Posted by Jawaballs at 1:48 PM
Ok folks. I deem it time to talk about paint! This has been a long time coming and I'm sure others have written about the issues. But I figure in light of the recent apparent missteps it could not hurt to add a bit more scorn to the pile. So my friends, I bring you the current state of GW model paints.
Some of the first things some of you will scream at me is "WHY DO I USE GW PAINT?" There are all sorts of competitors such as Privateer Press, Vallejo, Army Painter and so on. To you guys, my simple answer is, I like them. What is better? I don't know. I've tried Vallejo and sometimes I like sometimes I don't and the same goes for PP and AP. But this article is not about what paint is better. This article is about GW paint. I will talk differences some other time. Please save the "you're an idiot for using GW paint blah blah blah" for your mom. :)
So on with the article! In the past, such as with my article on GW Super Glue, I just griped. And that does not really do much for you other than make you gripe too. I want to be more proactive. While I have a few gripes, I want to also share with you some positive solutions. But lets start with the fun stuff.
This one kicks us in the Jawaballs the most. First of all, yes, I understand rudimentary economics. The cost of producing a product coupled with inflation leads to having no choice to to gradually raise prices in your product. Oil prices are up and down, leading to cost of shipping and manufacturing. Plus I believe the acrylic polymers used in the paint are derived from oil too? So I agree, a price increase should have happened over the last four years.
Having said that, some of my original paints still sitting on my shelf were $2.40. My most recent? $3.70. Mathhammer quick, the percentage of increase? Just quick that is a $1.30 more in 2011 than I paid in 2007. 1.30 is about half of 2.40, so we will call it a 50% increase in price. Lets bring that into perspective now. In CT a 20 ounce bottle of coke costs about 1.50 at the typical gas station. If we went by this price increase, we would now be paying 2.75. Ouch!
I just spent a little time looking for comparative figures for other things, like the cost increase of the Toyota Corolla since 2006 to now, but I suck at finding stuff. Plus I made the point. A 50% price increase over four years is crazy. One last example? I just paid 11 bucks to see a movie. I paid about 5.50 to see Transformers: The Movie in 1986 or so when it came out. That is a 100 percent price increase in 25 years. So one can assume that in 12.5 years they had a 50 percent price increase, and in the five years I am using as a reference for my paint comparison we can assume there was a roughly 20% increase.
Ugh my head is spinning! In other words, using movie tickets as a comparison, we should be paying about 2.90 a pot for paint. About a 20% increase over 5 years. That would be a fair price increase in my opinion. Hows that for irrelevant comparisons? :)
Now lets compare your price per gallon!
Martha Stewart Interior Latex house paint gallon: $100.00 a gallon
Da Vinci professional artist acrylic paint gallon: 256.00 minimum.
I got that price by using their basic black since it is most like our GW paints. Non toxic, etc. The price will go up sharply if you get into the Cadmiums and other rare and poisonous oxides.
Ready for this?
GW Model Color paint gallon: 1184.00
Yes, that is five times the cost of one of the best professional artists acrylics on the market. (but those little pots are oh so convenient!) There is a lot of truth to this. Convenience is key. None of us want to deal with a gallon of GW paint. But I just thought you would like to see what you are paying.
So what have we gotten for this price increase? Thankfully the same amount of paint is coming in the pots!
It has always been my motto that "If it aint broke, don't fix it".
The venerable GW Paint Pot
And I don't think there was much particularly wrong with this one. The only improvement they should have made was to go the way of all other paint producers and used the dropper bottle.
Ahh Vallejo and your efficient bottle.
But is that a big deal? Do we really want the dropper? I for one am a well known pot painter. While recently I have been working to improve my painting by thinning my paints with glaze medium, I traditionally like to paint right from the pot. Who knows!
Lets look now at the venerable pot and see what it's problems were.
Ahh the broken hinge.
We have all seen this! That can't be good for prolonging the life of the paint. But also take note of the paint collected in the cap on the side where the hinge is. When the cap is left open the paint settles there and dries. Here is another pot with a new pot next to it.
