The Army Painter Wet Palette Review

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Hi everyone, really excited to share this review with you as it’s the first one we’ve done for a product before it’s release! #BlogGoals! If you’ve considered getting a wet palette for your miniature painting. This is one of the few available products dedicated to miniature painters. See what we think in our detailed The Army Painter Wet Palette Review.

The Army Painter Wet Palette First Impressions

A week after I got the Wet Palette I recorded my initial impressions. these were under Embargo until 28/11/19. but if you want to see what my initial thoughts were prior to the review, check out the video below.

Also, Whilst you’re on YouTube – Do that Liking, Commenting & Subscribing thing, please. Also, Hit the Notification Bell

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review – Summary

The Army Painter Wet Palette is certainly a contender for one of the best wet-palettes in this growing market. It certainly does the job well at a very attractive price point. There are some quirks which we will detail below, but there are also some added benefits specific to this model. Especially for those of you already invested in the army painter brand.

Do you use a Wet Palette? What type do you use and why? let us know in the comments

Why Use a Wet palette?

Assuming you aren’t aware of the benefits of a wet palette. Maybe you’ve only heard of them in passing or haven’t heard of them at all. Let’s take a quick overview of what a wet palette is and what the benefits are.

The initial benefit of a wet palette is that it keeps your paints wet for much longer. This immediately saves you money as the paint will not be drying out on your palette. Beyond that, it should also hold your paint consistency much longer. Your paint will absorb water at roughly the same rate as water evaporates from it. Stick it in the fridge and your workable palettes can last for weeks, possibly even months.

If like me you’re a slow painter, having your paints last this much longer can be a godsend.

It’s a really simple bit of kit and you can easily make your own. It consists of (bottom to top) a tray, a water-absorbent layer and a semi-permeable layer of paper.

You wet the absorbent layer and put the permeable paper on top of this. Any paint put on top of that will absorb water through from below, keeping it wet.

To see a more detailed setup, check out our guide on making one yourself.

How to make a Wet Palette - Featured

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review – Unboxing

Feel free to skip to the next section, but I’ve always found the unboxing a necessary part of any review. It shows the care put into a product and good presentation really can lead to a great first impression.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Unboxing 1. Box

The box itself is typical of The Army Painter style. Clearly advertises what the product is and what comes in the box.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Unboxing 2. Pamphlets

With any boxed The Army Painter product you tend to get the pamphlets above (All of which are available for free on The Army Painter’s Website). Whilst first glance may seem like advertising chaff. They are worth a read. Which I failed to do initially during my Army Painter Paints Range Review and regretted it. Besides;

There is no knowledge that is not power

Ralph Waldo Emerson Mortal Kombat
The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Unboxing 3. Hydro Foam & Hydro Paper

In the Army painter Box, you also get… Another Box (Boxception?). This internal container houses your 2 Hydro Foams and your 50 Hydro Sheets along with a really useful infographic card and a thankyou.

I do think this is a little excessive in regard to the packaging, perhaps there is as the reason behind this such as making the overall container more sturdy and better for mass shipping. But the foams and paper surely could have just be laid flat alongside the palette and booklets. Do we really need more plastic in this hobby?

It’s not without its own uses, this little box would make a decent DIY wet palette…

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Unboxing 4a. Read Before Use

Ok, I had to focus on this, this is new. When I reviewed the Army Painter Paint Range This little leaflet was not part of it and it’s useful to know for anyone buying The Army Painter Paints. Whilst you aren’t getting any paints or Brushes in this set. It’s nice to see TAP explain the inclusion of additional medium and the necessity to remove this before properly using the paint. I wonder if the creation of this was inspired by my review if so I’m gutted they didn’t go with the sky-writing approach.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Unboxing 5. Wet Palette

And now the Palette itself. Remember how I was saying “first impressions”? The Leather buckle and Army painter label were held in place dead-centre as I opened the box, that’s a nice touch. It’s a relatively simple affair but I really like how it’s emblazoned with the army Painter logo and using their signature colour scheme.

Measuring 200mm x 140mm x 30mm (approximately), it’s relatively low profile will ensure it doesn’t take up too much space in your painting area (or your fridge).

For real-world size comparison. Assuming you’re like me (or any typical man) you’re not great at estimating sizes. Its usable area is a little smaller than that of an A5 sheet of paper.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review – The Palette

The Palette itself consists of 3 Components. The Tray, the Brush Holder and the Lid. And it’s all held together with an elasticated band.

The Tray

The Internal recess of the tray is almost identical to the area of the foam, 196mm x 136mm (approximately). The sides are only around 2mm in thickness. It’s certainly a usable area for the great majority of Army colour schemes. Working in small quantities for detail work. I’ve had more than 20 different colours on here without any issue. I’d say that’s plenty.

