The Army Painter have been very busy lately: After the new Metallic and Skin Tones paint sets, the Gamemaster series and some licensed paint sets, now follows a paint range specially tailored for airbrushing – with a whopping 150 colours. But do we really need another airbrush range? We find out in this review.
The new Warpaints Air range has 150 colours in total, which are divided into 126 colours (in 34 triads), 18 metallic colours, and 6 fluorescent neon colours. On October 23, 2021, both the Starter Set with 12 paints and a bottle of grey primer, and the Mega Set with 60 paints will be released. On November 20, the Complete Set with all 150 paints will follow. Single paints have not yet been announced, but will certainly follow soon.
Please note: These products have been provided to us by The Army Painter. Thoughts and opinions are our own.
The Warpaints Air range has been developed with the aim to make airbrushing easier and more intuitive. The paints are based on the same rich pigments of the core Warpaints range but have been put through an extra filtration process for further distillation. The paints are pre-thinned, and the ratio between the medium and pigments has been optimized for each colour individually to minimize airbrush clogging and ensure optimum coverage. Furthermore, each 18ml dropper bottle has two rust-proof steel mixing balls added for better blending capacities when shaken.
The 126 acrylic colours are arranged in 34 triads – for each “midtone” there is a matching darker “base” colour, and a lighter “highlight” colour. The corresponding triads are printed on each label for easy reference. This makes highlighting and shading very straightforward as a lot of guesswork is taken out. The midtone paints are identical to the colours of the same name from the core Warpaints range and the Colour Primer range, so that both paint ranges complement each other perfectly. The base and highlight colours are completely new shades.
There are also airbrush versions of all 18 metallic colours you know from the core Warpaints range, including the additional metallic paints from the Metallic Colours paint set, plus 6 brand new neon or fluo paints for glow effects.
Want to try airbrushing but don’t know where to start? Then check out Garfy’s video introduction here.
Warpaints Air Mega Set
For this review, I’m taking a closer look at the 60 colours Mega Set. With 16 triads, white, black, 9 metallic colours and 1 fluorescent paint, it offers a good cross-section of the range. All of the staple colours are represented, plus there is a good selection of the most common metallic shades, plus a red, green, and blue metallic paint, plus a neon green.
When I opened the box, the first thing I noticed was that The Army Painter has dispensed with plastic inserts. In fact, the packaging is produced carbon-neutral, which is excellent and should set an example for other manufacturers. Unfortunately, my paints flew around in the box as the cardboard inserts don’t seem to hold the colours that well. Doesn’t matter to me, this way they come slightly better blended right away. Besides the paints, there is the usual The Army Painter hobby brochure, an advertising flyer, and a flyer with tips for the Air paints.
Because of the high amount of medium, I noticed that the paints need to be shaken properly, especially before the first use and if you haven’t used them in a while. Fortunately, each colour contains two mixing balls, so that after a minute of shaking even badly separated paints will be restored. Owning a vortex mixer also really helps.
Above you can see the 60 colours from the Mega Set, photographed under 5600K daylight lamps so that you can judge the colours better than on the hexes in the graphic. In general, the triads are well put together, though some base paints could be darker (especially Fairy Pink, but also a few others). Of course, you can also experiment with your own combinations, for example, Angel Green, Greenskin, and Feral Green go very well together, or Pure Red, Lava Orange, and Incursion Orange. Warpaints Air also mix well with each other.
I took some random samples to compare the Air Paints with their namesake colours from the Core Range. As you can see, the colours are pretty much identical, only the consistency is slightly different. Speaking of consistency, you can use Air paints for traditional brush painting, though the paint will be quite thin and more transparent, for blending and glazing or to fix the occasional mistake they’re very suitable.
Now we want to try out the paints. I grabbed a Primaris Intercessor that was already painted, but after a few passes of Unforgiven Green I had a perfect basecoat. I used the paint straight from the bottle with no additional thinner and sprayed at about 40 PSI with a 0.3 mm nozzle. Next came a zenithal highlight of Angel Green, and finally a few select highlights with Exile Green.
Next I tried the Ultramarines Blue triad. I just took the same model and sprayed Omega Blue all over, just a few passes were needed. Next, I sprayed a zenithal highlight with Ultramarines Blue and then a second highlight with Consul Blue, this time at a steeper angle. As you can see, the transition between Omega and Ultramarines Blue is very subtle, and almost disappears next to the highlights with Consul Blue. For a more dramatic gradient, I’d probably start with a black basecoat, then grab either Omega or Ultramarines Blue for a zenithal highlight, and then finish with a highlight of Consul Blue. Alternatively, you could darken Consul Blue with a little bit of Matt Black or use one of the other dark blue Air paints like Dark Sky or Thunder Storm from the Complete set as a basecoat.
Next, I wanted to try the fluo colour Gauss Green, which can be used to create convincing glow effects. I noticed this paint was a bit thinner than the other ones I tried, so I built up the effect with multiple thin coats, letting each coat fully dry. The result is vibrant neon green, and the airbrush made it super easy to add some subtle light reflections on the leg. Please note that the camera can’t really capture the intensity of the neon green and it looks flatter on a monitor than in real life.
Next I wanted to try the metallics, so I chose Greedy Gold Air after priming my test model with Leather Brown Colour Primer. To achieve a perfectly opaque base coat, you often have to apply many coats of gold, but with an airbrush, it’s much quicker and easier and the result will be super smooth. Only two to three passes were needed for perfect coverage, quite impressive.
To paint the robes I masked the golden armour and went for the Skeleton Bone Triad. First I sprayed a coat of Charred Bone Air at a low angle, leaving some of the Leather Brown base coat visible. Next came Skeleton Bone Air at a higher angle, and then a highlight with Bleached Bone. The result is a nice gradient from brown to a light bone colour (though I should have probably switched to a 0.2 mm nozzle to make the individual stages of the gradient more nuanced). All that’s left to do now is to add some additional shading and a highlight to make the robes pop. I really love the triad system and hope we will see the new base and highlight colours in the regular Warpaints range soon.
All in all, working with the Air Warpaints was a joy. I was able to use them with really no additional thinning needed, perfect consistency straight out of the bottles. I did not have to struggle with blockages despite switching between multiple paints without a proper cleaning session in between, just using clear water to flush out excess paint between each session. The dropper bottles are super convenient to just add a few drops of paint directly into the cup, and the coverage was great. If I had to name one negative, it’s that the paints separate quickly because of the high proportion of medium, and thus need to be shaken often. As mentioned earlier, mixing balls are included in each colour and do not need to be bought and added separately, so that’s at least a plus.
The Warpaints Air Mega Set retails at 155,00 Euro or about £138.50, divided by 60 paints this makes the price of a single paint 2,58 Euro or £2.30. Considering single Warpaints retail at 2,75 Euro and 2,99 Euro for the metallics and washes, that’s quite a nice discount. Warpaints are in general much cheaper per ml than Citadel Paints, as they come in 18 ml bottles as opposed to Citadel’s 12 ml pots. On top of that, Citadel Air paints only come in 24 ml pots for 6,30 Euro / £4.75, so the price per paint is even higher.
You might argue that you get more mileage if you buy regular paints and thin them with Airbrush medium yourself, but then you lose out on the convenience and all the new base and highlight colours. Since I’m personally more of an airbrush beginner, I often have the problem that I don’t get the right consistency right away when I thin the paint myself, and then it’s either too thin and wet or too thick and clogs up quickly. Airbrush paints take this work off your hands. That’s why it’s a sensible product for beginners.