Games Workshop Contrast Paints: Part 1 – Initial Impressions

With the launch of our new Social Isolation Painting Challenge, we thought now would be a good time to start a new series of articles looking at Building and Painting your models!

Marketed as “an incredibly powerful paint range” that will allow you to “accomplish some remarkable effects” Games Workshop launched the Contrast Paint Range almost a year ago, so it’s about time we started writing up our feedback after trying the paints in a few different ways.

For part one of this series, I wanted to give a grand overview of how I have been using Contrast Paints, and provide my initial impressions of the range, its ease of use and the final results.

Unexpected or Controlled Demand?

As with many things, I start off with some grand plans and to say that this article was going to be one of them would not be far off the mark, I had planned to get a few select paints at launch and quickly get to reviewing them.

But Games Workshop had other ideas, the actual release of Contrast Paints for many independent stockists was a bit of a crazy time, weird trade bundle restrictions and the inability to supplement the initial order by getting extra stock of specific colours from the range meant that even if you did your due diligence as a store there was very little you could do to meet demand at launch which gave the impression of the paints being an instant hit to the consumer.

This lead into weeks of supply issues on some of the more popular colours in the line and at the Sentry Box, all of the staff agreed that we would not buy any of the range for ourselves until supply had stabilised to ensure the customers could get their hands on it [I think if the staff had bought what they wanted on the initial release there would have literally been zero on the shelf on release day, what can I say, we were all excited too!]

Games Workshop did an awesome job building up hype for the range through the Warhammer Community site and really had some cool content.

A couple of weeks in there was no sign of the Primers being on the shelf and so I grabbed a few colours that were in stock and started trying to pick a project that lined up with them.

I had intended to do some side by side comparisons with an old Nurgle Deamon army that I had painted just before I moved to Canada when I was trying to teach myself how to airbrush and see how they compared but was in the process of transferring the army on to round bases so it was not really in a position for photographs and so I was a bit stuck on what to do with the limited colours I had managed to pick up, especially knowing that I would be using a Corax White Base as I had no access to the Contrast Primers.

Luckily, I had a Call of Cthulu One shot coming up that I was demoing for the store.

So, with one pot of Darkoath Flesh and one pot of Plagueberer Flesh in hand, one night of insomnia, a hand full of used Ghouls I had grabbed for an awesome price out of the Sentry Box’s used cabinet I got to work.

Ghouls basecoat

With no real plan, I slapped on the Contrast Paint over white and then did a coat of shade over them to see what the effects were like.

I have to say, this initial run was really fun and I really enjoyed the simplicity of throwing the paint on with no real plan and seeing what happened.
I had purposefully avoided looking at other content on how they were to use and other reviews as I wanted to go in with an open mind, I got the basecoats and first round of shades done on 20 ghouls in the small hours of the morning and then when I finally turned in I was really excited to get back to them and get the batch finished.
My (sort of ) plan was to add variety to the unit through skin tones so with 20 models, I did 10 with the Plagueberer and 10 with the Darkoath, then once they were dry I mixed them into a pile and did batches of 5(ish) with the following shades; Athonian Camoshade, Reikland Fleshshade, Coelia Greenshade & Agrax Earthshade.

I didn’t do anything too fancy, just picked a limited pallet for the rest of the models (Ushabti Bone, Flayed One Flesh, Skarg Brown, Blood for the Blood God and Agrax Earthshade)

Ghouls done

Some extremely simple basing of Stirland Mud drybrushed with Tyrant Skull and some Static Grass, finished them off.

That was where we left them as I wanted to see what I could do at a tabletop standard with a minimal amount of effort.

Are they any good?

Rounding out this part one of the series I can’t recommend Contrast Paints highly enough!

I am a fairly quick painter to this kind of standard anyway, so whilst it didn’t really shave anything of the time I would have spent painting these models in a “normal” way, I definitely felt easier to explain to people how I would do it and how they can get a similar result, in a similar timescale.

All in, this was maybe 3 hours’ time at the painting desk which is less than 10 minutes per model which I like to think of as a solid benchmark pace for these types of paint jobs.

Once a new painter has the confidence to literally just slap on that first coat of Contrast and then the Shade over the top I am confident that they would be hitting that kind of time without much effort and maintaining a consistent standard.

For part two of the Contrast Paint Deep Dive, I plan on showing you all how I use them to cheat when painting single figures for D&D and how they interact with some other manufacturers’ models.

Leave a comment letting us know your thoughts on Contrast Paints, have you been using them and send in some pics of what you managed to pull off!

– Kris

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