All you need to know about the updated Vallejo Model Color range in one review. I’ve tested all 220 colours and will address all your burning questions. How does the new Model Color compare to the old version? Did they simply adopt the Game Color formula? Which colours were discontinued, and which new colours were added? And do they suffer from the same bubbling issue that some people have complained about with the new Game Colors?

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Did you know that Vallejo Model Color first appeared in 1992 and has remained unchanged since 1998? So, it was high time for an overhaul, and frankly, it wasn’t surprising that this was coming. Since their rebranding at the end of 2022, Vallejo has revamped the Game Color and Game Air paints, so it was only a matter of time before the venerable Model Color range had to follow suit.

New Vallejo Model Color review & comparison
The Vallejo Model Color range has been kindly provided by & Fantasy-In

Let’s start with the most important information: the new Model Colors have indeed been reformulated from the ground up, rather than just receiving a new label design like Vallejo did with the Mecha Color and Metal Color ranges. They also discontinued 30 colours and added 32 new colours, or “references,” as Vallejo likes to call them.

For this video, I’ve tested each and every of the 220 colours in the new Model Color range, and I’ll explain exactly what you can expect from the updated formula. Of course, I’ll also compare the new Model Colors with their old versions as well as the new Game Colors (which I reviewed here):

Speaking of Game Colors, the new Model Colors now come in the same bottles made of sustainable plastic, but with a white ring. These bottles are not only completely transparent and very easy to dispense, but you also get 18 ml of paint instead of 17 ml, all for the same price as before.

But enough preamble, let’s get to testing some paints. I’ll start with the metallics because they’re often a good indicator of the quality of the raw materials and pigments used.

Comparing the new Model Color metallics

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Vallejo produces some of the best metallic paints out there. I’m a huge fan of Model Air Steel as well as the metallics from the Mecha Color range. I know a lot of people also love the Metal Color and Liquid Metal ranges, which, by the way, didn’t change and just got the updated design. But to be honest, the old Model Color metallics weren’t that great. I found they had a slightly thick and gel-like consistency. The coverage was only mediocre, as the paints were based on cheaper mica metallic particles. Other Vallejo metallic paints use aluminium flakes, like most modern paint ranges like The Army Painter’s Warpaints Fanatic (review here) do. So let’s see if Vallejo was able to improve.

Well, at first glance, not much has changed. We have the same 10 colours as in the old range. These include a mix of silver, gold, and bronze tones, which are all a bit more muted and more realistic as Citadel’s gold and bronze colours. There is also a blue silver. It would have been nice if they would have added some more variety, but more vivid metallic colours can be found in the Game Color range.

But one thing has changed for sure, and that’s the consistency. It has become thinner and creamier, but not as thin as the new Game Color metallics. I find the new formula of the metallics easier to apply, and the coverage has been minimally improved, despite the thinner consistency. Additionally, the metallic particles have become finer, resulting in a nicer finish.

Vallejo Model Color old vs new gold paints comparison
The new Model Color metallics have finer aluminium particles

Compared to Game Color, the finish is the same, but the consistency is not as thin, more ideal for brush painting. However, a few colours tend to separate and the opacity is not as high as with the Mecha and Metal Color metallics. But, I love the slightly more realistic gold tones, which also provide slightly better coverage than their more yellow and orange Game Color counterparts.

So far, so good. Before I delve into the main part of the range, let’s briefly touch on the auxiliary products and all the colours that have been discontinued.

The auxiliary products

Overall, the additives and auxiliaries have remained the same; only the Crackle Medium has been removed. There are various mediums for thinning paints and adjusting their sheen, the popular Plastic Putty, which I prefer over Liquid Green Stuff, a chipping effect for weathering, as well as a couple of varnishes. I particularly like the fact that the Model Colour flyer explains how to use each product, including the recommended mixing ratios.

New Vallejo Model Color auxiliary products lined up
All 16 auxiliary products

Unlike the varnishes from the new Game Color range, which are polyurethane-based, the Model Color varnishes are purely water-based. I think water-based varnishes are more fail-safe to use because I found that polyurethane can dissolve certain inks, washes, and especially Speedpaints. In my opinion, it would have made more sense to make the Game Color varnishes water-based and the Model Color washes polyurethane, but oh well. Last but not least, we also have decal softeners, but I would recommend Microsol over Vallejo’s decal softeners, as the latter can be a bit weak. 

