It doesn’t get boring on the miniature paint market! Among the recent arrivals of new paint ranges, TTCombat (renowned for their MDF terrain and games like Dropzone Commander and Carnevale) has joined the fray by introducing a brand-new line of paints through a Kickstarter campaign. With an extensive collection of 72 colours and washes, these paints are promoted as being exceptionally high-quality and opaque, particularly their metallic range. In this honest review, I’ll determine if these claims hold true.
TTCombat’s new paints comprise 72 colours, available in dropper bottles of 17ml. The range was realized via Kickstarter with a moderate success of £37K pledged by 413 backers. By now, they’re also available on TTCombat’s website for £2.75 each, or in a 10-colour paint set for £22. More colours are planned.
TTCombat paints & washes review
TTCombat’s new paint range comprises a total of 72 colours, categorized into 54 regular colours, 6 metallic paints, and 12 acrylic washes. Additionally, they offer a thinning medium akin to Lahmian Medium. On their website, you can explore a collection of compatible airbrush thinner, cleaner, and flow improver. Notably, certain colours appear to be colour-matched with TTCombat’s range of spray primers, although I haven’t had the opportunity to test this feature yet.
The paints in this range are water-based, non-toxic acrylic paints, much like the majority of miniature paint ranges available. They are manufactured in the UK by a prominent independent paint maker, which I have strong reasons to believe is HMG Paints Ltd. HMG Paints is well-known for producing Formula P3, Foundry paints, Coat’d’Arms, and previously handled the production of Citadel’s current paint range until it was shifted to Games Workshop’s HQ in Nottingham.
The range has been developed from the ground up by TTCombat’s in-house painter Fin, claiming to use latest paint technology.
Examining the bottles
The dropper bottles feature proprietary designs that are of the same size as other popular brands such as Vallejo and The Army Painter, making them compatible with standard paint racks.
However, I must admit that I’m not particularly fond of the lids, as for some reason, they come with a child-proof lock. Opening the paints for the first time involves pressing down the lid and twisting it while breaking the seal. It can be quite a hassle and feels unnecessary.
Once the seal is broken and the lower plastic ring is removed, the opening process becomes easier. However, the need to remember to engage the childproof lock correctly every time you grab a TTCombat paint remains a bit of a nuisance. Additionally, since the lid can be turned freely even when closed, I often found myself unsure if it was securely closed and airtight.
Furthermore, the nozzle is exceptionally thin. Fortunately, the paint boasts a creamy consistency and flows smoothly. However, the slim nozzle is prone to clogging and may eventually split or break over time. I also experienced a few “paint explosions” when opening some of the paints for the first time, although I’m not certain if the nozzle is to blame. Lastly, it’s worth noting that the bottles lack pre-installed agitators commonly found in dropper bottle paint ranges.
A closer look at the acrylic colours
The regular acrylic TTCombat colours are absolutely amazing. You can use them out of the bottle with just a little bit of thinning, as the consistency is pretty much perfect. With their creamy and even texture, they apply like a charm. I found they have a similar consistency to Citadel Layer paints, but are much creamier and more richly pigmented. They are quite similar to the new Vallejo Game Color and Two Thin Coats acrylics formula, with a bit more body than ProAcryl paints and slightly more “bite” when it comes to opacity compared to AK Interactive 3rd Gen. They dry matt, more matt than Citadel paints, comparable to the new Vallejo Game Colors and Two Thin Coats paints.
In my experience, the paints don’t separate much and are ready after just a quick shake. They have pretty good self-levelling properties, so they go on very smoothly and it’s hard to leave visible brushstrokes. It seems the acrylic formula has a little bit of retarder in it, so you have a good working window with these paints for techniques like blending and feathering, but they don’t take quite as long to dry as Two Thin Coats or the new Vallejo Game Color paints. The only fault I could find is that they have a tendency to crack when you apply them too thickly.
And the opacity is absolutely fantastic, up there with Vallejo Game Color (review here) and Two Thin Coats (review here). The majority of the medium and dark colours in this range provide excellent coverage with just one coat over a dark basecoat or primer. Out of the 60 paints, 11 of them, particularly the white, bone, yellow, red, and pink shades, have been formulated using modern co-grind pigment technology. This advancement enhances their opacity, virtually eliminating the chalkiness often seen in light paints due to larger-sized pigments. The high pigmentation makes them ideal for drybrushing, though I noticed that these paints require more thinning compared to other brands for techniques like feathering and glazing. Their excellent flow properties also make them well-suited for airbrushing, once you find the right amount of thinner to achieve the desired consistency.
