It’s a great addition to their extensive line of hobby products they already have available.
I have been fortunate enough to get to try pretty much all of the hobby products they had, and wanted to share my experiences with others, so they can make a good, informed decision when it comes to purchasing brushes, paints, primer and more.
This being the newest product available for the hobby line I had to give it a go. After trying both their black and white primer on various types of models, I must say they do have a good, inexpensive primer, as far as purchasing name brand products (retailing around $10.00/can ), and don’t have “that smell” that some primers seem to.
I still find a common ground with this primer and others, the black coats exceeding well, and the white is very finicky, but when you get the hang of it, it will coat well, leaving a nice fine, even coat. Better than most white primers I have tried out, and it doesn't seem to have a chalky appearance, that seems to be telltale with other name branded primer.
Great item, and is very sturdy when well taken care of (just like taking care of any plastic box with a plastic hinge). If you do a lot of painting, and you go back and forth a lot, like working on a long project, or you want to take a break from painting for a bit, this is a perfect item for you. It retails at $20.00, and comes with the black plastic box, foam insert, and a pad of palette paper. The directions are exceedingly simple, and once you get the hang of it, it’s a snap! I have had quick drying paints, such as the Foundation Paints, manufactured by Games Workshop, stay wet on this, for 4+ days, in direct sunlight (Yes, I know, not a good thing to do normally, but it was a test of the product). It provides just enough water to make Foundation Paints easier to work with, as they thin down just a little without losing their pigments. Other brands of paints were tested on it, including the P3 line, with good results. Packages of (2) refill pads are available as well, at $9.99/pkg.
Durability Example: I drove tractor trailer cross country for several years. I painted in the passenger seat, and had my wet palette super glued to the dash. The paints would stay moist well over 7 days even being in the front window with the sun beating down on it. I also simply popped it off when I no longer needed it on the dash without it breaking.
These are some of the best brushes I have used to date. I have purchased probably 3+ of the fine detail studio brush, as I keep wearing it out (I use this brush as a utility small brush, and it works fantastically). These brushes are very strong, well manufactured, and easily maintained. They are workhorses and one easily go from painting/inking, to drybrushing, and then, clean it out well and do fine details with the same brush. The round brushes work really well for detail work (like eyes, and skin), and they are just as versatile as their larger cousins. Also on an interesting note, if you get paint up into the ferrule, these brushes seem to easily clean out leaving no residue in the ferrule to dry and push your bristles apart. I had been in a bit of a hurry a few times to mix paint with my fine detail studio brush and it went right up into the ferrule, but a quick dip into water, making sure all the paint was removed, and it held it’s original shape time and time again. The hobby series line is a good starting set, but if you are looking to invest in good brushes that will be a workhorse for a long time; I suggest the studio series line. While they are a bit more expensive than the hobby line (overall the brush line retails from $6.99-17.99), it is the quality of the brushes that is most important. As a painter friend once said, your paint job is only as good as the tools you use to complete it. Consider this; if you use brushes that cost less, need to be replaced more often, and are shedding a hair every now and then, are you truly saving yourself anything?
Paints, Washes, and Inks
If you have a retailer that carries this line, I highly suggest giving it a try. These paints retail at a $4.00 for 18ml, a bit higher cost than Vallejo for 17ml (Current Retail $3.00), Reaper Master Series for 18ml (Current Retail $3.00), versus other companies, upwards of $3.70 or more for a 12ml pot.
The paints that Privateer Press manufacturer have one large advantage over their competition though, their consistency (highly suggest putting titanium nuts in each of the containers, allowing you to mix them thoroughly, especially the metals which do tend to be a bit on the thick side, due to heavy pigmentation). Time and time again, when you open the bottle, they will be the same shade of color, so the fact that you finished one pot and moved onto the next pot in the middle of a project won’t even matter in the slightest.
The type of container they are packaged in lead to the paints lasting longer as well, as there is a limited amount of surface area that is exposed when they are opened, and they seal very tightly. Also, you will notice that the paints are actually sealed, to prevent you from opening them until you purchase them. One would assume this is to prevent premature drying out. The age of their paints is another thing that is very noticeable, as most stores that carry them go through them rather quickly, so there isn’t a lot that is sitting around on the shelf, upwards of a year to two old, and in some cases maybe even older. To my knowledge, they haven’t discontinued any paint colors either (another bonus) and they have a large range of colors.
