The Army Painter asks for Feedback.

So THIS video turned up in my YouTube feed…

I’m in two minds about this. We know that people have had issues with their current range of paints for quite a few years now. Some people like them, and their YT comments are filled with AP fans being positive – and you know, if some people like their paints, more power to them and they’re entitled to share their opinions!

Ninjon, a Youtuber who I can usually stand, was paid by Army Painter to do a promotional video using their paints, eventually did come up with an excellent result, but admitted through the process that he had to change the way he painted to do so and even in the end the best statement that he could come up with was that you can do great work with whatever paints you have access to if you just put enough work in. (A sponsorship offer refused by at least one other YouTuber because he didn’t like the paints enough!)

Squidmar, who I’m more indifferent to did a big “Paint-off” tournament (he’s clearly an AEW fan) where Army Painter’s paints got one of the worst overall scores.

Similarly, I think their current range of paints are bad. Their Speedpaints have serious issues, first pointed out by Stahly from Tale of Painters and then also by Juan Hildago. (how many YouTubers skipped over this entirely?)

Oh, and To the guy who told me to just buy a few Speedpaints and try them – I’ll go with no. I’m not wasting my money on them, but I’ll add a donation button if you want to pay for me to try them..

Later, Juan also found a fix – or as close as possible to a fix to the Speed Paints reactivation issue.. it’s Citadel’s Contrast Medium. Still, watch the video to get a good idea of drying time and how much Contrast Medium is needed since it’s not as simple as “add one drop!”

Anyway – we don’t know if this is genuine, or how genuine this is – given how long their paints have had a bad reputation. We do know that the initial tactic of not addressing the reactivation issue and relying on online fans and Stans didn’t work out since they later started sort of addressing it – though the fact is that just as the Army Painter paint issue with the “gel” medium should never have made it to market (their original paint formulation was fantastic, neither should the Speed Paints with their reactivation issues.

Now Army Painter are asking for feedback to be emailed to them. I wonder if the imminent launch of Duncan Rhodes “Two Thin Coats” paint range, distributed by Asmodee, plus factors like the upcoming new Vallejo ranges (Xpress + new Game Colour), plus AK 3rd Gen being pretty good and more accessable could be pushing Army Painter’s new “give us feedback” policy after so many years? Competition in this case can only be a good thing.

Regardless, I’ve taken it in good faith and emailed them and would suggest that anyone else who had issues with any of their products also do so at feedback AT thearmypainter.com (you can figure out what you need to do there)

Here’s what I sent them:


Hello!

First up, thank you for the open call for feedback. I have been using AP products since at least 2010, which is my oldest email confirmation, so possibly earlier than that via FLGS.

Please take this feedback in the spirit that it’s being sent in, which is (hopefully) constructive criticism. or to put it another way, I wouldn’t bother to type this out if I didn’t care enough to want your products to improve and be something I could trust to purchase again.

I have a blog. It’s non-monetised and only a small one with 1000 or so subscribers, though as with these things, depending on what I post I get more hits or fewer ones. My hobby and content is company-agnostic. I’m not a GW stan nor a GW hater. I use paints and hobby materials from many manufacturers – including you guys, with the washes as well as what I have left of your original line of paints, the ones with the paint spatter on the label. I use this stuff to paint models from many ranges. GW is in there of course, but also Mantic, Battlefront, CMoN, Reaper, and literally dozens more. I use it to share my opinions and experiences, and occasionally review products that I have purchased to help other hobbyists make informed choices. Point being, I’m not a GW Stan, nor an AP hater. I just like quality products and do not like trash-tier ones.

the URL is http://azazelx.com

I do not have kind words to say about the current range of Army Painter paints when I talk about them, either on my blog, on the blogs of other people, or on forums such as dakkadakka – though I remain positive on the Washes.

I used to love your paints. The old ones, with the Paint Spatter labels. I used them frequently for many colours, and used them as often as Vallejo. That’s also more than Citadel. In 2017 I ordered the new giant set as soon as I was able to get hold of it in February. To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement. The new, gel-based medium is horrible. I added my own mixing balls and use a heavy dust nail polish shaker (not the cheap trash on amazon – a solid professional model) and… the paints are still trash.

