A couple of months ago I was feeling pretty flush for cash so I treated myself to a paint set from Vallejo. It didn’t hurt that the set was on offer at Element Games with a whopping £40 off (I’m not being paid by them for this by the way, just reporting the situation as it was, and still is as of time of writing!)
A few days later my set arrived, and now that I’ve had time to get lots of use from it, I’m ready to tell you Wot I Think.
The Set contains 72 dropper bottles (17ml) of paint, varnish, and glaze medium from their Game Colour range. This range is meant to be bright and vibrant and based on Citadels own colours for Games Workshop. The set comes even comes with a chart telling you how Citadel paints convert to the Vallejo ones. The colours include several shades of all the main ones, plus a set of metallics, but no washes.
In addition to this, it also contains 3 kolinsky sable brushes, one fine detail, one standard, and one dry brush size.
The whole set comes in the plastic case in the image above.
Let talk about that case first. It’s lovely, it exudes quality and very neatly holds all the paints in one place. That said, whilst I’d be more than happy to use it to transport the paints if I moved around a lot, it’s too bulky to be used to store your paints if you want to keep them out on your desk. I’ve stored mine on an MDF paint rack instead that I picked up for about £15, and I’ve repurposed the Vallejo case into a miniature carry case.
All the paints come in 17ml dropper bottles. These are really good for two reasons. Firstly, because you squeeze out drops you can put a very precise amount of paint on your palette, as opposed to the Citadel method of using your brush to scoop up indiscriminate amounts. Secondly, whilst Citadel paint pot lids quickly become clogged with paint making them then difficult to close, and consequently allowing more and more air in resulting in your paints drying out. Vallejo bottles simply use a screw on cap, which in conjunction with the dropper end mean that the paint pot is virtually airtight. No more paints drying out after a few months.
If you’re a completionist, it’s good for the soul to know you have all the paints. There’s certainly a sense of inner calm to know that they’re all stored neatly and in order too! However, from a more practical view point it makes painting much more convenient when no matter the colour, you’ve most likely got it. I take it for granted now that I can be painting something and whatever colour I need, I know that I have it to hand without having to make a trip to the shops. This is also the case for the varnishes and glaze mediums. In fact, if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’m always banging on about how much I love Vallejo Glaze Medium.
Finally, the price is good, especially at the £160 I paid for mine, that’s about £2.20 per paint, plus three brushes and a carry case. If you end up paying the full £200, that would take the shine off it a bit I think.
My chief issue is that the different colours seem to have different pigment levels. You can be using a gold that will go on in one or two coats, but if you use the next shade down it can require 4 or 5 coats. This is a bit of a pain because it means you have to know how to treat each paint individually, for example, do I need to thin down this paint or not. It’s a lot to remember. In Vallejo’s defence, I have the same experience with Citadel, so it’s not like its exclusively a problem with this product, and more of an issue endemic to the industry. If anyone knows of a consistent paint range, let me know!
The brushes. I was really happy to discover that they were kolinsky sable (or so it says on the side of them!), which is the best material you can get for miniature paint brushes… however, a good paint brush needs to be able to hold it’s tip, and I find that in comparison to my Windsor and Newton Series 7’s, the Vallejo brushes are somewhat lacking, with the bristles end splitting open very quickly when it’s holding paint. I wouldn’t say they’re useless, probably fine for a beginner, but I’ve been spoiled by my Series 7’s and I’m not prepared to step backwards.
Wot I Think
So how to conclude… It’s a bit of a mixed bag. The negatives aren’t really game changers, more minor annoyances. Overall I think it’s fair to say I approve of this product, I think it’s definitely handy to have one, but should be seen as a luxury if you’re particularly flush, or have a birthday approaching!
So I like it, but my socks have not been blown off.
How you got one? What do you think, do you agree with my points?
If you want to read more of my words, maybe you’d be interested in Wot I Think of Deep Cut Studios gaming mats?
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I have the same set and the same problems with the different pigment levels.
I’ve painted the the top of the bottles with the color inside, so I can see how the consistens of the color is.
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Nice review! I just wrapped up an article on Citadel/Vallejo and you summed it up nicely. I like the Vallejo line, but your comment about paint consistency really struck home. It’s been a constant battle for me, and I’ve just started realizing that. You might want to try out the Extra Opaque Vallejo paints, as they are more like the Citadel base paints.
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