In this review we take a look at the 25 new Contrast paints, find out what these very flat-looking colours like Bad Moon YellowMagmadroth FlameBaal Red and Doomfire Magenta are all about, and then there’s even a hand-painted comparison of all 61 Contrast colours. It’s the biggest paint launch of the year, so let’s jump right into it.

Review of the 25 new Citadel Contrast Colours
These items were provided by Games Workshop. Thoughts and opinions are our own.

Citadel Contrast was a roaring success and popularised a whole new way of painting. Beginners were pleased with fast results, and advanced painters appreciated their versatility, as Contrast also makes good washes or glazes when thinned with Lahmian Medium or Contrast Medium.

Now the range will be extended by 25 new Contrast paints (technically 27, as former Technical paints Hexwraith Flame and Nighthaunt Gloom have now become part of the Contrast range). These are not a replacement, but an expansion, so there is now a total of 61 Contrast colours. The new colours, along with the reformulated Shade paints and the new White Scar primer, will be available for preorder starting Saturday, July 2 2022, with a release date of two weeks later.

These items were provided by Games Workshop. Thoughts and opinions are our own.

The new Contrast Colours review & comparison

From colourful to browns and black, the 25/27 new Contrast Colours have more of everything, but a special emphasis has been paid to particularly vibrant colours. This is why Games Workshop has replaced Corax White spray with the new White Scar spray, a true white primer as an alternative to Greyseer and Wraithbone spray to bring out the colours in their purest form.

Here I prepared a paint swatch with all 61 old and new Contrast paints, hand-painted on plasticard primed with White Scar and photographed under a 5500K daylight lamp. The new colours are highlighted with bold type:

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Citadel Contrast paint swatch 2022 with all 61 colours

The 25/27 new Contrast Colours are:

In this video you can see the new Contrast paints in action, painted on white primed Primaris Space Marines:

I instantly fell in love with a lot of the new coloursDreadful Visage and Briar Queen Chill are beautifully subtle tones for painting daemonic and ethereal skin, and Striking Scorpion GreenAeldari Emerald, and Doomfire Magenta are so fantastic for their vibrancy. Ratling Grime is a beautiful blackish-brown that has many uses for weathering and shading metal, and we get so many yellows to choose from!

A word about the Hexwraith Flame and Nighthaunt Gloom, the two former Technical paints. These Contrast prototype paints have slightly changed with their proper induction to the Contrast range. While Hexwraith Flame is pretty much the same, maybe a bit thinner, Nighthaunt Gloom has become more pastel and matt.

Painting properties – a new type of Contrast?

Some time ago, we already published a more than detailed review of the original Citadel Contrast range, where you can learn more about the basic properties of Contrast:

We don’t want to repeat everything here, but there is one thing I want to point out: Not all Contrast paints are the same. The current range can be roughly divided into three categories:

  • The “thin” colours, namely Aethermatic BlueApothecary WhiteGryph-Charger GreyPlaguebearer Flesh, and Space Wolves Grey. These paints have more of a wash-like consistency and shade mainly the recesses. The new Pylar Glacier and Dreadful Visage also fall in this category.
  • The “dark and flat” colours, namely Dark Angels GreenCygor BrownLeviadon Blue, and Shyish Purple. These paints tint a lot but don’t produce very pronounced highlights. 
  • The “real” Contrast colours. These are the ones that do exactly what Contrast promises – pulling away from the edges and gathering in the recesses while still tinting the surface, creating mid-tone, shading and some basic highlights with one application. This was the majority of the range and comprises all colours I didn’t mention in the first two categories.

Plus some colours have a tendency to produce smoother results while some dry rather unevenly. And while most Contrast paints dry matte, you sometimes get a pot that dries a bit glossy. The Army Painter’s competing product Speedpaint provides more consistent results but has some other issues like reactivating paint, as we pointed out in our review here.

Most of these kinks have been ironed out with the Contrast range expansion, as most paints falls into the third category and are “real” Contrast paints. I’m also pleased to say that all new colours dry matt.

However, the new range seems to introduce yet another fourth category of Contrast paints. Colours like Bad Moon YellowMagmadroth FlameBaal RedDoomfire Magenta, and to some extent, Imperial FistIronjawz YellowLeviathan Purple and Black Legion contrast paint, produce a very smooth but flat result with only very subtle highlights and shadows. These also happen to be most of the single pigment paints and some of the brightest and purest colours. Single pigment means that that they are made from a single pure pigment – most paints are created by mixing multiple pigments, which always results in a loss of vibrancy and pureness to some extent.

To some, that might contradict the idea of Contrast somewhat, but the smooth and even finish of these colours means that you can achieve an (almost) perfect layer of yellow, orange or red with just a single coat of paint. Pretty revolutionary. Note that these colours still require a white/light primer, as they are transparent like all Contrast paints.

Bad Moon Yellow, Imperial Fist, Iyanden Yellow, Cassandora Yellow comparison

Let’s take a look at the new yellow paints, as yellow is a notoriously hard colour to get right. Here you can see how smooth the new Bad Moon Yellow and Imperial Fist apply over flat and blocky power armour. And with a coat of the new and improved Cassandora Yellow, you can create a much smoother yellow than a single coat of Iyanden Yellow would do. I like to think about this new Contrast subtype as heavy glazes, and they’re perfect for power armour or large flat areas like robes, and now I want a full range of them!

Using the new Contrast and reformulated Shade paints

This Kruleboy was painted during the product seminar Games Workshop has organised for selected content creators and competition painters. I’ve only used the new Shade and Contrast paints, plus a few Base and Layer paints for the highlights and metallic details. The model was primed with the new White Scar primer.

Kruleboy painted with the new Contrast and Shade paints

The robes were painted with Stormfiend and Nighthaunt Gloom, the shield with Doomfire Magentaand Sigvald Burgundy, which I wetblended together, the club was given two coats of Ratling Grime, and I also used Ratling Grime to shade the brass armour I basecoated with Runelord Brass. For the skin, I used a coat of Kroak Green plus some glazes of Poxwalker to add some blue-greenish hues, and Targor Rageshade to wash the metal.

Value

The new Contrast colours will be available in the same 18 ml pots as the current generation of Contrast colours and the reformulated Shade paints (which have shrunk from 24 ml to 18 ml pots). With an RRP of £4.75 / 6.30 € / $7.80, Contrast is the most expensive miniature paint range currently available on the market, at £0.26 / 0.35 € / $0.43 per ml.

As always, we refer at this point to our partners Wayland GamesElement Games, and Taschengelddieb, which offer discounts up to 20% over RRP. Using our links also helps to support Tale of Painters with no extra costs to you:

And that’s all there is to know about the latest addition and evolution of the Citadel Contrast range. Write me in the comments what you think of the new products or discuss with us on our Tale of Painters Discord.

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