I’ve still got them mostly because I don’t want to turn a new hobbyist off the hobby by giving them away. So they just sit in a tub. I sometimes feel like I should just throw them away, but sunk cost fallacy, since it cost me  £224.10. That’s 100% wasted money on what I consider to be faulty product. I wonder how those pretty-light-stepping YouTubvers would feel if they’d spent that kind of money on the product rather than having it sent gratis, or even as a sponsored video? Needless to say, I went from buying AP paints pretty regularly, to not having bought another one since then.

Adding two mixing balls isn’t going to make the paints any better. They’re shit. I can buy Citadel & Vallejo easily, have literally hundreds of them here, and aside from a few dodgy metallics, never have to fight or struggle with the paint. (and yes, I avoid GW’s whites). I can now get hold of newer paint ranges. I have the large suitcase of AK 3rd Gen and they’re fucking magic. I have the full range Monument Hobbies Pro Acryl and they go on smoothly. Why would I bother trying AP again when it’s the same formulation, but with an extra mixing ball? Ninjon showed that with enough perseverance, you can achieve great things with sub-par tools, but I don’t want to fight my tools. or work around their gaping flaws.
If you want to “fix” your standard line of paints, then go back to the original medium/formulation. Throw in an exchange program for people like myself who got ripped off with a huge purchase of faulty product.
 
I do like and continue to use the Wash Tones. I prefer them over the Citadel as well as most others in most cases (excepting unusual colours like P3’s “Turquoise Ink” – or wanting a certain shade of green, etc). That says something – that I “lost” so much money on the AP paint range and still use the Wash Tones. It’s about the quality of products.

I almost bought (pre ordered) the Speedpaints. I have a full set of Contrasts. Imagine how much I feel like I dodged a bullet as the local supply was slow, and then the first honest reviews started to come out that talked about reactivation. Well, just a couple of honest reviewers. I’m sure you know who they are. There are still lots of Youtubers and pundits who are happy to compromise their trustworthiness for the sake of keeping sweet with a moderately sized company in our niche hobby for future sponsorships and advance product. Got to keep those clicks coming. Reactivation is a “feature”. Riiiight. I would have bought the full set of Speedpaints plus any released later, but due to reactivation, now I will buy none of them. I have a full set of Green Stuff World’s Dipping Inks.

I’m told that your Air Range is pretty good. Once bitten and all that, though – the bad taste still lingers from the regular paints and then there’s the Reactivation Speed Paints. Did I mention I have the £224.10 worth of my Army Painter Wargamers Complete Paint Set just sitting here taking up space? I’m not ready to risk AU$550 on a set of Army Painter Air to find out how well they perform. Vallejo is coming out with their own Not-Contrasts “soon”, as well as a revamped Game Colour range. If reviews from the trustworthy people are positive, I’ll buy the entire “Vallejo Xpress” range on release, and may even buy a chunk (or all) of the new Game Colour paints as well. 

Why? The difference is trust, or in AP’s case, a lack thereof.
Trust in a quality product.
I hope this helps. If you would like any additional feedback please do not hesitate to contact me.
kind regards,

For anyone who finds this post that isn’t a usual reader here but feels compelled to comment – I’m not paid by Vallejo or anyone else, nor have I been given anything for free in exchange for views or my opinions. I’ve had an art book provided to me free of charge for review purposes once, but every other product I’ve reviewed here has been paid for by me. WordPress throws any comments added by new people into a moderation area anyway, and so reasonable comments (even if I disagree) will be replied to. Abuse and/or outright stupidity will just be nuked at the door. I’ll have a conversation, but I won’t even entertain publishing stupid comments. This isn’t Twitter, after all. 😉

26 thoughts on “The Army Painter asks for Feedback.

  1. There are a couple of things going on here.

    I had several cans of Army Painter leak the propellant into my closed cabinet. I had them there to keep them out of the sun.

    Ruined the base but it was inside on a spot no one’s going to see so I didn’t care. The Army Painter took care of it.

    Their customer service has almost always been great.

    They noted that it was a defect and that they let everyone know years ago. If you Google it, you won’t find a statement by the Army Painter but you will find many complaints about it. Maybe someone’s ‘Google Fu’ is better than mine though.

    Last week their Aegis Suit did the same thing on my table. NOT FUCKING HAPPY. Threw it out. I will never use their spray primers again. Now I have to move the ones on my bookshelves in case they do the same thing.

    I lost a lot of respect for Ninjon. That was a cop-out and a sell-out. Now I take EVERYTHING he says with a grain of sand.

