Vallejo Paint vs Citadel Paint (Games Workshop)

vallejo paint vs citadel paint

Vallejo paint and Citadel paint are two of the most popular paints for models, miniatures, and figurines. You will likely find one or the other, if not both, in the supply of every miniature painter you talk to. 

It is frequently asked which of these two paints is better. This is a very difficult question to answer because both of the brands are so amazing. Each brand has its own advantages over the other, and they complement each other so well.

If you are trying to decide between buying Citadel paints or Vallejo paints, you might find yourself stuck and asking how they are so different. Citadel offers more colors than Vallejo, but Vallejo is offered at a cheaper price for the same quality. 

Vallejo Paint

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Vallejo paint is extremely popular among model and miniature painters. They apply to most surfaces flawlessly and are very easy to use. Vallejo is known for having a wide variety of colors and products available for model painters to create their exact vision.

To check the current price and availability of Vallejo Basic Paint, click here to view it on Amazon.

Types of Paint

Vallejo has multiple different lines of paint, but their most popular are Model Color and Game Color. Model Color is a line of acrylic paints that have a matte finish and are very rich in pigment. The pigment concentration of Model Color is among the highest in any water-based paint.

Model Color is unique because it has colors that are developed and formulated with the help of current and ex-military personnel. They pride themselves on having colors that are accurate to war history.

Game Color is a lone of acrylic paints that is specifically designed to be used on gameplay figurines. The colors were developed with the help of professional model painters who have expert knowledge on fantasy figurines. This paint is carefully formulated to resist fingerprints, scratches, dents, and cracks.

Model Color and Game Color both have lines of airbrush colors as well. These are called Model Air and Game Air. They will complement the brush paints and have the same qualities. They might not have all of the same colors, but their website has paint pamphlets that tell you what the closest color is to what you are using.


Vallejo is known for having one of the widest variety of colors offered out of any model paint. Model Color has 218 different colors, Model Air has 235 colors, Game Color has 123 colors, and Game Air is offered in 51 colors. If you can’t find the exact color you are looking for, you can mix your own. All of Vallejo paints are able to be mixed together to create different shades.

Are Vallejo Paints Good?

Vallejo paints are known to be fantastic for model painting. They can easily apply to miniature surfaces that are plastic, steel, or resin. It is recommended that you use a primer before applying Vallejo paints for maximum adhesion and to reduce the risk of the paint chipping or peeling.

There are a handful of different types of paint by Vallejo. The two most popular lines are called Model Color and Game Color. Model Color is formulated for models and figurines that are just for show, while Game Color is formulated to be extra durable and can be handled regularly. 

Both of these paint lines are unique in their own way. Model Color has paint colors that were developed with the help of current and ex-military professionals. There are accurate colors from World War I, World War II, and even current military colors. Vallejo is proud of their accuracy of color.

Game Color was designed with the help of professional model painters. These painters typically have expert knowledge in fantasy figurines and those that are used in board games. With their help, Vallejo formulated Game Color to be extra durable and resist fingerprints, chipping, or peeling.

In addition to Model Color and Game Color, there are corresponding airbrush colors named Model Air and Game Air. These paints are thinner with the purpose of being used with an airbrush. You can also use them with a paintbrush, but that’s not as fun.

Vallejo has a pretty decent variety of colors. Model Color has about 218 colors, Model Air has a huge number of colors at 235, Game Color is available in 123 colors, and Game Air is available in 51 colors.


  • Variety of colors
  • High-quality
  • Mixable
  • Smooth, even coverage
  • Acrylic and non-toxic


  • Tendency to chip (Model Color and Air)

Games Workshop Paint (Citadel)

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Games Workshop sells Citadel paints for all of their models. Citadel is another extremely popular model paint and is great for creating dimension. There are several different types of Citadel paints and so many different colors available.

The goal of Citadel paints is to make your model painting simple and quick. They want you to be able to get your miniatures ready for battle and parade in just a few easy steps. One of the best things about Citadel paints is the versatility offered.

There are two main methods of using Citadel paints. First, there is the contrast method. This method makes it easy to get your models ready for battle with just one coat of paint. Next, there is the classic method. This involves different layers of different kinds of paint to get your models looking their best.

To check the current price and availability of Citadel Paints, click here to view the listing on Amazon.

Are Citadel Paints Better?

It is really hard to say whether Citadel paints are better than Vallejo paints. There are so many similarities between the two brands, but there is one thing that makes Citadel a little better. They have more than 300 different colors in their paint lineup. This is one of the largest variety of paints offered for miniatures.

Citadel’s main goal is to make painting your models and figurines quick, simple, and enjoyable. This is why they offer two methods of painting your models. There is the classic method and the contrast method. The classic method uses a base coat and layers on top, while the contrast method uses just one layer of paint. 

