Sunday, January 21, 2007

A new convert

To Acrylic paint that is...

I think I may be one of the last wargamers using Enamel paints; I have done so for OVER 20 years! However I was getting increasingly dissatisfied with them, not so much from the working standpoint, I knew no different, but from the longevity and pracicality.

I can't remember the last time I actually finished a pot of enamel by painting it out. Doing figure work means small amounts of colour out the pot often, so they eventually go off, The oil separates from the pigment and dries on it's own; from that point on the pot is stuffed - good for dry brushing and diluting with thinners for a few more jobs, but really you buy 14ml of paint to use 5ml. They'd stopped being economic. Furthermore there's the thinners, the smell (which I'm now immune to but noone else is), and so forth.

The last straw was Humbrol/Airfix going bust in the summer; it meant supplies of my preferred paints were about to expire. From that point on I wondered if acrylics were worth another try...

I'd last used acrylics paint in about 1990, and loathed them. To be fair my technique at the time was rotten but I found them too thin, a mix of Humbrol and GW acrylic paints were relegated to a sideline job at the time - colouring latex for fantasy masks (say no more).

So anyway, a long preamble but I've cracked; last week I spent £30 on Vallejo Model Colours, from my local model shop (Halifax Modellers World). I got a starter set and a few extra colours to fill out my pallete, and looked for something to paint. I had a Goblin Spear Chucka as a present for xmas, which seemed like a good thing to try. The weapon itself was already part painted in oils so I used the crew as a test bed:

I need to relearn my favoured colours these goblins are greener and more cartoony than my normal goblins, but overall I was really impressed. The cover was excellent over a black undercoat, the paints were a revalation for being so smooth and consistent. All I had to do was shake the bottle and get on with it. The paints mixed well and went on smooth; and didn't dry so fast that the brush suffered.

Only disadvantage I could find is that the paint has no tolerance for handling, it rubs off with any degree of friction - enamels don't - I need to see if using an enamel undercoat helps, in which case I'll still need the odd pot of black lying around for when a spray is too much. Naturally everything will need varnishing.

I don't think there'll be any going back. Now I just need the fill in some of the colours I need (a more believable metal shade, more greens and browns), and get some more practice...

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