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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Citadel Contrast Paints

We I am somewhat of a wargaming butterfly and love to try something new!
Enter Citadels Contrast Paints!

I read about them and watched the videos (just like many of you, I guess) and my curiosity was piqued. The concept wasn’t entirely new to me…I’d experimented over the years using washes over white undercoat as well as brush applied Vallejo Air paints to get similar finishes. What I liked the idea of was these paints were designed to do this job from the outset.

I initially bought a small selection (red, yellow, green & flesh) and was so impressed I quickly went out and bought five more (3 browns, black and blue). Sorry I can’t remember all the silly names….

Undercoated matt white

So far, I’m using them to paint up some 28mm Warlord ECW figures that I plan to base up for Pikeman’s Lament. Being such vivid colours, they are better suited to the older historical figures rather than 20th Century combatants.

Treated myself to one of these gadgets too. A painting handle. Very useful it is too! By the way, first paint applied - flesh
I started by undercoating the figures using Wilko’s Matt White spray primer (£4 per can).
You need to have a painting strategy to get the best from the paints. I logically paint the figures starting with the flesh, followed by large areas of clothing before finishing with belts, straps, shoes etc.

Red applied to tunic. Over-painted "apostles" were re-painted matt white before strap colour
As the paints are quite thin they do not cover one-another at all. If you over-paint an area, touch up with a strong white acrylic (I use Vallejo Game Artic White) before applying the next coat.

Nice vivid green for his trousers!
I find that whilst thin, they do not run unnecessarily, but flow onto the figures and cover very well.
To my mind they do just what they set out to achieve in that the paint gathers in the areas of folds giving shadow and show the white undercoat through on high spots, creating high-lights.

His hat and musket metalwork were painted black. His hair and shoes a dark brown and his straps, bag etc. with "Snakebite Leather"
Over the white undercoat they are bright, cheery colours which I think look great on ECW figures. I haven’t used any other primer colour so cannot comment of what effect they may have.

Finished article after  spray varnishing and adding flock to base.
 Initial thoughts are very positive. They are not cheap (rrp £4.50 per 18ml pot!) but I foresee them going a long way as coverage is very good. They are very quick to use – I painted one of the 28mm figures in the illustrations in about 15 mins start to finish!

Thoroughly Recommended.


  1. Thanks for showing this. Using a slightly more "cream" off white base coat could help to dull the colors down slightly if needed.

    Do you reckon that they would work with a zenithal highlight?

    1. Hi Lasergunpacker, I agree a cream or even light grey primer would be interesting to try out. I think the actual GW primers introduced to go with the range, are these colours.

      As to zenithal Highlight coverage, I think this would work ok as long as the highlight was a light enough grey. The paints are thin and will not show up over a dark primer.