Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters

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Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Featured

Are you looking for some of the best true metallic metal paints? Then you definitely want to have a read of our Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters.

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support FauxHammer.com – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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The Best Paints for Miniatures & Models

This article is part of our series looking into the best paints for Miniatures & Models.

Best Paints for Miniatures & Wargames Models - Featured

To see our up-to-date list of the best paints for your miniatures, just click the image above.

A Note on Color/Colour

The product is named Metal Color (No U) – However, throughout the article, I will default to my native spelling “Colour” unless I am specifically mentioning the product itself. Please feel free to berate me for the few instances I am likely to have gotten this wrong.

But it’s an important note, if you spell Colour the way I do, you may not find this stuff on some of your favourite hobby stores if you search for it with a U!

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Summary

You know True Metallic paints right? they’re the shiny ones which act just a little differently to normal flat colour paints. I can’t think of the best way to explain them due to my limited vocabulary – They’re gloopy and somewhat trickier to manoeuvre around the surfaces of your model to get an even coat.

Well if that’s what you know them to be, you have not tried Vallejo Metal Color paints! These are so incredibly fluid…

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Palette Droplet

Sorry for the resolution of the image above, but it was my first gif. As it turns out, you need to really compress these so that this page will actually load! But it’s enough to show just how fluid these things are.

I love the Vallejo Metal Color paints, I actually can’t see me wanting to pick up any other metallic paints in the future. Though there is one problem I’ll get to in a sec. And I need to caveat this with, I like to paint quick.

I like paints where I can just easily apply a solid block of colour, as thin as possible with as few coats as possible. And for metallics, these give me that. Coverage and consistency wise these are some of the best metallics, sorry no, not metallics, paints! these are some of the best paints for consistency and coverage I have ever used! and they’re super shiny.

With that being said, the colour range is limited. 17 Hues in total, but, bar 2, you would argue they are all silvers. More on this in the rest of the review

The entire time I was using these, I was thinking – if this is possible, why aren’t other companies making metallics like this! I don’t have an answer, maybe the team over at Vallejo have hired some actual wizards.

The only explanation I could have for this is that it is sorcery!

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Range

So, this range of paints is immediately special in one way, they are created using aluminium pigments in an acrylic medium. Basically, you’re painting True Metallic Metal, with metal. And boy is the result shiny.

The only things I’ve used which are even on par with these are solvent-based products like the Vallejo Liquid Metal range. Which are alcohol-based.

These are nothing like the Vallejo Model & Game Color Metallics, nor are they like the Vallejo Model Air or Game Air. Those are totally different and are more like your traditional metallic paints.

It is worth noting that this stuff is intended to be airbrush paint, and the primary target audience for Vallejo here, are people making model aircraft. Vallejo’s own web page for these has a picture of a plane and states that;

The metallic colours selected for this range are those most commonly employed by international air forces worldwide“.

Acrylicos Vallejo

So it makes sense that many of these paints are varients of “aluminium” since that’s what most planes are made of.

Whilst they were made specifically for airbrush use, I have been using them (again like the webpage says) mostly with a brush.

Again, just wow, so much wow.

As noted, the range consists of 17 colours, though it also has a dedicated Metal Varnish (necessary to maintain the sheen) and a Gloss Black primer (available in 32 ml./1.08 fl.oz., 60 ml./2.02 fl.oz. and 200 ml./6.76 fl.oz)

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Bottles

The whole range comes in 32ml (1.08fl.oz.) bottles with a flip-cap and eye dropper spout. This is a hefty amount of metallic paint, nearly 2-3 times the amount we miniature painters are used to getting from our main paint ranges. (we’ll talk about price down the end as it’s about 2-3x the cost too).

These paints use real aluminium filings as the pigment so it’s not unreasonable to understand they the pigments quickly and easily sink to the bottom of the bottle. If you use a well-palette (shown in the droplet gif above) you’ll find that even during your paint session you’ll need to keep mixing the paint up to keep the consistency of aluminium and colour. I know they are really popular now, but do not use a wet-pallet with these, ever. They’ll soak up far too much water and they’re thin enough to brush with already.

The bottles are mostly label with no gap at the rear. So working out how much you have left goes on feel and guesstimates alone – By the time you could see a gap in paint below the label you are pretty much out

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Bottle

The name of each colour (like any vallejo paint) is printed on a white bar on the bottom of the label. Part Number 77.xxx in the centre with the Spanish name on the left and English name on the right. As the paints look so similar in colour in the bottles, it has sometimes been tricky for me to find the exact colour I want on my tiered storage unit.

