint away from the nasty drying air.
Now I've already gone to lengths to point out why this is good for the longevity of the paint however there is another advantage too: the easy creation of recipes. Let's say for example I mix up my own special colour for my bug swarm by mixing 3 drops of red with 2 drops of yellow and a 1 of blue. Provided that I make a note of that recipe it'll be a piece of cake to mix more of the exact colour the next time I need it. How useful it that? Wow!
The final thing I love about the Vallejo bottles (don't worry, I'll get to the paint eventually) is that the diameter of the lid is smaller than the diameter of the bottle. Big deal? Well yes it is actually because it means that if you'd like to keep your paints in a little box as an aid to keeping your workplace tidy (and I do), then when you look down at them from above you can see the shoulders of the bottles and see what colour paint it is without having to mess about painting the tops of your paint pots.
Michael at Angel Barracks had advised me to give them a good shake before use and indeed, even in the short time I've had them, I've noticed that they do like to settle. I wondered about this for a while and then suggested on the forum that I might put a bead in each bottle to assist with mixing... and got half a dozen posts in reply from other folks who do pretty much the same thing using everything from lead fishing weights and BB gun pellets to offcuts of sprue. I obtained some 8mm haematite beads on eBay especially for the purpose and they seem to work rather well.
One final thing about the bottles: they contain 17ml paint.
Okay, so finally, a few words about the paint itself: it's good stuff.
Alas, at the time of writing, I haven't really been using it for long enough to give you a really detailed review, but one of the things I can show you is a test that I carried out in which I took 19 slotta bases and painted them as show in the image to the right.
Areas 1, 2 and 3 were painted with three coats of Dead White to give a solid white background while areas 4, 5 and 6 were left unpainted i.e. black plastic.
Areas 2 and 5 then received a single coat of whatever colour I was testing (Filthy Brown in this case) while areas 3 and 6 received two coats.
It's not the best of tests. Under normal circumstances I'd have sprayed a base coat (probably black but sometimes grey or white). Neither would I be likely to use these paints to cover large areas. This is quality stuff for use on figures and fine details.
A final thing that should be borne in mind when looking the the results below are the limitations of digital imagery. The collection of slotta bases in the image below are standing on a sheet of white paper but I'd be surprised if it looks white on your screen. I have NOT attempted to adjust the colours in any way (and no animals were harmed in the course of this test), so treat it as a 'rough guide' as opposed to a 'definitive reference'.
Top Row: Dead White, Black, Sunblast Yellow, Filthy Brown, Goblin Green, Bronze Fleshtone
Middle Row: Beasty Brown, Tan, Orange Fire, Bloody Red, Earth, Cold Grey
Bottom Row: Royal Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Imperial Blue, Chainmail Silver, Glorious Gold, Hammered Copper, Matt Varnish
As you can see, most colours cover well regardless of the base colour; the exceptions being the yellow, orange, red and flesh colours which really need a white undercoat.
The big surprise was the Goblin Green which looks much more vibrant in the bottle (see earlier pictures) than it does in use.
Royal Purple covered extremely well (which is interesting because I've heard of people using a dark purple as a base coat rather than black), and Imperial Blue seemed a little 'washy'.
As I said, I can't give you any in depth hints, tips or comments at this time (although my plan is to update this review when I have more experience with them), but everything looks good good. I've also been using them to do washes and they dilute nicely for that too.
I'm completely happy with the paint, absolutely ecstatic about the bottles, and as they're also real easy for me to obtain from Angel Barracks, Vallejo Model Color is now my preferred paint for figures and for detailed work on my terrain projects.
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