Duncan Rhodes’ Two Thin Coats paints. What started as a meme has now become a fully-fledged 60 colours paint range, thanks to Kickstarter and the power of the internet. But do we really need yet another paint range? Can Duncan reinvent the wheel or are his paints just a cash grab to exploit his popularity? I’ll find out in this in-depth review of all 60 Two Thin Coats paints.
Many of you remember Duncan Rhodes as Games Workshop’s original painting presenter. With his calm manner, clean painting style and catchphrase “two thin coats” he introduced many hobbyists to the wonderful world of painting. Duncan has since left Games Workshop and started his own YouTube channel and website, the Duncan Rhodes Painting Academy, where you can watch painting tutorials for a small monthly fee.
This was followed in September 2021 by a Kickstarter in cooperation with Trans Atlantis Games, launching Duncan’s very own paint range. The Kickstarter was a huge success, raising over 1 million Dollars thanks to over 7,800 backers. Now the Two Thin Coats paints are shipping and available in stock at our partner shops Wayland Games, Element Games, and Firestorm Games. Duncan and his team sent me a complete set and I was able to test the colours extensively. And, I have a few things to say. Here are my thoughts:
Two Thin Coats review – the features
Two Thin Coats paints come in dropper bottles with added agitators, which gets the first thumbs up from me. The bottles are different from the bottles of other manufacturers such as The Army Painter and Vallejo, but the diameter is the same, so they fit easily into all matching paint racks. A single bottle contains 15 ml of paint, 3 ml more than regular Citadel paints, but 2 or 3 ml less than The Army Painter, Vallejo, and Scale 75. The RRP is 3£ 95, so 1£ 20 more than a regular Citadel paint. That makes Duncan’s paints the most expensive miniature paint per ml on the market.
The Two Thin Coats range has 60 colours, which break down into 6 washes, 6 metallic paints, and 48 acrylic colours. There are also a few stretch goal exclusive paints, such as a transparent medium and a blood effect paint. The paints are arranged in triads, each with a matching shadow, midtone and highlight colour. This makes colour selection really intuitive, especially for beginners. I’m a big fan of paint ranges that do this. Unfortunately, the triads are not printed on the labels, as is the case with The Army Painter’s Air range, so you have to look them up on the website or on the flyer that comes with the Kickstarter shipment. The colour names are the typical fantasy names which apparently became the industry standard, so you can’t always tell which colours belong together judging from the name alone. For those more familiar with Citadel paints, there is a handy paint conversion chart that lists the closest Citadel and The Army Painter counterpart for each colour:
The 60 paints and washes cover a little bit of everything, the selection seems to be based on the most popular Citadel paints. You can find primary and secondary colours, various brown, bone and Caucasian skin tones, black, grey, and white, as well as silver, gold, and bronze. However, as the range is comparatively small at only 60 paints, Two Thin Coats lacks some tertiary and more outlandish colours such as drab greens, blue-green, teal and pink, skin tones specifically designed for darker or golden skin, and in general some more choice in the primary colours. But from what I’ve heard, the colour palette will be expanded at some point, probably with a second Kickstarter, so stay tuned.
Two Thin Coats performance
Now, let’s pop them onto the palette and see how the paints perform. Two Thin Coats dry to a satin finish, that leans more towards the matte than towards the glossy side, and they match nicely with most other paint ranges such as Citadel Colours, The Army Painter Warpaints, and Formula P3. I noticed some minor separation between medium and pigments, but thanks to the added agitators, the paints are perfectly blended after a quick shaking. The consistency is incredibly creamy and silky smooth, similar to AK Interactive 3rd Gen or ProAcryl paints, but with a slightly thicker consistency more like Citadel Base paints. I recommend adding a small drop of water or using a wet palette, which adds extra moisture to the paint and keeps it fresh and flowy.
With a little bit of water, the paints go on super smoothly and won’t leave any streaks at all. I was really impressed with how pleasant they are to work with – and I own over a thousand paints from all miniature paint brands out there. The drying time – and thus the working time – is longer than say Citadel or The Army Painter paints. I guess the paint includes a good amount of drying retarder additives, which might also be responsible for the smooth application. This comes in handy for wet blending and feathering, and also for airbrushing. With the right amount of thinner, I had no problems with clogging at all and the paint sprayed very smoothly. And even when heavily diluted for glazing, you get a beautiful, even result.
But if you want to apply a few basecoats quickly, I found I often had to use a hairdryer even when batch-painting several models.
But I can’t complain about the very rich pigmentation, and I found the coverage to be well above average as well. Most of the medium and darker colours really cover in two thin coats over a dark basecoat. That’s actually pretty good!
The 48 acrylic colours
Let’s take a look at the individual triads. To get a perfect comparison, I painted all colours on a sheet of medium grey primed plasticard and photographed it professionally under neutral 5500K light:
You can download a super high-res version of this graphic over on my Patreon.
