Too soon, much too soon. Hoban Washburne lives on and no-one can tell me otherwise! But that’s not the sort of wash I meant. And I had a bath at Christmas so I must mean paint washes. Lets take a look at what’s available and the pros and cons, maybe even decide which I should get…
For the past 5 or so years I have used exclusively Vallejo Game Colour paints. I invested in the Boxed Set and haven’t looked back. The dropper bottles work really well with my home-made wet palette and they seem to hold their pigment better when being watered down than the GW paints. That said, it IS 5 years since I’ve used any sort of GW paint at all and in that time the range has changed totally and in some cases changed AGAIN. Right now I only have 3 washes: Vallejo Black Shade (200ml), Windsor & Newton Indian Black and Windsor & Newton Nut Brown.There are also a few choices that I haven’t touched at all such as Coat d’Arms, Foundry or even mixing your own! (If you want to know how: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEkMnP6p08I)
So first up lets set some criteria for comparison. The things that are important to me are: quality, availability and price. There are other things I would like to compare but they are more of a long term comparison such as how well they keep in the bottle (vallejo paints tend to separate easily and require lots of shaking while GW paints tend to dry in the pot much quicker). I do plan to get hold of some washes from all of the above manufacturers eventually for comparison but right now I’ve just got back into 28mm painting and 1 colour, whole model washes aren’t cutting it like they do for 10mm and 6mm models.
So lets start with everyone’s favourite store (favourite to love or favourite to hate, it’s well known): Games Workshop. Right now GW’s range of washes go by the name of Citadel Shade and consists of 12 different colours. Each pot holds 12ml of wash and costs £2.55 from GW (or £2.25 here). These is also a set which contains 8 washes and a Citadel brush, £22.50 from GW (or £20.65 here). Availability wise anywhere there’s a GW shop, all over eBay or Amazon.
Vallejo has a variety of paint ranges and I tend to focus on Game Colour, for brighter models, and Model Colour, for historical grittier models. The Game Colour range only has 8 colours though there’s no reason you couldn’t mix them should you need to. Each pot comes in a dropper bottle and contains 17ml of paint (42% more than GW). Vallejo don’t sell directly as far as I can tell so prices can vary but they are available here for £2.25 each. They are also available in larger pots if required (for example I have the 200ml black wash as I use it on grey undercoated models before painting). As with GW there is also an 8 pot set (no brush) here for £18.03 but that’s actually more than the individual pots, crazy!
There is also the Vallejo Model Colour range (technically Model Wash) which consist of 18 different colours. The prices for these seem to be the same as the Game Colour so the comparison is the same really other than the slightly earthier tones in this range. To make up for having less to say I embedded this fancy PDF of the range!
As for Coat d’Arms, Foundry and so on, I have utterly zero experience of them. I will be prowling around shows in the later end of this year though and aiming to pick up some sample pots to test on things, or if any of you guys want to sent me a sample (hint hint) I’ll be all too happy to review them alongside the 2 big boys above…
So the long and short of it is, I have the safe choice between what I see as the 2 big brands. Of which GW is slightly more reliably available. Most GW stores will stock the whole range and are unlikely to run out while Vallejo is carried by some high street stores such as Boyes, but they aren’t mainline products and invariably the one colour you’re looking for will never be in stock. Vallejo however are the same price (using 3rd party sellers but cheaper compared to GW direct pricing) and contain nearly half as much again. I also have a slightly niggling wonder about using GW washes over Vallejo paints and using the same manufacturer might be the better option, though I doubt there’s a difference.
TL;DR – Vallejo washes seem to be the way for me, though I will test against GW to see if they actually are better and if they are worth the extra 50% in cost. At shows I will acquire Coat d’Arms, Foundry and Privateer Press paints and washes to give opinions on those too.
Today’s question: How do you stop your Vallejo paints from separating in the bottle and what do you do when they have (besides shake them)?