View Full Version : Reaper Master Series Paints

19-05-2010, 08:02 PM
As I mentioned in an earlier thread, I've been thinking about stocking the Reaper master series paints. However before I do I wanted to see if there was a demand. To this end Reaper have kindly provided me with two batches of 12 random paints to test.

I needed this to be impartial so contacted a couple of good painters who are part of the MH forum and asked if they would do the honours. Orctrader has now completed his report and you can read it below.

The first of the paint reviews is in. Orctrader has done a sterling job and I would like to thank him for his efforts and for taking the time to write this report.

"Firstly, the main “problem” with the test is that a random assortment is fine for the painter, but does not lend itself to any photos. I have used most of the 12 sample colours now but all in combination with paints from other manufacturers. As I mentioned before, as one of the big selling points from Reaper with these is the triad angle, surprised that they didn’t send you some. As such, no way of knowing how the Triads work in terms of, like Foundry no intermixing or, like others, they are just close so intermixing is easier.

My opinion on the paints is...I like them.

They are smooth with good pigment that thin well – I used flow improver rather than just straight water – and – most importantly – mix well with other brands.

The colours I tried wouldn’t cover in one layer, but that is good for me, as I build up layers gradually. For those painters who prefer a “denser” paint this would be an issue. And I imagine with “Master” in the name they are not particularly aimed at painting quick and basic tabletop standard.

They dry quite matt which is a big plus for me. In that they are more like Vallejo than, say, P3 and CDA.

There is an agitator in the bottle – claimed to be a metal skull – though one bottle didn’t rattle when shook so I suppose some might be missed. I had heard that these can block the nozzle, but didn’t happen with me. In fact the design of the nozzle appears to be slightly different from Vallejo, which are prone to blocking with dried paint – I always keep a long pin handy! If this design prevents that, another good point. In any event, the paint flows out easily, with the bottles stored right way up. I often store Vallejo upside down so I can get the paint out.

In conclusion, these are very good paints. Personally I prefer them to P3, and think they are as good as VMC– though of course don’t have the massive range of military colours - slightly better than Vallejo Game Colour.

Not a line I would use to replace other paints apart from P3, but would use in conjunction with others. Of course, once I try some triads, that view might alter."

Single pots will be £ 1.95 each

Triads will be £ 6.00 per triad

Karsten will report a little later but any and all feedback is very welcome.



Captain Sprout
19-05-2010, 08:22 PM
Nice review, I have seen some or Orctrader's work and its usually very vivid. It would be good to see something of his painted using these to go with the review.

I find them to be matte but unlike your reviewer find I like P3 as much if not more. I also wouldn't go out of my way to replace everything with these but if you are selling them I will pick up a few as they have some colours I do like and the consistency is excellent.

19-05-2010, 09:44 PM
MSP contain flow improver in them, so if you like using Flow Improver, you probably won't need to add much. If you'd rather *not* use flow improver, these paints probably aren't for you (but don't let this statement stop you from trying them out).

The triad system in theory is very good. However, I found that there's not nearly enough contrast between the 'shadow' color and 'highlight' color in many of the triads (specifically the fleshtones). For the fleshtones, I found myself spanning two full triads (and sometimes dipping into part of a third) to get as much contrast as I wanted. Again, not a bad thing necessarily, especially if you're not comfortable with mixing paint.

There are some colors that have poor coverage (yellows, oranges, reds), and others that had good coverage. Of course, this is mostly due to the properties of the pigments themselves, so I can't really fault the paint.

One thing I'm not crazy about is Reaper's policy of cancelling a number of paints every year and replacing them with newer colors. In the first batch of cancellations, I found that a good half of them were colors I used regularly (including their best covering orange - Saffron Sunset). I think they may have brought some of them back, but still, it's somewhat disconcerting that if I run out of a color I might not ever be able to get it again. Vallejo's line has been stable for how many years now? I don't know.

A little more than a year ago I switched back over to Vallejo Model Color exclusively, but now I'm trying out Citadel colour paint for the first time in my painting career. I suppose what I really need to do is pick the colors I like (and that behave well) out of all of the different paint lines, and not limit myself to a single range.

19-05-2010, 10:08 PM
Unsolicited, rambling opinion: I'm in the U.S. and have accumulated all the Reaper Master Series paints and additives, except for the few most recent releases. Used them for several years, now, almost exclusively. I admit I have no experience with P3, but I have quite a bit with GW, VMC, Reaper Pro Paints (both old and new formulae), plus older lines like Partha, Howard Hues, Armory, etc.

I agree with Orctrader's thorough & excellent assessment in all respects, but would like to add a couple of items, if I may. The agitator is indeed a small skull shape of the same metal they use for miniatures. I've never been able to attribute a clogged tip to the agitator, but then, I don't store mine upside down and the likelihood of the skull landing in the perfect spot to block the dropper tip seems minimal, IMHO. If it does clog, a quick shake, poking with a pin or removing the dropper tip will clear it.

All dropper tips can clog with dried or thickenend paint, and RMS is no exception. Keeping handy a long metal pin of some sort is a necessity. I don't mind this at all, especially compared to the many advantages of droppers over screw-cap or flip-top bottles.

