Sunday, 10 August 2014

Scale75 Paint Review

Scale75 Paint Review Banner - CMDante.com

As I mentioned in my last post, I've recently been trying out the Scale75 paint range and boy are they good! In fact I've been so taken with them I have purchased almost the entire range.

Since I've been asked a few times recently what it is about the range that I like so much, I figured I'd put together a bit of a quick overview of my experiences. I intend to expand this out with a proper review of the three main ranges - colour, metallics and inks - with more pics of the colours, their uses and colour swatches, but for now this post will hopefully provide a quick view on a few of the main observations I've had so far.


Colour Range

First things first, the Scale75 range is an acrylic miniature paint range developed by the Spanish company famed for large scale miniatures and their recent Frontiers of War range.

Selection of Scale75 Paint Colour Range - CMDante.com


The colour range has a good volume of colours in a nice mix of both vibrant and subtle tones. There are 63 paints in the main colour range and these can be purchased either in sets of 8 paints in groupings such as reds, blues, browns and leathers etc, or in one handy mega set. I purchased mine in the smaller sets as the mega set wasn't available at the time, but if you want the whole range at best price, I'd recommend the mega set (available in the UK from Model Display Products).

The first thing worth noting about the Scale75 range is they dry very matt - almost chalky. This might sound like a bad thing, but its really not - in fact, its one of the things I really like about the range. By drying so matt, it creates a much wider range of possible finishes, helping build depth and contrast between matt and satin. I've included a couple of examples of a WIP GW Ogryn below so you can see what I mean:

GW Ogryn Body WIP - CMDante.com

The flesh tones in particular are very nice and a perfect example of where the matt finish can work really well. Again, very WIP pictures below, at this point I've spent about 45 minutes total on the face, so plenty still to do but you can see how well they blend and how the matt finish gives quite a realistic look to the skin even at this stage for the scale.


GW Ogryn Head WIP 1 - CMDante.com

GW Ogryn Head WIP 2 - CMDante.com


One final thing I'd like to note on the colour range are the tones available. There are some amazing vibrant tones, particularly in the blue, red and green ranges, that really pop - perfect for dress uniforms, heraldry and the like. For some examples, check the blues in the picture of a selection of the colour range I included at the top of the post.


Inks

The inks from the Scale75 Inktensity range are the perfect compliment to the colour range. While the colours dry very matt, by contrast the inks dry very satin and shiny. Not quite as much as the old GW inks (the ones before the wash range), but more shiny than the more recent GW washes.


As with the colour range, the inks come in a good range of tones, from yellow to black. The only notable absence in my opinion is a true green ink - though this could be mixed using the yellow and blue tones easily enough. I'm already a big fan of the two brown tones and the violet - all very nice and extremely useful.

I mentioned before that the inks are the perfect compliment to the colour range - not only because they can help generate further vibrant tones (the yellow in particular is good for this), but because they can also help create a more satin finish without altering the tone too much.

I haven't really had a chance to use this set to its fullest yet, so expect more in a future, fuller review post.


Metallics

The real clincher for my decision to buy the Scale75 range was my experience with the metallics sets for silvers and golds. These are without doubt the best acrylic metallic paints I have used to date. My current acrylic paint collection includes GW (from early 90's onwards), P3, Coat D'Arms and Vallejo and the Scale75 metallics top all of these.

Selection of Scale75 Metallics Paints - CMDante.com

Why are they so good you ask? Well, as with the rest of the range, the pigment in the paint is super fine, meaning that the finish from these colours is super smooth and with a good coverage.

The metallics range also includes some nice, more unusual metallic tones, including blues, greens and pinks. I'm already a big fan of the black metal and bright silver colours (with some cool names such as "speed metal" and "thrash metal" - very 80's!). In particular, I really like the very bright white metal and white gold colours - great for super bright highlights where previously you would have required Vallejo Metallic Medium for a similar effect.

Abaddon Sword Blade - CMDante.com


I used the metallics on my Abaddon figure and found them absolutely brilliant - particularly for getting the nice smooth gradients on the sword (all done with brush). They mix well with the colour range too, helping achieve a more matt metallic finish where needed for TMM in an NMM style.


Value for Money

At around £19.40 per set of 8 (about £2.30 per pot) or £160 for the 63 colour mega set (about £2.50 per pot - but it also comes with the metal holder tray which retails at 25 euros on it's own), the Scale75 range is a little more pricey than Vallejo and a little cheaper than GW. But for the quality, I would definitely say they are value for money.


Where to buy? (UK)

At the moment, it's only possible (as far as I'm aware) to buy the paint sets (8 pot or 63 pot mega sets) in the UK at this time. However, Scale75 have recently started to sell individual pots on their website.

I bought my selection of sets from El Greco Miniatures as they had a sale on at the time, meaning I got them for about £18.30 per set, but they retail at £19.40 in most places in the UK (including MDP who carry the mega set).

UPDATE - WAMP have also started to carry all of the sets from the Acrylic colour range and the new Fantasy & Games sets (more on these in a future post). You can find them here:





Final Notes

A couple of final points to note about the range:


  1. As the pigment is very fine, it seems to separate from the carrying fluid if left to sit for a prolonged period without shaking (around a few days), so you need to make sure to give them a good shake to ensure they are properly mixed before using. I'd recommend getting some 2-4mm stainless steel ball bearings (eBay is your friend here) to put in the pots to help with mixing.

  2. The bottles are dropper bottles of the Vallejo style many will be familiar with. This obviously means you will need to drop them onto a palette to use. I have had no issues with them on my wet palette, with the paint still usable over a number of days later.