If however, you’re putting your base colour down on here, it can easily take up a good 1/8 or even 1/4 of a palette for a large squad.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Palette With Paint
Working on a few projects

The Brush Holder is essentially the palette lid. The first thing to note on this is that there is no rubberised seal making it airtight. Based on my experience with a very similar product, the rubberised seal doesn’t actually make it airtight anyway…

Whilst the seal is not airtight, it’s tight enough to do the job in the most part. I’ve left this on my desk for over a week, come back to it and the paint is still wet enough to be workable. Although I did reload the foam with additional water before I began using it again.

The Brush Holder

The other feature, unique to this palette, is the brush holder, being a brush holder. Split into two compartments

One with groves made to fit the Triangular Wargamer Series Brushes from The Army Painter. There are 8 recesses, although the 2 at the sides are slightly larger. These are made to separate the Wargame brushes, but they don’t actually grip them. if you tilt the palette the brushes will still slide up and down, making the bristle guards necessary. You can push the brush flat and kind of wedge it in, but it will quickly pop back out again

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Brush Holder
Brush lengths may vary even within a particular range

The other side of the brush tray is a 40mm wide area which can freely house any brand brushes you wish. So long as the brush and guard has a maximum length of 187mm. This will fit my Raphael, The Army Painter Hobby Brushes, Citadel Layer Brushes (if I trim the protector) and I can just about fit my Rosemary & Co brushes in here too. This area, or the underside, can also work as a dry-palette too (yes there are still many benefits to dry palette’s over wet ones, be in the habit of using both).

As this component is also the lid for the palette, It needs to be on when the palette is not in use. As I keep my wet Palettes in the fridge (you should too), it does feel a little daft keeping my brushes in there too. The handles do get cold.

It’s a neat feature which is nice to have included. If you’re limited in your hobby area, having a palette which doubles up as a brush holder could be really useful to you. Another use case is if you transport your painting kit quite often, yet again it’s useful to have one piece of kit for brush storage which is also your palette.

The Lid

The lid is the lid for the Brush Holder more than it is for the actual Palette. The brush tray is the lid for the palette itself. The only thing worth noting with the lid, is that it can (kind-of) be used as an additional palette tray.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Lid as Wet Palette
The lid – used as a secondary wet palette

If you have extended beyond the initial palette area with colours, or you have a friend over to paint with you you can add your second hydro foam into the lid. Add some water and hydro paper and away you go, a second wet palette for the rest of your painting session. It’s slightly limited however due to the domed design, you can only really use the inner area of the dome. I think it would have been better here to consider this use case and make the design intentional. But for a makeshift solution. It’s nice that this is at least possible.

Overall the design is pretty cool, I would make the point that for people who don’t need brush storage, this may put them off the palette. And whilst I feel it may have been better for The Army painter to design it in such a way that you could remove the brush holder element and still make the lid work as the actual lid. The point is essentially moot due to the competitive price this is sold at, you’re paying less and getting more.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review – The Hydro Foam

It’s foam, there’s not much I can say about it really. It works…

As noted above this is the same area as the recess for the tray so it has a nice comfortable fit. But here, along with the paper is the first issue with the palette.

Whenever a new user first starts using a wet palette, they are likely to wonder “how much water do I add?”. Most experienced wet palette users have realised, it doesn’t really matter that much. It just needs to be wet, not swimming.

I have a bit of a process when I first load a wet palette that has been dry. I soak the foam fully under the tap until it’s soft. Then I’ll place it in the tray. After this, I add water all over it, Essentially submerging it slightly. Give it a few seconds to get the water fully absorbed, then tip any excess water out.

This normally leaves me with a foam that has enough water to just slightly float in the tray. But becasue the tray is the same size as the foam, I can’t tell if it’s floating. as it won’t move side to side.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Splotchy Paper
The foam appears splotchy under the paper

The other way I can normally tell if the foam is wet is when adding water the foam will darken where it is absorbed. With this foam, it doesn’t darken evenly across the surface. Initially, I thought that there were perhaps some pockets which were not absorbing the water as well, but in use. I’ve not seen this have any actual impact. All my paints stay wet.

The other thing people will want to know is whether it is mould resistant or not. well yes it is, it is resistant. But do not confuse that with retardant.

It will resist mould to a degree. I intentionally left mine wet with tap water with the lid on and on the desk in my office for about a week, Mould had just started to form on the foam surface. I was able to remove this with normal dish soap. This was just to show how mould can still form. I was intentionally trying to grow it to see how resistant it was.

What I would normally do, and still recommend here. Is to use distilled water, put a drop of dish soap below the foam and spread it on the tray or keep it in the fridge (you can do all 3 if you wish). This should keep the bacteria away and you can get months of use out of your palette.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review – The Hydro Paper

Again with the paper, it does the job. When hearing about other brands I’ve read people say that the papers used in proper wet palettes are much better than Baking Paper/ Parchment (name dependant on your country), which is the DIY option. Honestly, this comparison is much of a muchness.

