Thursday, July 8, 2010

Working with Vallejo Paints

This entry is coming a bit early because I am in the process of upgrading my computer with some new parts and moving from XP to Windows 7.  Since I’m not sure how long it might take me to get drivers, programs, and other things squared away I want to get something out now as opposed to losing steam due to computer issues.  Below you can enjoy some photos of my computer all custom all built by me, and below is my spanking new brand new video card so I can play World of Warcraft again.

Okay jumping into our topic.  Firstly Vallejo paints, these paints are from Spain.  There are two main lines of Vallejo paints.  Game Color (VGC) and Model Color (VMC) the main differences is Game Color basically mimics the Games Workshop line and is directed towards the fantasy sci fi crowd.  Whenever GW releases a new paint or line there will be a game color equivalent soon to follow, the names are also fairly close for example GW Blood Red is VGC Bloody Red.  I would suggest finding an equivalency chart if you use multiple paints because when you follow someone else’s recipe you can sub in your own paints here is a link to Vallejo’s chart.  Model color is primarily for historical miniatures.  In particular Model Color has a number of WWII colors like the aptly named Japanese Uniform WWII M117.  Model Color is also has a huge line of about 220 products.  I would say Game Color is about 120 products.  Model color is loaded with pigment and it separates in the bottle so you need to shake it really well before you use it.  It comes in dropper style bottles of 17mls.  These bottles can clog with dry paint if you squeeze the bottle and nothing comes out DON’T SQUEEZE HARDER!!!  You will get an unwanted paint bath.  I use a small paper clip and gentle push until I feel the clog give way and then the dropper should be clear.

Game Color has a good amount of pigment as well not as much as model color so it needs a good shaking.  If you scan forums and blogs you will get a number of opinions about Vallejo and other paints .  You may hear things like Vallejo greens don’t cover well etc.  The only thing I will say is judge for yourself.  How good a paint is depends on how well it works for you.  If its your army and you like the way the paint works and how it looks on your miniatures that all you should care about.  Opinions are valuable in the way they can help you come to your own conclusions.  Just don’t discount something based on someone else’s word see for yourself.

I can offer this opinion from my experience Vallejo has released their own version of the latest GW washes which are more like glazes, the Vallejo Blue known as Blue Shade is not as good as the GW Asurmen Blue.  I just don’t like the way the Vallejo shade looked on my Crimson Fists.  When it dries it just looks patchy. I then tried the GW and it worked for me, it looked more like various shades and blended well.  Its all about how it looks to you.

Along the lines of shaking these paints Vallejo does not come with an agitator in the bottle Reaper does.  You can substitute your own.  I saw this covered in great detail in this Dakka Dakka post.  In short you just can’t throw a metal nut or BB in your paint they can corrode and release rust into your paint.  But the right size bead of volcanic material has the weight and won’t rust.  When you shake the bottle you’ll hear and feel it and you’ll get better results in keeping the paint together with less shakes.  I got my beads at Beadaholique this is just the right size to fit in those dropper bottles. Beadaholique ships fast and has great customer service is great the post office lost my beads and after one email they sent me a new shipment with no hassle!

Many colors are also different in consistency I can tell you VGC Ultramarine Blue pours out a bit thick, at least in the last few bottles I have purchased.  I prefer to thin my paints with a flow agent, reaper has their own I think the best bang for buck is get one from an art store like Winsor & Newton Flow Improver.   I mainly use it in a dropper to control the amount.  With thinner paints you might not need any, thicker paints take a few drops.  This also keeps the paint wetter longer for blending and helps if you’re a slower painter.  Thinning these paints is important or you end up with too much paint on the brush and can’t control your color so it ends up where you don’t want it and globs on obscuring detail.

Now just a word on reaper paints.  These have agitators in them they also use the dropper bottle.  In particular I should say I am specifically talking about the Master Series here.  These are also sold in triads which contain a base a shade and a highlight.  Reaper has some different colors then GW and can create some good effects.  In fact I like to use the Reaper Ultramarine highlight on my Ultramarines, it works really well, that’s one reason I think my current Ultramarines have a more subtle highlight.

The other reason I like having reaper paints in my mix is even the same color across lines can have a subtle differences.  This really comes in handy when you have armies that have similar colors.  As you can see my Tau have a similar color scheme to my Crimson Fists.  However I use Reaper Brilliant Blue for the Crimson Fists and VGC Imperial Blue for the Tau.  As you may notice the imperial blue goes on darker then the Brilliant Blue.  I’m happy with the results because both armies look distinct.  So look around at what’s out there.  There is a wide range of paints you can choose from to create a distinct look so there’s no reason to limit yourself to one line enjoy your choices and grow your artistic skills. 


chaplainaerion said...

Excellent article. Nice tip on the agitators too. I've been pondering adding them to my Vallejo paints. I wonder if decorative ceramic beads might work?

Anyway, thanks for the info and keep up the good work.

b.smoove said...

Thank you for a great article. Exactly what the doctor ordered. Cheers.

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