This is an honest and unbiased review of the new Warpaints Fanatic. If there is one thing that The Army Painter is good at, then it’s generating buzz on social media. However, I found that their quality control can be hit or miss. Over the last couple of years, I tested all major miniature paint ranges, so I have a really good idea of what acrylic paint can do these days. I tried all 216 colours of the new range, and I’ll tell you if The Army Painter can live up to their promises.

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The Army Painter Warpaints Fanatic review mixed assortment of paints
These items were kindly provided by The Army Painter. Thoughts and opinions are our own.

I reviewed so many paint ranges over the years and I see a trend. I think that paint quality has improved significantly over what we used in the hobby 10 or 20 years ago. It started with Pro Acryl, then AK 3rd Gen, Two Thin Coats, and the new Vallejo Game Colors followed suit, along with all the Kickstarter paints. For me, all of these ranges represent a new generation of miniature paints, and now The Army Painter wants to catch up with their Warpaints Fanatic.

Perhaps they HAD to catch up because the old Warpaints range didn’t have a good reputation among many painters (see our original review here). Often, you’d get a paint with the dreaded issue where only transparent medium came out of the bottle while the pigments had settled at the bottom into a thick gunk. The Army Painter made videos on how to fix this and started to include agitators in the bottles for better blending when shaken. But in my experience, affected paints would separate again and again, no matter what you do, which was simply annoying.

All of this is supposed to change now with the brand new Warpaints Fanatic, which The Army Painter has been working on for several years. They promise up to 7 times higher pigmentation and – quote – insane coverage, made possible by a newly developed stabilizer medium. They even claim the new Warpaints might probably be the best paints in the world. In this video, I go through all the acrylics, effect paints, washes, and metallics, and find out if that’s true:

First I want to take a look at the colour palette, because The Army Painter decided to do something really unique here. There are 162 acrylics, 18 metallics, 18 washes, and 18 effect paints, which will be available individually or in various sets launching in early 2024. This is more colours than the Citadel Colour range and makes them one of the largest miniature paint ranges on the market. But what I find ingenious is the flexible triad system. This means that each colour comes in six shades from dark to light in a consistent hue. The idea is that you can layer or blend without having to mix intermediate tones, or you can simply pick a dark, light, and mid-tone and combine them as you see fit. I absolutely love this, and I think it’s very intuitive for beginners, while advanced painters will appreciate the choice. However, there is also a massive flaw in this system, and I’ll address that later when I get to the individual colours.

The Army Painter Warpaints Fanatic colour palette review
© 2024, The Army Painter. All rights reserved.

I adore the colour palette, lots of rich and vibrant tones and I love that there are so many pinks, turquoise and teal colours. The only thing I find lacking is more yellowish olive green tones; there’s only Tundra Taupe. Additionally, some warm rust and golden brown tones, like Skragg Brown or Mournfang Brown from Games Workshop, are also missing.

Now the actual paints come in the familiar 18ml dropper bottles like all Army Painter paints. Two mixing balls are included, which is good, and each label is printed with a graphic indicating which triad the colour belongs to. There’s also a practical colour description based on the ISCC-NBS System of Colour Designation. In terms of pricing, individual bottles will be 4 Dollar 25, or 3.50 Euro, so almost as pricey as a pot of Citadel Colour. Though Warpaints will have 50% more paint compared to the 12ml pots of Citadel.

The Army Painter Warpaints Fanatic Complete Set contents
Contents of the Complete Set

I’ve acquired the Complete paint set with all 216 colours and tested each one. Let’s take a look at the metallics first.

Warpaints Fanatic metallics review

Now I would say I have a special relationship with The Army Painter’s metallic paints. The first-generation Warpaints, which you can recognize by the old label with the paint splatter graphic, had excellent metallics. The composition reminded me strongly of the brilliant metallic paints from the 2000s Citadel Colour range, namely Boltgun Metal and Mithril Silver. I enjoyed using those. However, when the Warpaints range was expanded, the metallics changed. Although The Army Painter continued to advertise them as “the best metallics”, I found the coverage and grain of the metallic flakes only average. Not bad, but more average.

With the Warpaints Fanatic, The Army Painter claims that the “best metallics” have now become even better. The formula has been completely reworked based on their experiences with the metallic Speedpaints. Instead of mineral mica flakes, Warpaints Fanatic now feature finer and more opaque aluminium flakes. There are 18 colours in total, including 12 colours taken from the old range and 6 new ones like Mithril, Cobalt Metal, and Dark Emerald. Let’s put them on a model.

In the video, you can see how I apply both the old and Fanatic Plate Mail Metal next to the original 1st gen paint. I would say the old version has significantly coarser metallic flakes and doesn’t cover that well. Now the Fanatic version is quite thick, but it thins down nicely and goes on super smoothly, and covers very well even when diluted with water.

