Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Let's talk about paint bottles


I was going through my paints yesterday evening(I have over 400+bottles of Vallejo,Foundry GW etc.) and confirmed my long standing suspicion of the quality of the GW bottles as progressively worse for the most part except their foundation paints. I must have threw away about 30 bottles of paint in which many were never used as they were all dried up! Needless to say I was less then pleased as I did pay for them at some point after all.
Nowadays, I use Vallejo more often as my paint of choice as well as Foundry, but I also do still use GW paints as well and this is why I'm doing a little rant on them. I know they often have complaints heaped on them, but they usually deserve it with their prices on their products and paint bottle quality.
This has prompted me to talk about the quality of the paint bottles I have and give an opinion on them.I'm not talking too much about the paints themselves, but will add some comments on it, however the focus will be the bottles. I as always welcome all other thoughts on this and will modify the post when things are brought up I didn't think of. :-)


The above first generation GW in the soft plastic bottles and lids. The pigment is a bit too thin and getting the tops off is a bit of a pain and not user friendly. Also, if you didn't watch out you could knock over the bottle and watch your paint run, but on the plus side the paint will last for years and years. Most of these bottles I've had since the early to mid 90's! Since I'll gladly give up user friendly for my paints not drying up these get a  thumbs up.


Second Generation GW paints in a slightly harder bottle and soft lid. Same analysis as the first generation and so a thumbs up overall.



Third Generation GW paints and probably the worst ever over all . Ok, here they did improve the pigmentation, but that's it folks. The top was a royal pain to open after excess paint would eventually dry it shut. The paint in the bottle dried up soon after opening and eventually would dry up even if you didn't open the bottle! Being messy and knocking them over also something to deal with. Frustration and loss of money on this.These type of bottles made you think GW bottled them in these just so you would have to continue buying more on a regular basis. Two very big thumbs down!




Forth Generation GW paints.Not much better then the third.Only better because the lid doesn't dry shut, but even that's not much better, because it drips down onto the lid when you open it ruining what little seal you do get from these bottles. So, almost a carbon copy of the 3rd generation giving it a two big thumbs down.



These GW Foundation bottles are a big improvement over the others with very nice pigmentation and user friendly. They went back to the soft bottle and lid which no doubt has prolonged the shelf life of these quite a bit, but for some reason still not as long as the original bottles, but diffidently a substantial improvement.. Why they don't put the standard colours into these bottles as well is anybody's guess.Still need to be careful not to knock them over. These do rate a nice thumbs up though.

 

These Armoury paints are nice with good pigmentation and quite a bit of paint for your money which is a real bonus. However, the bottle isn't very nice. The lid can be a real bastard to open when the paint dries around the rim and the glass bottle can give you an ugly accident if it breaks making you nervous when using and storing. Easy to knock over do to being too long and tall which is not good. Because of the bottle it gets a thumbs down. I haven't purchased paints from them in quite awhile and so they may have changed the bottles since then.


Ral Partha makes a very nice paint with good pigmentation, a healthy amount of paint for your money and the bottles are in a nice soft plastic. The problem is the lid in that when it dries these can be super hard to open and will give you a few choice words when trying to open it. Also, like many must be careful not to knock over. Still, overall a thumbs up.


Tamiya paints are a real pain in the behind and I wouldn't use them if for not the fact that they can give some really awesome results on some things. These paints really are for modellers and not wargamers as they are very unfriendly paints. Some of the positive in these paints is the excellent shelf life,plenty of paint for money and some super realistic results be can achieved with these, and is resistant to being knocked over due to a wide base. Now for the negative........they smell terrible, dry quickly out of the bottle and the lid can be a pain to open when paint dries on the seal , in addition the glass bottle can be nasty if it breaks. Also, your brushes must be thoroughly cleaned after using these paints or they will be destroyed.  Based on the bottle and the difficulty in using the paints  it  receives an over all thumbs down. Basically, I use these for very specific things and that's it.


Howard Hues paints have nice pigmentation and have some great colours for the American Civil War period. Wide base gives resistance to being knocked over as well. The problem is the lid can be difficult to open when the paint dries on the rim. They also switched from glass to plastic which I like as it reduces breakage. These deserve a thumbs up.


These are some really super paints with outstanding shelf life and superb pigmentation(at least the older releases). One of the few times I don't mind paying a lot of money for the paint.One bottle will stretch a very long time making any investment well worth it.The lid can be a bit inconvenient,but only a very little and soft bottle and top is super convenient in terms of prolonging the paint,storage and virtually shatter proof.Do need to mind being knocked over though. I use this paint a great deal and is only rivalled by the next entry coming.Two very,very big thumbs up!


