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Reaper paints vs Vallejo


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I'm looking at replacing my paints, and I'm considering reaper and Vallejo paints as my most likely candidates.  So far I've tried two reaper paints that came in a recent mini order (snowdrift white and chestnut brown), and a Vallejo game color black that we bought at the local game store. 

 

I'm curious if anyone has experience with these (or the kromatic kolors paints, which looked intriguing), that would be willing to share their thoughts?  I've got limited experience with either, here's what I've noticed so far:

 

Reaper paints have nice color, are fairly thin (a good thing), excellent coverage, and cost anywhere from $3-10 for .5oz.  

 Vallejo game color paints are $4.00CAD for a .6oz bottle, seem thicker, but have good color and also thin well.  Though I feel like I do need to use more paint to get the same coverage as reapers, so they might not actually be cheaper...

Vallejo I can buy locally, I think I need to order reaper paints online or go to reaper con to get reaper paints (so no replacements if I run out of a color mid winter).

 

 It seems weird to me that Vallejo would be the thicker of the two paints, since how thin they are (compared to citadel paints) was the main talking point about them when I first heard of the brand.  9 or 10 years ago... *shifty eyes*

 

I should mention that the paints I use now are a combination of citadel, p3's, FW inks, and liquitex basics.  I've used Testors in the past, but with small children and animals in the house, I don't want to go back to oils in the immediate future. 

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I think you'll find some Reaper colors will have better coverage than Vallejo and some Vallejo colors will have better coverage than Reaper. That's just how it works between all the better paint lines. It will also depend on how long the Vallejo has been on the shelf, since they improved the line last year. I'd recommend against committing to just one brand. When you place an order with Reaper add in some colors you're running short on. When you run out of something in the winter get some Vallejo at the local store. See a bottle of a brand you've never heard of in an interesting color, buy a bottle of it to try the brand. One thing I don't recommend is giving money to anyone charging $10 for a bottle of .5oz bottle reaper paint, that's way over MSRP.

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I have a big VGC set and many Reaper Master Series paints. What I'm about to say may not make sense and I wish I could better articulate this, but here goes. I find reaper paints to be more sandy, and VGC to be more rubbery. Whatever VGC uses as a medium, maybe something to help seal and protect for gaming figs? -its rubbery. Some of them don't get the coverage I wish, but bonus, easy to layer with. On the flip side, sometimes when I thin the RMS paints a lot, they get gritty (I should prob use a medium beside water).

 

I like both sets and have go to-s in each. I would say the VGC were great for learning and painting a lot of minis with great, vibrant colors. RMS are my go to's for the more realistic, and what I would consider more advanced style paintjobs and techniques.

 

 

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There's a few lines by Vallejo and I don't quite understand the medium or binder they use for them, but of all the lines I bought, the most consistent is Model Color. I'm not a fan of the game color or Mecha lines.  VMC has matched my needs in how I paint, which I think is important to understand in what you pick. If you know how you like a paint to thin, layer, dry time, adhesion to model, and my personal pet peeve is shake\mix time.  I hate bottles that I have to learn how much shaking, mixing, poking the tip, or adding mixing balls to. I wish it was standard for all paints, but they all have their faults. VMC is by far the least of all of those for me, but it took me a lot of painting and paint brands to understand that. 

 

I do mix in a lot of MSP into my painting, as I do with Scale 75, but I lean heavily on VMC.  There's a handful of paints that are in my go-to bin that are always in quick reach, versus the specialty colors I may need occasionally:

Ice yellow

Brown sand

Pale sand

Black white

German black brown

Flat earth

Flat red

 

It's amazing what you can do with base colors and mixing them.  Usually there's a bit of any of those listed above on my palette.

 

I find buying deeper colors is better for me than bright colors, it helps me grasp the range, as I mix in and thin a lot.  The bright colors don't allow much brightening, but for specific colors it's s good way to go or if you're mixing it in to something else to lighten up to that color.

 

Another thing I have an issue with on MSP is if I'm not careful in my layering and waiting to dry, I get a cracked layer or that spot in the middle that smeared and I have a void in the middle of my layer.  This is moreso frquent in my scale 75 paints, and there's a fragility to those two I have become aware of. That really only came from discovery of using them. A lot. But they also have tremendous strengths like their matte finish or thin medium that makes mixing them into others amazing.

 

Again it really matters not so much the paint brand, but the experience you learn from using them.  As much as I hate buying more paints, because it's clear I don't 'need' more, it's an amazing feeling finding that paint you fall in love with and it becomes one of your standard colors. I would encourage you to buy 3 or 4 of each and USE them. Don't use it on something specific, just add them to your palette and dip into as your painting. The bottles that don't get used is usually because I need "that one" model to put it on.  If I just put a drop on my palette I force myself to use it and generally discover something cool. Mix them into your other paints. Make lots of mistakes with them. And if you don't like that one paint, then give the ones you don't like to your friends who may end up discovering that they love them.  That way they don't just sit on your shelf as a reminder of your paint buying problem.  Paint goes bad, but there's always someone else out there who could do something amazing with that one you don't use.

