Army Painter Speedpaints – (Not Actually) Better than Contrast

Info from Azazel:

I’m not a paint snob, nor a GW/Citadel kissarse. I use painted from a wide variety of manufacturers. I used to love Army Painter’s stuff until they changed to the Gel medium a few years ago (hexagonal pattern on the bottles) Now I find their paints awful, but I still use their washes as my primary go-to. I bought the entire range of Contrast when they came out, and I rarely use them the way you’re “supposed” to, I almost always use them diluted with medium and chances my favourites from the range aren’t the ones that are yours (I rarely use Wyldwood or Black), BUT they are embedded into my workflow alongside regular actylics.

So when Warpaints brought out their range of Not-Contrast, I bought them. They weren’t cheap. They work differently. Really differently. I don’t like them, I rarely use them for anything.

Scale 75 brought their Not-Contrasts out via Kickstarter. With a KS, it was easy to take a “Wait and See”, so I did. Reviews aren’t exactly glowing, so I skipped ’em.

Now Army Painter have brought their Speedpaints out. I was keen, and ready to hit the “buy” button for the full set if the reviews panned out. They have absolutely saturated the YouTube space with free paints, and most YouTubers have gobbled up the advance product for those free clicks with glowing reviews. Why bite the hand that feeds? There was one review however, that was a little different. Stahly from Tale of Painters. Actually, it was his First Look that triggered the alarm bells. One word. Reactivation.

On Dakka, Stahly wrote: “I’ve reached out to my contacts at The Army Painter and they said the reactivating is a side effect of the medium they use, but it would only tend to happen with Speedpaints containg yellow pigments – so yellow, orange, red, and some of the greens, but I’ll have to try for myself.”  

I’d mentioned “It’s an issue no other review has pointed out so far, at least the ones I watched”

Stahly’s response: “maybe because Games Workshop and Contrast bashing generates more clicks on YouTube? 😉 “

So here we are. A full review of them.

Stahly: So, here is my final review & comparison. And yes, Speedpaints reactivate when you paint over them. All of them. Doesn’t matter how long you let them dry. It’s not the end of the world, but you need to think about how you want to use them. (Azazel’s added emphasis).

For me this is a dealbreaker. I’m not (fucking) varnishing my models between coats, nor am I going to never ever be able to not accidentally make a mistake with paint, so these are not going to be useful for my painting. I’m thankful that Stahly’s honesty has saved me a bloody big wad of cash.

I’m not saying don’t buy them. I’m saying be aware. And also be aware of all of the “reputable” Hobby YouTubers who didn’t think this was even worth mentioning, and remember them next time they’re previewing or reviewing something.

Now – Stahly’s review:

39 thoughts on “Army Painter Speedpaints – (Not Actually) Better than Contrast

  1. Thank’s for sharing Azazel, I don’t use a massive amount of contrasts paint, at the moment looking for some good replacement glazes since GW cancelled theirs, and the reply from the staff was you just use the contrast paints instead was not helpful, as orange will not become yellow, no matter how much medium you add to it ! LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    • I still have one each of (most of) their glazes right now, but yeah, I haven’t worked out the direct replacement for them yet. I’m thinking perhaps Daler Rowney ink with some Vallejo glaze medium but I’ve yet to do my experienting on that front.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Have ordered the mega. Will give them a go. Worst case, they’re not so usable for my own stuff and I use them to quickly do some basic stuff for the after school group to use, or I do some board game minis.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Well, good luck with them (genuinely). I know Luke from Geek Gaming Scenics used them on a bunch of Goblins from The Hobbit sets and drybrished over them for a quick and dirty painted army. It’s apparently not so bad when being edge highlighted or drybrushed over, so there’s that…
        Knowing what I know now, I’d probably buy them if they were a fraction of the price just to play with the reactivation element – using it as a feature rather than as a “bug” could potentially be interesting, but not at the asking price…

