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Black 2.0 and Reaper Bones


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I've always been a bit frustrated with painting black. How do you shade black? How do you highlight it without the area looking grey instead? When I heard about Vantablack I was intrigued until I found out it was crazy expensive and required heat treating; not really practical for hobby painting.


When Culture Hustle came out with "Black, the world’s mattest, flattest, black art material by Stuart Semple" I was interested but skeptical. I never got around to buying any, but recently with the Black 3.0 Kickstarter I decided to buy a bottle of Black 2.0 for half the price and try it out.


First up is a comparison of Black 2.0 and how I normally paint black. I start with black primer (duh) and then paint over that with the darkest black paint on hand, in this case it was GW Abaddon Black. I then highlight the area with a dark grey, here Eshin Grey, followed by an edge highlight of Administratum Grey. The Reaper MSP Dragon Black, Stone Grey and Weathered Stone would also work. I then apply a glaze of black acrylic ink to bring it all back down to a more uniform dark color. The highlights are very subtle but look more like black cloth to me. The models here are GW wraiths; like many older GW sculpts they don't seem to be available currently, which is sad. I quickly washed the previously painted model with just water and light brushing before over-painting the robes with the Black 2.0. The model on the left is the Black 2.0.






As you can see the Black 2.0 is indeed darker than my method, and seems to provide shading of it's own. Of course my light box set up has some fairly intense lights so that might be an artifact of the set up. This is after one coat and it went on very smoothly. It is rather thick compared to Reaper MSP, and you can see a few areas that the paint did not get in to. According to Stuart's video on YouTube you can thin Black 2.0 with water without loosing much of it's coverage and matte-ness. In the video it is stated that the paint will continue to darken over 24 hours; I did not see this effect. The paint did dry to the touch very quickly. I have not clear coated the area over-painted with Black 2.0 and I might not for this model; it is well protected by the original layers of paint and sealer.


Next up I have a Bones Sphinx model that I washed and cleaned up the mold lines on, 77577 Manticore. I primed the stones of base with Black 2.0, the rest of the base with Reaper MSP Black Primer, and the manticore itself with Reaper MSP Brown Liner.






As you can see the large stone blocks are more matte, but to my eye the Reaper MSP Black Primer on the rest of the base actually looks darker than the stones painted with Black 2.0. The difference is more apparent in person, but even looking at the photos Black 2.0 doesn't look any darker than the Black Primer, and not much darker than the Brown Liner. The Black Primer is definitely glossier than the Black 2.0.


In the first photo the stone in the upper right shows the effect of me rubbing my thumb vigorously across the paint, and even bearing down and scratching at it with my thumb nail. It stood up fairly well but definitely turned more grey, and on the corner the paint scraped off just a little bit. You can also clearly see places where the thick paint did not flow down into the detail. Of course you can also see spots I missed with the Black Primer and Brown Liner, so keep in mind that the error is probably mine. A second, thinner coat of Black 2.0 would probably fix the issue, but who wants to do a second coat of primer?


This last image is of the base for manticore compared to the base for the Bones Sphinx, 77576. I spray primed the sphinx with Army Painter Black Primer.




Again, the primer is glossier but darker no my eye. I personally have not had any tackiness issues with Army Painter spray primers on Bones, but I tend to only give light coats of the primer as evidenced here; Army Painter primers can be not only glossy but a bit hydrophobic when applied too thickly so I go for just "good enough" coverage.


So my final thoughts on Black 2.0?


Price wise I think it compares favorably to hobby paints; I got my 150 ml bottle for $20 USD inclusive of shipping from Amazon Prime; a 12 ml bottle of GW paint runs $4.55 USD, and Reaper MSP is $3.69 USD for half an ounce (~15ml).


As for matteness, it is the most matte black paint I've used.


As for the darkness (or blackness), I think there are darker paints available, but they are glossier.


Durability is fair, but remember that if you seal or top coat your models, the result will be a glossier finish than straight Black 2.0 without the top coat.


I don't see me using it very much for models, but it will have it's special case uses. I see more applications in terrain or scenery than on monster or character models.


I'll try to remember to update this thread after I paint the manticore and let you know how the areas coated with Black 2.0 turn out, and maybe I'll hit that GW wraith with some Testor's Dull Coat too.

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Because of the optical nature of painting media, any pigment will look less intense and saturated with a matte finish and more intense and saturated with a gloss finish.


This includes black. No matte black paint can be as intensely dark as a glossy black paint.


Since the current fashion for painting miniatures is with a strongly matte finish, we have to contend with colors which will never quite reach the full depth and brilliance they can achieve with a gloss finish.


As I see it, the best compromise is to use contrast. Rather than try to find the reddest red or the blackest black, use the colors on the rest of the figure to play up their strengths. Desaturate most of the other colors on a figure and its reds will pop. Keep the lights fairly light and the darks will look darker next to them.

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I've had Black 2.0 for a while, but haven't really tried it out much, yet.   

I did an experiment, though. I airbrushed two CDs with Vallejo black primer, then airbrushed one with Dragon Black, and the other with Black 2.0.

Just one coat, and not really thick, either.   

The B2.0 is definitely much darker than the DB.  


Assuming that B3.0 holds what they promise, I can see the use being inside of cowls, underside of minis(under skirts and dresses) in gaps between sections on mecha and so on.  Deep shadow type stuff.   

If only they could sell it in sensibly sied dropper bottles... 


Vantablack is unfortunately not available(A pox on Anish Kapoor), and besides, the heat required to cure it would be detrimental to most minis...    

Gravity Black also requires baking, but supposedly also have a 'low heat' version, so may be possible to use on metal minis at least.   


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Pingo, your points on matte paint are well taken as always. My only quibble with Culture Hustle is that they state (or stated, before Black 3.0) that with this paint "With just one coat almost any object (even really shiny ones) become super-black and reflect next to no light, giving a Vantastic black hole type effect." I don't agree with the "super-black" or "Vantastic black hole type effect".


Gadgetman, how did Black 2.0 compare to the Vallejo black primer?


I agree this will see special use for deep shadows and such, just not as a main body color. But that's my take on it, others might see it differently.

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Black 3.0 is darker but finicky to work with.  KoPro's musou black is thinner, easier to work with, and darker.  Brush applied it is reported to reflect only 1.2%.  I've tried Black 2.0, 3.0, and musou black and musou is the darkest. It about as touch tolerant as black 3.0, maybe a little more when painted on primer.

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