Indian Fighters – Contrast vs Standard Paints

Like so many painters, I’ve been experimenting with GW’s Contrast line of paints over the past several months. I’ve had mixed results and I’ve seen a wide variety of results out there in the hobby world. I have a lot to learn about how to use these new paints but I’ve got to a point where I’m pretty happy with the results and I wanted to share a couple sets of Indian Fighters painted with Contrast paints directly compared with a set using “ye old ways” of base, shade and highlight.

While I still prefer the results of my standard painting efforts, the reduced speed and effort the Contrast paints offer is very tempting.

Here (above) is a set of Indian Fighters I recently painted using primarily Contrast paints.

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Here’s another set painted with Contrast paints.

At this point in my experiments with Contrasts, I’m using them for everything on these models except:

  1. Skin areas
  2. Bases
  3. Metallics
  4. White highlights to sleeves and cravats

In addition to using standard paints for those areas, I’ve been adding a few highlights with GW Layer paints on some of the larger areas covered with Contrast paints.

And finally here is a set of the same four models painted with “conventional” paints.

The question is, can you tell? Or more specifically, can you see a large enough difference in quality between the two to warrant spending twice (or more) the time using regular paints?

I can see a difference. I like the more polished look of that last set of minis, but once you move two feet away, it’s harder to notice any real difference in quality…

Here is a mixed unit on the table and they look fine!

In these pictures, the central mini is painted with conventional paints while the outer minis are done (mostly) with Contrasts.

Not all Contrast paints are created equal. Some have better/more even coverage than others. The blue on the Left seems to do a better job than the tan brown on the Right.

And the Contrast reds are pretty good. They seem pretty even and don’t end up as splotchy.

I have nearly the full line of Contrasts but didn’t use even half of the colors while working on these models.

Compare the backs of these kneeling models. The central  model is much more smooth and even with more defined highlights. I think I need to spend some extra time moving the paint around on larger and flatter areas like his to avoid getting the heavy pooling which turns into a dark spot (like on the red figure on the Right).

I’m sure many of you have either been using Contrast paints at this point or considering giving them a try. I started out very skeptical when they first came out but I’m starting to come around. I still much prefer the finished product of my standard painting method. But I have a lot of unpainted miniatures and if these help me get them painted and on the table in half the time and at 3/4 the quality, I’m thinking I need to take that deal.

They aren’t magic. They aren’t “talent in a bottle.” Contrasts take a very different set of techniques and tricks that I’m still trying to get a handle on. But they are faster and the produce reasonable results. I estimate I spend 1/2 to 1/3 the time on a set of 4 models with contrasts vs standard paints.

I think I will continue to use Contrasts on some of my models just so I can finish more minis, play new factions and have more fun.

I would enjoy hearing others’ experiences and opinions of GW’s Contrast line used on Blood & Plunder miniatures. If you’ve used them, please leave a comment!

Once I feel a little more confident and have completed a few more experiments, I plan to do another post with some tips and tricks for using these paints.

6 thoughts on “Indian Fighters – Contrast vs Standard Paints

  1. Once upon a time I was trying to use contrast paints on my B&P miniautres. But I don’t like shine look after apply paint. And control of pooling is so important. I find out that they are great while using it as wash or glaze. Snakebite Leather is great paint to glaze deck of ships for B&P.

    For myself – I prefer normal way to paint. I am using my contrast paints but they are not my favourite pots in my whole arsenal.

  2. Hey mate I’m just doing a Diorama that inspired me to do after I saw your gaming figures and I was wondering if it was ok to mention your blog when I post it to my group of lads , most of them are gamers like like yourself and would be interested in your art work and terrain , just thought I would ask , let me know if it’s ok , if not , no worries mate !

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