The red triad is pretty amazing with very high coverage and a lovely set of colours, Berserker Red and Sanguine Scarlet cover with two thin coats, Demon Red needs three, but it’s a super intense bright red, actually even more vibrant than Evil Sunz Scarlet. As expected, the yellow and orange paints need a few more coats to become fully opaque, but they are at least as richly pigmented as Citadel’s yellow and orange paints, if not better. Composition-wise, I think Yellow Flame should be a bit lighter, and the shadow paint Dark Sun Yellow is a more muted mustard yellow similar to Averland Sunset, so it doesn’t really fit the triad’s two other vibrant yellows. It’s the same with Orange Rust, which is also more desaturated than the other two oranges.
The burgundy triad also has great coverage, the colours are rather muted though. The purple triad boasts great opacity as well, and I especially like Sorcerer’s Cloak, which is a much better covering alternative to Genestealer Purple.
Let’s move to blue and green. The blues are your classic Ultramarines smurf blues, they cover all very well, even the light ones, but the triad is quite imbalanced, as Elysium Blue is too close to Celestial Blue in my opinion. The blue-grey triad is pretty nice though and has also a fantastic opacity, perfect for painting Space Wolves. The green triad is solid as well, with much better coverage than Citadel’s Warpstone Glow and Moot Green.
With cream and bone, there is quite a lot of choice. We have a warm grey triad, which I really like, as Ivory Tusk is the proper midtone that Citadel’s Pallid Wych Flesh and Rakarth Flesh are missing. The bone triad is a bit dark, and Skeleton Legion and Dragon Fang are a bit too close for my taste. At least they are not as yellowish as Citadel’s bones. We also have some khakis, which all cover amazingly, but they’re also all quite close. Mmh. These two are not my most favourite triads in the range, but serviceable with some mixing.
But I really love the brown triad, every colour is a lovely chocolate to mocca brown. Coverage is also amazing, and I can see using this triad a lot. We also have a more reddish brown triad, which is also decent, with a high opacity as well, and then we have a triad of medium to Caucasian skin tones, which are quite close to some of the Citadel skintones, but with much better coverage – looking at you, poor Cadian Fleshtone.
Finally, we have a white-to-grey and grey-to-black triad. White Scar erm White Star is pretty good, not as good as ProAcryl White, but still pretty good. All paints cover very well, the only thing I’m missing is a dark grey like Citadel’s Eshin Grey, as there is quite a big gap between Dungeon Stone Grey and Death Reaper Shadow.
The 6 metallic paints
I have to say, these really impressed me. Two Thin Coats metallics’ formula feels extremely similar to the more expensive “premium” metallic paints from Games Workshop with the white caps, but without the separation issue. They have very fine metallic particles and very high opacity, and they go on very smoothly. Games Workshop’s white cap metallics are notorious for separating very badly, but that’s not the case with Duncan’s metallics, and they also don’t have the drying time issue of the other Two Thin Coats paints.
The silver paints and the bronze cover in one to two coats over a dark base coat, the gold colours need two to three, which is absolutely amazing, especially for gold and bronze paints. The colours are very close matches to their Citadel counterparts, but unfortunately, the silver triad is impaired by Plate Armour, which is hardly different to Sir Coates Silver (which is an almost 1:1 match to Leadbelcher, but with finer metallic particles).
All in all, I think Two Thin Coats metallics compete with the best metallics in the Citadel range and outperform many other paint ranges such as The Army Painter’s Warpaints and Vallejo Model and Game Color metallics. I would say that Vallejo Model Air Steel and the Vallejo Metal Color range are still a little ahead, but those are really the only ones. Well done, Duncan!
Two Thin Coats washes review
Finally, the six washes. I heard in an earlier YouTube video review that the washes would be quite thick, but maybe that was because early samples were tested. The washes I received in my Kickstarter shipment have a perfect fluid consistency with low surface tension, so they settle evenly on the model.
Two Thin Coats washes are more pigmented than the new formula Citadel Shade paints that come in the 18ml pots, and darken the basecoat more, while drying to a very matte finish. So if you preferred the old Citadel Shade paints, you might want to give Duncan Rhode’s washes a try. In the graphic above you can see all the washes painted over white primer, and in fact, some washes are very similar to their Citadel Shade counterparts, but a few are slightly different, for example, Battle Mud Wash is a slightly more yellowish brown than Agrax Earthshade.
Overall, the washes also get a thumbs up from me. I love the new formula Citadel Shade paints, but I will certainly find a use for the Two Thin Coats washes as a more pigmented alternative.
Two Thin Coats value & recommendation
So now we know the strengths and minor weaknesses of the Two Thin Coats paint range. But to whom would I actually recommend the paints?
Well, if you like the bright and bold colours and satin finish of the Citadel paint range, but prefer dropper bottles, Duncan’s paints could be worth a look. Or if you feel that the coverage of Citadel Layer paints leaves something to be desired, and crave for a more opaque paint. Or if you don’t like the new formula Shade paints, Two Thin Coats’ washes could be a good alternative, as well for those who look for excellent metallic paints.
If you like AK Interactive’s 3rd Gen paints but wish there were more “fantasy” colours, Two Thin Coats could also be a good complement. Or if you like the richly pigmented ProAcryl paints and their smooth finish but wish they would have more body, then Duncan’s paints would be a solid choice.
In general, if a paint with a longer working time doesn’t put you off, for example, if you use blending and glazing techniques regularly, and/or don’t mind spending a few bucks extra for a superior pigmentation, upgrading to Two Thin Coats might be worth it.
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