Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Switching back to Vallejo Model Colour

Over the years (and I dread to count their number), I've had three major brands of paints I used.

Way in the beginning, when animals still spoke and we were all much younger, hairier and still at university, I started out using Tamiya acrylics and a smattering of Games Workshop paints (the round pots with flip on lids). This was mostly for practical reasons, as those were the paints that were easily available in Leuven at that time (mostly at the Lonely Mountain game shop, our home away from home at that time, and the Christiaensen toy store).

Some years later, when the internet started breaking through, I switched to Vallejo Model Colours, both mail order and from a model train store in Leuven which then carried this range. The period I used Vallejo Model Colours also coincided with the period I painted every single figure, whether it was a leader or a rank and file soldier, in full-on 3+ layer mode. This meant that, while I was very happy with the quality of the paints themselves, I did spend a lot of time mixing colours.

When Foundry then came out with their triad system and this happened to coincide with my tendency to ease off on the complexity of the painting, I made the switch to Foundry paints exclusively. Not having to mix colours any more but being able to use them straight from the pot was the main reason I switched to them, even though purely quality-wise, the Vallejo paints are the better ones IMO.

Which brings us to today. After somewhere between 5 and 10 years of using Foundry paints, I'm switching back to Vallejo Model Colours. I have two main reasons for this.

The first reason is my drift towards army level painting and away from display level painting which is now at the point where I only use two layers of colour on the vast majority of my paint jobs. This means that on the one hand one pot of paint in each Foundry triad remains unused while on the other hand it will also mean that, given the vast range of Vallejo paints, I am much more confident of finding matching colour pairs in their range without having to resort to mixing again.

The second reason is a more negative one and has to do with the Foundry paint pots themselves. More and more, I find that my pots end up like this long before the paint in them is used up:

On virtually each and every pot of paint that I have that is older than a year and is regularly used, the lids are broken. It starts off with the little tab you push to open the lid breaking off, usually within the first few months of using the pot. It then gets progressively worse, with the lid (which now has to be wedged open with a screwdriver or a set of pliers or some such device) breaking up more and more until all that is left is the bare minimum to seal the pot, as can be seen on the pot of Teal Blue on the right. The Vallejo paint, with its screw-top eyedropper bottles, does not have this problem.

Having taken to decision to switch back to Vallejo, I splashed out and bought a 72-bottle set from Scenery Workshop in the Netherlands. This, and the handful of bottles I still had stashed away somewhere will become my main set of paints.

What's everyone else's favourite brand of paint and why?


  1. Vallejo. Top quality, handy bottles and they last forever (I still have bottles I bought 20 years ago). I also use some army painter, mainly their washes, some spray primers and colours to match the primers.

  2. Yes, I have had the same problem with the tops. I thought it was because I had had the Foundry colours for some time. I have found that the paint still is usable though. I would also recommend the P3 range of paints. Not cheap but they give excellent coverage.

  3. Foundry and Vallejo with the odd Games Workshop here and there. Have a few Foundry paints were the lid is/has gone but have been able to replace with old lids here and there.

    Black Hat Miniatures sell the lids but the postage is off putting.

    Cheers, Ross

  4. Vallejo almost exclusively for me. I too have had the Foundry ones break on me in a similar fashion.



  5. I'm almost exclusively using Vallejo too.
    There are still a few (very) old GW paint pots, but I hardly ever use them.
    The only things I still buy from GW are the washes, which I like a lot, though on the more expensive side of things.


  6. I'm a Vallejo Bro too. Easy to find, they last forever, and have good coverage.
    I'm annoyed that I have to insert my own agitators into the vials to ensure that they mix properly (and even then... so much shaking... )

  7. I am still using GW paints. Some of my paint pots are over 25 years old. But that's rare. Most of them dry out after a few years.

    My current paint pots are a mix of Citadel, Foundry and Vallejo.

    But yes, the lids are a problem. I guess much of it depends whether you keep them in the light all the time. As most cheap plastic, it quickly degrades.