Usually we don’t post about rumours on Tale of Painters, but what we’re hearing at the moment will affect a lot of us hobby-minded people. It seems the Citadel paint range will see some drastic changes in the next couple of months. Stores can’t batch order paints at the moment, suggesting GW wants to run down their stock. Rumours suggest GW might change the paint itself – either through a new manufacturer, a new formula or both.
Either way, the hue of each colour will slightly change as it’s impossible to recreate the exact same shades of the current range with a different type of paint. And of course they will discontinue some of the bad selling colours, maybe in exchange for new ones. A new paint pot design, a different packaging or a different name wouldn’t be too far-fetched either. So what does this mean?
First, this isn’t the first time GW’s venerable paint range is facing change. Back in the 90s, Citadel Colour was made by HMG in the UK (HMG do Formula P3 for Privateer Press at moment and Coat’d’Arms, which feature some of the old Citadel colours in their fantasy range). You certainly remember the old hexagonal tops with the white flip-tops. There was an eclectic mix of colours, with washes, inks and even things like purple or green tinted metallics. Over the time, they dropped most of the non basic paints and all of the washes.
Around 2000, GW changed their manufacturer to one in France and introduced the smaller hexagonal “bullet-style” pots with the black, notoriously clogging up screw-tops. They dropped some colours and filled gaps with new ones. They kept most of the paint names, even though the change of manufacturer resulted in significant change of each colour as well: I remember the old Bleached Bone was less yellowish and more cream, the old Ultramarine Blue slightly more cobalt and less cool and so on… The new range of inks was also completely different and glossy where the old ones were matte.
Years passed until another, more cosmetic change happened: They ditched the screw-tops for flip-tops and added a couple of new colours like Graveyard Earth, Catachan Green, Terracotta and so on.
The next big thing was the introduction of Foundation Paints in 2007: 18 new colours with a very thick pigment for better coverage, coming in their own type of pot: a round, conic flip-top. It was only a matter of time before the Foundation Paints were accompanied by the Citadel Washes, which replaced the range of inks in the main Citadel Colours range. Then we saw another few colours from the main range dropped, like Tentacle Pink, Brazen Brass and so on, before the Citadel Colours range was refilled in the same new pots as the Foundation Paints and Washes.
What some people didn’t notice when they changed the pots of the Citadel Colours range last year is that both the Washes and the Foundation Paints are now made in France like the rest of the range. In the beginning they were made in China. This change in manufaction did change some of the hues slightly – for example, Gryphonne Sepia is now slightly more orange, while Dheneb Stone is now slightly more yellow. Also we’ve seen a slightly revised pot design – the opened lids won’t stay in place anymore as they removed the click mechanism.
So what’s next?
This brings us to today. I wonder what GW will do with it’s paint range now. I’ve heard they might change manufacturer again, maybe back to their original manufacturer HMG or to an unknown US company. As pointed out above, this means all colours will change in one way or another, which makes it frustrating to match old paint schemes once you run out of your current paint pots. Deleting some bad selling colours, which I think is a given as well, won’t make this any easier. Perhaps they even have something more radical in mind? While I think the Foundation and Washes range will largely stay intact, maybe they will increase the paint quality of the main range or make every colour a Foundation type? This might be something good after all, because after trying lots of other paint ranges I find the basic Citadel paints lacking. Either way, they will sell you this as the next best thing after the moon landing for sure,
Let’s see what the future brings. If this development makes you worry or gives you finally a reason for finding alternatives or for expanding your collection of paints, I will soon present you a handy guide for different brands of miniature paints and my thoughts about them. Until then, what kind of brands do you use? What to you think about a new Citadel paint range – a help or a hindrance? Drop me your comments, let’s get talking!
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I also find the basic paints rather poor, so I'm hoping for a radical change. I could cope very well with some changes in the colours if it meant better pigments etc.
If I had to bet though, I'd put my money on something similar to what Tim has suggested happening.
- Damn The Valley
I have heard grumblings about this as well for the last few weeks now. The rumors that have flown my way suggest that their paint production will be moving to China though. Regardless, I do hope they do something though, because I have come to the point where the only GW paints I use anymore are their washes.
One paint line to rule them all.
Although, some of the citadel metallics are rather nice.
- Luis Nieves
I was of the understanding that their paints currently ARE produced in China, and that this will be (or is) now closed.
I can say that i've heard to keep an eye out for this towards the end of March.
By the way, I know you guys don't normally do rumours… but this article (which I will refer to it as) is actually really good because it's informative and gives background info! round of applause I think! well done!
Great article. Loved the pic with the pots evolution!
Also makes me wonder how much money I've spent over the years on those… better not to know.
Anyway, I've used all these lines and my favourite one by miles is the current one. That said, Vallejo has great paints and there are many independent suppliers making their own washes these days, so if GW screws up (as they usually do) at least I know what to do.