        Liked by 1 person

    • I have been playing with the starter set and haven’t had any reactivation problems. Rather than listening to Internet rumours it’s better to buy one bottle and try it. There’s shills on both sides looking to promote or shit on different brands. Considering how cheap paints are buying one or two to try is pretty reasonable. Don’t be a sheep blindly chasing Internet rumours.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jimmy. In theory I agree with you, but as you’re accusing me of being a sheep in your first-ever comment on my blog I’ll start by telling you to fuck right off because you clearly know little to nothing about me.
        Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll address your point. If it were “some guy” on Dakka or Reddit, etc talking about this, then I’d agree with you not only in theory, but in practise. However, we’ve now got quite a few “some guys” posting in various places, and also three sources I trust calling the issue out: Stahly, Juan Hildago

        and now also Bogenwald – who is one of the members of this community
        https://bogenwald.blog/2022/02/25/whoops-i-must-be-wrong/

        So while your personal experience is great for you, it is not necessarily something that applies to others, and accusing someone of passing on video information about a product defect that isn’t being mentioned is hardly “internet rumours”.

        …and oh, Army Painter have realised it’s an issue and are doing some Damage Control by giving it a brief mention. Probably a good thing if they haven’t yet released in the US. Shame for the rest of us, but better now than never.

        Don’t be a sheep blindly shilling a product. It’s a bad look.

        Enjoy the rest of your day! 🙂

        Like

  2. Sounds like gouache, an illustration medium, where the reactivation is a bonus (you can blend edges more easily). But without advertising that fact? That’s crazy to put into a more traditional acrylic/ink paint line (I’m talking hobby paints in general).

    Liked by 2 people

    • I doubt that they’ve outright used gouache for the very reasons you’ve mentioned (I guess it’d be easy enough for a chemist to check using a bottle of their “Speedpaints medium”), but it’s certainly a pretty big oversight/issue and I’d still go with crazy to put something with the same properties into a hobby paint line, even if it does the “contrast” thing well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t tried out Warpaints. I do have the full range of the Scale 75 Instant.  they are NOT Contrast Paints or if they are meant to be, they are Contrast Light.  Coverage is far less intense or deep.  Still useful for things like a lighter flesh tone than GW provides or more varieties in grays and some red browns that aren’t so thick/dark. Yours truly, Joe G Kushner

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I don’t really know what the S75 instants are supposed to do when compared to simply thinning regular paints with medium. Perhaps I’ll pick up a couple to try out – which grays or red browns/anything else – any specific colours you would recommend?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for Sharing! I almost ordered these after the good reviews this is definitely a big problem. I noticed a few of the reviews just did base coats with the speedpaints and did not do any detail painting after that… big hole in their review process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I was literally about to pre-order the big set myself when I started looking for all the reviews available at the time, and then found Stahly’s initial post over on Dakka – which slammed on the brakes!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Wait, Army Painter changed their recipe? Is this why the Flesh and Green tones I bought this year are way thicker and don’t flow as well as the ones I bought in 2018? I wondered what the hell was going on!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, they changed from a more traditional (at least for hobby paints) medium as seen in Citadel ranges over the decades, Vallejo, etc to a (horrible, IMO) Gel medium – I found this out when I bought their big set with a big “what the fuck is wrong with these paints?”
      They’re… ok if you use a mixer, but I’d rather just use anything else without needing to go through the effort. A real shame since they had some great colours and then added even more (potentially) great colours in the relaunch.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Contrasts are actually pretty good paints. They’re just different to traditional ones. For me they’re another tool added to the toolbox, just like premixed washes, glazes, mediums, etc. I use them all the time, but as I mentioned, not (or very rarely) in the “official” way – and even then, not for entire models but perhaps a section or two at most.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The review we needed for this product! Thanks for linking. As you know I’ve watched several reviews myself and none really dealt with this aspect at all, and while YouTube was not shy to recommend me even more reviews, the one from Stahly never came up.

