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Army Painter Speedpaint – Worth It, Or Not?

Army Painter Speedpaint seems to be the subject of videos on nearly every miniature and gaming channel. So I’ll apologize in advance for adding to it. I usually try to avoid the hype trains, but I was really curious about them.

If you’re not familiar with them, the Army Painter Speedpaints (as well as Citadel Contrast paints) are designed to help tabletop gamers get painted miniatures into gaming quicker. The idea is simple, really. Give the mini a light undercoat of primer, then paint one layer of the Speedpaint over it for each color on the mini. The paint is designed to settle in the recesses, pull back a bit from edges to make highlights, and color the flat areas. In one step you get base color, highlights, and shadows. Easy.

Citadel came into the market a few years ago with their Contrast paints. They worked fairly well, but the biggest complaint was the cost – full retail is $7.80 USD for a single pot of paint. It’s not cheap stuff.

And while many adopted the paints for its intended purpose, others began experimenting with creative ways to use them. They morphed into much more than “get your minis to the tabletop fast”, as artists painted them over zenithal shading, used them for various blending effects, as glazes, etc. I thought it was a bit cool to see. The original purpose seemed a bit “meh” in my mind. But when I saw the other possibilities, I started using them. And I really like them.

Army Painter Speedpaint – Into The Fray

So Army Painter came into the market recently with their own version. And while they never did directly say “these are designed to be replacements for Contrast paints”, they never really denied those who hyped them that way. Thus, many modelers awaited them to hit the market with one expectation.

As good as Contrast paints. Just cheaper.

And cheaper they are… half the price.

But some cracks began to show in their usage. The Speedpaints couldn’t be painted over without a clear coat. They’d reactivate. They wiped off easily. (In one of my tests, they were still wiping off after 2 weeks.) Everyone was polite about it, but to me it all seemed like it was being “retconned”.

Army Painter came out saying that is was how they were designed. That they were NOT a replacement for Contrast. They were different. And yes they could reactivate, but that was what kept them from pooling up. (A flaw Contrast has been plagued with.) So you put them on Speedily… then clear coat them. Then play with them.

And they do work that way. And they look pretty good.

So if speed is your thing, Speedpaint may be worth a go.

But if you like doing more things after the Speedpaint is on, they might not work so well for you. And I think it would have been nice to know that up front. Especially from the gobs of reviewers who failed to mention this aspect of their application. (Credit to Juan Hidalgo for bringing it up.)

I’m sure many will use them and like them. but for me, I’m sticking with Citadel.

The Contrast between the two is just too stark.

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