As long as we’re all talking about the prices of paint at the moment, this is your reminder that you don’t have to buy Games Workshop paint, and there are plenty of quality alternatives out there for better prices.
This hasn’t caused nearly the uproar I thought it would, but Games Workshop recently announced a price increase for their line of paints. The cost of their paint is set to increase by, according to them, “20 pence per pot” in 2019. Kudos to them for being open about it, I guess, but we should probably all keep in mind that they are making an already overpriced product more expensive. And I do use the term “overpriced” intentionally here. Games Workshop’s paint goes for around $4.25 on their website (not including taxes/shipping). Some are a bit more expensive, but the general price at the time this is being written is $4.25 for 12ml of paint. For my part, when I say something is overpriced, what I mean is that I’m not getting the value for the money I’m spending, so at those price points, I’ve looked elsewhere for the paint that I use.
But before we get to any of that, let’s talk about paint in general for a bit. Acrylic paints come in a staggering array of price points and levels of quality, and it can be incredibly difficult to sort out the good advice from personal opinion when it comes to what brand of paint to buy. The first piece of advice here is just do what you want to do. The second is to try new things and find out what works for you. If you’re able to get good results from lower-end paints, then there’s nothing wrong with that, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
So with the advice out of the way, my take on paint is that for what you are getting, Games Workshop’s paint is too expensive. After a certain price, you’re no longer paying for the product; you are mostly paying for the brand, and I don’t really want to pay for their brand when I know I can get the basically same product for a better price elsewhere. For me, the question is always going to be about whether or not I’m getting a return for the extra money spent, and with paint, I just don’t see that return.
There are some other things that happen of course: you’re also paying for better quality control from Games Workshop, so you’re probably going to have a more consistent experience with more name brand paints, but that doesn’t mean that alternative paints are bad. That’s essentially my entire argument: basically, if the product is the same and you can get it for a better price, I don’t see a reason to spend the extra money.
Personally, I use a lot of Testors products. I never see a lot of discussion about these paints, but I’ve found them both more affordable, easily available, and generally a pretty reliable product. They make a line of acrylic paint called Model Master, and in my personal painting experience, I’ve found that paint to work just fine. You do have to be a little careful here because they make enamel paints too, and unless you want to thoroughly clean out your brush every time you switch colors, you’ll probably want to avoid those. If you aren’t getting the enamel paints, you are getting a product that is generally just as good but comes in at a lower price. Unless you buy them on Amazon for some reason. The prices are way higher there than the local craft store.
Now, this isn’t an ad for this company or anything, and I have had some quality control issues before. Their yellow color that I got was really thin and just didn’t apply very well anywhere. From what I understand, they make paints mainly for airbrushing, so they are thinner anyway. This one though seemed like some kind of a mistake. For me, one paint pot out of the 20 or so that I use regularly isn’t doing too bad. Especially for a color like yellow which I’m just not going to use all that much. The point is that there are a lot of alternatives when it comes to paints, and really, it’s pretty easy to get the results you want with any kind of paint.
So if you’re like me and a price increase doesn’t really do much other than solidify your interest in other paints, take a look around, try some alternatives, and see what will give you the most return for what you spend.