I often call GW the juggernaut of the miniature gaming industry, and for good reason: They have their hand in everything! Today I wanted to look at their paints in particular and see why they are such a great value. The GW paint/effect range is massive, with enough variety and detail to last you a life time; and that comes at price as GW paints are generally on the more expensive end of hobby paints. That being said, there is great value in the GW line as they don’t just offer your basic colors, but effects, washes, glazes and an entire painting system designed to get those with no artistic skills a well painted army. If you walk into a GW store, point at a model and say “ I want my guy to look like that” the store owner can give you an exact bill of materials and get you started; and there is a lot of value in having a system that can be quantified and sold easily. I bring this up because when you talk about the GW paint range, you have evaluate it as a whole; I personally believe that if your new and don’t know much about highlights, shading and effects, GW paints (and painting system) have tremendous value. GW organizes their paints into several types: Base, Layer, Highlight, Shade, Glaze and Technical.
Every type of paint come in the same type of canister, a XXXXml bucket with a lid that props open when in use. Having the lid hold open for you is very helpful, but I would suggest just putting the paint you need on a pallet and closing it immediately to avoid drying your paint out in the canister. The basic paints (Base, Layer and Highlight paints) tend to be on the thicker side so I suggest thinning them with a 2:1 ratio with water (2 parts paint to one part water, that is). As for the Shades, they can be used straight from the pot for a dark and large shadow, or can be diluted with water for lighter effects, the option is yours. I cannot recommend the GW Shades enough, they make shadows and depth easy, so it’s no wonder many painter online call them “Liquid Talent”! Technical paints can vary in their effectiveness, so I cannot suggest them as a whole. I know that some are just better at their jobs then others; the good news is that GW has started doing some amazing tutorial videos of their own to show you in great detail what each technical paint does.
On the whole I think GW paints are great; though once you get a better eye for color you can move away from their base paints and look for something from another (and cheaper) vendor. That all being said, I will always suggest the GW Shade line of colors, they are just too good to pass up and there are few direct comparisons on the market; the same can be said of the technical paints. For me personally, I buy base colors from other companies but always go to GW for my Shades and Technical effects, and based on some of my painted models I share, I hope you see the quality their product brings!