SCALECOLOR ARTIST Acrylic Paints – A Review
I don’t think anyone that’s active in our community and on Facebook has failed to notice Scale75’s Kickstarter campaign for their new line of paints, the ScaleColor Artist acrylic paints.
When I first read the description for these paints, I was very intrigued. I’ve been experimenting with using traditional artist acrylic paint for miniatures for a while, but I’ve had trouble finding a brand that worked for me and these paints sounded like a middle ground between the specialised paint for miniatures and Artist paint.
So, after some calculations, I decided to go all-in and pledge for the complete set, which included all 48 colours plus some extra items all packed in a very nice, black wooden case. Each colour comes in a tube instead of bottles or pots and contains 20ml of paint each.
The campaign was a big success and because of that, the shipping got delayed some but at the time of me writing this, it’s underway.
After a small problem with the Swedish postal service, the box was delivered a couple of days after it was shipped from Spain. It arrived in good condition and well enough packed.
The wooden case looks great and comes with inlays for the paint tubes and the extra items.
The full content of the set is:
48 Tubes of paint
1 Bottle of thinner
1 Bottle of retarder
1 Watercolour brush
Palette/Wet Palette combo with paper
Plus, some Kickstarter extras like stickers etc.
Black poplar wooden box
So, what does Scale 75 say about these paints? What makes them special? In the campaign, they listed 10 properties that make this range stand out.
It’s been developed by experts combines with Scale75’s experience with their previous paint ranges.
You can use these paints on all kinds of materials, from miniatures (resin, metal, plastic), to scale models, paper, canvas, metal, cloth etc.
Extra-fine pigments that make a creamy, highly pigmented paint with no excess water.
A maximum color intensity that stands out over other brands, the paint has high levels of pigments that result in more vibrant colors.
The paint has been formulated for maximum coverage with a minimum number of brushstrokes. Spectacular transparencies can be achieved by mixing with thinner.
Matte and non-muted finish when dry and are highly fade-resistant and leave a flexible, permanent, durable finish.
Can be used with brush or airbrush (or any other way you want)
The range is a set number of colours and will stay that number of colours.
They can be combined with all other Scale75 colors and the vast majority of other paints on the market. They have also increased the drying time for easier transitions and colour blending.
Sold in 20ml tubes, either individual or in themed sets (and in the Kickstarter campaign, also in the wooden box).
Although it’s too early to say whether the tube’s design is good or bad, they do ‘feel’ good and I can’t really see a difference between these and the oil paint I have in metal tubes.
Each tube is labelled with the colour and what pigments it consists of. For example, here is a photo of the Naples Yellow, which as you can see what pigments it consists of and what number it has in the range, SART-18 in this case.
During the Kickstarter campaign, there were some people who were a bit concerned about the material choice for the tubes. They thought that the metal tubes would break the plastic caps after some use. I don’t know if that is a valid concern or not as I haven’t used many acrylic paints that come in metal tubes but from my short experience with these, I haven’t seen any indication of breakage.
To start testing the paints, I primed two MDF coasters, one black, one white, both using Games Workshop’s spray primers. I’m not going to test all the colours, it would just take too much time but I’m going to try the 5 most important colors, the 3 primaries, black and white, plus a couple of other colours.
I’m putting the paint on my wet palette and letting it sit for a while, but I’m not adding any more water to the paint directly.
If you look at the photo of the first white coaster you can see that the coverage is good with just one layer but will need two or three (my guess) to cover it 100% (depending on how long it’s been sitting on the wet palette).
As for the first black test, the coverage is pretty good there as well. It will take some more layers to get a 100% coverage but that’s true for all paints in my experience.
For the second round, I picked 5 new colours, namely; Naples Yellow, Purple, Turquoise Blue, Emerald Green and Raw Umber.
On these coasters, you can see that they cover just as well and the previous ones and all in all, with these tests, my conclusion is that the coverage of these paints is very good.
The finish of the dry paint is, just like their other paints, very matte. I added a little of Scale Color Pink Flesh to the MDF coasters so I could compare the two and see if there’s any difference in the finish and I can’t see any difference between them when it comes to how matte they are.
Just as with their Scale Color range, you can get a slightly chalky look from some of the colours (mostly the light ones in my experience) but if you apply some glazes over it, it should remove that. I believe it’s a side effect from the chalk(?) used to make the paint more matte (please correct me if I’m wrong on this).
I’ve tried to dilute the paint both with water and the airbrush thinner that was included in the big case. On the photo, you can see how well it covers when diluted to an around 1:1 paint to the water mixture. It still covers well for that level of dilution.
As for the thinner, it gave a similar result but with a bit more vibrancy to the paint. I also tried a much heavier dilution for glazes, and it worked well.
One thing I noticed while doing these tests, was that you have to watch your water level a bit when used a wet palette. It had a tendency to dilute it a tad too much for my taste when letting it sit overnight but when I tried it with a bit less water in the palette, I didn’t have that problem. It might just be down to me using more water than I should.
Here I let the paint sit on the wet palette overnight and to see how much they got diluted.
One of the, to me at least, most important properties of any paint, is how well it mixes with other brands. So, to test this I used paint from Vallejo Model Color, Scale Color and Mig. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any new Games Workshop paints to try it out with.
I used Sol Yellow from Scale Color, Light Orange from Vallejo Modell Color and Dull Green from Mig. The first two, I mixed with Emerald Green and the Dull Green with Naples Yellow.
They all mixed really well with the other brands without any issues. I’m not sure if you can see it well on the photos, but there was a small change in the finish for the ones mixed with Vallejo and Mig, they got a small increase in shine as expected.
Unfortunately, wet blending isn’t one of my strong sides, so the result won’t be as good as from someone that actually knows what he’s doing but I did my best and tried, and they work just as well as Scale Color and Vallejo in my limited experience.
I also tested it with a higher dilution and it worked better.
Upgrade from Scale Color?
I would say yes; it is an upgrade and they have improved them in many ways. But at the same time, it’s not groundbreaking, like a new way to paint. But I don’t think the goal was to revolutionise the hobby but to give people a new tool to help them in their painting journey.
I have tried a lot of paint, and I have bought a lot of paint and my favourites have been Scale Color and Vallejo Modell Color, but I think this range will over time become my go-to paint range, but it will take a little bit of getting used to its properties.
So, would I recommend them? Absolutely and as I said earlier, I will use them a lot and hopefully be able to grow with them.
If you bought the whole set as I did, the cost is around €0.2 per ml (a bit lower in reality as it includes more than just the paint), I don’t know what the retail cost will be but expect it to be a bit more expensive.
If you compare that price to the price for GW’s standard paint which cost around €0.3 per ml, and Vallejo at around €0.15 per ml, depending on where you bought them, I think it’s a good value and at a reasonable price level.
Recently we’ve seen a lot of new paint ranges being released from different companies and the competition has increased. It’s not just the ‘old’ paint manufacturers like Games Workshop, Vallejo, P3, reaper and so on, but we have new paints from Kimera, Nocturna Models, Green Stuff World and more, so it’s going to be very interesting to see how the future plays out and if there is room for all these manufacturers.
They are just as matte as Scale Color.
Mixes well with other manufacturers
No shaking required
Very good for glazing
Somewhat sensitive to the water level in a wet palette
And lastly, for the fellow brush lickers out there, they don’t taste all that bad.