Games Workshop is about to rework their Shade Paints range with 7 new colours, better flow properties, and 18 ml pots like Citadel ContrastI was allowed to try the new Shade paints before anyone else – are they really an improvement or just the same product in a smaller pot?

Games Workshop invited me and a few other content creators and painters to a product seminar a while ago, where we were introduced to the 25 (27 counting Hexwraith Flame and Nighthaunt Gloom) new additions to the Contrast range and the new revised Shade Paints which will replace the current generation of Shade paints in just a few weeks. The new paints are advertised as having improved flow properties and come in the same 18ml pots as Citadel Contrast and Cryptek Armourshade Gloss. There are also 7 brand new Shade paints, expanding the range from 12 to 19 colours.

New Citadel Shade paints formula review
These items have been provided by Games Workshop. Thoughts and opinions are our own.

During the seminar, we were allowed to test the new paints extensively. By now, I also have the new Shade and Contrast paints at home and have already used them for a few projects, so I really have a good idea of what these new Shade paints are. Check out this video to find out more:

Years ago, when the current Citadel paint range was released, we did a lengthy review that covers the original formula Shade paints. Read what we thought about them back then:

The updated Citadel Shade paints range

First of all, the most important thing: Stay calm, all previous Citadel Shade Paints remain in the range and keep exactly the same colour (except for the four gloss Shades, which will become discontinued). Only the base, in other words: the transparent acrylic medium, has been improved. More about that down below, let’s take a look at the 7 new Shade paints first:

New Citadel Shade paints swatch and colour comparison
This paint swatch was hand-painted over White Scar primed plasticard and photographed under a 5500K daylight lamp

Berserker Bloodshade is a red wash that, unlike Carroburg Crimson, has a warmer and browner hue. Tyran Blue is a new blue wash, less blackish and much more vibrant than Drakenhof NightshadePoxwalker is a dark green wash, darker and slightly cooler than the warm Biel-Tan Green, but not quite as blueish as Coelia Greenshade

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Kroak Green is a muted green wash that is less ochre than Athonian CamoshadeMortarion Grimeis a grimey ochre wash, significantly less orange than for example Seraphim Sepia. My absolute favourite is Targor Rageshade though, a dark brown wash with hints of purple, perfect for dark skin tones, but also fantastic for metallic tones like copper and bronze, as I’ve already had the pleasure of trying. Last but not least we have Soulblight Grey, which is a grey wash for the first time, here you can see the difference to Nuln Oil. I noticed that this wash requires a lot of shaking as it also contains white pigments that will settle quickly on the bottom of the pot.

New Shade paints formula review

The 7 new washes are a really welcome addition, closing some of the gaps in the former range. But what about the improved formula? Games Workshop promises smoother results with less pooling and better-defined shading. Let’s find out if this is true or just marketing talk.

Here is the first test model I painted during the seminar. I applied various shade paints, including the new Agrax Earthshade, the new Nuln Oil, and the new Seraphim Sepia. Despite the pretty rough coat of primer, you can literally feel how the dark pigments are drawn into the recesses after a few seconds. And the result is really amazing. Significantly less pooling in the flat areas, and dark and strong shadows.

A good first impression, but let’s take a look at this in a direct comparison between old and new. I primed this test model at home with a coat of Corax White spray, which is a matt light grey primer. On the left side of the model, I apply the old Citadel Shade paints and on the right side the new versions. After everything is dry, here is the result:

Citadel Shade paints new vs old comparison

All in all, I’m very impressed. The old washes on the left produced a decent result, but the new Shade paints created an even smoother finish with less staining and pooling, which makes them even easier to use. The difference is especially noticeable with the new Agrax Earthshade, which produced more definition around the chest eagle, and the new Nuln Oil, which created a much smoother finish.

Just a word of advice: take care to soak up any excess wash, as because of the lower surface tension, the wash tends to gather in the recesses quickly when you apply too much.

Fellow painter and all-around great human Juan Hidalgo, who also attended the seminar together with me, did this fantastic comparison of all 12 original Shade paints. He took great care in applying both the old and new Shades, soaking up any excess wash, and as you can see, the results with the new washes are amazing:

Note: The wash in the top right corner is Reikland Fleshshade, not Fuegan Orange.

Value

So all good? Well, there is also the elephant in the room: the new Shade paints will be available in 18 ml pots instead of the larger 24 ml pots (which is the same size as Contrast paints, so you’ll get 6 ml less wash for probably the same price). It is what it is…

You can find the new Citadel Shade paints and the new additions to the Contrast paint range at our partner stores Wayland GamesElement Games, and Taschengelddieb, as soon as they’ll be on preorder, with a welcome discount of up to 20% over RRP. Using our links supports Tale of Painters with no cost to you, so we can bring you more reviews and content like this, and is much appreciated.

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Pros

  • Improved flow properties
  • Deeper shading with less staining on flat surfaces
  • 7 new Shade paints

Cons

  • Smaller 18 ml pots for the same price
  • Four gloss Shades discontinued

Final Verdict

The new Citadel Shade paints make a decent product even better. They’ll do exactly what I think a wash should do: Flow into the recesses and stay there. I love the new additions to the range, and Berserker Bloodshade, Targor Rageshade, and Korak Green will definitely become new staples of mine. The only negative thing I can say about them is the smaller size of 18 ml, but personally, I prefer a better result over a cheaper price. I really think they’ll be one of, if not THE best washes currently on the market.