The Army Painter Warpaints Fanatic Plate Mail Metal old and new comparison
Here, you can see the dried paints in comparison: the original 1st gen Plate Mail Metal, the current Warpaints version, and the new Fanatic Plate Mail Metal. I really like the finish of the Fanatic version.
The Army Painter Warpaints Fanatic Greedy Gold and Retributor Armour comparison and review
Here is another comparison with Greedy Gold and Retributor Armour from Games Workshop. For me, the finish is pretty much identical. Can’t see much of a difference, which I think is great, because Retributor Armour is one of the best warm orange gold paints.

I also tested all the other new metallics, and they are all quite fantastic. The silver ones are the standouts, but even the gold and bronze colours only need two, maybe three thin layers for a perfect coverage and have a beautiful metallic finish. That’s a significant improvement over their predecessors from the old Warpaints range. The only thing I can criticise is that the paints are quite thick, and I would have liked more bronze and copper colours. Compared to other non-alcohol-based products on the market, I would say The Army Painter’s new metallics are up there with the best. In the video you can see how I apply Vallejo Model Air Steel, which is the best bright silver paint I ever used, and the new Mithril from The Army Painter comes pretty close. The only difference is the viscosity; the Fanatic metallics are all quite thick and need to be thinned, while the Vallejo metallics are airbrush paints and pre-thinned but work well for brush painting, too.

Alright, that’s a good start for the Fanatic range, next, let’s take a look at the Quickshade Washes. These are quite popular, and while Army Painter says they haven’t changed the formula, I say they did! Question is, a change for the better or for the worse.

The new Warpaints Fanatic washes tested

Now I’ve been using The Army Painter’s original Quickshade washes for many years. I used to be a big fan of the first-gen Citadel Washes from Games Workshop, remember those? When these were phased out and the Citadel Shade paints were introduced in 2012, I didn’t like the change. So, I switched to The Army Painter’s Quickshade Washes, and Dark and Strong Tone made excellent replacements for old Badab Black and Devlan Mud. This went on for many years, but lately, I’ve had quite a few bottles that dried quite shiny and gave me slightly blotchy results. Therefore, I switched to the Citadel Shades with the new 2022 formula, which I actually really like. Lately, I’ve also been quite fond of the Pro Acryl washes.

So with all my history, I was very curious to see if the washes in the Fanatic range had returned to their old strength. There are four new colours: Orange Tone, Dark Red Tone, Magenta TOne, Dark Blue Tone, and Rust Tone, which means more choice, which I like. Apart from the new colours, The Army Painter says they didn’t change the washes, but spoiler: that’s not true! 

In the video, you can see how I apply the new Dark Tone Wash on a Termagant with a white undercoat. The flow properties are very good, the washes seem to be a bit thinner and runnier than their previous versions. But don’t worry, the capillary action pulls the pigments into the recesses very well.

The Army Painter Warpaints Fanatic Washes and Citadel Shade paints comparison
Warpaints Fanatic left to right: Strong Tone Wash, Dark Tone Wash, Strong Skin Wash. Citadel Shade left to right: Agrax Earthshade, Nuln Oil, Targor Rageshade

Here you can see a comparison with Citadel Shade paints. I see a very even distribution, even on large flat surfaces, and strong shadows. The finish is not matte, but satin I’d say. I think the result is excellent, and the glossiness and inconsistencies that I sometimes encountered with the old Warpaint washes seem to be gone. Citadel’s Shade paints have also given me a good result but have more of a shine, and are of course much more expensive per millilitre.

So, the Quickshade washes might not be the same anymore – I think they’re even better. Now, we still have the Effect paints and, of course, the 162 acrylics to check out. To be honest, I found The Army Painter’s previous Effect paints to be rubbish; let’s see if the new ones can win me over.

Warpaints Fanatic Effect paints reviewed

Before we dive into the acrylics and flexible triads, let’s take a look at the Effect paints. I didn’t like the Effect paints from the old Warpaints range, they were just glossy paints, not at all like Games Workshop’s Technical paints which each have their individual properties. Recently, I tested the new Vallejo Game Color range, and their Special FX paints didn’t impress me that much either. I mean honestly, except for the useless gemstone paints, Citadel Technical paints are just hard to beat. Maybe The Army Painter can do what others can’t?

Well, there is a total of 18 Effect paints, including varnishes, thinners, fluorescent colours, and some special paints. Let’s start with those. 