(hey come on, it’s a review – I have to nit-pic something or I’m not a good critc).

As you may know by now, I’m a sucker for some ddropper bottles, and these are pretty much that, though the eye-dropper spout lends itself more to the thinnness of these paints. Just a tilt and slight squeese for a drop as shown in the gif above.

Though after time the remaining paint does end up running into the lid and if you aren’t gentle and concious of remaining paint when closing – you can send a spatter of metal all over your miniatures!

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Bottle Open

Packaging wise, fairly decent and does the job, but to reiterate it would be nice to see an update with a window or gap in the label. Or at least a picture of the colour printed front and centre – first world problems I know.

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Colours

So, let’s check out these colours (No. I’m not doing spoons again). As noted above, except for the Gloss Primer and the Gloss Coat, there are 17 colours in the range which are;

  • 77.701 Aluminium
  • 77.703 Dark Aluminium
  • 77.706 White Aluminium
  • 77.710 Copper
  • 77.712 Steel
  • 77.716 Semi Matt Aluminium
  • 77.720 Gunmetal Grey
  • 77.723 Exhaust Manifold
  • 77.725 Gold

  • 773.702 Duraluminium
  • 77.704 Pale Burnt Metal
  • 77.707 Chrome
  • 77.711 Magnesium
  • 77.713 Jet Exhaust
  • 77.717 Dull Aluminium
  • 77.721 Burnt Iron
  • 77.724 Silver

I reached out to Vallejo to ask whether they were thinking of expanding this range (for reasons I get to in this section) and they said no, not at this time.

I wonder why some of the numbers are missing? I’ve tried searching Google, there is no Vallejo 77.705 anything? I don’t understand their number convention at all.

Right, so these (boring) tests were done on some plastic cards (like ID Cards). I primed them with Black – Grey and White Airbrush Primer. So this paint is going down onto the same sort of stuff you would put on your minis.

I painted lines of colour using a brush in the order of what appeared to be the darkest (in the bottle) to the lightest.

This picture is just to show the colour difference in natural light (i’ll explain why in a sec).

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Colour Card Actual

In the image above you can see the difference between these colours arent so grand. It doesn’t show in the image that they also have a slightly different finish texture with many of the darker colours being more matte. Which makes sense since many of these are things like 713 Jet Exhaust – it’s a more weathered colour.

I’ve found that when choosing a colour it’s best to ignore what the paint looks like in the bottle and just go off the name.

I wanted to show the colour difference in natural light above as the images below are when the Black primer and White primer are set as Pure Black and Pure White in photoshop – The images below give a much wider gamut showing the intent of the colour temperature). In real life, the differnce is much more subtle.

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Colour Card 1

So, as I’ve said a few times, this whole collection is very much on the silver side of things and again, the shifts between warm and cool silvers are rather subtle.

It is worth saying here (and you may not have noticed) this is just one brushstroke of each paint, just one layer. and it covers white as well as it covers black. you don’t get that very often with your metallics do you?

When we get to the lower value colours the colours themselves are’t disimilar at all – The difference between 701 Aluminium and 706 White Aluminium is entirely unclear to me. Chrome is almost the same again, it’s just a bit Shinier.

So there you have it, all those colours and only 1 copper and one gold. Why?

I think I figured out whilst using these colours how they sort of work. After all, they use Aluminium pigments. Aluminium which is naturally silver.

With my basic level of intelligence, I’m sure there is some kind of heat treatment or something you could apply to aluminium to make it darker. But I’ve no idea if it’s actually possible to make aluminium actually change hue.

Well, on that point…

It was after I loaded a bit too much of this stuff onto my brush that I wiped some off on a nearby tissue (standard part of my paintig set up – if you don’t do this, I’d make a note to always have tissue on your workdesk. Anyway…)

I’d done this a few time before it clicked. The photo below is using the copper paint.

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Palette

As you can see, the aluminium has settled on the surface of the tissue but the colour has soaked in. So essentially this is all bare silver aluminium pigment mixed with some kinds of medium and coloured liquid pigments.

I imagine from this, it’s trickier to make different colours without changing the natural proporties of the aluminium (reflectiveness). The Gold and Copper were a bit duller than most of the other paints when it came to the finish.

Having a rough idea of how these work, I tried to make my own colours by mixing 701 Aluminium and Citadel Contrast paint. It didn’t work, in fact it was quite terrible and I deleted the pictures. But there is another way we can go with this and I’ll show you below.

