Warcolours Antithesis Paint Review

Last Updated on December 9, 2020 by FauxHammer

Hello all, Hellhound reporting in with a fresh, new, Warcolours Antithesis review on a new contender in the contrast paint ranges. Neo from Warcolours was kind enough to send a pack of ten colors from their new range.

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Warcolours Antithesis Review – Summary

In essence, these paints are great for beginners or experienced painters. It works just as GW’s contrast paints do but have much better surface tension.

However, like GW’s contrast paints, Antithesis also suffers from coffee-staining. This may not be an issue for someone looking to just have the three color minimum for their army. Though this is easily fixed with some highlighting or dry-brushing.

Some colors are similar in tone but are much more saturated than GW’s contrast paint. Example: Warcolours’s Red 3 seems close to Citadel’s Blood Angels Red, but Red 3 is far brighter.

The best comparison seems to be with P3’s red ink, but with much better coverage and surface tension. For the big army painter, these paints are a must-have!

Using these paints, I’ve painted up two units of Skaven for a total of 16 minis. Not including prep time, it took about a day of painting. Because of the modified gel medium, Warcolours uses in their paints, they can be thinned with just water and still achieve a wash-like consistency.

Not only will you have a good base coat, but mixing different colors and thinning with water gives a great shading effect.

Warcolours Antithesis Review – Introduction

The greek gods at Warcolours were kind enough to let me use and peruse their up and coming paint range: Antithesis. A new challenger to games Workshop’s Contrast Paint has entered the ring and boy are they strong!

Warcolours Anthesis Review - Paints

Up until now, we’ve only seen Games Workshop’s contrast range and Scale 75’s INSTANT COLORS.

I have yet to try Scale 75’s INSTANT COLORS, but I expect my Kickstarter to arrive sometime before the year ends.

Warcolours’ Antithesis did take a whole summer to arrive (because Covid) but came packaged lovingly with free hand sanitizer. This was also amazing! It left my hands soft and cleansed from Nurgle’s touch.

Warcolours Antithesis Paint Review – WARCOLOURS

Established in 2015, Warcolours has been providing quality paints for our hobby from Neo’s (the owner’s) “personal pursuit for innovation and colours”.

Not only have they brought out these contrast Anthesis paints, but they also have glaze, base coat, shading, layering, inks, and more! Including a classic paint bottle style on their site is the “Nostalgia ’88” 20ml paint pot, matching truly-classic Citadel Colours for the hobby veterans.

Warcolours uses a gel medium for their paints, which essentially means it shouldn’t leave brushstrokes (or texture) as you paint.

Warcolours’ paint bottles are 100% recyclable and totally biodegradable. Not only that, but their packaging system is dedicated to reducing cardboard waste whenever possible.

Warcolours Antithesis Paint Review – Intoduction

I decided to put Antithesis to the usual tests: layering on, layering while being thinned, and being applied through an airbrush. By doing this, I would be able to determine just what these paints can do, what they can’t, how they act, etc. This serves as both a litmus test of their abilities and getting comfortable with them.

For GW contrast paints, I’ve gotten into the habit of using them for base coating, glazes, and shading. An all in one for army painting, if you will.

Right off the bat, the paints are much thicker/full-bodied compared to GW’s contrast. At first, this concerned me because the paint didn’t seem thin or wash-like. I pulled out some Dark Vengeance models and my Oldhammer Skaven to test them out.

Warcolours Antithesis – Layering

At first, I applied them like I would GW’s contrast which is to take a small dollop and spread it over the area. I had much coffee staining but noted how well the paint travelled into the nooks and crannies of the mini. Much better than contrast does! I also noted how nicely the colors layer on each other without leaving any brushstrokes.

Warcolours Anthesis Review - Initial Tests 1

These second test minis had thinned antithesis paints with water and Contrast Medium. There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between the thinning mediums. I decided to just thin them with water for the unit painting.

Warcolours Anthesis Review - Initial Tests 2
No problem to see here, just heretics at a rave.

In terms of dry time: they seem to dry about as quickly as a wash would (total cure time is about 30 minutes to an hour).

If you’re doing a squad, you could comfortably cover any detail you want with one color then move on to the next color without worrying about smudging paint off.

Unlike GW’s contrast, Antithesis seems to be much more fluid and “surface-phobic”. By that I mean, the paint actively seems to be drawn into the crevices. Due to the opacity if these paints, Issues like Coffee Staining/Tide marks are barely noticeable on textured surfaces.