While the coverage of the white, yellow, and orange paints is well above average, it’s the reds that shine the most. All the dark reds – Tlalocan Red, Capo Red, and Brieface Leather – cover in a single, slightly thinned coat over a dark basecoat, while Viscera Red (pretty much identical to Mephiston Red) takes two, and Blood Rites (similar to Evil Sunz Scarlet) takes three to four, all while maintaining a super smooth finish. Impressive. The Hive Fleet Lotann Termagant’s flesh was primed black, basecoated with Viscera Red (just two coats needed), washed with Red Wash, then layered with Viscera Red, which I mixed in Brawny Flesh for the highlights. A more detailed tutorial will follow soon here on Tale of Painters.
The metallics tested
The Kickstarter campaign specifically highlighted the six metallic paints, which boast finely milled aluminum flakes for exceptionally smooth application and considerable coverage.
While using TTCombat’s metallic paints, I noticed that they require more thorough shaking than the non-metallic paints. The metallic particles tend to separate from the medium, a common trait in other HMG Paints miniature paint ranges. However, once the paints achieved the perfect consistency, they performed admirably. They possess a slightly lower viscosity compared to most Citadel metallic paints, minimising the need for additional thinning. Unlike other metallic paints that can leave visible brush strokes if not applied carefully, TTCombat paints glide on smoothly and without texture. Their extended drying time and excellent self-leveling properties contribute to the smooth application.
In terms of coverage, TTCombat’s metallic paints fare quite well and are up there with other high-quality miniature paint brands, although they don’t quite reach the top of the tops. The two gold paints, Ducat Gold and Counterfeit Gold, which I used to basecoat and highlight the chainsword, requireabout three thin coats for an opaque result. Which is good for gold paints, but I’ve seen better by now. The bright silver Supernova Chrome doesn’t quite match up to Vallejo Model Colour Steel in terms of opacity and pigment-size.
Nevertheless, I found the coverage more than satisfactory for basecoating and layering, as you are rewarded with a truly beautiful finish thanks to the fine ground metallic particles. However, when it comes to achieving sharp edge highlights, I found I often had to go over the same edge multiple times, resulting in a longer process and often a slightly less crisp result, see the chainsword’s teeth.
TTCombat Washes review
To get straight to the point, I found the performance of the washes to be solid, but somewhat underwhelming. Let’s start with the positive aspects: The range of 12 washes offers a decent variety, on par with what other manufacturers like Games Workshop and The Army Painter provide. I particularly enjoyed Red Wash, which has a slightly warmer tone than Carroburg Crimson but isn’t as brownish as Berserker Bloodshade. I also really like Orange Wash, which is slightly darker than the rather bright Fuegan Orange and leans more towards Gryph-hound Orange. The selection of sepia and brown tones is also well chosen. Gold Wash is quite a novel shade of wash, and stands out with its intense orange-brown color.
Initially, the washes made a good impression as they flowed smoothly on the models, displaying a low viscosity similar to the current Citadel Shade paints. While wet, the result looked promising, as the pigments seemed to gather nicely in the recesses. A slight disappointment came when the washes dried. The finish was beautifully matt, but the overall effect appeared much flatter compared to when wet. The recess shading became less prominent, while an excessive amount of tinting was noticeable on smooth surfaces. I also observed instances of “coffee staining”, like on the Termagant’s head. I had similar issues with the washes in the Formula P3 range, also produced by HMG Paints.
Personally, I prefer the new formula Citadel Shade paints (which I reviewed here), with their minimal staining and the ability to create dramatic recess shading. However, this doesn’t mean that TTCombat’s washes are a failure. I know that many people prefer the original formula Citadel Shade paints and their stronger tinting effect, so if you’re seeking a wash with significant tinting abilities plus a matt finish, they might be worth a try.
£2.75 for 17ml of a paint of this quality is highly competitive. TTCombat paints share the same price point as a regular pot of Citadel Colour, but offer an additional 5 ml of paint. They are also comparably priced with the new Vallejo Game Color range and slightly cheaper than AK Interactive 3rd Gen acrylic paints and Two Thin Coats paints.
The only drawback is that currently, you can only purchase TTCombat colours from TTCombat’s website. In contrast, other brands are available from Wayland Games & Co, often offered at a 10% to 20% discount. However, since Wayland Games also stocks other TTCombat products like colour primers, it’s likely just a matter of time before the paints become available there as well.
I hope you found this review helpful, feel free to leave a reaction or comment below, or post your questions here or discuss on our Discord channel.