    For the Youtubers who completely failed to mention the re-activation part of the Speedpaints, I can’t say if they’re sell-outs like Ninjon was for the Army Painter or if they just hate Games Workshop and didn’t both to further test the paints. I suspect a mix.

    I have a ton of the Army Painter products. I still use their washes for a lot of things and their metallics are usually solid.

    I’m not sure if the increased competition or the fact that non-sponsored Youtubers are calling out the quality of their product is responsible for their recent recanting and soliciting of feedback. If you ask about it on a forum as you’ve noted, we’ll see positive and negative, fans and non-fans.

    As you’ve also noted, the new AK is great. This is good because their previous generation sucked. If you think the AP paint separated you’d be shocked at just how bad the old AK paint was.

    This doesn’t count the 2 thin coats which are getting ready to hit a lot of places or Kirimeia’s slow rise and outgoing pace. Oh and Scale 75 and their various ranges as well. Nor the reformulation of Vallejo’s Game Color and their upcoming take on the Contrast Paints.

    Me?

    I’m pretty done with the Army Painter. I won’t be replacing any of their paints.

    It’s a shame as the price is right and they’ve got a ton of licensed products but with so many other companies out there right now, why… what the fuck did Ninjon say? “Work with the properties of the paint?” when I could just, you know, get paint that works the way I want it to?

    Liked by 4 people

    • You’ve just reminded me of the problems I had with AP primers – it was about the specific distance that you’re apparently supposed to spray from. Because with their primers, apparently that’s a thing – and if you spray from further away ands it gives you fuzzy models it’s your fault because you’re just doing it wrong – unlike every other spray range I’ve used in all of my years of hobbying.
      I’ve still got a couple of those cans, though these days I just buy AK, Vallejo – or go to the paint shop on the corner and flick through their book of thousands of shades and have them make me a custom can or three. Not the cheapest from the paint shop, but beautiful fucking paint.

      I think the main thing behind many of those YTers was not wanting to bite the “hand that feeds”..
      I feel that most of them are pretty compromised in some way or another because the simple fact is that YT is their livelhood, so getting in first or at least early with a review, etc of a new product means literally a difference in their living income. So why would they antagonise The Army Painter – yet even with that, so many YouTubers have still had less than complimentary things to say about their regular line.

      The funny thing with the Ninjon video is that even he couldn’t bring himself to recommend prople buy the AP paints even when he was sponsored to do so, and the best he could come up with was to suggest that people work with the properties of the paint that they have. You can see him even saying that through almost-gritted teeth, which I found pretty amusing. Like… that’s the best recommendation that these paints can get when they’ve paid for it. Still, Ninjon’s recommendations need to be taken as a “secondary source” at best these days, as you say.

      I have a few of the old Orange-Lid AK paints from their Australian Armour Paint Set. Not my favourites to work with, but with the shaker and balls they were okay – not something I considered buying more of, though. The 3rd Gen are lovely. I mean, they’re a very nice remix of Vallejo, basically. 😀

      But yeah, I think AP can see their market share potentially about to drive off a cliff when the “big boys” are no longer simply going to be GW, Vallejo and AP. Duncan’s paints being distributed by Asmodee is probably the biggest danger, though improved Vallejo and the VGC not-contrasts being better than the AP ones threatens to combine with the reactivation issues to kill their new product pretty quickly.

      But yeah. I don’t want to fight my paints to get a good result. I don’t want to have to change my style or workflow or methods because a paint range is a special snowflake. That’s why I don’t use my (new) AP paints aside from the washes, and rarely use anything but the Metallics or Gemstone paints from my Warcolours paints.
      It’s also why I don’t have any interest in Instar with their “just mix it yourself” paints… I ain’t got time for that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You make some very valid points mate, I only ever bought two pots of Army Painter, hated both, and then never bought anymore. Read lots of negative comments on blogs I trust about the reactivation of the speed paints, so wouldn’t buy them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah. It’s a real shame on both fronts that they thought these sub-par/flawed products were good enough to push into the market.
      I don’t know which is worse between them changing the properties of the original paints 5-6 years ago and then not doing anything about it, or releasing the new SP products in 2022 with such a clear flaw.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Same here – and yes, I too feel like a bumpkin for it, but if it ain’t broke right? That said I did get some army painter paints from a local shop a few years ago to try out but the results were less than impressive.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve used a ton of paints from different companies. I don’t have a ‘regular’ hobby like golf or cars or anything so a little extra on paint isn’t going to break the bank I figure.

