Hold your breath… Make a wish… Count to three – then come and read our Monument Hobbies Pro Acryl paint Review for Miniatures and Models.
I’ve had these paints for over a year and literally haven’t touched them but I’ve fallen behind in lots of my reviews as I had no idea how long it would take to actually get through them. So my first words here are to Monument Hobbies – I am so sorry for the delay. But I hope it was worth the wait.
This article is part of our series looking into the best paints for Miniatures & Models.
To see our up-to-date list of the best paints for your miniatures, just click the image above.
Pro Acryl Paint Review – Summary
If you want to view paradise, Simply look around and view it.
Anything you want to, do it. Wanna change the world?
Then buy some Pro Acryl Paints!
It would be an understatement to say I am impressed by these paints.
Honestly “I think”, me, my opinion, a personal view (Just so nobody thinks I’m telling you what to think or saying your opinion is wrong if you disagree) they are the best set of acrylic paints for miniatures you can get.
These are the paints that Citadel Base Paints wish they were. Incredibly fine dense pigment suspended in a thin and lose medium which reduces down on application leaving a solid, smooth & consistent layer with minimal detail loss. They are all but one-coat paints.
The range is not without some drawbacks – after-all nothing is perfect and these certainly aren’t perfect for everyone – but on the most part my issues are with the Creature Caster Website and the Bottles (well the lids) – the paint itself is incredible.
Pro Acryl Paint Review – Monument Hobbies
Don’t you mean Creature Caster?
Well, no. Whilst these are always referred to as Creature Caster Pro Acryl, that’s not technically the case. Pro Acryl is one of the tools made my Monument Hobbies, née Monument Gaming, née Slowfuse Gaming. Creature Caster is currently just the sole Storefront for Monument Hobbies Tools.
To see more about Monument, check out the about section of their website (which is a blessing to browse when you compare it to the terrible speed of Creature Caster’s website). It makes me wonder why they don’t just have a storefront here as well or even instead!
The Monument Gaming Website is also host to the entire range of Monument products – Again unlike Creature Caster where the store differs its available range depending on your selected region.
Monument Hobbies isn’t just a typical manufacturers website, they host a few good tips and tutorials. Their Youtube Channel has some great videos too, from quick guides to lengthy detailed videos you can watch to get the most out of these paints – and hopefully learn some techniques along the way.
Check out Monument Hobbies in the following places
Please bear in mind from the outset – as noted above and for no reason I can understand, Creature Caster’s website is painfully slow. I’ve had wait times of over 30 seconds for just one page to load. If I had anything truly negative to say about this range, this would be it. Please sort out your website speed guys.
Pro Acryl Paint Review – Paint Range
When we wrote our Guide to The Best Paints for Miniatures & Wargames Models – it actually got to the Number 1 spot on Google quite quickly. We got in touch with all the paint brands on that list and asked if we could review their paints – well, pretty much all of them said yes, in one way or another.
Monument Hobbies asked us to sign-up for their Partner Program and after we got accepted, we were given a voucher which allowed us to buy the Pro Acryl base set for about 1/3 of the normal price (Plus Shipping). So we ordered it.
And they sat on the shelf for a year.
Pro Acryl Base Set
The base set is fantastic, featuring all of your main primary and tertiary colours. A decent variety of greens, Black, White and metallics including Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper. Honestly, there’s little more that the basic Miniature Painter would need, as you can mix-up a solid variety of colours from this initial set of 29 paints.
But then thanks to a perfect storm of events which occurred – I found out that since a year ago when I initially purchased these, Monument Hobbies has released even more pro acryl paints.
So, from the first day I used the few paints I had – I loved them so much that I went and bought the follow-up set.
Pro Acryl Expansion Set #1
This is the perfect expansion to the base set – featuring 16 new bottles including several darker hues that work as bases or shades for the initial set.
This set also increases the range of metallics and has a really nice bright Yellow-Green along with a flesh shade and highlight. You also have some metallic medium for shinifying any of your existing colours.
You may have noticed that the packaging has changed between the 2 pictures above – I’ll get onto this in a mo.
Whilst browsing the store (which loads painfully slow) I checked out the Paints Set Category this is where I noticed the second expansion set – Transparent.
Even though this was out of stock – the individual 8 paints from that set were still available – so I ordered those too.
Pro Acryl Expansion Set #2 – Transparents
Another positive addition and I’ll go into more detail as to why shortly. This is essentially a range of 8 translucent inks – again featuring the 6 main primary & tertiary colours along with a black and a brown.
Again I’ll go into more detail on the benefits of these in a mo but they were quite a necessary addition to round out this whole range – releasing them in a nice & simple series of primary hues was really clever.
At the Time of Writing this article, Monument Hobbies also have a 3rd expansion set out, however, this is only available in the US and Canadian stores and even then – it’s out of Stock.
But I’ve signed up for the mailing list to be notified when it comes back. I don’t care about international shipping costs – I want these paints ASAP.