No longer part of the range are the glazes from the old Model Color range, as well as the fluorescent paints. The fluos are now part of the Game Color range, but the glazes have been discontinued. Additionally, 6 out of the 8 transparent colours are no longer part of the range; only Woodgrain and Smoke remain under the new names Mahogany Ink and Smoke Ink. Instead, the new Model Color range features 32 new colours, which fill some gaps of the old range.

Vallejo Model Color chart
All 220 colours plus the Liquid metal range

The new Model Color palette, like the Game Color range, has been restructured according to the BSL “Base – Shade – Layer” System. This means you’ll find a matching shadow and highlight paint for each colour, which you can find in the flyer from Vallejo’s website. In the flyer, you will also find an overview of all 220 colours. 

The new formula acrylics

So, how does the new Model Color formula compare, is it truly better than before? Well, when I think back, I have both fond and not-so-fond memories of the old Model Colors. I remember the consistency of the old Model Color paints was quite thick, similar to Citadel Base paints or the old Army Painter Warpaints, and dried rather quickly. The coverage was above average most of the time, except for bright, vibrant colours like yellow, orange, and red. These boasted high saturation, but with a low amount of opaque pigments they were usually quite transparent. I just made a video ranking 24 bright yellow paints from 14 different brands, and the old Model Color yellow scored pretty low.

But I don’t want to sound too negative, I did enjoy a lot of colours in the old range. My favourites were perhaps the grey tones, as well as the white, which was one of the better ones. And the black provided great coverage with a single coat and was super matte. However, I found that some colours separated heavily over time. This means that the heavy pigments sink to the bottom, while the lighter, transparent binder migrates to the top, resulting in an uneven consistency.

Death Korps of Krieg painted with the new Vallejo Model Colors
This Death Korps of Krieg trooper was painted with the new Vallejo Model Colors

Now, first the good news: I tested all of the 194 acrylic paints and can say that the consistency issues have been fixed. The new Model Colors hardly separate and are ready to use after a brief shake. The paint is now slightly thinner, similar to Citadel Layer paints or AK’s 3rd Gen paints. Fortunately, this hasn’t affected their coverage, which remains as high as before and has even been improved for many lighter and brighter colours. They also retained their beautiful matte finish. This was achieved through advancements in the chemical composition of acrylic paints in recent years. Higher pigment concentrations combined with added opaque pigments like white and grey increase coverage. This is always a balancing act – a lot of pure and bright pigments often mean lower opacity, while more opaque pigments make the colours duller. For example, the new Warpaints Fanatic have quite a lot of opaque pigments, which make some of the brighter colours slightly pastel. But Vallejo has struck a good balance; the vibrant colours are still just as vibrant as in the old Model Color range, sometimes even a touch more intense than their predecessors. 

I noticed the drying time has increased, as well as the self-levelling properties, which allows the paint to spread more evenly and without visible brush strokes. The paints work very well in the airbrush, the Model Color range has a matching thinner and I recommend adding a drop of flow improver as well. The longer working time also makes blending easier, and I found the paints remain stable on a wet palette.

Old vs new colour match

As I mentioned earlier, 32 new colours have been added to the range, with 30 colours discontinued. But how well do the new versions match the old ones? Vallejo promises that they have tested all colours for colour fidelity, but I will put that to the test. Here you can see a selection of old and new Model Colors, a mix of vibrant and more muted hues, and also some metallics.

Old vs. new Vallejo Model Color match
Left: old Vallejo Model Colors, right: the new 2024 versions

At first glance, I think the match is pretty good. However, upon closer inspection, there are minimal deviations. The new version of Violet Red has a slightly more red hue, the new Park Green Flat is slightly more yellowish, and the new Dark Grey is slightly bluish. The metallics also have a slightly different finish due to the finer aluminium particles. What I do like, however, is that the vibrant colours are just as saturated as before, despite the improved opacity.

By the way, if you want to get a feel of the new Model Color range yourself, then download my digital colour swatch. This is a professional reproduction of all 220 colours, hand-painted on plasticard, much more true to life than the colour chart on the website. I’ve also created matching compatible charts for Game Color, Citadel, AK, Warpaints Fanatic, and many more, allowing you to compare colours from different paint ranges.

Vallejo Model Color swatch Patreon banner V1.0

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 Vallejo Game Color, Citadel Colour, AK 3rd Gen, Warpaints Fanatic, and Two Thin Coats – all cross-compatible with each other so you can compare colours across different brands. Check out my shop for details.

