Thoughts on the new Citadel Paint Range
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So the new Citadel paints are here... let the angst begin!
I'm currently experiencing some mixed feelings. GW did indeed reformulate the line which means that we're all pretty much back at square one when it comes to how we approach these paints. Why? That's where the serious angst comes in.
GW didn't just expand the line of paints. They have decided to codify a painting style and they reformulated the line to support that style. Many people are looking over the colors and not seeing the bigger picture. They see that the colors are now more muted than they were previously... which they are. But the reason for that seems to be that there's an assumption that you'll put the vibrancy back into the colors through the use of Shades (washes) and Glazes (thin washes). Which is fine if you're planning to jump into their paint line with both feet and accept the new painting style as your own. Unfortunately, if you want to ease into it you'll have a tougher time figuring out how to do that - since it's almost impossible to just replace an old pot with a new one. What you almost need to do is to go to their website, pick out one of the small color ranges to try (say, Blood Angels) and pick up the 6 recommended pots to give it a try.
First thing, let me say that I think that this codifying of the painting process is a good thing for the hobby overall. Painting is the biggest hurdle in the hobby. If a player can't immediately get good results in their painting they can become frustrated and give up. By providing a step-by-step program for painting it makes it more likely that a new hobbyist can achieve desirable results - making them more likely to stick with the hobby.
For me as a commission painter I also think this is a good thing. Moving forward it should make it easier for me to duplicate the colors that people see on the GW website and in White Dwarf. Most of the time when I'm painting for somebody they want their models to look like the ones they've seen online. Anything that makes that process faster and easier is a good thing for me.
One early complaint people had was the renaming of all of the colors. Now I can see that this was necessary. The old colors don't exist. If they had continued using the old names people would have complained that they didn't match. This is much better as it sets the expectation that they aren't the same from the get-go. The names that they went with... well, I think that there's still room to complain there. So many of the colors have names like XV-88 that don't even hint to what color they might be. "No problem", you say, "The you can just look at the pots." True... except for the Shades. They now have so much pigment to them that once you get them home you'll have to open the pot up and slap the wash on something to remind yourself as to what color it actually is until you get used to the new names. Also, there's are a number of "Layer" paints that have the word "Shade" in the name. If that's not confusing, I don't know what is.
But what about the paints themselves? Well, I don't have a full review yet. I only have a handful of pots and have only just begun to experiment with them. The one metallic (layer) I tried covered nicely and had a nice, fine metallic flake. The two shades that I tried definitely had more pigment to them than the old ones. Otherwise, they behaved similarly to the old ones. I'm intrigued by the Dry line. I have only tried one of the metallics so far and I liked how it worked, but I want to try some non-metallics before I give any kind of final opinion. I expect that I will like them fine and continue to adjust my painting to accommodate them.
I've never relied on just one brand of paint. Right now I actively use Citadel, P3, Vallejo, Liquitex, Jo Sonja, and Golden. I occasionally also use Foundry, Testors, Tamiya and others. I'm always trying new things and incorporating what I learn from these experiments into my painting. I'll have more updated on my experiments with the Citadel paints as time goes on.