  3. The nozzle of the dropper on the bottles comes with a thin seal of plastic over the tip that needs pierced before use. This is handy as it allows you to give them a really good shake to mix binder and pigment before first use without any spilling out into the lid. I used a needle sculpting tool to pierce. 
So there you have my take on the range based on my early experiences. I'm really looking forward to playing about with the matt finish more for various effects and for trying out the metallics on larger surfaces. I would really recommend trying these paints out to experience for yourself. I have seen a few reviewers complain about the matt finish and can appreciate its potentially not for everyone, but I for one am sold on them due to the flexibility it offers. Hopefully this post will help cover off enough key points to allow you to decide whether these are likely to be for you.

Feel free to share your own thoughts, or ask any questions in the comments below.

26 comments :

Avicenna said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these... I just bought some myself and am finding them really pleasant to use.

Andrew Steel said...

Glad you enjoyed! Which sets have you purchased - would love to hear your own take on them.

Avicenna said...

I bought the NMM steel set and also the metallic steel set... so both of a similar type of thing, but I think I made the right choice. I will definitely be buying more! I wrote a quick 'first thoughts' on my blog if you are interested: http://jollybodgers.com/first-thoughts-scale-75-paints/

Andrew Steel said...

Thanks for sharing - looks like you've arrived at the same opinions :)

These will definitely be replacing my Vallejos (for the most part) as they run out.

Dalibor Zeman said...

Hello, I start very fast to be fond of those colours, currently using Metal Alchemy and Blue and Red sets.

Did you test theor Fantasy and Games product line?

Mark Harrop said...

Thanks for a great review. I have been trying to decide which paints to use for figures ( I currently have Vallejo) either Andrea or Scale 75 and this review has helped me make up my mind. I wonder, do you know if the mega set has all the skin tone colours in it? Thanks again for a terrific overview.

Andrew Steel said...

Hi guys, thanks for your comments - glad you enjoyed the review and found it useful.

@Dalibor - I'm also very fond of the blue and red sets and plan to make good use of the reds on a current project (more on that soon!).

I purchased a set of the Fantasy Colour reds over Xmas and plan to so a bit of comparative testing between the regular colour range and the new Fantasy mixes - will put a post up describing the results when I have so keep a lookout for it.

From what I have heard, the new Fantasy colours have more resin in the acrylic binder, resulting in a harder wearing finish on models (good for handling, especially on gaming miniatures). The side effect of this is a more satin finish than the standard colour range - probably more in lone with current GW and Vallejo paints.

@ Mark - glad you found the review helpful! The mega set does indeed include the full range of 8 skin tone colours. Worth a look of you plan to pick up the full range in one fell swoop :)

Mark Harrop said...

Thanks Andrew :)

Bradley Xavier said...

Hey mate, do you have an email I could contact you on?

Bradley Xavier said...

I was wondering if you'd be interested in a small commission for a friends birthday. Sorry for posting here, literally couldn't find anywhere else to contact you!

Andrew Steel said...

Hi Bradley,

Give me a follow on twitter and I'll drop you a message on there - @CMDante

Cheers,

Andrew

Bradley Xavier said...

Followed (@bxav91). And thank you!

J.R.McDowell said...

scalegames.com is where you can get them in the USA. Scale75 opened a warehouse in El Paso TX.. and we are looking for game stores to carry our line.. so please have your local games store contact me at jeff@scale75.com

Thanks for the review, glad you enjoyed the paints.

Wayne Summers said...

Hi great article I've bought the range and was wondering what is the best ratio of paint to thinner for airbrushing these paints?

Andrew Steel said...

Hi Wayne, thanks for commenting. Ratio of paint to thinner will depend on your setup (primarily the pressure you are using) and will vary slightly between different paints - some colours seem to be a bit thicker than others.

Generally I put about 6-7 drops of thinner and then load paint in on a paintbrush and mix it in the cup until the consistency looks about right. Always give a test spray on an old model or a sheet of paper though to make sure it's not too thin or too thick.

Wayne Summers said...

Hi Andrew, thanks for the reply. I'll give that a go and see how it works.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking about the mega set. But I was wondering why 63 bottles not 64 - all sets are 8 bottles? What is missing? Also you would still need to add the ink set.

Andrew Steel said...

Hi, thanks for commenting. The difference is that you get one less bottle of a repeated colour (white or black - can't remember which) that is duplicated across two of the sets when purchased in the 8 bottle sets.

You are right though, you'd still have to buy the inks separately but that's not much of an inconvenience. :)

technasma.com said...

Great review and very interesting reading. In particular, I've been looking for some high-quality metallics so this is very helpful. After seeing your results with these paints I'll certainly consider them. Cheers

Matthew Adlard said...

Thanks for sharing, been looking at them as wanting a few other ranges to complement the Wargames Foundry Paints (Really nice, developed as a triad system, to help painters) one usually uses with a few GW ones or inks.

How well do the paints and inks play well with other paints.??

Andrew Steel said...

Hi Matthew, thanks for the comment!

I've not had any issues in mixing them with GW, Vallejo or P3 paints - though they don't keep well on a wet palette when mixed (or generally longer than a day or 2). Something seems to happen with the Matt-ness of the pigment and they end up drying very chalky if you leave them too long.

Otherwise though, excellent paints!

Cheers,

CMDante

Matthew Adlard said...

Thanks for that

Haldare Of Gilrain said...

Yes they are indeed excellent paints, I particularly like the translucency especially valuable for layering.

Unknown said...

Does the set come with the metalics ?

Andrew Steel said...

No I believe it's just the colour range in the mega set so you'd have to buy the 2 metallic sets separately.

It's worth checking whether they have made a bigger set with the metallics and inks included though.

Cheers,

CMDante

Anonymous said...

It is worth noting the set comes with the NMM range of paints, so if you want to try your hand at NMM before you give up and buy the metallic range you can certainly do that.

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