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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Review - Army Painter Desert Yellow

Last time I ranted (or is that raved) about Plasti-Kote textured spray. I also read a really great post from Miniature Tim about sprays so I thought it would be good for me to say a few words about my experience with Army Painter Desert Yellow which I've been using to try and get quick and consistent results on my Imperial Guard tanks (what do you mean you haven't seen them!?). The spray itself is actually very good, with great coverage. Although you can in theory use it on bare models, I use it over a black primer and this allows me to control the amount of colour that gets shown through. This is great for creating natural shadows.

You do have to watch out a bit as there tends to be a fair degree of dust scatter. The missus was not too pleased about the redecoration attempt of the outhouse, nor the fact that everything in there seems to be covered in a fine layer of sand coloured dust. Good news is the dust just wipes clean... though the wall will need a new lick of white paint.

However, this really is the least of my issues. Because whilst the coloured primer certainly has made things quick, it has definately NOT been consistent. The colour variation from order to order has been pretty obvious. At first I was pretty disheartened, although have come to live with the variation in colour between tanks. If I were painting something like Eldar or maybe even Space Marines then it would be highly unacceptable, but lucky for me the Guard probably aren't known for their colour matching prayers. The control-ability of the spray has gone some way to help me mitigate the colour issues.

The Army Painter Lottery? 3 different colours from 3 different cans!

I'm going to stress that this is only relating to the Desert Yellow. I have no experience with the other colours (of which there are many) and so I can't confirm or deny that those other colours have similar issues. Another thing to be said is that I also use the Army Painter Quickshade, and that you can use this to help equalise the differences if need be.

Despite that I would definately recommend using Army Painter sprays, but with the one key warning that you should wherever possible, order enough sprays to complete your project in one go. This will help ensure that you get cans from the same batch! I manage to get something like 7-9 tanks out of each can, so plan accordingly and you should be fine.

In the end, I'm glad I chose Army Painter, as I'd have had far more trouble trying to get my tanks done without it! You can check out their full range on the Army Painter website.

Perhaps not exactly a glittering review, but you can check out what you can achieve by looking through the Gallery.


  1. I used about 3 cans of AP Desert Yellow for my Elysian army and didn't have any problems with colour differfences. I will specullate that its because your doing it over a black undercoat.

    I didn't bother with the undercoat with mine and got 100% consistent results with all cans. Its probbably because the bare resin is nice and light compared to the black spray.

    Try it next time and see if you get better results

  2. I would agree with you, except that when you compare the lids (which are helpfully coloured using whats in the can) the desert yellow appears completely different. Of course, I was unable to check this beforehand because I ordered my cans from an online supplier (the same one each time).

    I should probably also add however, that I am in the UK, and so use the EU supply rather than a US supply (which may or may not make a difference!?)

  3. That's a shame to hear about the shade variations, I've always been hesitant to try color sprays/primers for exactly this reason.

    On the other hand, with the weathering effects that you're doing, having the base shades being slightly different becomes a positive in my opinion. It gives the various units you've done their own 'aged' look that's similar to the others without being a carbon copy. Still, one would hope to see better quality control on behalf of Army Painter.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. I agree, I've come to accept the colour change because of that very fact. Like I mentioned though, I don't think this would stop me from using Army Painter coloured sprays in the future... just that I'd be sure to order enough cans in a single batch to help avoid this.

  5. Thats pretty bad that they keep changing the colour, because the difference is massive from the Chimera on the right to the one of the left...

  6. It is the one shame about my Army Painter spray experience. Because I do have to stress that the sprays themselves are actually very good! Excellent coverage and control-ability.

  7. see what happens when I have a backlog of posts to keep up with? :)

    I still like army painter sprays... though they began to try my patience since the writing of your and mine own articles. I had a can of white, about half full, left over from the summer. A bit strapped for cash, I gave it a good 2-3 minute shake and finished off 5 Grey Knights with it... and proceeded to give those same models a stiff work over with an old brush to dust off some texture left behind from the spray. Can't have been the conditions since I had just sprayed the rest of the army with GW spray and everything was fine.

    I'll chalk it up to an 'old' can for now, but still, made me wary.

    nice article oink :) Thanks for the shout out...now I need to catch back up with the rest of your posts!

  8. @Tim: I had the same problems while doing my Deathwing. I've found that with Army Painter sprays you have to get closer than usual, as in about 6 inches from the model! I'm still debating if I should strip and respray my fuzzy landraiders or just let them go for now...

    @ oink: Great blog! Looking forward to fully checking it out. Have you tried any other colors of the Army Painter sprays? I also noticed that the cans seem to not last as long. Maybe I just got a bad can.

  9. Hi Asmodai, I'm glad you like the blog! If you have any comments or suggestions for improvement then feel free to contact me!

    Also, no I have not tried any other colours. But I wouldn't hesitate in doing so with the caveat that I would buy all the cans I'd need in one go.

  10. I like your blog and your gallery.

    I recently bought a can of Army Painter to work up a few IG tanks rather than doing them all with a brush. They were out of British Desert yellow so I got Italian instead (seemed close enough since I'd be covering it with a wash anyway). I'm very surprised that you have had this big a variation.

    1. Thanks Sixgun!

      Now, I've heard mixed stories about Army Painter consistency and the only thing that I can think of is that they may use different suppliers for the EU & US!? Of course, perhaps I'm just unlucky with the ones I've been getting so far... The funny thing is though, despite the variations Ive had, I'd still buy their coloured sprays again!