 

Buy. Test. Mix. Layer. Make mistakes. Have successes. Give away the ones you don't like. Paint more along the way.  Repeat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, aku-chan said:

Other people have given really good advice, but I'll add one thing about Vallejo, the caps on the bottles can split at the top and then the paint dries out.

Never had that problem with other ranges.

It's funny, I have p3 inks where the cap has split, but somehow it doesn't appear to have caused an issue for drying the inks.  Good to know that if it happens with the Vallejos it is an issue.  Thanks. 

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Vallejo is what I can buy locally, so that's what I use. When I need a new colour, or to replace an old one, I need it right now, and don't want to have to wait six weeks for it to arrive.

 

Having said that, I don't have a lot of experience of Reaper paints. I have two free sample bottles I got from Reaper before postage rates made ordering anything from the USA impractical; one of them (a vaguely Caucasian flesh colour) is great, very matte and densely pigmented. The other is a bright pink, and it has pretty terrible coverage and a fairly ugly colour. So I'm 50/50 on them so far.

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@aku-chan I have about 100 or so varied Vallejo colors. 3 bottles did that cracked cap thing. I hate it. But, I also thought it had something to do with my vortex mixer. 

 

@MojoBob let me guess on that pink. It's BCA pink isn't it? Chalky, over saturated, doesn't play nice with other colors.

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I have easily been buying and using Vallejo Model Color for 30 years. I have never had a cap split on me. That sounds like an issue with the manufacturer rather than Vallejo, they don’t make the bottles and caps. 
 

Gritty paint, regardless of brand, is far more likely to be something in the water than the paint. I have been using MSPs since their inception (the labels were taped on for that first run!) and if a paint is gritty, it’s gritty right out of the bottle. If it’s good out of the bottle it’s getting contaminated when you thin it.

 

As has been stated it’s really just learning how each kind of paint is designed to work.

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Almost all of my paints are either Reaper or Vallejo Game Color.  I really like both, and I have noticed no particular pattern in which paints I like better.  I have favorites from both lines.  I can say, though, that there have been very few paints of either kind that I have really disliked.  (The BCA pink is one of them; I really wish they would change that, or maybe rotate shades of pink, or something.  But even that has its uses.)

 

I try to order a few paints each time I order from Reaper, and I bought a bunch at ReaperCon, because my FLGS does not carry Reaper paints apart from a few learn-to-paint kits.  When I need something quickly, I usually buy Vallejo from the store.

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I have 3 major brands I use.

Vallejo, Reaper and Scale 75.

And a few GW and P3, Army Painter bottles.

 

It depends on the Line.

All brands have several lines like Model Colour/ Artistic Colour/ Bones etc etc.

 

I'm pretty satisfied with any of these,

 

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As I've had a chance to spend more time with really good painters, I repeatedly hear them tell me the same thing: buy the paint, not the brand.  I avoid the glossy stuff that doesn't mix well (looking at you, Army Painter...).  But, after that, you're really looking for those 'go-to' colors to build a personal palette, regardless of the brand.  

 

For me, it's mostly Reaper and Pro Acry for paint, and FW for inks (although I use the Reaper Clears a lot for that as well).  But, I have a few other colors that I'm always willing to experiment with, because I'm just not quite satisfied.  Turquoise, teal, plum, yellow and orange always leave me searching a bit.  I have a pretty full set of Valejo Game Color, but I generally only dip into them for a few dark browns and yellow/oranges, and ivory white.  I really, really love having Kimera "The White" in a bottle, but a tube of Golden Artist Acrylic Titanium White fills the same niche: super white white with a high viscosity (the trick to catchlights in the pupils).  I love the mix of yellow and purple inks to create an amber wash for leather (nice because it adds a little sheen), but Snakebite Leather does 90% of that while adding a distinctly greenish hue.  So I keep that around as well.

 

I've had about the same number of both Reaper and Vallejo caps break, I think it's often that paint dried in the tip of the cap makes them tighten erratically.  FWIW, I've learned to loathe all of the alternatives as well: the obnoxious "pre-spilled" pots of citadel, the "twist, clog, spurt and smear" caps for Pro Acryl and the "clog and drop a chunk of dried paint into the airbrush" snap caps on Kimera and Stynylrez.

 

The cost differential doesn't matter too much to me, it seems like any bottle I buy is going to last for a few years at least.  It seems like you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a new acrylic paint, so enjoy the fact that we're in a golden age of paint options.   

 

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