Are you having a hard time when it comes to painting yellow, especially over a dark primer? You‘re not alone. This is because yellow has the weakest pigments of all, but I found that some brands are better than others. I’ve tested 21 yellow paints so you don’t have to, and by the end of the post, you’ll know which yellow can make your Warhammer hobby a bit easier.

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So for this video, I went out and gathered yellow paints from all miniature acrylic paint brands I could find and spent hours comparing them against each other to find the yellow with the best coverage, smoothest application, and highest saturation:

As a reference, I used Flash Gitz Yellow from Games Workshop, a medium bright yellow that most of you have probably used at some point in your hobby career. Then I identified the most similar yellow paints from each manufacturer to have the best possible comparability. Of course, there are darker yellow paints like Averland Sunset, which additionally contain brown pigments to improve their opacity. On the other hand, lighter or more pastel yellow tones often contain a high proportion of white opaque pigments, so they tend to have better coverage than pure yellows. Adding opaque additives to the paint mix reduces the proportion of pure yellow pigment, and the more you add the more muted and pastel the yellow will become. For this video, I only selected true yellows like Flash Gitz Yellow, and the balance between opacity and vibrancy will be an important criterion.

To come up with my ranking, I tested paints in a three-stage process. I started by painting each of them on grey primed plasticard and making notes on opacity and brushability. The most promising yellows were additionally painted on these shoulder pads to see how they would behave on black primer, and I also had test models primed with white, where I specifically tested how they dilute, glaze, and blend. Based on these results, I ranked all 21 paints in a tier list. This way, you can not only see which yellow paint performs the best. But also find out how the yellow paint you may already have in your collection compares and whether an upgrade will be worthwhile.

Yellow paints tier list

So in total, I have 21 colours from 14 different manufacturers, and I’ll go through them alphabetically by brand. This is the tier list, and below you’ll find a short review for each product.

21 yellow Warhammer paints ranked & reviewed in a tier list

AK 3rd Gen

The first paints for our ranking are two shades of yellow from the 3rd Gen series. I have Deep Yellow from their Intense label, which focuses on high-purity pigments and maximum vibrancy, as well as Yellow with the regular formula, which balances saturation with opacity. We’re off to a good start because both paints have a creamy consistency, requiring little to no thinning, and apply smoothly with a matte finish. In terms of opacity, some paints that will follow in this video might be better, but at the cost of sacrificing vibrancy for more opaque pigments. Here you can see the result after four layers of each yellow, which is quite good considering the purity of the yellow hues. In fact, out of all 21 paints, the AK yellows are my favourites when it comes to maximum saturation and purity. Colour-wise, they are pretty much identical, and I would put both of them in the A-tier. If you favour saturation over opacity, they could even be an S tier for you.

Citadel Colour & Nostalgia 94

Next, we have Citadel, and our reference colour Flash Gitz Yellow. This yellow has good vibrancy and serves as the benchmark for all other paints in this ranking. The brightness and purity of the pigment used are actually among the better ones in this test, but the coverage is below average. Also, the rather thick, slightly gel-like consistency, combined with the very fast drying time, can easily result in visible brush strokes and a chalky finish. All in all, Flash Gitz Yellow falls into the middle ground, so I would put it in the C-tier. Not the worst, but still plenty of room for improvement compared to some of the other paints in this tier list.

We’ll stick with Games Workshop and take a look at good old Sunburst Yellow, the counterpart to Flash Gitz from the Citadel Colour range of the 2000s. The consistency is somewhat thick and gel-like, tending to leave visible brushstrokes, so I found it necessary to dilute this paint with a little bit of water or, even better, acrylic medium. The coverage is rather weak, the finish quite satin, but it’s a pure and vibrant yellow tone. However, I can’t give it more than a D-tier. Fortunately, miniature paints have evolved since the 2000s.

And speaking of Sunburst Yellow, a while ago Warcolours released Nostalgia 94, which is reminiscent of the even older 90s Citadel Colour range in the hexagonal flip-top pots. I have already tested the range on my channel, and I can say that Warcolours has successfully managed to capture the feel of the old paints, for better or worse. This means that while the saturation and purity of the yellow are very high, the coverage is as poor as you remember. Furthermore, the paint has the glossiest finish of all the paints in the test. The Nostalgia range is a really fun product, but I’m not masochistic enough to use these paints for real. C-tier for the Nostalgia, but the yellow is actually more of a D-tier to be honest.

