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reaper paints versus cheaper brands


LordDave
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Ok, the debate has gone on for years. And for lots of conversations, I have been in the group that would argue that great results can be achieved with cheap paint.

 

During the kickstarters I have thought about buying in on reaper paints since in the kickstarters the paint is very cheap but I have always talked myself out of it with the thought of, I can keep using my craft paints and buy more minis. Following a conversation in the comments of bones 3, I decided that I needed to test Reaper paints for myself. Hearing the back and forth of price versus quantity, and what can and can not be done with cheaper paints, I knew the only way for me to know was to try it for myself.

 

My original intent was to buy 4 bottles of Reaper paint to test. I added a red, a yellow, a blue and a brown wash to my cart on the site. Seeing that my cost was already at almost half the price of the learn to paint bones kit, I put some extra thought into getting that kit. I still did want to pay over 3 dollars each for paint. But doing a little math first made the kit seem very tempting. So price just under 35 bucks. Ok 11 bottles of paint thats over 3 each right? Not really. You also get 3 bones figures, those run about 2.39 each so say 7 bucks worth of bones. Ok that brings the price of the paint to 27. Still a bit high for my tastes. But wait two good brushes are in there as well. Those even on sale some place would be 3-5 bucks a pop. Lets say I am lucky and could get those for 6 bucks for both. That brings the bottles of paint to under 2 a piece, thats a good price for me. So on Friday I placed my order, one learn to paint kit, plus a bottle of red. Plenty to test with.

 

So I figured it would be sometime the following week before I got the paint but I was shocked to see them arrive on Monday. Whoah. That was less than on business day, maybe that was luck, but wow they are fast. Inside the box was everything that I ordered plus a little bonus that made my day, but I wont mention because Im not sure that this is the norm for Reaper to give extra stuff or not. Again maybe just good luck. Someone also hand wrote a little thank you on my receipt. Nice touch. Another smile from me.

 

So last night i sat down to do the test. I dropped a few drops of the new reaper paint on my palette. I have been painting a while and I have used a lot of different paints yet already with just a drop or two on the palette I could see a noticeable improvement on paint consistency and the color was great. I dipped my brush in and as that first stroke glided effortlessly acrossed the bonesium I felt like I had more control, that paint wasnt just good, it was hands down bar none the best I had ever used! I thought as I continued to base coat maybe it was that one color maybe it was luck again. I continued to teat other colors, make blends, washes highlights, and found the paint is great. No luckiness, it was just flat out better paint. I also noticed that it dried faster, coats were more even, and brushes cleaned easier.

 

So bottomline, I noticed that while the improved control and flow and coverage of Reaper paints provides the potential for a better finished paint job on a mini, that is not the thing that I want to stress. Its the painting time. My speed with Reaper paint is heads and shoulders above the time that it would take me to paint with the cheaper brands. The dropper bottles make the process of measuring and mixing paints easier and faster as well. So true... great results can be had with cheap paint, but it takes hours upon hours to get them, the same level of detail can be achieved in a much faster time with Reaper paints giving more time time either paint a higher number of figures for game day, or to really get insane with details.

 

Eitherway, after the test I will still keep the craft paints for crafts or large terrain pieces, but my bones will now only get Reaper paints. Move me into the camp of Reaper paint. It is well worth the extra money. Time saved, less waste, better end results, win win win. Thanks Reaper. Now to adjust my pledge manager up 40 bucks...

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If your lucky 'bonus' was another bottle of paint, it's ok to mention that, Reaper does that fairly frequently. It's usually a one-off color that can't be purchased. They are generally colors that didn't come out quite right, so Reaper gives 'em away. Like I said, though, since they're 'mistakes' you can't buy those colors, it's just luck of the draw.

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Apple barrel, folkart, craftsmart, americana and a few others. Dont get me wrong. I have had some really good results with those, but im just saying the same results level is easier with Reaper. I have also tried other $$$ paints like citadel, polly s, vallero, but found them to be not much better than folkart. I just think folks should give it a test. For my uses, I run a game every week and speed can be a factor.

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Thanks for the review, d7cecil. I also find Reaper's paints very pleasant to work with; in fact I prefer them over other hobby brands for their properties out of the bottle.

So, for your first specialist hobby paint, I think you really picked the very best for just being easy and pleasant to use, flowing nicely, covering well, and good colour. There are other hobby paints that would also, I think, impress you in one or two of these areas - almost all the miniature paints are fantastic in terms of intense colour when compared to craft paints - but none, in my experience, offer quite the same balance of strength in all areas that Reaper's do.

Now try painting some flesh tones and faces with them, because I think they'll blow you away in that application!

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 I'm not sure about any of the other companies that make mini paints, but Reaper's person in charge of the entire paint operation is Anne Foerster, who was (and still is) a professional mini painter before she took that job.

She creates the kind of paints that she'd like to use for herself.

(Although I can't confirm it, I think that might actually be part of her official job description...)

The Reaper Master Series paints are made for mini painters by a mini painter - essentially the culmination of the collective painting knowledge gathered in the last forty years or so by both chemists and painters who share a hobby that's been around since at least the 1700s when kids used to paint little lead soldiers by candlelight.

 

 Painting miniatures has always been at least a mildly expensive hobby (although less so now that decent plastic minis are available at less-than-ridiculous prices), but just like any other hobby better materials cost more money - it's always a trade-off: time vs. easiness vs. quality vs. cost. It's just a matter of deciding which one or more of those are the least of your priorities and thus what you're willing to sacrifice more of in order to get more of the others.

 

 

As far as craft paints, I've tried several brands but always had the best luck with Delta Ceramcoat. For me, at least, it's always been the most consistently well-behaved across all the colors I've tried, can be thinned fairly well (even well enough to glaze with) and is reasonably well-available.

I still occasionally use them on my minis (mainly for base coats and dry-brushing) just because they have such a wide range of colors not generally found in the various brands of mini paints.

Edited by Mad Jack
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I use Vallejo and RMS. I also have a ton of craft paints that I bought on clearance for use on bases and terrain. I have a few bottles of Citadel. The Vallejo and RMS are both, in my opinion, very good paints. Citadel is ok, and it seems to be about the only thing any of the hobby shops within driving distance of me carry. Craft paints are certainly usable, but I prefer to limit them to basing and terrain as mentioned before. I started my painting career with Delta and Folk Art. They are not terrible paints, but take a lot more work. I'm glad you are happy with your RMS.

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Wow. Paragraphing.

 

For tabletop, whatever floats your boat.

 

I know of zero point zero display painters using non-miniature/model paints. Reaper, GW, P3, Vallejo, Scale 75, etc. Brand doesn't matter so much as that they're formulated with small pigments in a suspension intended to paint minis/models.

 

If you want to paint better than tabletop, get hobby paints instead of craft paints. Get good kolinsky sable brushes. Make life easier on yourself.

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Welcome to the forums and welcome to the fold of people who use the good paints!

 

Wow. Paragraphing.

For tabletop, whatever floats your boat.

I know of zero point zero display painters using non-miniature/model paints. Reaper, GW, P3, Vallejo, Scale 75, etc. Brand doesn't matter so much as that they're formulated with small pigments in a suspension intended to paint minis/models.

If you want to paint better than tabletop, get hobby paints instead of craft paints. Get good kolinsky sable brushes. Make life easier on yourself.

 

I agree with this word for word. 

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