Warhammer Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40000 (also known as Warhammer 40k) are becoming more popular every day. It is mostly known for its grimdark lore and the Total War Warhammer series.
The game finds its origin in tabletop wargaming, which is basically a board game in which everything you put on the table is created by you. It means you have to build and paint everything except for the actual cardboard you play on.
As an experienced Warhammer player, I often get questions about the paints during my livestreams (on TikTok and soon on Twitch; stay tuned. These questions vary from what paints I use and why I use certain paints for certain techniques or tools.
So, I thought It’d be a smart move to write this out.
Keep in mind that all the paints mentioned in this article are the ones I actually use, and at the end, I’ll summarize a shortlist of paints I’d love to try in the future.
Let’s start off with my biggest collection:
Citadel’s Miniature Paints – Acrylic miniature paint
This is the first range I painted with.
Getting into the hobby, I walked into my local games store, and well. I wanted to get started with whatever was available.
Their biggest collection is that of Citadel. A nice way to familiarize yourself with Warhammer miniatures is to follow the paint-by-step tutorials that are on offer on the Games Workshop YouTube channel. I followed this guide to achieve amazing results.
After a few years of painting miniatures and following my favorite YouTubers, I started to experiment with the colors more. I also decided to let go of the paint schemes offered by Games Workshop.
I wanted to create my own universe. Doing that with Citadel is great because the paints actually all have their own names. It makes communicating with fellow hobbyists on paint schemes easier.
Citadel is my ‘ye-olde-truste.’ Their formulas do not change often, which means that once you’ve gotten to know the paint, you’ll know how to apply it. How many layers you need, how much you need to thin it, and so on.
I feel their Mephiston Red is one of the more beautiful reds out there. Their yellow and white paints (there are multiple tones) are absolutely horrendous and need advanced knowledge on how to use, thin, and apply.
Perfect for if you are just jumping into the hobby.
The full range consists of:
- Miniature shading/washes – Liquid magic. Add these to your models for easy depth creation. Don’t be afraid, younger. Yes. Smear it on.
- Miniature base paints – Thick and good coverage for the first layers on your models. Perfect to start off with.
- Miniature layer paints – Layer paints are perfect for highlighting and edge highlighting. Techniques used to create more vibrant contrasts and depth.
- Miniature contrast paints – Want to get an army done in a day? These paints cover perfectly and pool in the recesses, as intended. This will easily make your model look nice. Use a light color underneath!
- Miniature texture paints – These paints are used to create texture on the bases of the models. They can crackle, and they can look like sand or debris. Great to start off with, albeit a bit pricy when compared to the amount you’re getting.
Citadel’s Miniature Paints Pros
+ Great to begin with.
+ Named paints are easy to communicate for recipes
+ Warhammer’s step-by-step is a perfect way to familiarize yourself with how their paints act. +1 for the naming of the paints again
Citadel’s Miniature Paints Cons
– Their pots are a great example of how not to do paints.
– Coverage is not always amazing. In some cases, this means building up to 4 layers for full coverage
Vallejo Miniature Paints – Acrylic Miniature Paint
Vallejo is absolutely magnificent. I don’t know if Spanish folk gets fed pigments with their cereal or if they get baptized in a pool filled with Burnt Umber model color. It’s great stuff. The ranges I own and use are Model Color, Game Color, and Vallejo Air for my airbrush.
I have a myriad of additional liquids for thinning, retarding, or improving the flow of the Warhammer Paint. A nice bonus is that the miniature paints smell sweet. Just don’t get seduced to consume them. Most of their paints are very pigment-rich, which covers nicely and smoothly.
Another bonus is their paints are all put into dropper bottles for maximum efficiency and little to no drying around the edges and whatnot. One thing to look out for is the Primer series, though; they tend to dry in their bottles which will clog your airbrush.
I am very much in love with almost all their paints, but I need to mention their Model Color, Black, and Game Color, Dead White. Dear lord, I think they have these down to a science. Absolutely must-haves if you use those colors (“Uhm, actually White and Bla – NO ONE CARES!).
I am less of a fan of their metallics, however. I use them, but they tend to be very thick and lobby.