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Application to Models

Right so let’s throw this stuff at some models – it’s meant to be used in an airbrush and made for vehicles so that’s where I’m starting.

From a matt-black basecoat, I applied 77.712 Steel all over the model

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Basecoat

Generally, the coat was really smooth. It’s worth noting that I added no thinner to the paint. Just straight into the airbrush cup and spray. You can thin it with something like Vallejo Airbrush Thinner for when you want to create smooth transitions.

On the transition side there’s not much of a range to transition from-too, the same model shown below had all of the colours sprayed at it (though you can’t see much of the darker colours at this angle)

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - All Colours

There’s very little in the colour variation way of things here but I admit at this point I only threw down one light coat of each colour. watching other videos online, you need a few coats through the airbrush for a decent amount of the colour temperature to show through.

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Gloss Vs Matte Basecoat

Ok so I finally put this to the test here too – I’ve heard so many times that to get the best metals you should use a gloss base. Let’s try it out then shall we (again all airbrush).

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Gloss Basecoat

The gloss black base is pretty shiny. it’s nothing compared to what you would get with enammel paints but for an acrylic it’s pretty darn good. You could always just paint it matte black then apply a clear gloss coat (which I’ve done to models at the bottom of this page).

So again I used 77.712 Steel and applied it to the two models below, the Space Marine (right) was primed in Vallejo Matte black, the Sigmarine (Left) in Gloss Black.

I think you’d agree there’s a notable difference?

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Gloss vs Matte Basecoat

The gloss base coat has really changed this paint, it’s reflectivity is so high that it almost looks a different colour (it isn’t). Mr Sigmarine has an almost mirror-like finish whereas the Space Marine is much duller and has even retained some of the surface texture from the matte primer. – a testament to just how thin these airbrush colours are.

In a future article, I’ll investigate in detail how Metallic paints work as they are much more heavily affected by the base coat than many flat colours

But for now, lets just understand that yes – gloss primer makes metallic paints shinier.

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Airbrushing

I decided to throw these paints at some Marines – they are made for vehicles really, but I’m a rebel!

First up, a layer of 77.712 Steel – I love this colour, Leadbelcher be damned, this is a really nice dark neutral silver. Also as I wanted some metals which were booth dark and grim – I sprayed this over a matte basecoat

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - 712 Steel

Nothing much to say about these – it was really easy to get a smooth basecoat without any thinner.

So, next, I was trying to be clever and add some colour variation in the shadow. Essentially leaving the 77.712 Steel act as a cool shadow – I sprayed some 77.713 Jet Exhaust on some of the more extruded parts of the mini.

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - 713 Jet Exhaust

If you look at the two pictures above, you’d be hard-pressed to tell any difference, other than the lower image just has a tint of brownness to the metal. Essentially I just sprayed this around the outer parts of the model. The outsides of the legs and a line down the centre of the torso. Anything in the deepest shadows was left as 77.712 Steel.

Generally, not as much colour transition as I would like, in retrospect I probably should have used 77.711 Magnesium in place of 77.712 Steel as it has more of a blue hue whereas 77.712 Steel is quite neutral.

Next up was 77.703 Dark Aluminium as the first pass of highlights – this again was picked as it was more of a neutral tone, but none of the lighter paints had a particularly cool hue.

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - 703 Dark Aluminium

This was applied to the outermost extremeties – but more of a spot highlight than a fill 45 degree zenithal. O picked out areas like the ops pof heads, the backpack and outer sides on the knees, outer edges of the legs, the toes and a line down teh centre of the torso. always spraying from above to leave the shadows darker.

This is the bit where i started to realise that precision control with these paints was tricky. But now I know this I could do much better next time. If i sprayed too close, the paints would run and spiderweb on the surface of the models. So there was some trial & error needed to lower the airbrush pressure just so, allowing me to get in closer.

Finally for the brightest highlights I used 77.704 Pale Burnt Metal – This again was one of the lighter paints. This time with a warm, almost yellowy, hue.

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - 704 Pale Burnt Metal

Again I applied this to the more sticky out extremeties, but I had issues with control again. I’ve essentially covered all of the previous highlight layer with 77.704 Pale Burnt Metal. here are still some spots of 77.703 Dark Aluminium – but again the colour diference is not worth this extra effort.

What I was going for here was cool to warm shadows and cool to warm highlights. This works really well uif you are painting white for example. Insted paint with a pale light blue in the shady parts and a warm white (cream/ivory) in the outer parts. This gives some great colour transition over a white surface.

