Dan Becker's Paint Swatch Charts

Example paint swatches
Example paint swatches
This article discusses various paint systems for miniatures and model painters andprovides a set of charts that you can print and use to make a reference swatch board.A swatch board is a compact chart that is used to show a series of paints,their color range, opacity, and finish.An example is show in the photo to the right.You can see a number of colors from various manufacturers, the color value range, a few shade and highlight variations,the paint opacity and how well it covers up the chart beneath, and the sheen of the paint from glossy to matte.

To use the charts, find your paint manufacturer below, click on the link to the paint chart,print it out on your computer printer, and then use your paints to cover up the swatches.Of course you will have to provide your own paint set to make the swatches, but the charts themselvesare useful to see which line of paints matches your requirements.You can also compare the charts to make some sense of the multitudinous color names.Our language has so many names for colors, and the miniatures makers are coining new names all the time.How close are Reaper Saffron Sunset, Foundry Orange, Vallejo Amarantha Red, and Citadel Colour Bright Monkey Butt(Nauseating Blue, Snot Green, Vomit Brown, Bilious Green)?If you fill in the swatches with paint samples, you will have a compact reference sheet free fromcomputer monitor variations that will help you to find a color very quickly.

Vallejo Model Color

Vallejo Model Color swatches
Vallejo Model Color swatches
Vallejo of Spain makes several lines of acrylic paints for modeling, gaming, and spray painting.The Model Color line is very popular in hobby stores and provides a range of 208 colorsin a handy 17 ml eyedropper squeezy bottle.

The colors are quite thick and can use a bit of thinning before use.I always pop open the bottle and add some extender and a heavy hematite bead to help mix the paint.The greens, browns, and blues are quite good, but like a lot of acrylics,the lighter reds, oranges, and yellows can be quite transparent - use white primer beforehandfor maximum color saturation.I've had several bottles made somewhat useless from some sort of sandy sediment orundissolved pigment in the bottle that vigorous shaking could not dissolve.Perhaps they were old or bottom of the barrel.

Here is the paint reference chart for Vallejo Model Colors.The color samples are from the Vallejo site (sorry no RGB values) and the numbers belowthe color name are which Vallejo sets contain the color.Here is a link to theVallejo Acrylics site.They have a number of great articles on improving your painting.

Reaper Master Series

Reaper Master Series swatches
Reaper Master Series swatches
The Reaper Master Series is a relatively new line from Reaper Games of Denton, Texas.The complete series is 216 paints in various packagesand comes in a 1/2 ounce (15 ml) eyedropper squeezy bottle.Each bottle is prepackaged with a small skull bead that helps mix the paint.

The paints are thin enough for use right out of the bottleand are very silky smooth and free from clumping.The paints can be somewhat translucent, so they tend to work better with awhite primer for a one coat application or by using all three shades on a black primer.

The paints come in a triad system so that each main color has a shade and a highlightto go with it.There are many greens, tans, and browns, and 5 sets of skin tone triads (rosy,fair, golden, medium, and dark) (not to mention Undead and Dark Elf skin tones) so you can be sure to matchthe skin tones of various armies.

Here is the paint reference chart for the Reaper Master Series paints.I have regrouped the colors from numerical order to a more close grouping of color values.You can replace the opacity test image in each swatch by replacing opacityTest.gif with a 10 by 100 pixel imageof your liking.Also, if you hover your mouse over the swatch you should see the RGB equivalent for the color.More information onReaper Master Series Paints is available at their site.

Foundry Paint System

Fondry Paint System swatches
Foundry Paint System
The Foundry Paint System is a series of 216 colors of paints from War Games Foundry ofthe United Kingdom.The paints come in 20 ml pots that should be closed while painting, or elsethe paints will thicken or dry out.However, the wide mouth makes it easy to add thinner and mixing beads.Like other companies, these paints come in a triad system so each main color comes with a shade and a highlight.

The paints are somewhat uneven in coverage and opacity with some traids being quite opaque andothers being very translucent.Some of the color triads are great matches (browns and greens), but some are quite strange.For instance, the ochre and linen color triads have quite a value range between the shades and highlightsthat you are almost painting different colors.

The Kevin Dallimore "Painting and Modelling Guide" book available from Foundry is quite good.I think it helped me be a little more flamboyant and adventurous with my minis paintingand gave me a new painting tool for my arsenal.It also gives you pages of brilliantly photographed minis and game setups.

Here is a link to the paint reference chart for the Foundry Paint System.If you hover your mouse over a paint chip, you should get its RGB value.Here is the site page for theFoundry Paint System

Thanks for reading my article.There are so many hobby paint manufacturers (FS, Coat d'arms, Citadel, RLM, RAL, Tamiya, Humbrol, Gunze, Revell, Tester,Andrea, Film, Rackham) and so many artist's paint manufacturers (Liquitex, Winsdor and Newton, Golden)that an article such as this can only begin to touch the surface.I hope to do more paint reviews and helpful hints as I try more brands.Do not limit yourself to one manufacturer. Try to take the best from all of them.I hope that if you do try some of these paints that the charts will be useful to you.

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Last modified: Thursday, 09-Jun-2011 12:55:23 MST.