Developing the Colours Of War Paint Range

Colours Of War

Developing the Colours Of War Paint Range
with Matt Parkes

With the Colours Of War paint range out now, it gives me an opportunity to show you behind the scenes of the development of these new custom WWII paints.

Find out more about the Colours Of War paint sets here...

Quartermaster's Paint Set (CWP100)

The brief for the paint range was to have hard-wearing, highly pigmented colours in a coherent range which made sense for the WWII hobbyist. It also had to make sense to the novice and expert alike and have no-nonsense labels (no pressure, then!).

Battlefront has two design studios: New Zealand is where all of the Flames Of War content is generated, from the rule books and intelligence briefings to the website; we also have a smaller studio in the UK where I spend most of my time managing the Dungeons & Dragons Collector’s Series miniatures, including high-end painting for box covers and marketing. (Matt has won more painting awards than we can count! You can see his fantastic work on the Dungeons & Dragons Collector's Series miniatures over at - ed.)

The development of the paint was a joint project between staff in both the UK and New Zealand studios, with plenty of support from Jonas and Bo at Kvasir Innovations, the people behind The Army Painter.

Choosing them as our supplier was easy. Jonas and Bo were very keen to help us with the development of the colours we required, combining their expertise and our experience in all things WWII. This allowed for lots of to-ing and fro-ing to get the range to our exact specifications, and not just paint off the shelf.

In order to develop a practical painting system, we had to start by considering how the paint would be used. I conducted a survey to find out how the average hobbyist paints their armies. (I am one of those nutters who paints 15mm like 30mm miniatures, so my methods aren't much use to most gamers). The results were interesting. As most of you are eager to get models on the table as quickly as possible, a simple basecoat, ink-wash and highlight is the most popular approach. For our system to be effective for the majority of painters, the range would have to be designed around this method. From this the Colours Of War painting system was born.

A wish list was drawn up and the first round of test paints arrived. Time to stress-test them over both black and white undercoats against Vallejo, a vinyl acrylic paint range highly regarded for its covering properties, making it a good benchmark for pigment levels. I have here some of the swatches with my notes:
Stress-testing the new paints
Stress-testing the new paints
As you can see, the colour matching is good, but some of the pigments looked quite weak.

This process was repeated four times, with each generation getting better and better, with stronger pigments each time. The final result on the right is a massive difference, with the paint now covering smoothly and evenly.

Stress-testing the new paints
Airbrush Testing
Another important aspect of how the paint range has to perform is with an airbrush. All paint was mixed roughly 50/50 with my usual thinner, screen-wash, and the results were very good. The tanks were given a coat of black primer before the paint.
  • The paint atomises well.
  • No clumping or 'bits' in the paint. Even with this thin mix, there were no particles left over in the cup.
  • Even, smooth coverage; pigment is strong even on the greens (which are notoriously weak colours in almost all ranges).
  • Dries to a nice matt finish.
  • Can be thinned down even more for dust coats and maintain good pigment dispersion.
Airbrush testing the new paints
I was really impressed with the results of this test, especially over a black undercoat. 

Now with the paint where we wanted it, we could now organise the range into sensible sets and name each paint appropriately.
Quartermaster's Paint Set Colours Of War
To coincide with the paint release is the Colours Of War 88-page full-colour hardback book. It covers everything you need to get your army ready for gaming.
You can find out more about Colours Of War here...
 ~ Matt.

Last Updated On Thursday, May 21, 2015 by James at Battlefront