        Less money for illegal drugs this way! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yeap, I’m in full agreement – with the caveat that these paints all cost about the same amount around here anyway give or take a dollar in either direction on any and all brands depending on how much any given retailer is pricing them. When they’re as much of a muchness as that on price it’s easier to just buy the proven brands.

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  3. I’ve been following this hub-but for a while. I used GW paints way back in the early 2000’s and then got my hands on a few old bottles of Vallejo Game Color – they where so much bette than GW, that I never looked back. I took a 10-year hiatus from the hobby – Zombicide got me back into miniature painting and I bought a big starter pack of AP paints. While not a good as Vallejo, they were less expensive, and I loved their washes, metallics and brushes, I still have most of those paints and use them with Vallejo Model Color and Model Air for all my painting needs.
    I have no use for “Contrast” style paints, as I am not painting 100’s of miniatures for table top. If I did dabble in quick paints, I would probably go with Vallejo, as I’ve learned it’s better to pay for a quality paint than not.
    So I don’t see me ever going back to GW paints, and don’t feel like relearning with AK or Scale 75.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with you on being more willing to pay a little more for quality. Where I am, I can get Vallejo Model and Game colour paints for less than GW, and Army Painter is a bit harder to get and actually range from fractionally cheaper to fractionally more expensive than GW. Basically, here in AU, Army Painter, Citadel and Vallejo paints are at price parity, so the only real variance is retailer that sell any of them for a bit more or a bit less than others.
      Out of interest, do the labels on your AP paints feature a “hex” or a “paint spatter”? From your Zombicide timeline they could have been either.
      The spatter labels are their older formulation that I happily used interchangably with Citadel, Vallejo or anything else. The Hex ones are the paints that have a pretty universal bad reputation – and I came to my conclusions with them not from YT videos (in 2017) but by buying the big set and then dissapointingly finding them awful to use compared to my existing paints – including my pre-existing AP paints!
      I rarely use contrasts in the “official” way, but as an additional tool combined with normal paints I find them incredibly useful – as tints/glazes/coloured washes they’re great.
      The new AK range is basically interchangable with Vallejo or Citadel. I find no difference in them as a whole, so I work with all of them in the exact same manner so I just treat them all as a large, expansive palette of colours to choose from.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My Army Painter paints all have the hexagonal label, I have only ever purchased them from box sets on Amazon, so you can pretty much get them anywhere. The vast majority of my Vallejo paints where purchased on Amazon or eBay, with maybe 20% at actual brick and motor stores. Game stores generally, only sell GW paints.
        I find GW paints hard to use because their color range is limited, overpriced and those terrible pots!! Way too much money sunk into pots that dry up within weeks of opening them.
        I think every paint range has colors that are problematic (I really don’t like VA’s metallics, or AP’s Yellows – same for GW’s yellows and whites), so for me it comes down to colors I see myself using, price and a quality bottle.
        Your Mileage May Vary and is most defiantly different than my experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting. My good Army Painter paints are the older range and have a “spatter” on the label. They behave exactly like Vallejo, Citadel, etc. I bought the huge set expecting a pile of awesome paints in some very nice colours that would behave the same and got a very expensive box of garbage instead – except for the washes, and I can’t recall if I used th emetallics – I guess I should try them out (again?) as I still have the dying traces of an old-type Army Painter Silver that is/was fantastic.
        I’ve had very mixed results on almost a bottle by bottle basis with Vallejo’s Game Colour metallics (some an unusable hardened brick of pigment inside, others fine), though no issue with Model Colour and the Model Air Metallic range is outstanding.
        Metal Colour is then a whole different step beyond, but super shiny.
        It’s good to hear that you have had good experiences with Army Painter – my own experience – and an agreement with you on wanting a quality bottle of paint is what’s stopped me buying any more after that terrible and expensive experience – except for stocking up on their washes…

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  4. Interesting points there- I think you were very fair. The relationship between companies and you tubers is one I’ve often wondered about.