The paper here works. I put paint on top, water is absorbed through it, the paint stays wet.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Straighten paper
Using a plasticard to smooth out wrinkles

Like any other palette, you can absorb pigment the other way. This is most obvious with liquid pigments from Washes & Inks. but you’re more likely to absorb paint when it’s spilt over the edges of the palette. I’ve never had this cause a problem with the foam, it just discolours it slightly. But the majority of paint should come out with a quick rinse in dish soap.

I’ve heard many people say not to use washes and inks on wet palettes as it will dilute them too much. It’s true they will be diluted a lot, but I wouldn’t say too much. It really depends how thin you want them. I like my washes really thin as I tend to use them for glazing more than washing a whole area. If you are using washes as a full wash, they are great on a wet palette becasue, like any other paint, they will last longer. Just don’t be surprised if they are heavily diluted when you come back the next day. It’s certainly not a reason not to use them with a wet palette. it’s just something to be aware of.

I do have an issue with the paper as I tested one of the earliest models pre-release. The Army Painter has advised that the paper is going to change slightly ready for the full release.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Paper Up Edge
The paper stretches up teh side of the palette leaving no gap

In the set I had, the paper is the same dimensions as the foam, which as I said above is the same as the recess in the tray. as soon as you put the paper on the foam it will crease as it absorbs some of the water. This is normal, just like any other brand or even Baking parchment / Papet (again, the DIY stuff is named differently depending on where you live). You then smooth the paper out which causes it to stretch very slightly.

This means that the paper fills any gaps around the edge of the palette. This causes an issue when you need to reload your palette with more water. Pretty common with any wet palette. I’m in the Uk and it’s pretty cold with average humidity here at the moment. I have to reload with water once or twice in an 8-hour painting session. But when I do, there are no gaps at the edges to do this easily.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Pipette Refill
Using a Pipette to add more water

My only solution has been to get under the paper with a pipette and shoot this into the palette a few times to cover the foam again. I reached out to TAP who advised that this paper is being changed for the final release. Which will slightly reduce the size of the usable area but make it usable for longer periods as you will have space to reload the foam with water.

The guys at the Army Painter have confirmed that the final release will be approximately 1cm narrower on each edge.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review – Use

I’ve used The Army Painter Wet Palette exclusively for a few weeks now on a couple of in-progress projects. It works great. It keeps my paints wet. I can leave it on my desk for about a week without having to clean it. It’s a decent size.

It has been annoying having to add more water when necessary, especially if I’ve had diluted paints because it just causes them to run.

The foam stays wet for a long time anyway.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review - Paint on Palette
The Blue and Black ran because I had a small pool of water on teh palette before adding the paint.

I must admit that I’ve not actually used the brush holder other than to check it out for the review but I just don’t fit the target market for this feature.

Neither have I used the strap which holds it closed, I don’t transport my palette anywhere. A quick inspection shows that it is a snug fit so if you need to transport things, it will work nicely. But it’s not made to transport the palette wet. Water and paint will seep out.

Will The Army Painter Wet Palette Improve My Hobby?

If you don’t use a wet palette already, yes. It will immediately start saving you money on wasted dried out the paint and it will help you in having more consistent paint. From the day I started using a wet palette my painting results improved immediately.

This will do that for you.

If you already use a wet palette, this will save you the hassle of having to cut your own foam and paper. After all, time is one of the most valuable commodities in miniature painting. Would you rather spend it making your own tools or just grabbing one off the shelf? Seriously, if you can answer that question it tells you whether or not you should get one.

The Army Painter Wet Palette Review – Final Thoughts

ProsCons
It’s a Wet Palette
Decent Painting Area
Price
Brush Tray Unnecessary
Paper & Foam fill the tray

It does the job.

I think this could be emblazoned under any The Army Painter product. To mirror exactly what I said in my The Army Painter Paint Range Review these products do what they say they will do and they do it at a fair price.

This is no different, when you look at wet palette’s on the market, specifically for miniature painters, or even specifically for model painters. there are 3. The RedGrassGames Everlasting Wet palette, The AK Interactive Wet Palette and now this.

This is one of the cheaper options, It has a bigger surface area over the AK Interactive model and it’s almost half the price of the Redgrass Games model. Not to mention, with The Army Painter’s reach, it’s likely going to be the most readily available option too.

Update 02/12/19: The claim that this is half the price of Redgrass Games wet palette was based on UK retailer pricing at the time of publication. The updated pricing of the Everlasting palette is much closer to the price of this model.

If this is your first wet palette, it is the best all-rounder available. It comes from a highly reputable wargames company that has a solid history of excellent customer service.

What did you think of this Review? please let us know in the comments.

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