Thinning, coverage, mixing, triads and other things (like a comparison to Reaper Pro Paints) are covered on their website over here (http://www.reapermini.com/Paints), far better than I can do it. It's not just marketing fluff, and I don't work for them in any way. I'm just lazy and don't feel like typing a lot of stuff when I agree with 98% of what is written, there.:smile:

Beyond that, I will say I love RMS. They suit my style and techniques. The triads helped me improve at shade, mid-tone and highlight for contrast, plus they are a good way to organize. There is a learning curve with them, being better suited to advanced techniques than tabletop/speed painting. But, that's true of a lot of paints, isn't it? I am slowly learning to break out of the triads, think in terms of real color, rather than a recipe or set formula. So, the triads are good for beginners, a stepping stone to taking advantage of their usefulness for more advanced techniques. I hope that makes sense.

Oh, last point. They do not do well for drybrushing, for the most part, but are very good in an airbrush. If you are looking for one-coat, slap it on coverage and maybe some drybrushed highlights, these are not the paints you are looking for...move along. :rolleyes: Try the Pro Paints, since that's what they are designed for.

Those are my opinions, for what they're worth.

20-05-2010, 06:55 AM
I actually don't like the RMS much at all. I've used a LOT of the range and found most ot be chalky when watered and not in the league I have found with VMC paint. MY LGS stocks them (But not VMC) so I gave them a shot when I was shopping around for some new colours. I use a single colour from their range now, "Bloodless Skin" but not often.

They do have some very cool and unique colours in their range though!

20-05-2010, 08:53 AM
I have not tried out the VMC or the RMS. I started off with GW 6 yrs ago know and didn't buy any paint till recently when I swapped over to P# which I found to be an improvement for my style. I have heard a lot about these paint lines though and have been considering trying them out but money is tight and P# is a block away.

20-05-2010, 02:50 PM
I tried the RMS out when they first came out in 2003 (I believe). I loved them and gradually switched over to them. Everything I do is in RMS now.

@ScottRadom; If they are chalking, it is probably a problem with the batch. They had a few bad batches a while back. Anne (the Reaper peep who creates the RMS line) is VERY good at replacing bad paint at their expense. Go to the Reaper forum at http://www.reapermini.com (http://www.reapermini.com/) and PM Vitallia with the issue or bring it up in the Painting Tips section. I've had a couple of bad bottles and they've always stood behind the product.


20-05-2010, 04:24 PM
I didn't see RMS until Gen Con 2005, and I think they had just been introduced. Not sure, though. You may be right, TS. Either way, yes, a few bad batches came out, especially in the beginning while the line was really being developed and maybe once or twice as Reaper changed suppliers for some of the components, like pigment. But they are always great for replacement, and that is also one of the reasons they update the line every year. They adjust the formula to improve some of the underperforming colors. Example: several of the older blue triads had issues with coverage and shine. The replacements changed very little in color value, but covered better with less shine. The ultramarine (color, not model) triad comes to mind. Other reasons they replace colors has to do with sales. If they don't sell much of a particular color or triad and they don't recover their costs on it, they drop it and try something else.

Not to knock VMC, but I have had somewhat limited luck with them due to separation on the palette and in the bottle, plus lack of availability in my area. I do have a few favorites - Hull Red, German Camo Black/Brown, and Smoke is amazing as a 'special effect' - but generally do not buy many. I agree with PAE, though - being limited to one brand is...well...limiting, and I need to cast my nets a bit wider. So, while the majority of my paints are RMS and likely to remain so for a long time (stoooopid budget limits), I am always open to trying other brands & lines to see what works for me.

20-05-2010, 04:31 PM
Fall of 2004 was when they were first being formulated. I got some of the early early batches at the Artist's Conference that year.

Oh, and it's Vaitalla that you'd want to talk to about any problems you're having with the paints.

20-05-2010, 05:46 PM
Fall of 2004 was when they were first being formulated. I got some of the early early batches at the Artist's Conference that year.

Oh, and it's Vaitalla that you'd want to talk to about any problems you're having with the paints.

So what you're saying is I have a bad memory and can't spell. :rolleyes:

20-05-2010, 08:48 PM
I think the general view is they're a good product but don't cover every base for the more professional painter. I think that's a good enough feedback to warrant them being available in the UK and Europe.

All I've got to do now is sit down and build a section in the shop for them.

Thanks for all the feedback!

21-05-2010, 06:34 AM
I'm defo in the minority about not enjoying RMS. Lot's of people truly love them at all levels. Jen Haley loves 'em, and she's got a mini made after her!

I have tried plenty of batches from them. Just don't enjoy their characteristics too much at all!

Good luck! Does that mean you'll be hte first to stock them in the UK? That'd be a feather in your cap for sure!

21-05-2010, 11:27 AM
I believe I will be the first and only stockist of Reaper paints in the UK, if not Europe as a whole.

A unique selling point as the PR people like to say :)

21-05-2010, 11:44 AM
if not Europe as a whole.
you aren't ;)

21-05-2010, 11:48 AM
My Apologies :redface: Great store you have though!

17-07-2010, 05:54 PM
Used some of triads for the first time last night - I like them, good colour, nice coverage certainly a boon to the paint arsenal