    FWIW- I only use Army Painter really for their washes that I’ve used for ages and always have been happy witrh, prefering them over other brands.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pete. Sadly, I feel that most of them are pretty comprimised in some way or another because the simple fact is that YT is their livelhood, so getting in first or at least early with a review, etc of a new product means literally a difference in their living income.
      Like you, I’vce used the AP washes for years and they’re still broadly my go-to ones, and I’ve got some of their original paints left which are quality, but outside of that…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great report and very fair comments. I have never used them and because of the reviews never will. I still use a mixture of GW and Vallejo but then I am a bit stuck in my ways.
    Just found out I don’t need to use candles any more as those funny white things on the wall provide light like magic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks mate. I’ve heard from both Stahly and Juan when chatting to them about how great the AP Air range is, but without a more detailed breakdown and review I don’t know how well they’ll work for my purposes, with a brush, etc – so not worth the risk/outlay. The problem with “buy a couple” is that we all know that most paint ranges have some duds and some exceptional paints, so I’d prefer an unboased overview before dropping the cash, rather than pick and hope that I get some broadly repsesentative colours rather then the outstanding ones or the duds…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree and its not as if we don;t have a pile of pots that we still need to use up as well. I am gradually changing from GW to Vallejo (except for washes), but only as a colour is used up. Not a financially sound proposition otherwise.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m somewhat less conservative in my paints – I buy backups of colours I use a lot (too many times in my younger days I’d run out of a paint at the worst time) and am happy to have paints from many ranges – I don’t want to play the roulette wheel of paints, though – so I’ll only buy stuff that has solid recommendations from people I trust as I have a ton of AP paints and a significant number of Warcolours that are basically not worth my time.

        I’d almost give a good chunk of them away if they didn’t feel like they’d be the gift-givng equivalent of a pyrrhic victory…

        Maybe I need to give both sets a good solid shake and final do or die test on some board game models and then simply clear the losers out to give myself some space…
        The AP metallics might still be good according to some people invluding Eric in the comments above – their older metallics certainly were good, not sure if I used the newer ones after the fail state of the other new paints I tried from the set…

        Oh, and credit where it’s due. I still really like the AP washes – they’re my favourites to use even today. Was using them, thinned and mixed on some zombies not 20minutes ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      • When you say a good shake, make sure it’s got the ball bearing in it AND you’re using some type of vortex mixer. You will injure yourself if you try to do it by hand without a mixer.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the core part of your message to Army Painter is one that resonates with me – they don’t have a lot of goodwill in the market. If they release a set of paints with problems, then pretend the problems are a feature that people should learn to ‘work with’ and then do that *again*, well they have limited their own market.

    Like you I am not interested in any new range from Army Painter in terms of paints. To me they have a high likelihood of hidden features which turn out to be problems. I use their wet palette happily, but that’s as far as it goes. I was prepared to buy the Duncan Rhodes range sight unseen, but would never do that with Army Painter, based on their record over the past few years.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think that was a great reply to AP and provides some honest feedback that hopefully they will listen to. Most of ‘my paint collection’ started with Vallejo, then Citadel, and back to Vallejo Model colors. Then as of late have added the Reaper line plus AK. At this point, I’m out of shelf space and based on community reviews of AP paints I don’t have much incentive to delve into the AP paints. I’m more interested in quality paints than cheap mostly unreliable ones. I have a couple individual pots of their paint that were ‘ok’. I’ve used their washes, but mostly used to using GW washes when I use washes. Though with GW coming up with a new wash formula,
    I’ll probably be looking for an alternative and/or modifying how I work because of the change.

    Like

  8. While I like AP’s products, I’ve never tried their paints and the things I’ve heard about their primer and their speed paints don’t make me particularly inclined to move away from James Workshop. I used to think Army Painter was a nice and cheaper alternative to GW but it seems to me like they’re pretty close in price now which is the only bummer I have with them.

    As far as Youtube goes, I don’t watch very many channels but I think you’re right to say that some are compromised. Their content isn’t all that useful or engaging to me for the most part and I feel like they’re generally trying to sell their personality and humor more than show me anything I’m interested in or might learn from. Juan Hidalgo is the big exception. He is just about the best on Youtube and will make you a better painter if you watch his videos.

    Lastly, the AEW/Squidmar comment made me chuckle quite a bit! 🙂

    Like

  9. I really liked the AP washes but I haven’t used up my bottles I purchased about 5 years ago. Shame the current line quality is not up to the other brands. Have the washes changed?

    Like

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