Great Paints You Might Not Have Tried

With the number of calls, emails & Facebook messages we have been dealing with recently, we thought it could be a good time to share some thoughts on some of the different paint ranges that we have on offer in the store and share some of Chris’s favorites.

If you’re a fan of Warhammer 40k, Age of Sigmar or any of Games Workshop’s other games, you’re probably familiar with Citadel, GW’s own brand of miniatures paint. Even if you play or collect one of the many other types of miniatures games out there, chances are good you’ve used their paint before too. But since the current crisis hit, production and distribution at GW has been shut down and many of their paint colors have become increasingly scarce.

But Citadel paints are hardly the only show in town. Here at the Sentry Box, we carry plenty of other great paint ranges for miniatures, each with their own strengths and hidden gems. While there’s not always going to be a perfect match to every missing Citadel color you may be after, these brands are all great paints with some really outstanding colors that deserve a place on your next project. We’re going to take a look at some of them here, and I’ll include a selection of my favorite colors from each that I think are especially cool or useful.

Remember, all of these paints are water-based acrylics just like Citadel paints, and are totally compatible with each other (I’ll typically end up using three or four brands of paint on the same model). You can even mix paints together across brands with no problems. And this isn’t an exhaustive list – we have even more paint options available here at the store. If you see something here you want to pick up or have any other questions about painting miniatures, please shoot us a Facebook message or email and we’ll see what we can do. On to the paints!

Formula P3


This range from Privateer Press was originally developed for use with their Warmachine miniatures. While it may not have as many colors as most others, it still has a great range of options and some unusual colors that you won’t find in other ranges. They use a liquid pigment that gives nice smooth application and excellent coverage. The paints come in a flip-top bottle, much like the really old-school Citadel paints from way back in the day. Another nice touch is the inclusion of pairs of colors for easy basecoating and highlighting with no guesswork needed.

Chris’s Picks:


This color is not quite orange and not quite brown. I like it because it looks saturated and interesting while still not feeling out of place on more military-looking models. A favorite of mine for camo patterns on tanks or with Imperial Guard models in 40k.


My choice for supple leather areas like weapon hafts, which you’ll find useful for fantasy and sci-fi miniatures alike. Screamer Pink from Citadel is close, but I prefer the slightly darker, more realistic effect that this paint gives. A trick for highlighting: this will tend to turn pink if you mix in pure white, so try adding a flesh tone instead for a more natural-looking color transition.


A super bright, almost neon green. It’s really good at making highlights pop, and adding little spots of color in places like eye lenses or gems. Makes for great alien blood effects too!


Citadel makes a few colors that are kinda close, but nothing quite like this just offwhite, parchment sort of color. It’s great for purity seals, robes, angel wings or the forbidden tome of knowledge your wizard just picked up.

Vallejo Game Color


While I use and love paints from all the ranges we carry, if you put a gun to my head and made me pick just one to keep, it would probably be Game Color. If you’ve been painting for a while, you’ll probably recognize a bunch of colors from this range – it was created to parallel the old range of Citadel paints, part of a business venture between Games Workshop and Vallejo to produce Citadel paints for them. The deal fell through, but Vallejo wound up with a selection of excellent paints that were eventually released as Game Color. I love these paints for their smooth flat finish, low price and good selection of core colors that are useful no matter what kind of model you’re working on. I’m also a big fan of the dropper bottles that Vallejo uses for all their paints – they take up less space, are easy to measure out on to the palette and are very resistant to drying out. Plus, each one actually holds more paint than most other brands. Take a look at the label: Vallejo bottles contain 17ml, while Citadel pots have only 12ml. An even better deal for your money!

Chris’s Picks:


Despite the name, this is actually more of a warm grey. This is a great color to drybrush with – I use it for areas from stone, texture on bases, fur, to terrain. Also really good as a neutral color for cloth like pants or backpacks to complement brighter colors and stand out just a bit from brown or black used on leather straps or pouches.


Citadel’s Retributor Armour is a fantastic paint for gold, but I prefer this for anything darker or more tarnished. I’ve used it for worn jewelry, plaques, and all sorts of pipes and valves. A must-have for industrial terrain or Adeptus Mechanicus models.


I love how vibrant this blue is. My favorite use for it is in painting gems and lenses – you can mix a gradient along with Imperial Blue and Electric blue from the same range to create effects with tons of depth and color range.


As the name might suggest, this is a strong, deep red. Its close relative Scarlet Red is just a bit darker and more purple, while this has more orange-brown to it. The richness of the color really stands out and fits nicely into both sci-fi and fantasy settings.

Vallejo Model Color


If you’re after tons of different shades and options, look no further. The Model Color range has a truly vast assortment of beautiful colors, ranging from vibrant reds, purples and greens to drab earth tones that are purpose-designed for historical modellers (hence the name). The go-to choice for historical subjects like Bolt Action and Flames of War, but there’s something for everyone here no matter what you’re working on. This range also features the handy dropper bottles and generous quantities that Game Color does. Also included are plenty of handy additives and auxiliary products such as different mixing mediums and brush-on varnishes. The sheer variety alone means that Model Color deserves a spot at your painting table – just looking at all the colors on the rack makes me want to get painting.

Chris’s Picks


There’s nothing quite like this paint. It really does fall right in between being a green and being a grey. Really gives your miniature a military feel, whether it’s a historical subject or not (lots of WWII armies had canvas web gear that looked like this color). Looks great on something like Tau, Imperial Guard or Kharadron Overlords.


The Model Color range isn’t all drab military colors. On top of a nice variety of primary shades, Vallejo also produces some more exotic paints like this fluorescent one. They have four different fluorescent colors in the range, but I think this yellow is my favorite. Fantastic for making your monster, demon or radioactive mutant really stand out.


Black can be a bit of a challenge when painting, since a pure black can’t be shaded. My go-to method is to use an almost-but-not-quite-black dark grey like this German Grey and shade with a black wash for super-fast contrast. If you want the saturation of working from a pure black, this is also a great color to start highlighting with. If you like using Citadel’s Corvus Black, German Grey did it first.


A beautiful dark maroon shade. It’s perfect for places where a pure red would be too strong but a brown would be too boring. Makes a great match with tan or khaki for desert themes. I like to highlight it with colors like Gory Red and Bloody Red to bring out the depth of color.

Army Painter Color Primers


The Army Painter was among the first to offer a really comprehensive range of colors available in spray cans, making basecoating your miniatures much faster (especially when working on whole armies – almost like they planned it that way!). They’re at about the same price point as spray paints by Citadel, but offer a wider selection of colors. Conveniently, we also have all the same colors in brush-on paint bottles, so touch-ups are just as easy.

Chris’s Picks


A great midtone grey that makes a great primer coat for miniatures that will have a variety of colors applied. It’s bright enough that lighter colors will retain vibrancy, while darker ones will still look opaque and smooth.


You might have noticed from this article that I’m a fan of dark brown-red tones, and this one is no exception. It’s a great base for anything industrial or rusty – perfect for Orks, battle-worn tanks and especially terrain.


An undead army in a can. From D&D to Age of Sigmar, sometimes you just need a giant horde of skeletons. I love Citadel’s Zandri Dust spray, but I think it’s too dark to really crank out most undead models. Spray your skeletons with this, slap on a wash, pick out some details and you’ll be TPKing in no time.


WAAAAGH! No matter what flavor of orks (or orcs) you’re painting, this is a great color to have in a spray can. It’s also a good choice for something like Wood Elves or Salamanders Space Marines. Handy for verdant-looking terrain like the Awakened Wyldwood from Age of Sigmar, too.

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