Wednesday, June 22, 2016

REVIEW: Stormhost Silver, Gem Paint, and Artificer Brushes

I was truly, unreasonably excited when I saw that GW was coming out with a new bright silver paint with Stormhost Silver. They hit it out of the park with Retributor and Liberator Gold, so I eagerly went and picked up the new silver alongside one of the new Gem paints and one of their Artificer Brushes.

Stormhost Silver

The first model I got try all of these out on was the Tzaangor I painted for my tutorial the other week. I used the Stormhost Silver to highlight the gold and the silver, as well as act as the base color for the Gem paint. I was suitably impressed with it so I made sure to break it out again for my newest batch of Stormcast. Previously when painting my Stormcast Eternals I used Runefang Steel as my final highlight color for the gold. You can see the whole tutorial for their armor here.

With this new batch I was excited to see how it compared both visually and in ease of use. While Runefang Steel as a color was just fine, I was never a fan of the paint. It was too runny for me and separated all the time in the pot. Sometimes I feel like it separated on my palate as I was painting. This led to the color being really thin and hard to get a nice bright silver highlight. Often I would have to go back over the same highlight at least two times. While multiple coats for a larger layer is fine, when it's just a thin line highlight I want it to go on once.

The Stormhost Silver was just as easy to paint on my Stormcast as it was the Tzaangor. Visually I think it is slightly brighter then Runefang Steel, but when I place my newest Stormcast next to one of my older ones I can't tell the difference. That is exactly what I wanted since it would be disappointing if there was a visual break between my older models and my newer models in the same army. That's always the risk when switching colors mid army, and the main reason why my Tomb Kings still use some of the old Foundation Paints they no longer make. Stormhost passed the test though. It looks enough like Runefang that I doubt you will be able to tell the difference, and it goes on much easier. It covers in one coat and is bright and shiny.

Above you can see a comparison of Leadbelcher, Runefang Steel, and Stormhost Silver. The only downside to it that I have noticed is that it seems to dry on my brush and palate a bit faster then most paints. This is fixed by watering it down a bit more than normal, which luckily doesn't seem to dilute the vibrancy of the paint at all, at least for smaller line highlights. If you were like me and frustrated with Runefang Steel then I highly recommend you pick up Stormhost Silver. It's the silver equivalent of GW's Liberator Gold and Retributor Armor in quality. Hopefully over time GW will continue to update it's metallics range with whatever this new formula is, it's great. I'm almost looking for an excuse to try out their new copper and brass, perhaps for my Tomb King's weapons which currently still use the old Dwarf Bronze.

Final Score - 5/5

Gem Paints

I only picked up one of the gem paints, Soulstone Blue, primarily just to use on my Silver Tower stuff. It's recommended that you base coat the area you are going to use it on with Stormhost Silver before hand to give it a nice bright and shiny color to work with. Before I got started I made sure to watch this video from Duncan Rhodes on the best way to use it. There are some pretty helpful tips in there.

I used it on all of the gems for my Tzaangor and it worked just as promised. It went on with one coat and looks good. I think this is a great tool for army painting, but personally I wouldn't use it for display pieces. It just doesn't have the same look that a well painted gemstone can have when using regular paints. That being said, there are some other things you can do to enhance the look, like painting a gradient on before applying the gem paint. This is something I considered doing, but opted not to since I was going for simplicity and speed. Luckily though, Scott Ferguson did a rather in depth review and testing of all three of the gem paints over on his website Brush Wizard. I highly recommend giving it a read here if you want to see a bit more of what you can do with these new technical paints.

If you want a faster way to paint gem stones but still have it look good and convincing then I think these are a good investment. Like I said, they are great for army painting and table top standard. I doubt we will see this used in any painting competitions, although who knows, I'm sure there are some talented painters out there who will prove me wrong and make it look display level quality.

Final Score - 4.5/5

Artificer Brush

Lastly I picked up one of GW's Artificer Brushes which are their higher end brushes. Previously I had been using Scharff Brushes which are really good, but it was time for me to get a new brush and I figured I would try out some new options. With Scharff I primarily used my size 0 brush for everything since it had such a good point. I don't like the really tiny brushes because then the bristles have no body to hold the paint and you have to keep reloading the brush with paint.

When GW first launched the line all they had was their XS size brush, which I wasn't super interested in. They have recently expanded it though to include a S and M size. After looking at all three in store I decided to try my luck with the M, it also had the sharpest point out of the ones at that store. At first my brush had one stray bristle that was too long and was messing up my painting, but after a quick pluck that was all fixed. I have only used it on a few projects so far, but at the moment I am impressed by it. It holds its point and seems to live up to the expectations for it. I still switch out for one of my smaller brushed for the really fine line highlights, but I may try and use this brush for everything like I did with my size 0 Scharff. My smaller brush is also on the point of dying, so I may end up picking up the S or XS Artificer Brush as well. All in all I think the brush is pretty good, it could be a little better, but for the most part it succeeds at what it set out to do. I have only been using it for a week or two, so I still have to test out how long it lasts, but I don't think I will run into any issues. They are a pricier then the standard GW brushes but this is to be expected for a nicer brush. Compared to other high end brushes they are either about the same price or more expensive depending on where you buy them from. If you like GW brushes and want to upgrade to something nicer then their standard fare then the Artificer Brushes are a good choice. I feel like brush brand has a lot to do with personal preference. I personally think the Artificer Brushes, Scharff, and W&N are all about the same in quality, so go with what you are comfortable with. The one advantage that Artificer Brushes have is that they will be available at any store that carries GW products where as the others you may have to go online for. Like always, I would just buy them in person so you can check that the point is good.

Final Score - 4/5

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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