The Army Painter Warpaints Fanatic Effect paints blood, vomit, and rust
Top half left to right: Citadel Nurgle’s Rot, Warpaints Fanatic True Blood, Citadel Blood for the Blood God. Lower half left to right: Fanatic Oozing Vomot, Citadel Typhus Corrosion, Fanatic Dark Rust and Fresh Rust

Now Blood for the Blood God is my favourite blood effect paint. It’s just so slimy and gory. Thick Blood is darker and contains particles for a gruesome finish. Fanatic True Blood comes close; it’s similarly sticky and gel-like, and the shade of red is spot-on. Nurgle’s Rot from Games Workshop and its counterpart Oozing Vomit from the Fanatic range are almost identical in colour, but Oozing Vomit seems to have more texture. Typhus Corrosion is a greasy dark brown with added particles. The Fanatic Range has several rust colours: Fresh Rust, a rust orange that also leaves a texture, and Dark Rust, which is closer in colour to Typhus Corrosion.

The Army Painter Warpaints Fanatic Effect paints verdigris and stains
Left to right: Warpaints Fanatic Disgusting Slime, Fanatic Verdigris, Citadel Nihilakh Oxide, Fanatic Oil Stains

Disgusting Slime is similar to Oozing Vomit but even more greenish. Verdigris is the counterpart to Nihilakh Oxide but is thicker and contains particles, while Oil Stains creates dark, oily streaks.

And here are the effect paints when dried. So, what do you think? Unfortunately, True Blood is a bit less moist and glossy than Blood for the Blood God when dried, but besides that, the Effect paints get a big thumbs up from me. They might be the first that can keep up with Citadel’s Technical paints, and the Warpaints Fanatic range has even more effects to choose from, like oil stains or a couple of fluorescent colours. The five fluo paints are quite solid; they just have a weak opacity like most fluorescent paints do.

Speaking of coverage, how about the acrylic paints? Is the coverage really as exceptional as The Army Painter’s marketing wants us to believe? I have my doubts, but let’s find out.

Garfy's Get a Grip banner 760x100 px

The 162 acrylics and flexible triads

As mentioned earlier, lately I’ve tested Pro Acryl, Two Thin Coats, and the new Vallejo Game Colors, among others, all of which already have very high opacity and a super creamy consistency. But in their videos and on their website, The Army Painter promises unparalled uniformity and coverage, with 500 to 700% more pigment than other paints, so I wonder if The Army Painter can really top that?

We’ll see. In the video, I put some paint on a palette, and the consistency is quite thick. Not all, but most colours tend to have a rather thick consistency, quite reminiscent of the former Warpaints or Vallejo Model Colors, but the Fanatic formula is creamier and more uniform. By the way, I’m happy to say that the dreaded Army Painter effect of only transparent medium coming out of the bottle was not an issue at all and seems to be a thing of the past.

So, to achieve a smooth application, the paints need to be thinned with a drop of water. Now, you could argue that this increases the yield, so more bang for your buck, or squid for your quid. I’m a bit lazy and have gotten used to the slightly thinner consistency of paints like Pro Acryl or Vallejo Game Color, which most of the time can be used directly from the bottle with the added moisture from a wet palette. But that’s just my personal preference, how about you? Do you prefer a thinner or thicker paint, let me know in the comments.

Warpaints Fanatic test model, a Termagant in Hive Fleet Hydra scheme
Left side painted with Warpaints Fanatic, right side painted with Pro Acryl, Two Thin Coats, and Vallejo Game Color paints

Here’s a test model. The right side was painted with the aforementioned paint brands. For the left side, I used the new Warpaints Fanatic to give the Termagant the classic Hive Fleet Hydra colour scheme we all know from Space Hulk. And I have to say, once you’ve thinned the colours to the right consistency, painting becomes really enjoyable. They flow well from the brush, the coverage is high, and thanks to the slightly extended drying time, they blend well, and you don’t have to worry about visible brush strokes, as the self-levelling properties are quite good.

But how revolutionary is the coverage really? In the promo videos, The Army Painter implied that many of the lighter colours like yellow and orange would cover almost completely with a single coat. Does that hold true? Let’s try it out.

I’m putting Daemonic Yellow, Lava Orange, and Pure Red from the Fanatic range to the test, comparing them against Vallejo Game Color Moon Yellow, Pro Acryl Orange, and Two Thin Coats Demon Red.

Since the Fanatic paints are quite thick, I had to thin them with a drop of water each, while this wasn’t necessary with their counterparts from the other brands. By the way they also work well with an airbrush, but require a lot of thinning, so you might want to look into The Army Painter’s Warpaints Air range which comes pre-thinned and is pretty good.

And here’s the result after one coat: The Warpaints Fanatic colours perform well, but one coat is not enough to be fully opaque. Actually, there isn’t a significant difference compared to Game Color, ProAcryl, or Two Thin Coats. The Army Painter marketing de-bunked!

Coverage comparison of Warpaints Fanatic, Two Thin Coats, Vallejo Game Color, and Pro Acryl
Left base: Warpaints Fanatic Daemonic Yellow, Lava Orange, and Pure Red. Right base: Vallejo Game Color Moon Yellow, Pro Acryl Orange, and Two Thin Coats Demon Red.