Citadel has several different types of paints. First are the base paints, then the layer paints, technical and shade paints, contrast paint, and Air and Dry paints. Air and Dry are the paints that are designed specifically for use with an airbrush. They will be thinner and can help you with thinning other paints as well.

Types of Paint

The first type of paint offered by Citadel is a base paint. Base paints are used as the first layer of the classic method. They are highly pigmented and offer amazing coverage with just one coat. You will have a perfectly rich first coat foundation for the rest of your paints to layer on top of.

Next, you have the layer paints. These paints aren’t going to be as pigmented as the base paints, making it easier to apply multiple coats. This allows you to bring attention to smaller details on your miniatures. Layer paints are also perfect for adding edges and highlights to your model.

There are also technical and shade paints for the classic method but can also be used for the contrast method when you want to add detail. The technical paints make it easy to add different special effects to your models. You can create gory looks, rust, corrosion, even a glow impact.

Then there is the contrast paint. The contrast paint is innovative because it makes painting a model easy and quick. With a contrast undercoat applied, you would then add a layer of contrast paint on top. The result will be a vibrant base with some realistic shading already done without any extra work.

Finally, there is the Citadel Air and Dry paints. These paints can easily be mixed with any other paint made by Citadel. Since they are designed to be used with an airbrush, they will be thinner than the rest of the paints. When you mix them together, you will be able to have a new paint color that is thinner and applies smoother. 


Citadel has a very wide range of colors. Total, there are more than 300 different shades of paint offered.

There are 56 shades of green, 46 shades of brown, 40 shades of blue, 36 shades of grey, 24 shades of red, 23 flesh-colored shades, 17 shades of purple, 17 bone colors, 14 silver shades, 13 shades of yellow, 13 shades of gold, 11 shades of black, 10 shades of orange, 9 whites, 6 pinks, and 1 shade of turquoise. 


  • Massive color variety
  • Different methods available
  • Mixable
  • High-quality
  • Applies evenly and smooth


  • A bit on the expensive side of most model paints

Can You Mix Citadel and Vallejo Paints?

If you have a Citadel color that you think will make the perfect combination with a Vallejo color, it has probably crossed your mind to mix the two together. Luckily, you can mix the two together without any negative impacts.

Citadel and Vallejo paints are both acrylics, meaning they are both water-based paint. Water-based paints will be able to mix just fine and keep the right consistency of paint. You will then have a beautiful new color that you can store in an empty container for future use. 

Mix With Regular Acrylic and Airbush Paint

There are a couple of different ways that you can mix these two paints together. The first is by mixing a regular acrylic, such as Model Color or Layer Paint, with an airbrush color of the other brand. Airbrush colors are thinner, so in addition to creating a new color, you will also thin your paints at the same time. 

You might want to use this method if you think the Citadel or Vallejo paints are too thick for the project you are working on. Using this method also makes it possible to use the regular acrylic paints in an airbrush. Since you are thinning the paints, they will be able to run through the airbrush without clogging.

Mix Two Regular Acrylic Paints

You can also mix two regular acrylic paints together. If you have a Model Color paint that you think will create a beautiful mixture with a Citadel base paint, you can mix them together. This method likely won’t impact the thickness of the paint, so you can add as much or as little of each color as you want.

Mix Two Airbrush Paints

It is also possible to mix the two brands of airbrush colors together. You can do this in a separate container and add it straight to the airbrush when you are finished. The consistency of these paints likely won’t be altered much since they are both going to be formulated for airbrush use. 

Basically, you can mix any kind of Citadel paint with any kind of Vallejo paint and have a great outcome. You will just need to be careful with two paints that have different consistencies, because the consistency of the final paint will be different.

Which Paint is Better for Miniatures?

Trying to figure out whether Vallejo or Citadel paints are better for miniature painting can seem impossible. This is because both paints perform so well that it is hard to choose which one is better. If you need a budget-friendly paint, you should go with Vallejo. If you prefer a wider range of colors, pick Citadel. 

It might also be beneficial for you to have both types of paint readily available. This will be convenient when you want some qualities out of both types of paint. You can easily mix them together or use them together to create new colors and textures on your model or figurine.

Final Thoughts

Citadel and Vallejo paints are both incredibly popular. If you are trying to choose between the two, the choice can come down to just your budget. When you are in need of a cheaper paint that has a good quality, Vallejo will be perfect. If you don’t need to follow a budget, you can use Citadel.

You will often see model painters with both of these paints in their collection. This is because they want to get the best qualities from both paints on their model. These paints can be layered together or mixed together just fine.

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