Wednesday, 25 August 2004

Thoughts on the Foundry Paint System

The [Foundry Paint System]( has been available for quite some time now. For those of you not aware of it -- it's basically a line of paints (_specially formulated for miniatures_ of course, meaning there's more and more finely ground pigment in it than in regular acrylic paint) with a twist; the twist being that they come in sets of three: a shade, base and highlight colour.

The idea is that these paints will help you paint in the 'Foundry' style, i.e. the classic high contrast three shade layering, by providing you with matched colours, obleviating the need for mixing. I use this method of painting (and have been for quite a while before it became so popular), but tend to go easier on the contrast in my paint jobs than the [Dallimore]( - [Dean]( school of painters.

I have not used any of the Foundry paints so far, so I cannot comment on their consistency, ease of application or covering power (three oft discussed qualities on miniature painting related mailgroups and websites). I do have some thoughts on the idea of providing matched sets. I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I like the idea of being able to buy paint and being reasonably sure that they will work together for my painting style. Although I have a fairly good 'feel' for colours, and can usually tell whether sets of colours will work together, there are the occasional misses, which should no longer be there with the Foundry paints. Having the highlight colour available also means there's no more mixing (I usually pick a shade and base colour from my paints and mix up the highlight from the base colour).

On the other hand, not having to mix the highlight colour can be a bit of a mixed blessing (_sic_. Those of you not accustomed to my brand of humour can consider themselves warned now). I usually mix the highlight by adding either white or beige (beige for the warm colours, white for the cool colours, in general), so that I get both a lighter _and a less saturated_ version of the base colour. This last bit is important, as most of the stuff that I paint (virtually all, even) comes from time periods before there was anything like the kind of dyes used today for clothing, meaning that the vast majority of clothing would be drab and washed out looking. This is simulated by the weakly saturated colours. Mixing by hand also means that you can vary the colour from figure to figure, which for most non-uniformed (and even most uniformed) figures will add a touch of realism.

On the gripping hand, selling paints in sets of three (and they're packaged by the two sets, so you buy six in one go) that are effectively unseperable can also be considered as a genius marketing ploy by the Foundry, if you were to be the cynical type.

So, in general, I'm not running white-hot for the FPS, but I think I will pick up some of the more 'difficult' colour combinations (reds, to name one, although I have found that mixing with flesh instead of red is a great way of mixing up the highlight for reds) some time in the future.

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