Pro Acryl Paint Review – Packaging
There’s actually something to talk about here. Monument Hobbies has been quite creative when it comes to Their Bottles.
First up though – when I placed the original order for the base set – they came in 4 Boxes of 8 paints each, with 3 spare empty bottles (each with agitators like the Pro Acryl paints do).
Whilst this impressively screamed “Premium Product”, the fact that they were also protected with the black shredded card was just a bit overkill and should really be reserved for their incredible resin miniatures.
The Expansion sets didn’t have any of this, they were just in a box with some paper padding – I’m not sure if this is the new way going forward or just due to packaging availability with the state of the world now. But it would be better to have a nice balance between the 2 methods I’ve seen, for the paints anyway.
As for the bottles, themselves – if you did not notice between my series 1 and series 2 above that the bottles have changed – here is a direct comparison.
Since I bought that initial set – Monument Hobbies has upgraded all of their paints from 17ml bottles to 22ml bottles. Making them some of the largest bottles of standard miniature paints available from any brand.
Just to be clear, if you buy the base set – you will now get the new, larger 22ml bottles.
The downside of these (to me anyway) is that the pots are now wider and don’t fit in my paint rack which is made for standard dropper bottles – normally up to 26mm in diameter.
The design has slightly changed with the Monument now featuring the Monument Hobbies emblem on one side. Whilst this label doesn’t wrap the whole way around, you get about a 2mm gap at the back to get an idea of how much paint is left in each bottle – once it’s settled.
Before you can use any of the paint, you need to unscrew the lid and remove the protective layer from the top of the bottle. I’m yet to see another miniature paint manufacturer put this much care into the bottles as we all know some brands will still dry out in storage.
The lid itself is another unique point of the range. Instead of a standard dropper cap which you unscrew, A couple of turns of the upper portion of the lid will allow the paint to flow through its tip.
Whilst this is a clever idea in principle – not so good in practice. Whenever you pour the paint it leaves some residual paint in the tip, which expunges when you screw closed the cap.
This is good on one hand – I know many of us who like to paint the lids of our paints so that we can see the colours in the bottles from a bird’s eye view, these bottles do that for you.
But on the other hand… (bare in mind this is mostly an issue on the older bottles)
…You very often end up with dry paint covering the spout.
Have you noticed that the paint above is open? well, I didn’t for about a week. This is something you need to be mindful of when working with these paints. Not only do they make an open paint appear closed. They also build up a generous amount of crud on the lid itself.
Not great when you are airbrushing as these dry flecks can easily (and do) end up getting into your airbrush and blocking the flow of paint.
Even when you do remember to close the lids, you can end up with situations like this below.
So all in, it is a good idea – but something you as the painter needs to be aware of when you start using them. Remember to close them and have something to dab the excess paint off with immediately.
The newer bottles greatly reduce this issue, with a thinner spout and flat head rather than the domed head, but it does not remove the issue entirely.
If you check out Monument Hobbies Website you’ll see there are a variety of alternate lids available, from normal dropper spots to pour spouts – these are also available at Creature Caster but they are only visible and available from the US and Canadian storefronts.
Pro Acryl Paint Review – Airbrushing
So, to try these out for airbrushing there was one thing I wanted to start with, translucency. First up I took a couple of pre-primed and Highlighted Space Marines. I just used some Stynelrez Airbrush Primer to get the finish below.
Thinning down the Pro-Acryl was easy, just a drop of Vallejo Airbrush Thinner and the airbrush output was super smooth.
However, the paint coming out was still incredibly opaque. After the first initial coats (mostly on the legs) I lost a good amount of the pre-highlight. I managed to work around this but it ended up being more like 10:1 Airbrush thinner to paint.
I’ll certainly get my money’s worth out of this stuff, but for translucency, it really needs to be mixed in with some other acrylic medium to reduce the density of the Pro Acryl pigment.
Or, I can just forget about pre-shading and spray the Pro Acryl Colours directly on the model.
Yep – that works
Pro Acryl Paint Review – Brush Painting
These things brush on base coats like a dream – There is only one other brand that has even come close. They are also based on the North American Continent, I wouldn’t be surprised to find some level of relationship between the two for paint manufacturing.
But anyway, the paint.
If you have followed me for a while, you’ll know I’m not the biggest fan of base-coating. Whilst I have the technique down – it’s just tiresome for me which Is why I like to airbrush – you do you.
But these things, wow!
They come out the bottle at almost the perfect consistency, with little more than a damp brush you can start slapping paint down on your model. Most of the time with base coating you need to do things like, paint in the same direction per part of the model. Follow the wet edge so that you don’t start pulling partially drying paint and causing gloops and brush strokes. You then need to wait until it’s “fully” dry before attempting another coat.
With these, I was able to lay down my base colours without even really trying. The paint stays wet long enough to move around a bit more than most. But then before you know it, it’s dry and ready for the next coat. It’s so weird compared to what I’m used to. It stays wetter for longer but dries faster.
The matte texture to it helps it grip to the surface – Edge highlighting is now so easy.