Warcolours Anthesis Review - Coffee Staining

In terms of actual expectations, after some good shaking, the consistency will seem like Vallejo air paint. In application, the paints act like a wash with a magnetic attraction to crevices. Moreover, one could reasonably be able to shade with the same range of paints and have great coverage with one to two layers of the same colour. With appropriate thinning (with just water) glazes could also be achieved.

And, in case you haven’t noticed… THESE PAINTS ARE VIBRANT TO OLYMPUS AND BACK. You will not be disappointed if you get a set of these bad boys.

Warcolours Antithesis – Shading

Once I had gotten the hang of layering the paints on without getting much coffee staining, it was time to shade. With the previous layering tests, I noticed how insanely well this paint goes into the nooks and crannies without leaving any brushstrokes.

When I experimented with adding water and different thinning mediums, water actually proved to be the ideal thinning medium.

Warcolours Anthesis Review - Shading

I did the shading on the armor in a few different layers and mixes of the dark red 5 to red 3 color. In that order.

If I had to give this level of shading a title, it would be “peak performance”. I have not had such a fun and fantastic effect doing this level of shading so far.

The only “issue”, if I can really call it that, was some minor coffee staining. This happens when a large pool of paint dries, as the paint goes off, the pigment runs to the outer edges of the small paint pool you have made. As the edges dry first, more pigment is deposited here than in the middle which dries last giving you a result where the blob of paint looks like a stain with a darker rined edge This is a nightmare of flat untextured surfaces as it does not look too great. You will have seen this if you have ever overloaded a wash on a model and let it pool.

You can get that here due to the natural fluidity of the paint, So long as you control the tickeness as you apply it, you can easily skirt the issue.

Warcolours Antithesis – Airbrushing

Warcolours Anthesis Review - Airbrushing

For the last test, it was time to put the antitheses paints through my airbrush. I decided the perfect subject for this would be the banner boy from this rat pack. I first applied a drop or two of my Iwata airbrush flow improver into the Badger Sotar 2020 and decided to use the brightest color first, red 3, followed by shading with red 5.

My first mistake was thinning it with the flow improver because I personally already saw what happens when you thin this paint. Only vaguely tinted red thinner shot out of the airbrush.

After I let the red water on my banner totally dry and cleaning out the airbrush, I went in for the second application of red without any thinner.

Just a drop of a paint, PSI set to 25, a press and pull of the trigger… Magic. The antithesis red came out perfectly without clogging or sputtering. I coated the banner totally red 3, then shaded it with the dark red 5 color.

I would also like to note that, unlike GW contrast, these paints do not lose their saturation through the airbrush. To elucidate, GW contrast seems to lose their color intensity through the airbrush because the airbrush atomizes the wash. Antithesis does as well, (it’s how an airbrush works) but because the paint is much more saturated, it doesn’t lose it’s chroma through the airbrush.

Putting the Antithesis paint through the airbrush would defeat the purpose of the contrast style effect where these paints are intended to flow into the recesses and stay away from the raised edges for instant shading.

However, the airbrush proves that the opacity of antithesis is far stronger than GW contrast, as the latter is more translucent by nature. Airbrushing with GW contrast paint would be more useful for colour filters (like airbrush glazing). Whereas the Antithesis range is much more opaque, making them a solid contender for airbrushing base layers with. You can still obtain some small level of opacity with Antithesis and if you want to dilute further, water is your friend.

Anthesis flows through the airbrush without thinner, much like a Vallejo air paint would. The paint doesn’t clog up the tip and flows wonderfully. One drop of paint goes a long way!

Warcolours Antithesis – Speed Painting

After these tests (and an email to Warcolours), it felt appropriate to paint up some units of minis with Antithesis.

I painted up a unit of 5 Skryre Acolytes in about two hours and a half with just the Antithesis paints (minus the metallics and some highlights). The paints, when just slopped on leaves a wonderful, saturated color and Antithesis flows into the crevices beautifully.

I applied a mid-tone with turquoise 5 to the robes, then mixed up the previously mentioned red shade paints to shade the mid-tone. The ropes and leather had a first layer of ochre 4, then layered with brown 2, and shaded with a thinned brown 3.

Warcolours Anthesis Review - Whole Unit 1
Skryre Acolytes ready to come on down and slam to the jam

While Antithesis is perfect for textured surfaces like the rippled robes on the acolytes, on round surfaces like the orb or shoulder pad on the marine suffers the same problem contrast does.