And this is the result after three thin coats. Can you see a clear winner? Honestly, I… can’t. The yellow and light red from The Army Painter might be a tiny bit more opaque than Moon Yellow and Daemon Red, but the difference isn’t significant. Considering that yellow, orange, and red have the weakest pigments, all brands performed well.

After testing all 162 colours, I can attest that the Warpaints Fanatic range has indeed a very high opacity, especially with mid-tones and darker colours, which even beat the Citadel Base paints most of the time. For the lighter tones, my impression is that coverage is on par with Pro Acryl and AK 3rd Gen, which is excellent. However, I feel that the lighter colours in the Two Thin Coats and the new Vallejo Game Color range might cover just a tiny bit better, but don’t get me wrong, it’s not much of a difference.

The more notable difference is in the finish. Warpaints Fanatic have a satin finish, similar to Citadel paints but a bit less satin than old Warpaints. The trend in modern miniature paints leans more towards matte paints, and I’ve grown to prefer that, but a satin finish has its advantages too. The colours appear deeper, and the resistance to wear is slightly higher. What do you prefer, matte or satin? Feel free to write it in the comments.

Colour match and other issues

So far, so good. However (I know my reviews are full of howevers and buts), I’ve got 28 problems with the Warpaints Fanatic (but paint quality ain’t one ;).

The first thing that bothers me is the colour match. Yes, the Warpaints Fanatic range is an entirely new paint range with a new formula and a new colour palette. Nevertheless, The Army Painter chose to carry over some colours from the old Warpaints range. I’ve painted a random selection of the returning colours on this base.

Colour match of old Warpaints and new Warpaints Fanatic
Left: old Warpaints, right are their counterparts from the Warpaints Fanatic range  

I think some colours are quite close, particularly those that are also available as Colour Primer sprays. But overall the match is far from perfect. I mean I get it, Warpaints Fanatic have an entirely new formulation, but then maybe The Army Painter should have cut ties with the old range completely to avoid any confusion. So, if your paint scheme is based on a specific old Warpaints colour, I recommend stocking up now while the old paints are still available. Otherwise, the paint jobs in your collection might not be consistent anymore.

And the other 27 problems are the 27 flexible triads. Well, perhaps not all of them… I know, at the beginning of the review, I said I loved the idea. And a lot of the triads are great, for example, the Vivid Blue and the Teal one. There is an even distribution of light to dark colours, just as I would expect. But others…

I’ve put some random examples here, do you see what I mean? In my opinion, many of the triads lean too much towards the bright side; I’m missing the darker colours. For some triads, it might make sense; for example, you can jump from Emerald Forest, the darkest colour in the vivid green triad, to the darker greens in the deep green triad. But if you only have six olive greens in the range, I would have wished for the darkest tone to be really dark, like Castellan Green or Death Korps Drab from Games Workshop.

Warpaints Fanatic review all colours from the warm red and vibrant green triads

As you can see here, as a result, the emphasis on lighter tones means that the steps between the individual colours become often rather small. I think for most painters, it won’t make sense to buy all six colours per triad. For most triads, you could easily skip every second colour. But then, not all flexible triads are balanced in the same way. The official chart from the website can point you in the right direction, but it’s just a digital reproduction and not always that accurate. So I hand-painted all colours on plasticard and photographed them professionally, you can download the high-res chart on my Patreon:

Stahly's hand-painted Warpaints Fanatic swatch banner

This comparison chart is available in my Patreon shop for a small donation, or by becoming a member of the Autarch tier. By the way, I made even more hand-painted swatches, e.g. for Citadel Colour and Vallejo Game Color, all cross-compatible with each other so you can compare colours across different brands.

But overall, I don’t want to sound too negative. Even though some triads might not be ideally composed for my taste, the sheer choice makes more than up for it. The Fanatic range has many beautiful and unique colours that will find a place in my collection. If you are interested in my current favourite colours, then check out this best-of list (I might update it with paints from the Fanatic range).

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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.

15
4
1
0
0
0

8.0
Score

Acrylics & flexible triads
8
Metallics
9
Washes
8
Effect paints
8

Final Verdict

So the truth is: Warpaints Fanatic are probably not the best paints, but they are a very good all-rounder range. The acrylics, metallics, washes, and even the effect paints are of a consistently high quality. They might not be a revolution, and they have a few quirks that you must be aware of. But if you're only familiar with the old Warpaints and/or the Citadel paint range, then upgrading to Warpaints Fanatic will be a quantum leap. You will notice the difference in quality, even if you don't consider yourself a pro painter, and they will make your painting more enjoyable. On the other hand, if you already have paints from what I call the “new generation of acrylic paints”, then the Warpaints Fanatic won't be anything special for you - but they can meet the high standard.