Green Stuff World

Next up is Cyber Yellow from Green Stuff World with their updated Maxx formula. Green Stuff World are often criticized as copycats, but their paint range has actually quite unique characteristics. The yellow has the thinnest consistency of all paints, with an extremely smooth, matte finish. As you can see here, the saturation of the yellow pigment used is very pure and vibrant, and the coverage is also not bad. However, the thin consistency causes the pigments to collect in the recesses, making it difficult to achieve uniform coverage even after four layers. Therefore, Cyber Yellow only makes it to the B-tier, but for airbrushing this is an amazing choice as it goes on super smooth and requires almost no thinning.

I also have a second yellow from Green Stuff World, which is Blazing Yellow from their new Opaque range. These paints have more body than the Maxx formula paints and contain a lot of opaque pigments, in this case, a lot of white. As a result, Blazing Yellow is a tad brighter and more pastel than my reference colour, Flash Gitz Yellow. The consistency is on the thicker side, but creamy, and it applies beautifully with a drop of water. After about four layers, I achieved an opaque result with a beautiful matte finish. Therefore, Blazing Yellow is an A-tier entry, as due to its pastel nature, for me, it narrowly misses out on the S-tier.

Formula P3

Next up is Sulphuric Yellow from the venerable Formula P3 range by Privateer Press, developed back in the day with the legendary ex-Eavy Metal painter Mike McVey. Sulphuric Yellow tends to separate a little bit in the pot and needs to be well shaken. The consistency is velvety but somewhat thin; nevertheless, the coverage is comparatively good, and after four layers, there is hardly any of the grey primer showing through. The finish is rather glossy. I can’t rate it higher than B-tier because Sulphuric Yellow is one of the most pastel and muted yellows in this comparison. The saturation is miles away from our reference tone Flash Gitz Yellow, but if you’re looking for a medium pastel yellow that isn’t as mustard as Averland Sunset, then Sulphuric Yellow will be a good addition to your collection.

Kimera Kolors

Alright, let’s talk about Kimera Kolors, and I can already see the comments section heating up! Kimera paints are not primarily designed for painting miniatures; they are heavily saturated single pigment acrylic artist paints. Single pigment paints can be mixed with each other without losing their vibrancy due to the purity of their pigments. As you can see, the consistency is very viscous with a thick paste of pigments. You need a lot of water and stirring to bring these to a uniform consistency, and even then the paint applies very streakily. And, what can I say… the coverage is miserable because no opaque pigments have been added here. This may be a hot take, but regardless of what other YouTubers say, I’m putting Kimera Warm Yellow in the fail-tier. It’s a high-quality paint for sure, but… not for painting miniatures in my opinion. Unless your name is Marco Frisoni, you’d better skip this one. Please let me know in the comments about your experiences with the Kimera range and if the other colours are the same.

Pro Acryl

Let’s move to Golden Yellow from the Pro Acryl range, another paint range that’s popular among many YouTubers and professional painters. As I mentioned in my review of the Pro Acryl range, the bottles with their screw top nozzles take some getting used to, but the quality of the paints is high. Golden Yellow has very high vibrancy and saturation, and considering that, the coverage is not that bad, but suffers from the thin consistency. Pro Acryl paints tend to have a lower viscosity compared to many other paints, but even amongst the Pro Acryl range, Golden Yellow seems on the thin side. Nonetheless, it applies well and dries with a matte finish. However, in a direct comparison, I prefer the AK yellows, which have the same high vibrancy but a bit more body and coverage. So Warm Yellow doesn’t quite make it into the A-tier for me and settles for the B-tier. As a whole, I really like the Pro Acryl range though.

Reaper Master Series

Next, I have Sun Yellow from the Reaper Master Series. Reaper paints seem to have been somewhat forgotten. Does anyone still use them? Let me know in the comments. The few Reaper paints I have in my collection are super matte, which I like, but the consistency seems to be all over the place. Still, there are some colours I like. And let me tell you, Sun Yellow is not one of them. The paint tends to separate and always needs to be shaken vigorously to mix the pigments and binder well. The consistency is also a bit too thin for my taste, and the coverage isn’t particularly good either; even after four coats, you can still see a lot of the grey primer underneath. Unfortunately, Sun Yellow is only D-tier material.

Now that we have tested 10 out of 21 paints we reached the halfway point of this comparison. I believe I’ve included all the well-known brands in this ranking, but if there’s anything missing, feel free to put it in the comments. For example, one paint I wasn’t able to get my hands on was the yellow from the Ultracryl range, which looks very promising, but at the time of the video, the Kickstarter hasn’t been fulfilled yet. I will update this ranking with any new paint range that has a yellow in it.