This is because the paint has no crevice or detail to go into so it just finds sowhere comfortable to sit and stays there. Regardless, this issue is easily solved with some layering over with acrylic paint, like a band-aid on a cut. (and would be a good excuse to pull out the airbrush for some OSL). What I did to cover this was layer on more emerald 5 until I got an even coat as I could. Then, I got some Flash Gitz Yellow, free-handed the swirl-pattern on the orbs. A free-hand is basically painting on an image or pattern on an open space on a miniature.

Full disclosure: Whilst I was able to get a good rust effect, the orange is just some acrylic paint, whereas the browns are Antithesis. I would need more colours than I was provided in order to do this effect solely with anthesis.

Speed Painting Continued

I decided to keep it going with these Stormvermin as well because I wanted to try out the Antithesis on plate armour and I was having a lot of fun with them.

I finished this block in about three to four hours. This includes the base coating with all the Antithesis colours that were used during the painting, (and some GW contrast), highlights, shading, metallics, and weathering.

Warcolours Anthesis Review - Whole Unit 2
Stormvermin, ready to party

In this unit, the reds are just Antithesis, shaded with thinned red 5 Antithesis. That’s it. I thought to myself, “if I have to paint 19 more of these things, I want to be able to put in the least amount of work as possible while still getting a great result”. And that’s exactly what I got.

As I kept using the Antithesis more and more, I started getting less coffee staining. Using the paints more and more, I learned more about how the paint moved on the miniature’s surface. That way, I was able to constantly move excess paint from surfaces that caused coffee staining and tiding. Though, some still ended up occurring during this learning curve on this unit, it’s hardly evident on this unit because of the highlights. As most of the shading was done with turquoise 5 I just reinforced the contrast with Antithesis reds, then highlighted the armour with turquoise 5 Antithesis mixed with P3 Arcane Blue. While turquoise 5 by itself is wonderfully opaque, I still needed the strength of a solid acrylic colour for bold highlights.

The skin, on the other hand, had to be done with GW contrast. But only because I didn’t have any Antithesis skin tone paint and I didn’t want to have to consistently mix it up. This proved a great point to me though: GW contrast is very transparent compared to Antithesis. I still had to layer on a mid-tone then highlight where-as I already had a mid-tone and a good base-coat with Antithesis. However, this may just be an issue with Darkoath flesh, in Contrasts’ defense.

Warcolours Antithesis Review – Pricing and Availability

Warcolours‘ new Antithesis will be available December 12th, 2020! Just in time for the holidays. At the time of writing, are only available through their website. Within the EU, the delivery time may not be that big of an issue. However, for those of us across the pond, it may take more time to arrive. Under normal circumstances, (sans-covid) delivery time shouldn’t be that bad though.

Antithesis is selling at 2.89€ per 15ml bottle ($3.43 (USD), $4.68 AUD, £2.59 at the time of writing).

Compared to GW’s $7.80 (USD) or 6.30€ for 18ml, these Antithesis are an absolute STEAL. Not only are you getting 15ml of powerful paints in dropper bottles, but you are making considerable savings with Antithesis.

Will Warcolours Antithesis improve my hobby?

I believe it will. Unlike GW’s contrast, Antithesis is extremely versatile in its’ uses. As corny as this will sound: your only limit is your imagination with these paints. Because of how amazingly pigmented they are. They can a base coat/mid-tone and shade paint in one.

Warcolours Anthesis Review - Complete Model
*Darth Vader breathing noises*

If we look at Citadels Contrast, they sometimes feel more like inks, even when being put through an airbrush. Antithesis is much more comparable to acrylic paints than contrast in that regard. Antithesis would be a runny and highly pigmented acrylic paint for that matter. Even in terms of small accidents like a certain color accidentally getting somewhere you don’t want, Antithesis doesn’t care because that’s how strong they are. At the very least, it won’t be as egregious as it would be with GW Contrast because the paints are opaque enough to cover up any would-be mistakes. Unlike GW’s Contrast, if any darker paint such as Black Templar accidentally smudges on a place where a lighter color like Iyanden Yellow would go, it would be impossible to fix with just GW contrast.

Because GW Contrast is so unforgiving in that regard, it could tend to put budding hobbyists off painting armies. Antitheses won’t do that. If anything, these paints will encourage the painter to keep going and try new things.

