A lot of people think, since we work in painting studio, we own almost complete pallets from different hobby brands. Actually, we own around 30-40 different color in total and regularly use half of them.
What brands should you choose from?
Safe bets are Vallejo, Citadel, Andrea, Scale75 or P3 (if you don’t mind spending fortune on Matt Medium). There’s no point in searching for cheaper paints, all brands worth something have similar pricing.
Choosing your palette is all about cherry picking. Almost every brand has very good colors as well as very bad.
The point is to try new colors without throwing away too much money, You probably have some few paints that you bought because of cool color, but you don’t really use them. There is so much variety, you can’t just choose randomly.
We have simple system to deal with this issue. We have list of paints we always keep in stock. When we’re ordering paints we are adding one or two new colors to test. Most of the time it’s waste of money but those few times when we find something it usually changes our way of work.
Here is list of our regular paints and how we organize them.
Black and white:
These are the most important paints. We are using them for 3/4 of our work. You’ll need to mix them with other colors to create shades and highlights. We use two kinds of black and two kinds of white.
- Vallejo Black Model Color, we use it because it’s really easily available, it is slightly glossy which makes all shadows deeper thank with matt black
- Andrea Flat Black, it has really strong pigment and is matt as hell, we use it to mix it with different paints, it works sort of like matte medium
- Vallejo White Model Color, again it is available, we use to all around purposes, especially when we want to make smooth highlights of bigger surface
- Andrea Flat Black White, it’s really important paint, strong pigment works wonders on painting edges and fine final highlights
Andrea’s white and black is interchangeable with Scale75 black and white. I really recommend you to check them out.
In this case you’ll only need one good kind of silver paint. You can achieve any common metal color with washes.
- Vallejo Air Silver Paint, we use it because it’s very good, cheap and easy to buy, but there’s plenty good silver paint
Don’t bother with any acrylic gold or copper. For special purposes we use Vallejo Metalizers, but those are quite hard to use and not fit for every day painting.
Unless you are playing Orks or Trollbloods you’ll need a lot of human flesh tone. Use one and just mix with other paints when you want to achieve special effects.
- Andrea Pinky Flesh, we use this because of strong pigment, but any human skin tone will work great as a base
You really don’t need to buy “Pale Skin Tone”, “80h Work Week Skin Tone” to create variety when it’s necessary.
This section depend on which army are you are planing. Obviously when you paint only Ultramarines you’ll need mostly blue with one or two additional colors.
Here are our workhorses, which we use to cover most of color schemes we paint.
- Scale 75 Blood Red or Citadel Mephisto Red, we use it for flesh related purposes like wounds and for royal clothing
- Andrea Napoleonic Red, you’ll need another kind of red, when you want to keep it bright for example when you painting flames
- Vallejo Magic Blue, any generic blue with work with 90% of cases
- Vallejo MC Lime Green and Scale75 Black Forest Green, those two paints works great together, you’ll be able to create any shade of green with them
- Andrea Medium Brown, it’s one of the best paints I ever used, you really won’t need any other brown color anymore, only downside it’s quite hard to get
- Vallejo Turquoise and Vallejo Emerald Green, little glossy but helps to keep your color scheme more interesting
- Andrea Royal Purple, it’s pretty basic color and you can get it from any other brand, I would stick to the ones with strong pigment
- Scale75 Caspian Blue, I just really like it and it works fine on Trollbloood skin
- Andrea Dark Flesh, name is really misleading, we use it as substitute for yellow, most of yellow paints are worth next to nothing
Games Workshop, all the way. They have great washes and we use them for all purposes.
- Seraphim Sepia, we use it to paint gold and it works wonders
- Agrax Earthshade, we use it for ordinary metal parts and any brown bits
- Nuln Oil, used for steel and sometimes mixed with Agrax Earthshade to create deeper shades
- Reiklad Fleshshade, used mostly for human skin
Recently Games Workshop added glossy version of their washes, don’t buy them unless you’re really know what you’re doing.
- Vallejo Surface Primer White and Vallejo Surface Primer Black, those aren’t really necessary but really improves your work with airbrush. Those are great primers, but you can use it as normal white and black paint in airbrushing
- Vallejo Air Mahogany, incredible all around glazing tool, it goes well with almost every other color
That all we really need to paint our stuff. This isn’t really set in stone list, we continuously improve it. Hope it will will help you with your own palette.
Remember to experiment and mix your paint! If you have questions please let me know.