Painting models and figurines is a fun hobby to have, but you want to make sure you are using the right paint for the job. With so many different kinds of model paints out there, how are you supposed to know which ones are worth it and which ones aren’t?
Two of the most popular paints used for gameplay figurines are Vallejo and Army Painter. Both brands have similar qualities, but there are some major differences between them. Both brands are acrylic paints, and they even come in the same type of bottle.
Vallejo paints are more popular than Army Painter because it is more affordable, offered in smaller bottles, and has a great quality. You will also likely have an easier time finding Vallejo paints in hobby stores than Army Painter.
The Vallejo paint company was first established in New Jersey in 1965. Originally, they formulated acrylic paints for animated films and cartoons. Paints for model and figurines weren’t brought into the mix until about 1991 with Model Color. Now, Vallejo is known for having the widest range of products for model painters.
To check the current price and availability of Vallejo Basic Colors, click here to view the listing on Amazon.
Are Vallejo Paints Good?
Vallejo paints are very good. They are high quality, well priced, and are popular among the tabletop community.
Types of Paint
The most popular model paint by Vallejo is their Model Color. These paints are acrylic and matte with some of the highest concentration of pigment in a brush-on water-based paint. The range of colors vary from basic shades to those that have been specifically developed by current and ex-military personnel.
It is highly recommended to use Model Color paints on a surface that has previously been primed. The paint also dries incredibly quick and easily adhere to surfaces like steel, plastic, and resin.
Another popular model paint by Vallejo is Model Air. This is a model paint that is formulated specifically to be used with an airbrush. Like Model Color, it has a wide variety of basic colors and one that were designed by current and ex-military.
When used with an airbrush, Model Air paints can dry within seconds so you can immediately apply the next coat. You can also use this paint with a brush, but it is thinner and won’t give you the same look as Model Color.
Game Color is a line of paints that have been developed through collaboration with professional model painters specializing in fantasy figurines. This means the paint is formulated with the thought that the figurines will be used for tabletop games, so it is incredibly resistant to damage that can be caused by handling. Game also comes in an Air formula meant to be used with an airbrush.
Model Color is offered in 218 different colors that are highly pigmented and permanent. Model Air is available in 235 colors that become permanent on the surface. Game Color is offered in 123 colors, and Game Air is offered in 51 colors.
Vallejo offers one of the widest range of colors for model painting that you will find. This makes it easy for you to create the model or figurine exactly how you imagined it looking. The best thing is if you want a color that happens to not be made by Vallejo, you can mix the paints to create your own colors.
- Wide range of colors
- Water-based, acrylic, and non-toxic
- Brush-on and airbrush
- Smooth, even coverage
- Can be slightly difficult to find
- Prone to chipping
Army Painter came out with their Warpaints range of paints in 2012. They first started with just 36 paints that were designed to complement their colored primers. Over the last 9 years, they have broadened their range to include 124 different colors of paint.
Of these 124 colors, 96 of them are regular acrylic paints, 9 of them are specialized for effects and technical painting, 8 are metallic, and 11 are washes. You can purchase the paints individually or in a set of all 124 paints, a starter set of 10 paints, a mega set with 50 paints, and more to bundle and save money.
When you purchase a kit, specifically the one with all 124 colors, it comes with more than just that. The box consists of three layers that include plastic trays to neatly store your paints when you aren’t using them. Also included is a painting guide with ideas of how to paint your models.
In addition to these acrylic paints, Army Painter also has colored primers. These are designed to work as a primer and a base coat for your models that are made of metal, resin, and plastic. The color sprays out and dries matte. These primers offer you an easier, more affordable way to prime your models and apply a basecoat at the same time.
To check the current price and availability of The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit, click here to view the listing on Amazon.
Are the Army Painter Paints Any Good?
Army Painter paint is also very good. Army painter excels if you are in search of a wide array of colors for your miniatures, although they do tend to run on the pricey side compared to other paints.
Army Painter has a range of 124 colors. This is just over half of the colors that is offered by Vallejo. Although they have fewer colors, they do have some that are more unique and not found in Vallejo paints.
Their colors also have very unique names. For example, they have Brainmatter Beige, Orc Blood, Skeleton Bone, Basilisk Brown, Toxic Boils, and so many more. With color names as original as these, you can expect the paints to be just as original.
- Unique colors
- Acrylic and non-toxic
- Sets available for purchase
- Limited color options
- Can be even harder to find than Vallejo
Which is Best for Miniatures?
When trying to determine whether Vallejo or Army Painter is best for your miniatures, you need to think about what you expect of them. Do you want to use them with an airbrush? Do you want to have the widest variety of color? You also need to take into consideration the surface material of the miniature and if it is going to be used for a board game.
If you want to use an airbrush for your project, you are going to want to use Vallejo. They have paints that are specifically formulated to be used in an airbrush, and they also make a solution to thin out their other paints to make them airbrush compatible.
Vallejo is also the better paint if you are looking for a wide variety of colors and paint that can be applied to game pieces and won’t be damaged during gameplay. Their Game Color and Game Air are specifically designed to be touched frequently without the risk of damage.
If you want unique colors with unique names that you will not find anywhere else, you will want to use Army Painter. These paints aren’t going to be like any other, and they have paints to make detailed effects with ease.
When comparing Vallejo paints with Army Painter, there are only a few differences. Both the paints are very high quality and they even come in the same type of bottle. However, Vallejo offers almost double the colors that Army Painter does, and they also offer airbrush paints. Army Painter might have limited colors, but they are unique.
The better paint will depend truly on your preference and what you are expecting from the paint. If you want a wide color variety, Vallejo will be best. If you want your miniatures to be unique, you will want to use Army Painter.