The Skaven scheme pictured above was new territory for me, and I think it turned out awesome. With Antithesis, you can pull off the level of shading I did with these Skaven. You can definitely get some cool glazing stuff happening with Contrast as well, but not to this same effect of shading. For example, one could glaze some Aggaros Dunes on certain armor plates for some weathering. However, there are no exact colors in the GW contrast range that could replicate the same shading effect to that high saturation that was pulled off on the skaven’s robes.

Warcolours Antithesis Review – Final Thoughts

No brushstrokes
Highly pigmented
Perfect for airbrushing
Small learning curve
Dropper Bottles
Ideal for army painting
Some Coffee staining

Antithesis has brought their “A” game to the table in the contrast paint ranges. These paints will not only effectively get models painted in no time at all, but they can look absolutely top-notch.

Minor Coffee staining aside, as colorful and pigmented as Antithesis are, mistakes can occur. For example, if I got a bit of the red where yellow is going to be then that’s going to have to be layered over to fix. However, this is a problem that GW Contrast also suffers from. Do keep this in mind.

For most, the fact they’re Citadel Contrast on steroids in dropper bottles should already be an instant sell. Even if the idea of coffee staining might seem off-putting, it could be easily fixed by airbrushing the same paint, or layering/dry brushing on highlights.

These paints are so amazing, I can’t wait to see more people to give them a try.

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  • Hellhound

    Michelle is a NYC based commission painter, aspiring hobbyist, and above all: a devout follower of Chaos. And yes, she made the pilgrimage to the holy land of Warhammer World in Nottingham, UK. It was the best day of her life. She lives with her mom, hellhound chihuahua, and chaos spawn cat.

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  • VoltorRWH

    Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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Warcolours Antithesis
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Warcolours Antithesis


Michelle is a NYC based commission painter, aspiring hobbyist, and above all: a devout follower of Chaos. And yes, she made the pilgrimage to the holy land of Warhammer World in Nottingham, UK. It was the best day of her life. She lives with her mom, hellhound chihuahua, and chaos spawn cat.

5 thoughts on “Warcolours Antithesis Paint Review

  • December 30, 2020 at 6:34 am

    The ultra heavy wash/ink approach is a brilliant idea so it’s nice to see some of the others getting into the game. Quality wise, I’d still have to give the nod to Contrast based on the results but it’s also more expensive and, as you allude to, very unforgiving of mistakes. So this could be a viable option for anyone trying to achieve the original stated purpose of tabletop ready with one coat, even if it gives up some of the potential for impressive organic details. And anything that offers decent coverage for yellow and light gray tones is a good deal, regardless of other factors.

    My suspicion is that Contrast is an emulsion of water plus one or two secret sauces, in addition to the pigments, so to really nail it the other guys may have to think beyond just regular acrylic mixes.

  • March 17, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    You painted the skaven in a base colour, then applied highlights and shades?
    Sorry, but i fail to see the “instant/contrast” effect in this.
    If I need additional highlights and shades, why use so called contrasts? This sounds more like a pretty normal way to paint, and not like something citadel contrasts or scale75 instants offer.

    • March 17, 2021 at 1:41 pm

      I only chose to use highlights on these minis to add “more pizzazz” on them; I prefer using contrast as base coats and it speeds up army painting by so much. At the beginning of the article, one can see what they look like without highlights or shades over a white primer and can be judged by themselves.

  • May 14, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    I’m surprised by this review as I’ve had a very poor experience with mine, I bought the full set. The lighter tones in particular are very poor as the pooling in the recesses ends up looking more like a highlight than a shade due to the strength of the pigments. The darker colours are just poor quality paints with no “contrast” properties at all, but at least they don’t end in a strange inverse highlight. In the end they’re too opaque to work at all well for their intended purpose and leave a streaky finish. I’ve also struggled to make any use of them as shade paints, glazes or tints. I’ve tried some of their line of layer paints which are extremely difficult and frustrating to use but great results can be achieved (great results are possible with most brands though, without the difficulty or frustration). Their base paints are terrible, having the consistency of skimmed milk and the finish of an ultra gloss vanish and now these… I’ll be sticking to other brands in future.

  • May 14, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Yeah, the results in that picture don’t look great to be honest, better than what I’ve achieved with the same paint but still not good. Your final outcome looks great but that’s with extra steps, steps taken by a professional painter, not who these sorts of paints are aimed at. Personally I don’t see much value in these sort of paints as a base coat, I tend to use he contrast paints for either a full paint job on things like poxwalkers that I can’t be bothered doing a full job on or as tints, shades and effects on things I am making an effort with. These warcolours paints haven’t been any use for any of those purposes. You may have gathered I’m quite annoyed with them!


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