Games Workshop Contrast Paints

Ok I might be a little bit late to jump onto the Games Workshop Contrast Paint review bandwagon. But the hypetrain reached me too, I bought some colours and managed to test them. This won’t be a full review by a professional painted on how to use those new colours. But I will try to describe my first impressions.

I went into my local GW store last tuesday. So I was already late to the party not having preordered any colours. But they had the whole range in store and I bought a few pots to give them a try. The shop owner told me not rage in case I didn’t like the results, but to come back and let them teach me on how to use the contrast paints.

So I bought the following items:

  • a can of Wraithbone primer
  • Guilliman Flesh
  • Blood Angels Red
  • Apothecary White
  • Aethermatic Blue
  • Contrast Medium

First impression: this stuff is costly. All of the above set me back about 50€. But I needed white primer anyway.

To test these paints I reprimed some old models. Beware that this might influence the outcome of the look. All of the models in this post where previously primed with GW Corax White primer. I sprayed the Wraithbone over the old primer layer and I don’t think I got 100% coverage going with white over a white surface. So some of the effects on the miniatures might be a result of an uneven application of the new primer.

The first model I painted was a Beastmen Gor. I used the Guilliman Flesh on his torso and head. I painted a few Gors in the past and the torso and head was always the part which required the most time. So I hoped that Contrast Paints might speed up the process,

Application went smoothly. But I already discovered that you have to paint very differently with Contrast Paints:

  • The paints are very runny and you need a whole lot of brush control to get them where you want them – or better to not let them get somewhere you don’t want them to got. I don’t have the Wraithbone colour pot, I everything that does not hit the flesh of the upper torso will be visible if you paint with a lighter colour over it later (assuming using Contrast Paints).
  • I was not sure if I should follow the advise of “only one thick coat” or use the colour in a slightly more controlled manner. So I opted for the cautious approach and put as much colour onto my brush as I would use for a wash.
If I saw any pooling I tried to move the paint around a little bit.

In the end I am not very happy with the result. The pictures look better then the original miniature in sunlight when turning it around. The coat looks spotty and one side is definitly darker than the other. I think I was too slow with the application, that one side of the miniature already had time to dry a little bit, so when I went around the miniature for the second time to remove the pools I darkened it further.
Next think I noticed too when I painted these Gors in the usual was is that there is a line of flesh running through the center of the models head. I had forgotten about this line, which I usually clean up before painting the miniature. But this shows that you have to be extra careful, when preparing your models, as each line or flesh or unfilled hole will be very visible when using Contrast Paints.

My seconds model was an old Bretonian horse. I wanted to see how the red and white paints worked on flat surfaces. Again not having a normal pot of the primer paint resulted in an uneven finish at the back of the horsehead, where the white and red meet. I was a little bit too fast with the red and did not get a straight line.
The red is an interesting colour. Of course I had some pooling but nothing too evil. But the coverage of the red is fantastic. Just go over the white surface once and you get a very solid red colour. When using normal acryllic paints like GW Mephiston Red you have to dilute the paint and apply a few layers. Here you get that all in one layer. and that layer feels thin. And with this kind of paint I’m hoping that the pot will not dry out as quickly as my other three Mephiston Red pots I had, where I just lifted the lid, stuck my brush into and closed the lid – only to find the colour drying out the next time I open the lid.

The white is another matter. I really dislike what happened there. Maybe I did not remove the pools in the right way or was too slow or the primer did not work. I don’t know. But the finish is ugly. So many spots. I will redo this again. Maybe by priming the side of the model again or buying a pot of the primer colour.

My last test models are the real reason I bought the new Contrast Paints. In the last weeks I tried to paint ghostly goblins for a new project. I watched a lot of videos and read guides on how to archive a ghostly effect. Up until now there where three different approaches:
  • paint over the model with GW Nihilakh Oxide (out of the pot or mixed with Lahmian Medium) and drybrush
  • paint over the model with GW Hexwraith Flame and drybrush
  • paint over the model with Nighthaunt Gloom and drybrush
I tried them all and was not happy with the results. I am looking for a very light colour (either green, blue or teal) so most of the colours where too thick. And the drybrushing always looked unclean on the models. So I was waiting for the Contrast Paints hoping to get better results from them.

From left to right I painted the models:

  • Aethermatic Blue straight of of the pot
  • two brushes Aethermatic Blue and two brushes of Contrast Medium
  • 1:3 mix of Aethermatic Blue and Contrast Medium

The one on the right was the colour and shading I was looking for. Better on the backside than on the front. But I’m very happy that I get this kind of result from the paints.

Only thing I had to do was to transfer the colours from the pots into dropper bottles. I hated the seconds try – two brushloads full of medium and two brushes full of paint, like they do in the GW videos. With the medium being transparent, I cannot see how much of it I have on my palette. So for the third miniature I filled to dropper bottles I bought some time ago (for decanting the normal colours into dropper bottles – see here for more info), and just squeezed out six drops of Medium and two drops of Blue. This was also the amount of painted I needed for one Goblin – 8 drops in total.

Last test was a ghostly Goblin Wolf Rider. I wanted to test the blue 1:3 receipe on the wolf and his fur. I think that worked. So I’m quite happy with the result here.

One last thing I noticed was that the bristles of my brushes were very hard after they had dried. I used the paints on one evening and went on to test the goblins the next evening. I already have this effect when using GW Shades. If I don’t wash out my brush very carefully they get very stiff. But these paints produced an even harder brush. So after my second evening I tried to wash them and rinse them in soap, but they were hard again after they dried. I have to take a look at how to clean the brushes – and not use any brushes of value on those new colours.

Verdict:
I’m not convinced. The blue and medium mix I’ll definitely use for my goblin – maybe with even more medium. The flesh and white I’ll have to try again. Contrast Paints don’t like flat surfaces. So I think I am going to get some browns for furs and maybe a yellow if it’s coverage is anything like the red.

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