Games Workshop Contrast Paints: Part 2 – Pre-Primed Miniatures

In Part 1 of our look at GW’s Contrast Paint range, we gave our first impressions of the paints, and I said that I wanted to take a look at how they interacted with some other miniatures and show some fun ways of using them.

Hopefully, we start that in Part 2!

The first range I wanted to play around with and show off was the ever-popular WizKids Deepcuts Range. These miniatures come pre-assembled and pre-primed, so theoretically are ready for painting right out of the pack, with zero preparation required.

Jumping right in (even if this is chronologically incorrect) I grabbed a figure I knew would lend itself to this test, so introducing the Grizzly…


CR1 gets you 34 hitpoints, Multiattack with a +6 modifier, and the ability to run down any low-level adventurers who try to run away.  Always a good random encounter for low-level parties.

Opening up the blister and I immediately have to resist the temptation to clean the model up a little, this is fairly normal from my experience with the range and is super easy to clean up but this isn’t a review of Deep-Cuts and on the whole, they are my go-to for accessible D&D figures at the moment.


There is a little bit of flash under the arms and the gap around the head join was a little larger than I would like but I don’t fix anything so that we can get a true, out of the blister test.

Then, possibly the most important step, and the one I have been having the most trouble with since setting up this premise in the last article, I tidy up the painting desk a little so that I can get decent progress shots and show you all what I am doing.


Hidden away in the furnace room, where I belong…

Tip number one, if like me, you enjoy using the Citadel Painting Handle, it exerts a little too much pressure on the relatively thin WizKids bases, so I used some Blu Tack (I don’t know if that’s the same brand name in NA, sorry…) and plonked it on to an old base I keep around for just such an occasion.

Then, I started the timer.  Not that this was a speed paint or anything, I just thought it would be worth keeping track so that you had an idea of the process.

Stage 1 is painting the Fur, as it’s the largest area and I could be a little messy with it if I did that first.


I went with a 1:1 mix of Gore-Grunta Fur and Contrast Medium

I wanted a lighter shade of fur and have found that varying the amount of Contrast Medium is a good way of taking the edge of some of the richer colours.


One nice smooth coat of paint later

I try to avoid letting the paint mix pool too much, it’s not like applying a shade or a wash, you want to be fairly deliberate with your brush and how you are applying the paint.
If you do find the paint pooling, I just wipe the Brush off on a paper towel and then use the same brush to soak up some of the excess or move it around the model a little more.

Without waiting for the model to be completely dry, I then got ready to do some details.
One of the reasons I chose this model to do a more in-depth talk about was because of how few colours you actually need to get what is hopefully going to be a cool finished model.


Black Templar for the Claws, Nose, Ears, Lips, and Eyes, Volupus Pink for the Tounge, Guilliman Flesh for the Roof of the Mouth and Skeleton Horde for the Teeth

This part goes really quickly, and hopefully I can explain it well enough.

You want to start with the least vibrant/lightest colour, in this case, Skeleton Horde on to the Teeth, then Guilliman Flesh on to the Mouth, Pink on the Tounge and finally the Black on to the Nose, Lips, Claws, etc.

Obviously, take more care as you get to the darker colours to ensure you don’t go over anything, but if you do make a mistake, its a real easy fix, just grab some white paint, dab it over your error and then put the old contrast back over it.


For the sake of keeping it all contrast, I threw some Spacewolves Grey on to the base

At this point, we could call the model finished…


I use the D&D prepainted miniatures as a benchmark a lot when I am teaching people to paint, so a quick google search brought up this little guy.


I am not one to judge, it’s currently $6 for this guy online and that is for the prepainted figure.

I am comfortable saying that our Grizzly looks better than the pre-painted Brown Bear and checking the clock we have been working for 10 minutes (well almost one full YouTube video I had on in the background that was 14 minutes long..)

So, the Contrast Paints work fine directly on to the DeepCuts and give what I think is a good result.

But, I have a confession, a confession, and maybe a bit of a spoiler for future articles in this series…

I didn’t stop there.

I think that whilst it is perfectly reasonable to use Contrast Paints in this way to get nicer-looking models than you are used to on to the table really quickly, they actually work best as part of a toolbox of techniques.

I spent another 20 minutes working on our Grizzly.

A quick wash of Agrax Earthshade over the Fur, some extra attention to the eyes with a touch of Yellow and then linning them back off with Black again and some dry brushing on to the Black and a Nuln Oil wash over the top of the snout to give a nice transition from the brown to the black of the nose.
Finally, some grass patches and some flowers (just because he deserves nice things) and we can call him finished.


The Agrax Earthshade wash helps to add some extra depth to the Fur without the vibrance of not watering down the Contrast Paint, leaving you with depth but no oversaturation.


Even without cleaning up those joins on the arms and neck, the contrast paint does a good enough job at discussing them to where I don’t think they are noticeable with “normal” viewing, its only a shot like this where we are close and at the correct angle where I think they really stand out.


Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen my original Grizzly from just over a year ago, she was one of my first outings with Contrast Paints and it was fun to get to revisit the same model a year later.

Finally, just to show off this sort of technique on some other figures from the same range, here is an eclectic collection of townsfolk.

All of these were painted in the same style as our Grizzly, right out of the box with minimal cleaning.
There were varying levels of layering applied to a few of them, which is one technique we didn’t touch on with the Bear, but that is effectively, just normal painting.  I used it to add a more flat consistent colour to some parts of a couple of the miniatures or to accentuate a detail here and there.

Overall, I am delighted with how these two ranges work together and still highly recommend the Contrast Range to both new and experienced painters.

They are not going to work like magic and be zero effort to get the best results, but they work.  They are a low effort, easy to use product, and give a finish that I think is above the level of the prepainted miniatures that most of us are used to seeing in our RPGs.

That about wraps up part two of my look at Contrast Paints.  Thanks for sticking with it and let me know if you have had any good or bad experiences with them and the Deepcuts Range or any other Pre-Assembled and Pre-Primed miniatures.

For part three, I plan on taking a look at using them to try out some new effects and explore some (theoretically) higher quality painting, hopefully, the gap won’t be as long this time as I have the bulk of the project I would like to write about done already and so just need to pick a couple of pieces to paint as examples.

– Kris

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