Friday, 17 June 2016

The White Paint Conundrum

Has anyone else had problems with Citadel's white paints? I'm looking specifically at Ceramite White and White Scar. I've had problems with both of them in the past and I'd be interested to know if anyone else has had these issues:

Ceramite White

I'm not sure what they use to make this stuff. It covers well (albeit a bit claggy), but Ceramite White is a brush killer. I once used it to dry-brush with and managed to completely strip a standard size brush of all but about 4 hairs in about 10 minutes. I'm not kidding when I say this stuff is seriously toxic, I think a safe bet for the secret ingredient is probably sulphuric acid. I can honestly say that I haven't touched the stuff since that fateful day.

I hate you Ceramite white. Now I only use it for scenery with a brush that cost 10p

White Scar

Claggy, just so claggy. This stuff will almost undoubtedly fill it's own lid with a layer of dried paint so thick that you're gonna need to take a scalpel to it just to get the lid to close. It always needs a good shake too, so there's no avoiding getting it up there. It is miles better than Ceramite White though as it won't kill your brushes and application is smooth once it's out of the pot, but it isn't exactly a pleasure to use.

There isn't anything really wrong with the colour, but my White Scar seemed to have a limited shelf life and I was getting really sick of digging the lid out all the time after a while.

The Solution

Finally a white that applies cleanly and doesn't suck!

When I bought my airbrush I'd been reading Angel Giraldez's "How to Paint Miniatures from A-Z" book. At the time I bought some Vallejo paints to go with it so I could try and recreate some of the schemes he uses in the book (he works exclusively with Vallejo products). I soon realised that as far as airbrushing was concerned, Vallejo paints were far better suited to the job. I bought a Vallejo White for that purpose and I can honestly say that I've never looked back. It is clean and smooth, but more importantly it doesn't destroy your brushes. Like all Vallejo paints it is the type of paint you squeeze out onto a pallet to use - meaning you don't have to worry about it clogging up the cap (although it doesn't seem to clog up either, but it is worth remembering that the design is slightly different).

I just thought I'd share that bit of info with everyone out there as I've had a real nightmare with some of those paints, but there is a solution!

Painting White

If anyone came to this article looking for hints about how to get a good white colour for their models I'd say there are 2 ways to go about it:

For mostly white models (like White Scars marines)
Undercoat with white primer (and make sure you get good coverage, probably do 2 coats). Then run a directed wash into the gaps with a grey or black to define the shapes. Highlight with pure white.

For White Areas on a Model
Paint with an off-white (thinly - it might take 2 or 3 coats to get good coverage). You can use Ulthuan Grey for this, or for more beige tones Rakarth Flesh or Pallid Wych Flesh. Then highlight carefully with pure white.

You can obviously add in more stages if you want, but I thought I'd take a minute to talk about actually painting the colour. Oh, and if you have an airbrush Vallejo Grey Primer is a great way to start white (and then Highlight with airbrushed white over the top). It's a simplified version of what I did with that bust that time.

Ah yes "that time"...


  1. One thing you can try to recoup those brushes is

    It's basically conditioner for the paint brushes. Can really help recoup a brush that was damaged in the past.

    1. Unfortunately my brush is way too far gone for that and has since been resigned to the rubbish bin. Good advice for anyone reading this article though.

    2. Heh! Rubbish bin! All of the Americans reading this will be like "What's a rubbish bin?"