The Game Color bubbling issue

Now, if you have already tried the new Game Color range from Vallejo you might wonder now: Do the new Model Colors have the same formula as the new Game Colors? And although Vallejo oddly does not make a statement about this, I would say… give me a thumbs up if you enjoy this review and if you don’t want to miss out on the latest paint and hobby product reviews, please subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already, there will be many more videos coming. And to answer the question: Yes, I say it’s the same formula. Or at least a very similar one. They feel the same on the brush, and they have the same matte finish. It also makes sense to make these two ranges compatible with each other. Game Color with its vibrant fantasy and sci-fi colours, Model Color with its earthier and more realistic shades.

Garfy's Get a Grip banner 760x100 px

Since my Game Color review, I’ve received many messages and comments from people who have problems with excessive bubbling.

For some reason, I overlooked this. Probably because other paint ranges also form bubbles. Citadel paints thinned with water produce many bubbles, for example, as do some colours from the AK 3rd Gen range, especially the metallics. And it’s usually not that big of an issue if the bubbles dissolve when drying. The problem, however, is that with the new Game Colors, the bubbles can leave marks on the model when dried.

So what about the new Model Colors, same issue? Let’s find out. I give them a really hard and long shake, apply them to my wet palette, and stir them a lot when thinning them with some water. As you can see, bubbles form, and these bubbles also transfer to the model. Here is what the model looks after it’s dried.

New Vallejo Model Color dried bubbles on a model
Bubbles in dried paint

So yes, as you can see, you can make Model Color bubble, as the formula is pretty much the same as Game Color. Whether this is a problem for you, you’ll have to decide for yourself. I have to say, I use the Game Color range quite frequently and have never had bubbles showing up on a finished model. Perhaps it’s because I’m such a slow painter. Taking your time can help avoiding the bubble problem. Also, shaking the paints only briefly is advisable. Both Game and Model Colors are quite stable, and if you use them regularly, they hardly need to be shaken. When thinning, be sure to stir slowly, and avoid synthetic brushes with stiff bristles, as they create more friction when applying paint to the model. Having said that, if you’ve already tested the new Game Colors and had difficulties with them, then the new Model Colors won’t convince you either.

Model Color vs AK 3rd Gen

Now, the final question: New Vallejo Model Color or AK’s 3rd Generation acrylic paints? AK 3rd Gen is the competitor product and has a very similar colour palette, plus they are very popular with many pro painters and YouTubers. Check out my review here and make the comparison yourself.


The RRP of the new Model Colors has fortunately remained the same, at £3 / 3 € per colour (with a 20% discount at Wayland Games at the time of writing). This is the same price as Warpaints Fanatic in the UK, and even cheaper in the Eurozone. Also, as already mentioned, the content has been increased from 17 to 18ml. No shrinkflation here.

By the time you read this, the new Vallejo Model Color paints will become available in European hobby shops. In some shops, old paints are gradually being replaced by the new versions depending on availability. As the product codes have remained the same, some retailers have not yet changed the product images, so if in doubt, ask customer service whether old or new colours are available. Outside of Europe, Vallejo is much slower with supplying, so it may take a few more months before the new Model Colours arrive in the rest of the world. No paint sets have been announced yet either.

You can find the latest hobby products at our 🇬🇧/🇪🇺 partner stores Wayland GamesElement Games, and Firestorm Games, at 🇩🇪 Taschengelddieb and PK-Pro, and at 🇺🇸 Noble Knight Games with a welcome discount of up to 10–15% over RRP. Using our links helps to support Tale of Painters at no additional cost to you, so thank you very much for using them!

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.




  • Smooth consistency, amazing opacity, and matte finish
  • 32 new colours, 220 colours in total
  • Lots of camo greens, earthy browns, and ochres
  • 18ml dropper bottles for a competitive price


  • 30 colours removed
  • Paint can bubble and leave marks on a model
Auxiliary products

Final Verdict

In my Game Color review, I gave the non-metallic acrylics a 9 out of 10 because I loved the high opacity, matte finish, and found the consistency perfect. The Model Color paints share the same qualities, and if you loved the new Game Colors, the new Model Color range is right up your alley, as the formula is pretty much the same. But I have to deduct a point because of the bubbling, even though I found it didn't affect my painting. The total score is still slightly higher than my rating of the Game Color range, as I found the Game Color effect paints and washes a bit disappointing.