- Matthew Ochs
I use a wet palette to do all of my painting, so it's probably time to move away from pots and switch to squeeze bottles. Does Vallejo come in bottles?
I would love it if they went back to HMG, I still have paints from those days that are still good. Mostly the inks but I always liked those tubs and the paint itself.
I heard a few months ago that there was talk of them going to a "high" quality line in addition to their normal range. I thought it was just rumors but maybe it was about a switch over. who knows..
Ugh, so glad I use Vallejo almost exclusively.
I would really, really appreciate an idiot-proof guide to painting with Reaper paints and P3. Seriously, with these ranges I need all he help I can get; I just can't seem to grasp them.
Great article, really took me back (yes, I'm old).
I use GW exclusively but I am really tempted to try Vallejo just because of the bottle dropper design. Only problem i have is i can't find a reliable source for them in Toronto, Canada.
Interesting, haven't thought about that.
Initially, the Foundation paints and washes were produced in China, but as GW apparently no longer manufactures in China, they are now made in France like the rest of the range.
I'm putting together a guide for the various paint ranges, so what are your problems with Reaper and P3? Maybe I can address them.
I'm a big fan of Vallejo. Great paint, big range, and about half the price by volume compared to GW. Game Color is great but I also use quite a bit of Model Color for historicals and whatnot. Cool article!
I also still have some older mid 90's paints that still work alright. I had been wondering why my new wash wasn't staying open-now I know! I've recently been buying all of my paints in either reaper triads or various vallejo colours. I still do most of my painting with citadel colour but I am really liking some of the other paints. Especially the reaper master series. I find it very easy to paint them smoothly and thin them well. I'll look forward to another article on different paint brands.
Stahly, my problem with P3 is that it's either too thick or too runny. The tiniest amount of water or thinner seems to dilute these paints to a very watery consistency. Of course I stir them before painting and so on. Plus, P3 metallics are possibly the worst paints I've ever seen – they separate and are almost impossible to mix back to usable condition.
As far as Reapers go, these dry awfully fast, even on a wet palette. They come on thick, change color on the miniature (one of the greens gets an almost turquoise hint to it). Reaper dropper bottles, however, are in my mind the best on the market – they don't clog, don't spill inside the cap and don't break like Vallejos are wont to do.
Seems like interesting times are upon us once again. Maybe GW are trying to get a contract with the people who make paints for P3? I'm not completely taken by their paints, but they're pretty neat. I guess the option I would welcome to most would be going back to HMG but they'd end up with the problem of Coat d'Arms selling the same stuff at a lower price. If they change the recently introduced paintpots to something more usable (like the ones they used to have and which now are used by P3/CdA and I think Reaper) I'm as happy as an Elf I have to say.
I guess that all we can do is wait and see. Maybe nothing at all happens and a few things are discontinued (which is always a shame. GW's palette is patchy enough as is).
Are there any sources for this other than Warseer and sites who got it from there?
GW paint's are my preferred paints. Lots of people complain about them but I've experimented with other lines (VMC, VGC, P3) and keep coming back to GW's. I hope they never change their formula…
- W.H. Painting Studio
I like VGC the best I just started replacing old gw paints with VGC and I'm very happy with the result, much cheaper, better bottle design and the colours [names and hues] are basically the same so the switch wasn't difficult at all.
- Tartan Paint Studios
I started with GW paints and still love them. I use all ranges of paints but still go back to GW for most jobs. I hope they do dropper bottles like Reaper.
I've used a mix of all sorts of paints for years. The only thing that would impact me would be if GW stopped doing the foundation paints and washes. Beyond that I'm happy to pick up whatever range to fill the other colours I may want.
GW paints are long overdue for an overhaul. They are the most expensive miniature paints on the market, per ml, and the quality is not great. They dry out very quickly, some of the colours (especially the non-silver metallics, with the exception of Tin Bitz) are shonky, and I generally find they don't weather thinning very well. They are, however, the most convenient miniature paint to buy in the UK.
I find it cheaper to order Reaper paints from overseas, as the paints are of superior quality, plus the superior bottle design and quality of paint means they last far longer.
I like Vajello as well and anyone used to working with those should find Reaper paints to work much the same way. However, Reaper has the edge for me as the triad sets are very well designed and the colours/tones compliment each other perfectly.
There are some of the formula P3 paints I like very much (both for colour and consistency) and I still have some of the paints from the original citadel paint set, which are in full working order and still deliver excellent results.
I'd like to see your review of other ranges. I've been in this hobby since early 2000's (middleschool) but never really tried new companies and am rather sick of GW's inconsistencies and discontinued types.
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My guess is that they are going to repackage them so that they are only available in boxed-sets. They used to do this and it is a way to sell the less popular colors.