Perfect to start off with or to advance your techniques.
The Vallejo miniature paints ranges consist of (among others):
- Model Color – Matt finish, mostly used for model building but perfect for miniature painting.
- Metal Color – Metallic range of paints. Very nice stuff, and you get lots for little.
- Game Color – Matt finish, specifically designed for painting fantasy miniatures and dioramas.
- Model Air – Same as the above, but thinned for the airbrush
- Pigments – Powdered pigments! It can be used to create your own paints by adding medium or used to create a dust effect on models.
- Mecha Color – Specially designed for working with Gundams and metal objects. Model Wash Liquid magic. Very thinned paints are used to dull shine and create more depth.
- Weathering Effects – Need thick mud or grease effects? These are your paints! Surface Primer – Perfect for applying a primer to your models. Good to use through your airbrush.
- Diorama effects – A wide range of texture paints. Great value and large quantities!
Vallejo Minature Paints Pros
+ Great value for the price
+ Dropper bottles
+ Expansive range of products
+ Offers sets to try new things (guides included!)
Vallejo Miniature Paints Cons
– Honestly, all I can think of is the metallics (in dropper bottles!) are just my jam.
Abteilung 502 – Acrylics and Oil paints
I ordered the miniature Oil Paints from Abteilung 502 after watching Not Just Mecha on Youtube.
I wanted to experiment with them. However, I accidentally ordered the acrylic version. However, once I mixed acrylics with white spirits.
So, I ordered the oil paints and started working with their acrylics. These paints come in tubes and are very heavy on the pigments. The acrylic paints look like oil paints. Almost a paste.
But they cover very nicely, and because they are a paste when stored properly (in a wet palette), you can use these paints for a few days. Because the paint is so laden with pigments, you get beautiful coverage, and a bonus is their citrus smell. Lovely stuff.
Then their miniature oil paints came in. I experimented on some old models I had prepped. First things first: I learned to use specific brushes for my oil paints. Thinning happens with white spirits, and drying time can be up to 4 days.
Knowing this, you can use your models as a canvas! This means that, as long as you don’t cover your models in a varnish, you can reactivate the paints on your models by adding spirits. This will take a little time to get used to, as the process of painting miniature is different than when you’re using acrylics.
However, the oil paints are perfect for making juicy blends with a brush, creating panel lining, adding oil washes, or applying to weather. Absolutely mind-blowing stuff if you’re used to acrylics.
If you’re looking to advance your painting skill and understanding of painting models, this is a good next step.
They are available in the following forms:
- Abteilung 502 miniature paints:
- Abteilung 502 Oil Paints
- Abteilung 502 Dense Artistic Acrylic Paints
Abteilung 502 Pros
+ Densely packed with pigments. Lovely colors
+ Great value for what you’re getting
+ Unique colors
Abteilung 502 Cons
– Steep learning curve
– Make sure you order the right ones!
Overall, you are likely to find a wide range of paints meant for Warhammer miniatures in the market. The three major paint brands I’ve discussed in this article are the ones that I’ve found to be extremely useful in my miniature painting journey. So, you can also try out these paints and choose the one that suits your requirements.
Next month, I’ll share a shortlist of paints I really want to use and why I’d want to use them. If you have any questions in regards to this post, feel free to hit me up on one of my socials!
What paints are used for Warhammer?
Different types of paints are used for Warhammer. Some of these popular paint brands include Citadel, Vallejo, Army Painter, and P3. These paints are available in various types, such as acrylic paints and colors.
What paint is best for miniatures?
Choosing the best paint for Warhammer miniature is dependent on your specific requirements and what kind of miniature you are dealing with. Generally, acrylic paints are considered to be suitable for miniatures because they are versatile and easy to use.
Will any acrylic paint work on miniatures?
Acrylic paint mostly works for miniature painting, but not all brands of acrylic paints might be compatible with your miniature. Hence, you should focus on buying the paint that is specifically meant for Warhammer models.
Is Vallejo paint good for miniatures?
Yes, Vallejo paint is a great paint for miniatures because it has a diverse range of colors and paint types. Moreover, you can get the highest possible quality at an affordable rate.