The lip intended to help paint pour back into the pot
actually becomes a catch where the paint dries.
What was GWs answer?
The cap falls!
Yup, they created a cap that would not remain open. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but the caps on these two pots are missing the little "tooth" that snaps the cap into an open position. One appears here on this Foundation paint pot. At some point some executive must have realized they will save .0000003 cents per pot by omitting that little tooth.
Behold it stays open!
You can see the cap snap open and stay open and the flange lip was designed long enough to guide the paint back into the pot. Why omit that plastic tooth that keeps the cap open from the new pots GW? Was it to help stop paint from drying in the cap? Was it to stop the cap hinge from snapping?
Paint dries in the cap, screw it! (Off)
Well you already had the answer. Yes, the caps screw off. For pot painters like me who want to dip their brushes right into the paint, we can just unscrew the cap and voilla. Also, if that little hole in the cap gets filled with dry paint, same thing. Plus, pouring paint from these pots is nothing but a joke. What a mess. The screw cap was a necessary must. Glad you can unscrew the new pots to make them easily usable and pourable! Uhoh...
The first generation of foundation paint pots had screw caps.
But not these!
Nor do the most recent generation of foundation, or the washes...
How do you get these caps off so you can pour paint for mixing?
You pry it off with plastic cutters. Crap.
So lets take a moment to review.
Since 2006 or so, there has been a 50% price increase in GW paint.
The cost per gallon of GW paint rivals the Gross Domestic Product of some small countries.
GW claims that the price increase is justified in part by their continually offering "superior" product.
(its the same paint.)
They redesigned the paint pots.
The new pots suck.
Did I get it all?
So what the hell do we do? (Please reread the first paragraph if you need reminders.)
I have a couple of things that I am doing.
First I have decided to recycle old pots.
Screw caps make pot recycling easy!
Mechrite Red poured from a new Foundation pot into an old pot.
Screwing off the cap allows you to run your pot in the sink. I simply let the water blast at the last bits of drying paints in a dead pot and it does the work for me. A few minutes later I finish the job with my fingers and the pot is clean. Then I can pour whatever color I want into the new pot. This old Chaos Black pot became the new home for my Mechrite Red. The new pots go right in the trash. Can I do this forever? Nope. Like all things exhaustable, I have a finite amount of old GW pots. And some of them have broken hinges. As I use up those paints they will get second lives, and with my new recycling attitude I will handle the caps much more delicately. But for the time being, I should be set. So one of the first things I do when I buy a new pot of paint is pour it right into an old recycled pot.
But there are other options!
Since I am trying to embrace thinning my paints, it would not hurt me to use my paints from a dropper. I found this at an art supply store local. It cost about .98 cents and holds two full GW pots plus some space to spare. Why is this good?
Well color mixing of course! Have a color that you use a LOT of but can never get the right mix twice? Well buy two pots and pour them both into one of these droppers and boom, insta 50/50 mix. On the left you can see a 50 mix of Regal Blue and Chaos Black. I was making a wash for my Grey Knights. The next bottle is a 50 mix of the first mixture, and Glaze Medium. Easy mixing, and in convenient dropper bottles. The third bottle is the home for a new pot of Regal Blue. It frustrated me when I tried to mix the paint with black because that was when I found out the new pots were not screw caps. So I poured it all into a dropper and chucked it out the door.
Wonder where that Skull White went from that pot I recycled?
In this bottle I consolidated two skull white pots that my gaming club kids had used into one bottle, and recycled the old pots. The dropper is definitely good for the kids because it controls how much paint they use, and stops them from dropping open pots on the floor like little paint grenades.
I'm sure you all have your own things you have done to adjust to the new pots from GW. This is a minor issue to be sure, but still! Feel free to share them in the comments section, or email me pics and I will post them up. If any one has any visual data comparing and contrasting GW with other companies for quality, I would love to talk. That will be my next paint article.
more to come.