Impression of Foundry Paints

Thanks to the unsolicited kindness of RogerB from the Fife & Drum Minis forum, I was able to try out a set of Foundry triads. He ordered and mailed these to me at his own expense, to which I am very grateful. Roger was also generous enough to include two pots of Coat d’arms paint. He reached out to me after my original post and ordered a Foundry triad of my choosing from Badger Games. They arrived in the mail yesterday, and I do want to say how much I am obliged to Roger. 

Since I am about halfway through painting a Southern Campaigns 1st Maryland Continental Regiment (ca. 1781), I figured I would request the French Blue triad (65A, 65B, and 65C) for the regimental coats. I figured I would compare this to the dark blue recipe I currently use for dyed uniform coats. I chose this set for a couple of reasons. The first is that I can do an apples-to-apples comparison with my current recipe from my paints of choice (Scale75 and Vallejo). The second is that dark blue can be a difficult color. If you over-highlight this color, then you end up with an inaccurate medium blue or sky blue. If you under-highlight, then details on the miniature can be too nuanced and not easily visible. 

So some caveats before I begin with my initial impressions: This is just a single triad set of three paints from the whole Foundry range. I have been a painter long enough to know that judging an entire paint range from a limited sample is like attempting to judge a book from a single paragraph or page. So rather than call this a review, I’ll call it a first impression. 

So Foundry offers historically based acrylic based around the concept of a triad painting system. It isn’t the only miniature manufacturer to do so, as Reaper and P3 base their ranges along a similar concept as well. This is based around painting 28mm miniatures in three colors, usually over a black undercoat. You start with your shadow color, then highlight with your midtone, and then you have a final highlight color that you highlight the utmost raised areas. This is a painting method that was evangelized by Kevin Dallimore (who actually worked with Foundry) and Javier Gómez Valero (who uses Vallejo Model Color). When I first started seriously painting, I actually used this method as prescribed by Javier Gómez Valero. I then evolved in my painting skills to include more highlights, more transition colors, and more advanced techniques like glazing. 

So now the actual impressions. Foundry paints come in pots. These are the same pots that P3 and Cote d’arms paints come in. While I have previously given my opinion that dropper bottles are superior to pots, at least these pots are not as obnoxious as Citadel ones.  I added hematite agitators to the pots, shook them to mix the paint, and I painted over zenithal primed work-in-progress 28mm Ragged Continentals from Eureka. I find zenithal priming to be superior to a purely black or white primed figure. 

Foundry Paints use the same pots as P3 and Coat d’arms.

Currently for the dark blue as featured on many Continental regimental coats, I use the following recipe: 

My current paints used for dark blue uniform coats.

Base coat: Scale75 Scalecolor Abyssal Blue SC-08.

Several Highlights: Abyssal Blue with progressively more Vallejo Model Color Oxford Blue 70.807 mixed in. 

Final highlight: Scale75 Scalecolor War Front Shadow Blue SW-57

If I want to smooth out any out of place highlight, I glaze over with an Abyssal Blue and Oxford Blue mix. 

So I tried the Foundry triad as advertised. I haven’t tried anything like glazes, just a straight layering from the pots after being thinned on a wet palette. 

The first thing I noticed was the paint was glossy. Scalecolor paints tend to be ultra matte, and most other miniature paints tend to be matte or slightly satin. The Foundry color, however, looked like it had been hit with a coat of glossy varnish. Suspecting the paint hadn’t been properly mixed the first time, I vigorously shook the paint pots for several minutes and tried again. This paint was still glossy. 

I did some quick checking on the internet and found that Foundry paints are supposed to be matte, but found several postings where there had been batches of Foundry paints that users reported as glossy, including someone who reported that their French Blue set was glossy as well. This indicates that there may have been quality control problems or I may just unluckily have gotten a triad from a problematic batch of paints. 

While the final finish of a paint is a matter of personal preference, (and some like the “toy soldier” look that a gloss varnish tends to leave) and you can always apply a coat of matte varnish afterwards, I prefer a matte finish during the painting process because glossy coats can hide mistakes. This way, I can make corrections without after to go and apply paint on a figure that has already been varnished. In the end, a coat of AK Interactive Ultra Matte Varnish was able to fix it. 

The Foundry paints had a glossy finish that required a matte coat to correct.

The paints thin fairly well on the palette and the colors did blend rather well on the figure (as opposed to the more stark transitions using a triad system from Vallejo Model Color ala Valero’s method). Surprisingly, the triad colors seem to closely match the Scalecolor/Vallejo Model Color mix that I currently use, though the extra transitions and in my current method and layers add slightly more of a contrast. 

Work-in-progress 28mm Eureka Ragged Continentals. Coat in Foundry French Blue triad on the left and the Scalecolor/Vallejo Model Color mix on the right.
Upclose of Scalecolor/Vallejo Model Color mix.
Upclose of Foundry French Blue triad.
Foundry French Blue triad on the left, Scale75 and Vallejo mix on the right.
From the side.
From behind.

Pros:

  • Triad system of colors seem to complement each other
  • Paint is smooth, thins nicely, and blends well with the other colors in the triad.
  • Relying on a triad system is simple yet effective way to paint and remember color recipes

Cons:

  • Pots
  • The paints of this triad were glossy. 

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