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Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced painter, this review will give you insights and opinions from both sides.

The Warhammer 40,000 Paint Set includes 4 base paints, 2 layers paints, a shade and a technical paint. You get 5 Dark Angels with Bolters, a Starter Brush (appears to be cheaper quality then the usual GW brushes) and an instruction leaflet in multiple languages with some basic text information and 8 pictorial steps to follow.

My wife Jo and I will be conducting this review so you can get the opinions from a beginner and someone who has been painting for a while. It’s a starter set, so I thought it would be a great idea to ask Jo if she would paint a Dark Angel using the painting guide supplied, while I just do my own thing only using the paints supplied in the box. Read on to see how we got on.

Stage 1 – Base Colours

Garfy – I grabbed the Imperial Primer paint and started slapping it on. Having recently reviewed the Vallejo Surface primer, I had some experience with brushed on primers and this one doesn’t perform as well. It’s kinda lumpy and doesn’t self level as well as the Vallejo equivalent. It also rubs off way too easily. I then had my first experience of a Base paint, Caliban Green. That went on nice in just 2 coats.

Jo – having selected a model, shoulder pad, gun and back pack from the sprue. I then picked up the instructions. Step one listed ‘Abaddon Black’ the black included in the starter set is ‘imperial primer’ (the colour listed for the metal and the white is also incorrect). I stuck my gun and back pack to cocktail sticks to aid holding them whilst painting (see below).
Using the starter brush I applied the ‘imperial primer’ Along with the primer rubbing off I noticed that the bristles seemed to be going through a malting phase on to my dark angel, so I swapped for another brush from Garfy’s collection. The ‘Caliban Green’ is a nice consistency to paint with.

Stage 2 – Details

Garfy – Using Ushabti Bone, I mixed it with Caliban Green and painted on some highlights. I then mixed Imperial Primer with Leadbelcher (a metallic) to create a dark metal base colour and then highlighted up to pure Leadbealcher. I then heavily watered down Imperial Primer and used that as a wash on my metals to shade them. I’m improvising because of the lack of paints supplied in the starter set, but I’m impressed with the versatility of Imperial Primer. It makes a better black then it does a primer. For my reds I started off with a mix of Mephiston Red + Mournfang Brown + a touch of Imperial Primer and then highlighted up to Mephiston Red, and a final edge highlight of Mephiston Red + Ushabti Bone was applied. The strap and pouches had similar treatment. Mixing Imperial Primer with Mournfang to shade, mourn fang as the main colour and then Ushabti was mixed in to highlight. As a painter, I feel the labelling of Bases, Layers, Glazes is going to stifle creativity and be limiting. Peoples armies are going to look identical in colour if they no longer have to mix. I feel part of the joy of painting is mixing and creating those perfect shades and highlights.

Jo – Following steps 3, 4, 5 and 6 I worked on the metals, leathers, reds and bone. The instruction leaflet was very basic and I had to ask Garfy a few times on what colours to paint some of the areas, if I was painting for the first time by myself I would have probably turned to a search engine online for help! Painting the eye area was a very fiddly, ended up painting too much red and tidying it up with green paint.

Stage 3 – Washes, whites and basing

Garfy – At this stage Jo was using the Agrax Earthshade to wash the bone and metal, but I’m an old skool painter and I painted my bone areas with a mix of Mournfang Brown and Ushabti Bone and then highlighted up to Ushabti bone. This means painting the individual feathers one by one on the chest. For the Dark Angel symbol I mixed a tiny touch of Imperial Primer to Ulthuan Grey to create a darker grey base colour and then highlighted up to pure Ulthuan Grey, doing it this way I get a bit of shading and cut down on the the number of layers needed to paint the white. I then painted the model’a base with Mournfang Brown. This colour looks really similar to the old Bestial Brown and covers just as well.

Jo – The wash looks like cold tea but I was assured by Garfy that it will instantly add shading to my model so I applied it, although I was slightly heavy handed and had to quickly dab it off with tissue, I found that a couple of thin layers were easier to apply.
I found the white very challenging to paint, got there in the end but I didn’t like the brightness of the white so I added a coat of wash to tone it down a little. I was pleased with the end result, but I needed to do a bit more tidying, really grateful that the green is quite dark and gives good coverage.
The Mournfang Brown didn’t adhere to the black base too well so needed a couple of coats of paint.

Final thoughts

Garfy's Get a Grip banner 760x100 px

Garfy – Finished! The picture above shows our completed models. You’ll notice we’ve added the new Texture paint Stirland Mud, which isn’t included in the starter set. Overall I enjoyed using the starter set. The space marine model is quite nice with it’s moulded iconography. It’s a shame it’s a Dark Angel, but I guess it makes a nice change from the Ultramarines always being in the spot light. The colour choices in the set are good and I managed to adapt and mix highlights and shades with the paints included. You could probably paint the model as a Blood Angel. The major problem with the set though is the instructions. It’s actually just a series of photos with the paints listed, and 3 of those paints are listed incorrectly as Jo mentioned above. This could be confusing for new painters. The actual paints were good. The new formulas felt smooth, mixed and blended well and I look forward to trying more out. The exception is Imperial Primer which didn’t self level as claimed and rubbed off way too easily. The set is also good value for money at £22.50.

Jo – phew done! I also used the textured paint on the base, very realistic look and feel wise. Overall, I was quite impressed that my model, the one on the left of the above picture, didn’t resemble road kill! I found the paint pots are quite fiddly to open and the instructions were not very specific but having said that it was quite a nice change to spend an afternoon painting with Garfy.

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Garfy's Get a Grip - now available on ebay