Vallejo paints are in my opinion the best on the market and the brand I use progressively more and more where I can see it may become my exclusive choice of paints.The pigmentation is nothing less then superb and gives an unrivalled tonal quality. The bottle comes in the best type which is a soft plastic making it almost accident proof and offers outstanding shelf life .Another fantastic feature of these paints is the nozzle on it which allows for controlled amount of paints used and best of all the paint in the bottle is exposed to very little air when the lid is off extending the paints life even longer. Also,another huge plus for these is knocking over these babies is no sweat as the paint stays in the bottle thanks to the nozzle. I prefer the nozzle, but Vallejo also made it so you can remove the nozzles if you so desire which is thinking of all painters taste. This makes the bottle the best on the market as well. If I had to say anything negative is that once the paint is out of the bottle it tends to dry quickly and so keeping the paints on semi damp surface is needed, but this is more then off set by all the positive factors.Two thumbs way up and I mean way up folks!

26 comments:

  1. Excellent review and very interesting.

    I've used most of these paints over the years (with the exception of Tamiya and Armoury), indeed I cut my teeth on the first generation GW paints. They were pretty good as I recall, although I found the lid could get very messy. The other problem with 'open top' bottles - aside from drying up - is they are prone to being knocked over.

    Like you I now use Vallejo paints almost exclusively. I changed from GW paints primarily because I was sick of the GW stuff drying up. In the end I decided the cost of changing ranges wholesale was less than the amount I was wasting in dried up bottles.

    As for the Vallejo range I think the paint itself is excellent and the dropper bottle is the best design for miniatures paint IMHO. The nozzles rarely clog and on the rare occasion they do they are very easy to clean. Similarly the lid is easy to keep clean and I have never yet had one ‘weld’ itself to the bottle.

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  2. Well, I'm not one hundred per cent happy with any of them, but I do come to the same conclusion by being a fan of both Vallejo and Foundry.
    I really would like for foundry to change into the nozzle bottles really. Their lids are still messy and I often find myself cleaning them with q-tips and water. Sadly foundry are critism resistant!
    Vallejo have the best system! Even if the nozzle makes a mess it is containable and easy to remove. What annoys me is that the newer see-through nozzles have the rude tendency to split and the mess increases.

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  3. Handily, GW seem to be currently migrating their standard paint range over to the new-style bottles (although it's less handy that 98% of my gw paints are in the previous style bottles, drying out as we speak...)

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  4. Really interesting Christopher,
    I am very new to Vallejo (as before the internet I didn't really know where to find them) but I am using them more and more and have become a big fan (as a clueless amateur I have always found the nozzle on them tricky, squeezing the paint out instead of working from the lid is very new to me but I am getting there). I also like the GW 2nd Generation and also the foundation paints. I just picked up some of their metallics in the foundation type bottles although the bottles are totally transparent, could this be new as my original ones where in the 4th generation bottles? the Foundry paints are growing on me but some of the darker colours can be very thin.
    I would say the Vallejo and GW are my favourite, best white I have found for myself is Coat de Arms
    Cheers
    Paul

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  5. I´m a Foundry/Vallejo man too. I only use a few GW bottles, very few.

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  6. Don´t use any of them....so I can´t comment :-D
    Must admit to buying Vallejo...trying it onece nad never again.
    Cheers
    paul

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  7. I couldn't agree more with what you say about the different stages of GW paints. Their pots are getting worse, smaller and more expensive all the time, quite a performance.
    I reallly like Vallejo too.

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  8. @Biglee
    That's a very good point about bottles being knocked over! I'll edit my blog and add that.Thank you for pointing that out.Your also right about just buying the Vallejo range in it's entirety is in the end cheaper then replacing the GW stuff on habitual basis.

    @Doc
    Your right about Foundry sticking cotton in their ears when it comes to listening. Still, their bottles are good if not as good as Vallejo.

    In regards to the nozzle splitting on some Vallejo bottles at least they had the decency for us to be able to unscrew the nozzle and use the paint "the old fashioned" way when this happens to avoid unwanted splurges of paint.Also, it gives an option for those who don't like a nozzle and that's a mark of a company with the painter in mind.Yep, Vallejo is the best in every department IMHO as well.

    @Paulalba

    Yes, GW putting their metallics in same bottle as their Foundation paints is new and a good idea on their part.They would be wise to do the same with the rest....oh a drop their prices for the paint of course.
    The thinness on some of the new Foundry paint is of concern and I hope it's just a few colours as you hinted at or they will be heading for a train wreck if they are not careful.
    I've never tried Coat de Arms and so can't really say.

    @Paul Bods
    Of course I'm a bit surprised,but everyone to their own tastes of course.
    Out of curiosity what brand do you use and why please?

    @Dr. Willett's Workshop
    A smaller bottle isn't a problem when quality improves, but like you said they need to reduce the price which is the problem.

    Cheers
    Christopher

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  9. Marabu...it´s cheap and bloody good paint. For 3 euros I get 50ml...add a bit of washing up liquid to my "thining" water and bingo. Same as the other paints.
    I only have, Black,white, brown,anthracite, red, yellow, blue and middle brown and sand. I have also have P3 gold and flesh (games workshop or?) but the hinge on the lids broke off and Humbrol silver in the square "box".
    Cheers
    Paul

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  10. Agree with you wholeheartedly about games workshop and only some of their foundation paints and inks now.
    Vallejo are king with me, the only drawback being sometimes you get more than you want out of the bottle.
    I only have foundry paints because of some good deals at shows and are rarely used. Very good post my friend.