Scale75

Alright, let’s now move on to the yellows from Scale75. I’ll start with Sol Yellow from the Scalecolor range.This is one of the the paints that require a lot of shaking. The consistency is somewhat gel-like and prone to visible brushstrokes. It seems Scale75 has focused more on pigment purity here, as the saturation is high but the coverage poor. The finish is one of the matte-est of all the paints I ranked here, if that’s important to you, but I didn’t like Sol Yellow at all, so merely a D-tier for me.

And it’s a similar story with Marduk Yellow from their Fantasy & Games range. At least here, the pigment and binder medium doesn’t separate as much, but the consistency is still somewhat gel-like and the coverage is also as weak as Sol Yellow. That’s why it’s also just D-tier for me. If you’re looking for a yellow with high saturation, I’d rather go for the AK yellows or Pro Acryl.

I even have a third contender from Scale 75, which is the Intense Yellow from their Artist range. Similar to Kimera Kolors, these are paints with exceptionally high and pure pigmentation, but not primarily developed for miniatures. The consistency is at least creamier and better blended than Kimera’s, yet the viscosity is very high and requires a lot of thinning. The vibrancy is stellar, I give them that, but since opaque pigments are totally missing, the coverage is super weak. Overall, I’d say I prefer the Artist range to Kimera Kolors, but still, please only use them for paper or canvas; for miniatures, they are fail-tier. I believe that 99% of hobbyists who get artist paints like Kimera or these will have a bad experience, so just get proper miniature paints.

Tamiya

Next, I tried Tamiya, which is not aimed at tabletop and Warhammer hobbyists as it is a classic scale modelling brand. XF-3 Flat Yellow has a matte finish, but there is also a gloss version so make sure to get the right one. Tamiya’s acrylic paints are the only acrylic paints in this ranking that aren’t purely water-based but contain alcohol. While they can be thinned with water and brushes cleaned with water, the alcohol can damage natural hair brushes over time, so be cautious. The paint itself has excellent flow properties, applies smoothly from the brush, and has amazingly high self-leveling properties, ensuring a smooth application and high coverage. Diluted with Tamiya XV-20A thinner, they are a joy to use in an airbrush. The saturation is very high but the hue is somewhat more orange than Flash Gitz, more like Yriel Yellow. What I don’t like are the annoying screw-top pots, the subtle chemical smell, and that the formula doesn’t really work for feathering and glazing. As you can see here, there is a coffee staining effect, likely because of the alcoholic additives. Due to these limitations, I can’t put it in the A-tier, and because of the irritating contents I’d recommend the Tamiya range only for experienced hobbyists.

Two Thin Coats

Let’s try the Two Thin Coats range by our beloved painting presenter Duncan Rhodes.
The colours in the Two Thin Coats range are heavily inspired by the Citadel range, with many colours being 1:1 matches. I’ve chosen the lightest shade from the yellow triad, Yellow Flame, which is slightly darker than Flash Gitz and closer to Yriel Yellow. Since I know many of you like to compare colours from different paint ranges, I’ve created hand-painted swatches for Two Thin Coats, Citadel, Warpaints Fanatic, and Vallejo Game Color, all of which are compatible with each other. And every month, new paint ranges are added, you can find these on my Patreon.

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This hand-painted swatch is available in my Patreon shop for a small donation (or by becoming an Autarch tier member). I also have swatches for Citadel Colour, Vallejo Game Color, Warpaints Fanatic, and AK 3rd Gen – all cross-compatible with each other so you can compare colours across different brands. Check out my shop for details.

In Two Thin Coat’s wave 3, there will be several more yellows, and once wave 3 is released, I’ll also update my Citadel and Two Thin Coats comparison charts.

But I’m already quite fond of Yellow Flame. It’s a dream to work with, with a velvety, creamy consistency that requires minimal thinning, especially on a wet palette. It offers excellent brushability with outstanding self-levelling properties and a long working time. After four to five coats, I achieved perfect coverage over black primer, as you can see here, with the smoothest result in the entire test and a pleasant matte finish. However, it also contains a high proportion of opaque pigments, which means Yellow Flame can’t quite match Flash Gitz Yellow’s vibrancy. For me, though, this is an acceptable trade-off, and I think it’s an excellent paint for hobbyists of all skill levels, so Yellow Flame is my first S-tier candidate.