You can lay it down pretty thick, much thicker than most and the medium just reduces down and evaporates leaving all the detail in place.
Whilst few of the colours would be considered one-coat wonders. Most require just 2 coats over any other colour. The rest are 3 at the most. Even with things like yellow Ochre, it covered Black in just 2 coats.
And it’s a Yellow!
Some of the drawbacks come if you try to start to do things like washes and glazes. For washes, you will need a medium in here to create translucency (which I haven’t tried for this review as Pro-Acryl don’t sell any additives). If you reduce it down too much with water, the pigment will just break apart when it dries leaving a speckled mess.
There is a similar result when glazing, as the paint has very little natural translucency. It’s possible but you can get patchy results with watermark edges. Especially as the matte textured colours you’ve already painted on will want to grip the pigment you put down after. This isn’t a problem, you just need to be aware of this when you use these. But with glazing, it’s not as bad as a wash because you are applying many-many layers you can’t really notice an issue.
Layering, however, is pretty straight forward as you can reduce the paint down with water enough before it starts to break down.
The metallics are just a good as the standard paints in regard to coverage. All of the Bronze & Silver layers on the model above are just 1 coat. By the time I had finished with all the metallics I have applied two coats as the paint lost quite a bit of its metallic sheen when it dried.
They are good metallics, and when it comes to the coverage they are amongst the best – however, when it comes to the finish and lustre you would want from metallics in contrast to the non-metallic coloured paints, they lose a few points here. But only by a split hair margin, they just need to be a bit glossier when dry. But you can always correct this with a varnish yourself.
Pro Acryl Paint Review –
Transparent Translucent Paints
I think Pro Acryl has made these paints (which are essentially Acrylic Inks) in response to the lack of natural translucency in their main set of colours.
These “translucent” paints are also incredibly pigment dense and unless you thin them (a lot) they will act like stronger versions of Citadel’s contrast Paints (which I swear are just Inks). Thankfully, you can thin these with water.
This is still super intense at a ratio of about 20:1 Thinner:Paint – again, this stuff is gonna go a long way.
I used this to add a green hue to the underside of my Ultramarine (OK so I went a little OTT) just to give the impression of some light coloured reflection from the grass
Again, this was just a drop of paint with a lot of thinner. So you can see just how intense this colour is. All of these Translucent paints can be mixed together or with the rest of the Pro Acryl range.
With this stuff, you can easily make washes and glazes with just a bit of thinning. And it is a completely optional but awesome addition that helps to round out the range.
Pro Acryl Paint Review – Price & Availability
I’m yet to find any Hobby Stores that stock these so the only place to get them is the Creature Caster Website – just be aware, when you are on the store – select your country. Which is either Canada, USA, UK, EU or World (for everywhere not listed). Many of the items are only listed in certain locales – Specifically US and Canada.
We could really do with seeing these paints in some retail stores. Maybe it’s still too early days – Maybe it’s just that I haven’t seen them yet?
Retailing at $4 USD (£3.60 GBP, 3.50€ RUR, $5.19 CAD) for 22ml they are already cheaper than Citadel (which are arguably the most expensive miniature paints on the market). Even cheaper per ml when you consider how big these bottles are. But then consider the coverage – incredible!
To make this even more impressive, if you Buy 8 to 15 paints, you get 10% off. Buy 16 or more and get 15% off! The latter of which is about the same saving you get if you buy the sets.
Will Pro Acryl Paint Improve my Hobby?
I think so yes.
It’s a solid set of colours at a great price with savings that increase the more you buy.
I’m now on the watch list for anything else they release. Where it’s financially possible, I will snap up any paint they put out going forward.
I just can’t say enough good stuff about this range. If you are after paint which covers incredibly well in very few coats – is pretty much ready to go out of the bottle and dries super thin with no brush marks.
Here you go.
Pro Acryl Paint Review – Final Thoughts
Thin to paint With
Sealed in Storage
Quick-Pour Bottle Tops
|Ultra Slow Website|
Quick-Pour Bottle Tops
Metallics have little Sheen
The main takeaway from this range of paints is just how consistent they are. You can expect every paint to do the same job as the last.
The coverage is just incredible, the only time you need more layers is because the paint you are using is considerably lighter than the one you’re applying it on top of.
Whilst the metallic finish isn’t the best, it’s still very good and the benefits you get from pigment density and coverage more than makes up for it.
The Bottles themselves are a minor irk for me, just because they are wider than typical dropper bottles and I currently have nowhere sensible to store them – but I can fix that easily enough. It’s the tops that actually annoy me, they are clever as nobody else does it this way but the benefits are a double-edged-sword due to the crud build up on top falling into my airbrush. The newer bottles are much better for this issue but it still happens more frequently than I’d like.
Ah and damn that website is so slow…. it’s pretty, but slow.
Hey, if all I can complain about on this range are the website’s speed and that I’m personally annoyed about the dropper tops. What does that alone tell you about the paint itself?
Please buy some. at least to try. Then come back here, comment and tell me what you think. I’m sure it will be positive.
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