Saturday, 27 July 2013

Black undercoat: Army Painter v Citadel

Which is best?

There's only one way to find out...

FIGHT!!!

For a number of years I've used Citadel sprays for undercoating. When I first bought a can of spray from my local GW it cost £5 for 400ml which was great value in comparison to the 250ml Humbrol sprays I had been using which must have been at least £3 a can. That was over 10 years ago though. I've got a can of Citadel white spray that I'm still using, dated 2004 and it still has its triangular £6 price label on. Even with that little extra price increase it was still great value in my opinion. Now I know there are other sprays on the market that aren't specifically aimed at modellers and figure painters that many people will swear by, but they're not all suitable for undercoating models. Trying lots of different sprays just to find the one that works best for you can end up being a bit of a waste of money and in my case I stuck with what worked. Anyway, my last can of Citadel Chaos Black ran out a couple of months ago and being that it's RRP is close to £10 a can now (Wayland Games currently shows it as RRP £9.80 but they're selling it for £8.82) I decided to check out the competition and see if I could save a little money. It seems that Army Painter is everywhere so I checked the price of their black spray and it was a bit cheaper (Wayland currently have it for £6.75, an RRP of £7.50) so I thought I'd give it a go.

My first impressions upon using the Army Painter spray was that it didn't seem quite as powerful as I was expecting. The spray also didn't seem quite as fine as I was used to and coverage wasn't as good either. Both issues perhaps a result of the seemingly weak spray. I'm no expert on spray cans and propellents so I can't really explain it from a technical point of view. It was also obvious once the paint had dried that it had quite a shiney finish.

Citadel Chaos Black on the left and Army Painter black on the right.


Maybe it was a case of getting what you pay for but I decided to stick with the AP stuff anyway until it ran out and then I'd perhaps try something else or go back to Citadel. That decision had to be made a little sooner than expected though when the can seemed to begin losing pressure and just lazily spat the paint out for a moment before blowing a few last black bubbles and stopping altogether. If it weren't for there being the best part of a third of a can of paint left I'd have thought it had run out. I have no idea if the propellent just ran out or whether there was a blockage but it was done. Suffice to say I was rather pissed and it put an end to my spray can sampling.

I went back to the old Chaos Black and when I went to use my new can of Citadel spray I wondered whether there really would be that much of a difference between it and the now dead can of AP. I wondered if I'd just been thrown a little by what might have been very small differences between brands and perhaps the premature death of the AP spray had coloured my opinions somewhat. Well with that first blast of Chaos Black I realised that I had been totally justified in my opinions! The spray was powerful, it was fine and it covered much better. It also dried with a nice matt finish. I'm no GW fan boy but they make good black spray paint that is well worth the extra quid or so. I don't know if I had a faulty can of Army Painter spray or whether there was some external issue that adversely affected it (it was stored no differently to my other sprays and wasn't being used in extreme conditions) but I'm not willing to try it a second time.

In conclusion the winner in my opinion is Citadel Chaos Black. Army Painter black spray can go suck a dick.

10 comments:

  1. Try ordering a four pack of Hycote matt black from McCormick Tools on eBay for around £15. If you don't like it I will buy them off you for the same price, I go through tons of it. You will like it though.

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    1. I might give that a go when I next need to buy spray.

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    2. The offer stands indefinitely, just blog about it to alert me either way. :)

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  2. I have had exactly the same problem with the Army Painter cans. At least you got down to the last third. I've had them give up with virtually a full can left.

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    1. Wow! That sucks big time. What's the issue with the cans that makes that happen?

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  3. I haven't had any problems with my AR spray stopping up, but it's more grainy and shiny then Citadel. Citadel is superior and depending on the cash flow I'll usually go with Citadel spray.

    Christopher

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  4. You will find a lot of people saying similar stuff about the AP sprays all over the internet.
    Have you tried Halfords car primers or Vallejo (black) Surface primer brushed on?
    I have never had much luck with sprays myself anyway, always found that a lot of bother...

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    1. And there I was beginning to think I'd perhaps been a little unfair in my judgement on the Ap spray. I've not tried any other brand of spray since pre-2003. Back in the early 90's I tried car primer but it was a little grainy. A lot of times I just used regular acrylic and brushed it on. The old GW Foundation paints made good undercoats as they covered well and were pretty much matt. The thing I like with the sprays is they're hard wearing. I don't think it makes much difference once the model is varnished but whilst painting I do tend to handle the model a lot and the spray paint really stays put and doesn't generally wear away. Of course there are always blind spots and I normally quickly touch them up by brush with regular acrylic (plus a spot of my favourite Tamiya X-21 Flat Base).

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  5. Do you use the flat base with base coats as well? - I seem to always have trouble with certain colours not being quite matt enough. Is it water soluble?
    sorry for all the questions, It just might be the magic thing I am looking for!

    Cheers,

    Joe.

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    1. I tend to add a bit of flat base to everything on the palette whether I'm base coating or layering. I find it really helps whilst painting. It is water soluble too, so easy to clean up.

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