    I’d probably find the reactivation interesting if I were using them to paint plague marines, but for general use I will stick with Contrast and regular acrylics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers Dave – I’ve also been following the Speedpaint media blitz and at this point I’m really quite suspect about *most* of those YouTubers and most anything they recommend now.
      I mean, the inherent conflict of interest between being sent free previews and the clicks it brings – direct income to the people who rely on YT for their income and potentially aggravating a source of free clicks and adsense versus noting something like this that they can’t possibly all have “just missed” given the nature of using “slop” paints like Contrast and the even-runnier Speedpaints…
      Stahly’s review just went up yesterday, and he stated that it took him over 25 hours to put the video together, so it’s unsurprising that the Algorithm missed it amongst all the other influencers sprinting to their edit software as quickly as possible to get first clicks…

      Liked by 2 people

    • Honestly, Contrasts *do* cost a few bucks, but overall they’re worth the money. Speedpaints weren’t going to be THAT much cheaper. Just make sure you get the medium as well, and just buy them from someone who offers a discount.

      Like

  7. I guess I’ve been sipping GW’s Kool-Aid because I generally like their paints (other than the pots which are terrible) and don’t dabble much with other brands. Contrasts are fairly nice for what they are and I’ve been using them when I want to paint fast. With that said, I really appreciate the information you’re sharing here as it definitely sounds like a buyer beware sort of thing to me. Its a shame there aren’t more people with honest and thorough reviews but not surprising at the same time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • GW’s paints are mostly fine, just the same as Vallejo paints. Or P3, and so it goes. The pots have major issues, some paints will dry out unprompted, and the whites are mostly bad – but most of the range is solid. Reactivating paints – especially ones that are designed to go over white – are just a head-scratcher, though!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yeah, the GW white paints do drive me insane. I’m tempted to try something else for those in the future because they can be so sandy/clumpy and the quality from pot to pot is uneven. You said it best though, you can’t have reactivating paints. That makes them basically worthless 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • I use Vallejo Game Colour White, but also a ton of different off-whites with greys, blue-greys, green, almost-white cream, etc tones for different effects that are good enough to be white. GW’s Corax White is also decent – I have one of those (from Conquest magazine) that turned out to be quite decent – thinned and decanted into a Vallejo dropper (I don’t usually do that).

        Like

  8. Cheers, this is useful to know. Much like yourself I think, I use Contrast a fair bit but I don’t use “the Contrast technique”. Having got myself a bunch of Contrast paints already I’m not in any rush to buy any more so it’ll be a while before I look at any of these, but unless I hear they’ve fixed these issues I’ll consider myself warned off. As for YouTubers turning a blind eye to these issues this is an all too common problem, and not just in our hobby. Too many journalists won’t bite the hand that feeds them, and too many people treat said journalists (or reviewers, or influencers etc) as speaking nothing but gospel truth rather than acknowledging that all people are subject to bias and prone to self interest. Caveat emptor and all that. 

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely, and it’s a huge issue with Youtubers, “Journalists” (games journalists especially!) and so many other flavour of “influencer”. It’s why I most trust those ones who aren’t afraid to get blacklisted and who are willing to buy their own products to review.
      I am myself disappointed that I don’t have another bunch of essentially-contrast paints in different colours/shades to use and experiement with.

      Like

  9. Pingback: Explanations are needed | Scent of a Gamer

  10. Interest post mate, I did watch the Stahly’s review as I have understood what these paints were for, they are not something this old guy would use but as you said it was good of him to give an honest review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I use a lot of the contrasts in different ways – for example in the same way as washes over coloured paint, but with less run – kind of like a combination of wash and glaze/filter, and often different coloured ones in layers – I rarely use them in their “intended” way, so I’m sure you’d find a use for many of them as I have – but reactivating paint is a no-go-zone for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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