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TTCombat

I have a few more yellows left, for example from TTCombat. TTCombat is known for their MDF terrain, but a while ago, they also launched a paint range via Kickstarter. In my review I found the metallics and washes to be solid but not exceptional. However, the regular acrylics have very high quality and strongly remind me of the formulation of Two Thin Coats, so they share the same qualities. Since the two yellows in the first wave are either lighter or darker than Flash Gitz Yellow, I tested both for a better comparison. Khepri Sunshine Yellow contains a lot of white pigment and is therefore quite bright and pastel, while Spotlight Yellow is darker and more orange than Flash Gitz and even Yriel Yellow. The coverage is pretty decent for both. After four thin coats, Khepri Sunshine Yellow achieved an opaque finish, while with Spotlight Yellow you can still see some of the black primer. But that’s still fantastic considering yellow paints with a high amount of orange usually cover even worse than pure yellows do. Therefore, for me, TTCombat also belongs in the S-tier, but with the caveat that the range doesn’t have a proper medium yellow like Flash Gitz yet.

The Army Painter

Let’s move on to The Army Painter. I have Daemonic Yellow from both the old and new Warpaints, so let’s start with the old version. I was never a big fan of the old Warpaints as they often had consistency issues. However, I must say, Daemonic Yellow was definitely one of the better ones. The paint is still a bit too thick and gel-like for my taste, meaning you need to thin it well, but the coverage is surprisingly high. The vibrancy is also quite decent. The finish is a bit too glossy for me, but overall, a solid B-tier entry.

Now, comparing it to the Daemonic Yellow from the new Warpaints Fanatic range. The consistency is similarly thick, but you can immediately feel that the paint is creamier and more homogeneous. Still, you need to add quite a lot of water to avoid smudging over any details. But even when thinned, the coverage is one of the best in this test. This is due to the use of lots of opaque pigment, but this makes the Fanatic Daemonic Yellow slightly more pastel than its predecessor. I debated for a long time whether to put this paint in the S tier, but overall I prefer the thinner consistency and the more matt finish of Two Thin Coats and TTCombat paints. So Daemonic Yellow narrowly misses the S-tier and goes into the A-tier, but I think many people will be happy with this paint.

Vallejo Game & Model Color

Moving on to Vallejo. First, I have Moon Yellow from the new Game Color range. The consistency of the new Game Color formula is very creamy, requiring little to no water for dilution, but the paint is not too thin either. You only need to shake the paints a little, but I noticed they separate on wet palettes after a relatively short time. Many people commented on my Game Color review saying that they have issues with bubbling paint. And yes, it’s true, if you shake the paint too hard or rub too much over the model with your brush, bubbles can form, which sometimes do not disappear when drying. However, if you are careful, or like me, simply a very slow painter, I don’t think it’s much of an issue. Nevertheless, I would like to apologize to everyone who bought Game Colors based on my review and is now having problems with them. Back to Moon Yellow… Compared to Flash Gitz Yellow you can tell there is a higher amount of opaque pigments, the colour is slightly lighter and a touch more pastel, but the saturation is still reasonable. The finish is super matte. I like the new Game Colors quite much, but because of the bubbling, and also because Moon Yellow doesn’t have the same smoothness as the yellows from Two Thin Coats and TTCombat, it doesn’t quite make it to the very top, so: solid A-tier.

Then I have Deep Yellow from the old Model Color range. At the time of this post, Vallejo has already announced a relaunch of their Model Color range. I will soon review them here on YouTube, so subscribe to my channel and hit the bell so you don’t miss it, and I also appreciate a thumbs up for the algorithm. But this is the old Model Color version, and to cut to the chase: Deep Yellow is terrible. Pigment and binder tend to separate, the paint needs to be shaken vigorously to achieve a somewhat homogeneous consistency. But the worst part is the coverage, it’s really non-existent and the worst in this comparison, not counting the artist paints. The old Model Color range had some great colours, but this is not one of them. Fail-tier. But as I said, this is the old Model Color version; once I have the new formula paints, I will add my impressions here.

Closing thoughts

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21 yellow Warhammer paints ranked & reviewed in a tier list

By the way, acrylic paint is not the only way to achieve a vibrant yellow. With one coat paints like Contrast and Speedpaint, you can achieve a pretty smooth layer of yellow with just one coat over white primer. Which “one coat” paint is the best on the market, I’ll show you in this video, where I rank all one coat style products in another tier list, so be sure to check it out.

Feel free to leave a reaction, or drop a comment below, I’m also happy to answer any questions on our friendly hobby Discord server. Thanks a lot, and happy hobbying!

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