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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Absolutely smooth blendings with the new Citadel Colors ARE possible!

As some of you may or may not know, I have recently been whining about the new GW Citadel Colors, about my difficulties (if not inabilities) to create absolutely smooth color transitions by means of successive glazes... It used to work with the old colors and does not work too well with the new ones.

I did a test of the  OLD vs the  NEW colors (links in German) with respect to smooth color transitions. I have been whining about the general injustice of this in many a thread.

In short: Due to the new medium, smooth color transitions and clean glazes are very difficult - if not near impossible - with the new Citadel colors.

However - lemme find the largest Font I can use: 


Who would have thought that I could find a solution to the problem so quickly. I found it after a thought process that quite truly went something like this: 

As we all know, you can identify a witch easily as she weighs less than a cold duck.

As president of this Galaxy I thusly asked my people: 
"Why is it that We cannot control the new Citadel Colors?"
- "They are greasy, very greasy!"

"They ARE greasy. So, what else is greasy?"
 - Fat! Fat is greasy!

"That is right! So... what has a lot of fat?"
- "Eel! Eel has a lot of fat. They are also very slippery!"

"Right! Causes a burp or two, eh? What do we do after eating eel?"
- "We drink! Alcohol Liquor!"

"VERY well observed! We drink liquor. Why?"
- "That dilutes the fat and we can eat more!"

"Where else do we often use dilution?"
- "When Airbrushing - or else it clogs up like our intestines!!"

"And? Do we put liquor in our Airbrush?"
- "Only when we want to spray it into our eyes..."

"Apart from that?"
- "Typically... well.. not."

"So WHAT are we putting into our airbrush?"
- "Tamiya Color Acrylic Paint X-20A Thinner. Made in Japan!"

"RIGHT! Very well then! And how will we now try to get rid of the greasiness of the new Citadel Colors?"
- "WITH TAMIYA THINNER! Oh Big Z! Your a witch! :D"

I have just repeatedly created absolutely soft and error free blendings in half the time, with double the color intensity and tripple the contrast then I have ever created before. 

Solution: Thinner (I used Tamiya Thinner X-20A).

+ Unlike with water as a thinner, one immediately notices how the thinner breaks the surface tension of the medium and the paint. 
+ Coverage and color intensity are beyond what was possible with the old colors
+ Using the Tamiya thinner I was able to use the new colors EXACTLY like I used the old ones. Except for licking the brush which kinda sucked. No more coffee-stain-like stains.

- Every now and then you have to adjust the amount of thinner on the wet palette as it vaporizes in time. 
- compared to the old colors, the new colors with thinner STILL reflect light a little bit more. But much less than without thinner. 
- you will refrain from licking thinner drenched brushes rather quickly and voluntairly ;) 

This is a quick picture. The picture does not do the result justice. The blending is almost perfect in real life. It took me around 15 minutes to doe it like this with VERY diluted paint. 

I have been experimenting with the new colors for 8 hours today - you cant believe how relieved and happy I am now. The new colors work. Wet-in-wet AND glaze transitions. Splendiferous!

- Some people asked me about water: NO Water, just a few drops of thinner with the colors. Works like magic. 
- Other thinners are likely to work, too
- Works also perfectly fine with the new BASE colors! Wooopies!

Now, if I can achieve results like this, I dont know what the real pros will do. I can already hear their brushes weep with joy ::D


  1. Hilarious and very useful article!!

    I'm glad I've discovered your site and look forward to more tips and tricks!!!

  2. How about glaze medium, like the vallejo one? Or even GW equivalent - the lahmian medium. Have You tried any of those. Shouldn't they have the same effect as tamiya thinner?

    1. Technically those just increase the translucency of the paint, to allow for glazing. They don't change the consistency much at all.

      The biggest difference between those 2 and Tamiya X20 is that it contains Butanol and Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA or rubbing alcohol) and a few surfactants (soapy substances), both can help dissolve the more "greasy" medium the new GW paints use very efficiently, something that the glaze mediums won't do, as that's not their designed function, they just control translucency.

      X20 is designed to cut through paints that have a glycol-ethers base, much tougher and volatile than anything GW uses, but it is quite hydrophobic, just like GWs new medium, so it dissolves perfectly in X20.

      Scale75 thinner probably works fine too, but that contains even more IPA than the Tamiya X20 does (it smells a lot stronger too), however there are less surfactants in there, so try it out first. ^_^

  3. Hmm I still have a lot of the old citadel colors (bought the box just before the new set came out) ....

    And do have a bottle of Tamiya's thinner ...

    Would it work as good on the old colors as it does on the new ones?

  4. Well, that Tamya thinner is heavily alcohol based, so it thins EVERYTHING. You could just as well use Sterillium. To be fair, the thinner should have some acrylic components so you might still be better off with it. Still... why not go directly with Tamya or another paint brand?

  5. Hi, works great with gw paints but what about vallejo paints? I tried and they clump up. Do you use anything else with vallejo paints for diluting?

    1. You have probably already discovered this but just in case you haven't, the tamiya, scale75 and other alcohol based thinners will not work with Vallejo because Vallejo acrylics use a medium which has a cellulose like componant. This means they mix excellently with water (I don't even use Vallejo thinner as they thin that well with just the stuff from the tap.) But clog up when anything alcohol based touches them.

  6. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!

    Airless Paint Sprayer


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