With these, there’s simply not enough colour difference for any kind of “pop” on a miniature figure.

But for light to dark, or transiions over a larger surface like a vehicle. These are super.

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Drybrushing

Don’t bother – It doesn’t work

This is a pity as I love drybrushing metallics and your more traditional metallic paints do this incredibly well!

I have no pictures of this, if you want to see what these look like after attempting to drybrush them, have a look at the image directly above – no change. Nothing noticeable anyway.

So to understand this, have a look at this image again where I show how this paint acts on tissue paper.

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Palette

Well, it acts the same on brushes.

All of the media will soak up into the depth of the bristles leaving teeny-tiny aluminium pigment flakes on the tip. But becasue the majority of your medium has been absirbed, these flecks are almost immediately dry. Not just touch dry but they no longer have any of the medium (the binder) around them.

So, as much as you get is some aluminium paint attaching to the model – but the majority of it, you’re just flicking all over your desk

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Brushing

OMG WOW!

Again, I went to the effort of animated gif to show just how amazing this coverage is.

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Paint on Model

Im not employing any special camera tricks here, this is how it goes down. quick and smooth.

Most metallics will have you employ certain techniques to get them to look even half-decent. You must them down over a dark basecoat. Such as black (or brown for golds “apparently”). Apply several thin coats. etc etc

But this, just put it down. Over lighter colours, and white especially, it still doesnt quite pop. but shown abover over a mid-tone red, it covers as well and shines as well as if it were going down over a black.

Most non-metallic paints don’t cover this well….

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Pox Walkers

As further evidence of how great this stuff is, this example above is just 1 coat on all of the metal areas.

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Colour Range

Golds (more specifically anything that is not silver) is the greatest weakness of this range. If you want to paint something which is not a slight variation on silver, you pretty much have two choices. Gold & Copper

The models below shows Gold on the left, Copper on the right. the middle image is a 50:50 mix of the two.

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Gold-GoldCopper-Copper

This is it.

I do love these paints but having just two colours which aren’t silver limits the range, more than just a bit.

I decided to have a go at making my own variations on warmer metalliacs and let me remind you that mixing transparent inks with the paint just ruins the consistency to the point of unusable.

However, there is another approach, so below I have laid down a coat of pure aluminium.

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Creating Gold 1

Then on top of this I have added a variety of brown/yellows

Vallejo Metal Color Review for Miniature Painters - Chrome + Contrast

All in this gives us a much greater range of metallic colours. but the addition of inks reduces the reflectivity of the paint just a touch. It’s still shiny it’s just not a rich shine like it was.

Blending is also out of the question with these as ther are no colours to step up to in the gold range. But if you are after quick & smooth metallic coverage. nothing else even comes close.

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Price & Availability

Availability wise, it’s Vallejo. So, well. if you’ve been painting a while and you are sat in your painting space right now, look around. There’s some Vallejo paint right there…

You can get this from your main online hobby stores, Amazon, eBay etc (for a list of suggested places, see our links below).

The RRP is £6.99 ($7.49 USD) per bottle, which sounds expensive but remember these bottles contain 32ml of paint. At £0.21 ($0.23 USD) per ml, it’s on par with the likes of Citadel.

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support FauxHammer.com – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

Our Affiliates / Hobby Stores

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Become a Patron!

Vallejo Metal Color Review – Final Thoughts

ProsCons
Smooth Coverage
Fast Coverage
SO SHINY
Mostly Silver
Blending

Now, it depends on what you want from your paints. Personally. When I want shiny paint with fast and easy coverage. These do exactly that.

If you want smooth blends of one metallic colour to the next, this is not what these are for. stick with your standard acrylics.

The range is limited and to be honest, let down by the lack of golds.

But the coverage and consistency of these paints more than makles up for any negatives the range has.

Lumineth Realm-lords Army Set Review for Miniature Painters - Painted 1

paired up with some transparent inks you can get some awesoem effects quickly and easily.

For anyone army painting. I’d say these are a must have. The speed you can knock out painting the metallic parts of models using these is (as yet) unrivalled.

Worth picking at least a couple up. But chances are, once you use those, you will want the entire range.

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support FauxHammer.com – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

Our Affiliates / Hobby Stores

Support FauxHammer.com on Patreon

Become a Patron!

Author

  • Self-appointed Editor in chief of FauxHammer.com - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

About FauxHammer 209 Articles
Self-appointed Editor in chief of FauxHammer.com - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

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