Using the new painting system – Hobby Progress 25/07/19

After two-ish months away from painting I am feeling a bit rusty but a lot has changed during my short break from the hobby.

Citadel revamped their paints range, releasing Contrast Paints into the wild. Which are essentially a base coat and highlight layer in one. Citadel also threw a couple of new painting standards at hobbyists at the same time too. Now instead of, “Done” and “Not Done” we have, “Battle Ready” and “Parade Ready.”

Parade Ready is the traditional completed model painted to a high standard with all its highlights, washes, basing, etc. Battle Ready is just your core colours and a basic basing pass, typically achieved with the new Contrast Paints. Perfect for people just getting started in the hobby and/or wanting to get things onto the gaming table ASAP.

I wanted to get to grips with the new paints and standards. So I set myself a mission: Get the Sylthaneth from the Looncurse box Battle Ready as quickly as possible.

I am very happy to say the mini challenge was a success! I now have a small Battle Ready Sylthaneth army that looks good. Really good. Without doing any highlighting or other work…yet. That will come later because I can’t help myself.

There is definitely a learning curve to using Contrast Paints. They’re like washes but not. They do the usual pooling in recesses but the thicker, somewhat sticker pigment means they also pool in any curves in a model. Which is how they achieve their layer + highlight effect.


You can get good results fast and I’ll be using them a lot going forward to get the base colours of my models sorted. Then using more traditional painting techniques on top of them to get them to Parade Ready standard.

Here’s a few tips I’ve got after using Contrast Paints for a few hours:

  1. The “One Thick Coat” approach is for beginners – “One Controlled Coat” is for more experienced painters.
  2. Paint in reverse – Paint the lighter colours on your mini first because the darker Contrast paints completely cover lighter ones.
  3. Shake the pot regularly – It may have just been the apocalyptic heat in the UK at the moment but I found I was giving my Contrast paints a good shake every 10mins or so to keep the paint’s viscosity consistent.
  4. Paint from recesses – Put your blob of paint in a natural recess on your model then manipulate the paint out and away from it to help avoiding it pooling in weird places.
  5. You will have to do touch up passes – Bits you will miss and mistakes stand out a lot more because you need to use a lighter undercoat when using Contrast. No biggie but you have to roll with the punches a bit more
  6. They are fun to experiment with – You can quickly reverse any bad work by painting over it with one of the Contrast base paints. You can play around without worrying you are ruining hours of work.
  7. Blending with them is super easy – Seriously just load up two brushes and quickly apply one then the colour you are blending into. Speed is the key here but the results are amazing. (See the green to brown blend I did on the antlers of my Kurnoth Hunter below)

So yeah, I’m a believer in the new Contrast range. They are a good beginners tool and way to get people excited about painting miniatures. They are also a really useful for getting block colours onto models. Ready to be spruced up with more traditional painting methods.

Hopefully this means I will be finishing a lot more painting projects in future!

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