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  11. @Paul's bod's

    Ahhh, I've used paints similar to what your talking about,but only for basing and such and not on my miniatures. If it works for you then that's what counts and cheaper no doubt.

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  12. Very interesting post. I find the nozzle on the Vallejo bottles allows me to add just the right amount of paint to create lighter/darker shades of the base paints (generally GW Foundation)I use.

    Regards,
    Matt

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  13. Great review. I agree with your comments on the GW paints. Still got some of the first edition ones and still useable. I've also drifted to vallejo over the years.

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  14. Very interesting post, Vallejo get my vote, though like the angry lurker said, somtimes you squeeze a bit too hard and waste the paint. I've never got on with GW paints, I can't justify spending the money on them. I own loads of Miniatures paints, sold by Redout miniatures, http://www.redoubtenterprises.com/shop/?page=shop/browse&category_id=3f108fc645acfa5638437161159f62a5. These in my opinion are as good as Vallejo. Their only problem is that the paint somtimes clogs up the screw top lid. Therey're not that extensive, but well worth a go.

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  15. Well, wasting the paint is one problem when the nozzle clogs. What's worse (and this has happened to me) is if your blue paint bottle blocks, you press harder and after the explosion all you want to and can say is something along the lines of: "For they may take our paints, but they will never take our freedooooom!"
    :D

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  16. Thank you everyone for giving me your opinions. :-)

    @Angry
    Yep, at times if your in a hurry you can squeeze to much.

    @Ubique

    Yes, the nozzle is useful for that if used carefully.

    @Ray,

    I haven't used the brand, but I'll trust your opinion.

    @Doc

    Good one! :-0 I usually stick a pin in to avoid that if I think trouble is ahead. :-)

    Cheers
    Christopher

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  17. I totally agree on GW. I still have 2nd generation bottles going Stornaway, while other paints I bought a year ago have dried up and are useless. I do my nest now to avoid GW paints at all costs - simply a waste of money.

    Giles

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  18. I also agree with most of the summary of paints. I'm still using a few old bottles of 1st & 2nd gen GW and they've mostly maintained their consistency. I also like the Coat d'Arms paints, which seem to be largely the same product, including bottles. But they're not as accessible to me.

    I do like the dropper bottles. I use Vallejo and have started using some of the Reaper Master Series, and like them quite a bit, both in terms of the paint quality and the bottles.

    Two things I've found helpful with the bottles is, first, to put some sort of "agitator" in the Vallejo paints which tend to separate a bit. I used an idea I read of somewhere else, and picked up some small glass beads from the craft store. The second is to keep a pin or tack at my painting desk to clear the clogged dropper bottle. It's far less risky than squeezing until half the bottle blows out the clog, as others have mentioned -- and I did do that that a few times before learning better ;)

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  19. @Giles

    I only buy a few certain colours from GW now that I habitually use to avoid them drying up on me before I use them.

    @Zerotwentythree

    I haven't used Reaper's or Coat de Arms, but I will try them as I like trying out paints. Like you I keep some pins nearby to avoid clogged accidents.

    Cheers
    Christopher

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  20. The 3rd genration GW paint pots are made to look like bolter shells.
    A classic triumph of design over function!
    Tom

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  21. Great post and I can only agree. Tried, used them all and even had the doc phobos explosion three weeks ago. Luckely it was grey while painting confederates :-)
    For a long period of time I did 90%with Foundry but since a year or so more Vallejo than Foundry. I find it easier to control and those easy foundry triads don´t work most of the time anyway.

    Michael

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  22. @TWD

    That never occurred to me and nice to know and like you said design over function no doubt.

    @MiniMike

    The Foundry 3 step method is fine if you just want some decent looking miniatures at a reasonable speed as the contrast can be quite strong, but if your looking for smooth blends and tones then you have to mix the pots between each stage and trade out others at times and then it works very well.

    Cheers
    Christopher

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  23. Hi,
    Sorry I ment to write "I would say the Vallejo and GW (foundation) are my favourite, best white I have found for myself is Coat de Arms".
    Also I should have mentioned that Formula P3 Skorne Red is a brilliant colour, can't live without it!

    Great post Christopher.

    Cheers
    Paul
    P.S. with the coat de Arms paints I bought the ACW paint set. Found the colours very light for the intended subject. Just incase anyone planned picking some up.

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  24. Thank you for the tip Paul. :-)

    Cheers
    Christopher

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  25. I thought I was bad with only 200+ bottles of various paints. I agree entirely with your assessment of the later GW bottles. I was given about a dozen of these about three years ago and all have made it to the bin because of progressive drying up.Vallejos are my top paints but I am increasingly using Foundry sets from the original paint set.

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  26. Hi Mike and welcome!

    I like Foundry paints as well as they are excellent paints and use them myself quite extensively, just prefer Vallejo over all.

    Cheers
    Christopher

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