The reds are very vibrant, oranges are deep, yellow is amazing (using frostbite over a black primer, I was able to put a single coat of yellow on, and it looked great for a single coat, it actually solidly covered in two), a good selection of greens (for example, the Iosan green compares to snot green), the blues are deep and very vibrant, and the purples are very true, deep for the darker shades, and coating well for the lighter shades. The shades of black, white brown, and grey are very versatile as well, coal black allowing you to shade black, frostbite being an excellent base over black primer for bright colors, the white coating exceedingly well, if you take your time with its application, it is able to single coat over black, and the browns being a wonderful change, as there are 6+ shades of brown and tan, a welcome change from only having 2-3 available without mixing.
The metallics are equally as impressive, working well directly over black and the range of metallics available is another bonus. While I had heard a lot of comments from fellow painters about their metallics being not quite as good as others available, I still decided to give them a fair shake. The biggest compliments I can give to them are consistency, excellent color coverage, and availability. If you have ever used colors like brazen brass, and terracotta, among others, you can understand the frustration in this. Some are simply replaced or renamed, some come back later on, and some are gone forever. Regardless of the reasons why this path was chosen, this is still rather frustrating. While they don’t offer a kit like other companies do, that combines all paints currently available, if you are interested in getting all of the box sets to collect all their paints in this manner I suggest checking around, and talking to your local store If you use inks you will not be disappointed either, as their inks are vibrant, and they seem to dry rather quickly.
They also have armour wash, flesh wash, and the like; from seeing them used they look great, they do have their uses at times, this one is individual preference. The fact that they offer mixing medium is great, it enables most hobbyists to purchase all of the painting supplies in one location.
The medium works well, as by definition, it should allow you to easily thin down your paints without losing the pigmentation, and theirs does just that. I tried several different types/brands of acrylic paint with it, and had excellent results across the board. It also provides a good base for making a glaze (3 parts medium to 1 part color) as well, rather than using water, which can cause the paint to break down. For those of you who are looking at the cost, it weighs in around $4.99, which for an 18ml, is a steal, as most are around $3.00 for a bottle half the size.
They have various sizes available, from .50mm to 1.90mm, small enough to pin tiny arms onto small bodies, to large enough rods to run through the wings on a large resin flyer to secure them together. Each package comes with 1-2 bits to help you along the way. Inexpensive pinning solution and it’s a brilliant idea for multiple sizes, eliminating the need to search and find thin wire to pin with. The pin vice is well made, although I haven’t had a chance to use it, I did get a chance to take a good look at it. The design is well thought out, and easy to use. The kit comes with the pin vice, two bits and enough pinning material to get you started; a good value for around $13.00, and the pinning material is packaged by size, and costing about $5.00/pkg.
They have a good angle, are comfortable to hold, price isn’t too bad ($14.99) and they do stand up to a lot of work. These don’t seem to nick up as fast as clippers available from other companies, as well as they tend to last a lot longer in comparison to many others I have used in the past. Something I'd also like to point out for these is they can easily cut paperclips, if you use this readily available pinning material, while others will chip out and damage from the first attempted cut. So while they run a bit more than other clippers available, the quality has spoken louder than the extra money spent was felt.
Files These worked out rather well when tested out, standing up to rigorous work and the delicate work of facial mould lines as well. They do clog up fairly quickly due to their small size, but this is easily remedied by cleaning them, either by tapping them on a solid surface, a bit of steel wool, or a steel bristled brush designed for cleaning files. This is a typical problem for files the smaller their size. They do seem to last longer in comparison to others brands/types that I have used in the past.
Hobby Knife/Replacement Blades
It’s very comfortable to work with for long periods of time, comes with a cover for the blade, and they also offer replacement blade packages. Downside, they only offer it in one diameter of handle, so those with larger hands might have a bit of trouble hanging onto it due to the slim size. Overall, a good item, and seems to stand up to rigorous use well. Also, the fact that they make sure there is a bit of oil on the blade, preventing a rusted blade if you purchase the item and don’t open it right away. Most of their metal products are packaged like this, good thinking Privateer Press!
There are other products that the P3 line has including super glue, modeling putty and more. The Privateer Press online store doesn't list all of their products currently available, so if you are interested in something your local store doesn't carry; make sure to ask them if it’s available in the P3 line, and you won’t be disappointed.
Overall, Privateer Press offers a sensible, well thought out line of products, and covering all genres from the new hobbyist, to the veteran, and they successfully cover a lot of gaps that were present but not necessarily obvious. They offer the hobbyist long lasting, durable items that will work well no matter the size of your project, and as an added bonus, the ability to get almost everything you need from a single source. They have also collaborated with Battle Foam to provide a wonderful case and foam to transport the paint line in, as well as a specialized sheet for your hobby tools.
- Thanks to MBG and Spikey Bits Store (and Privateer Press) for the use of photos in this article.