GW citadel shades wash Paint review | Is It A Game Changer?

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Washes are the best painting tools to give your model a more realistic look. 

If you’ve been looking to get some washes for your first-ever paint job and are considering Games Workshop Citadel shades, then you are in the right place. 

In this guide, we discuss the popular Citadel shade washes to know how well they work for miniatures and scale models. 

Are GW citadel shades wash paints good?

GW citadel shades washes are truly exceptional for creating depth, shadow, and weathered textures on miniatures and models. 

The fluidity of these washes allows them to flow easily and cover well, making them easy to use. Additionally, they are water-based and do not require thinning, making the cleaning process a breeze. 

Of all their washes, I have found that Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade are the best. Nuln Oil has a classic dark color and adds depth, shadow and grunge to any surface. Agrax Earthshade, on the other hand, has a brown, almost black color, which goes onto certain colors, especially greens and black, without muddying the colors.

With a wide range of colors and easy application, you will be able to achieve professional-looking results with ease.

Full Citadel Shades Collection Reference Guide
(Scroll through the images to see how these shades behave)

What is a wash?

Washes are special consistency paints that help with the washing technique (a technique that allows you to paint recesses, and crevices and create weathered or dirty textures. 

Usually, a wash is a low-opacity paint since they are more diluted than regular paints, so the body is quite thin. 

Are Citadel shades the same as wash paints?

They are just called differently, but shades and washes are still the same and are often used interchangeably. 

Both are usually a darker version of paint or inks without the intensity of high-density pigments. Instead, they are thin but with enough surface tension to add depth and shadow to a miniature.

Is the Citadel wash oil, alcohol, or water-based?

Citadel paint washes have acrylic pigments like miniature acrylic paints. Hence, they are water-based acrylics. 

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What makes Citadel shade washes stand out? 

  • They flow well

Citadel washes have been diluted, unlike regular thick paints. 

This fluidity feature means they flow more easily and naturally over the model’s surface. Hence, they can easily cover well to create the type of texture you desire. 

  • They are easy to use

In terms of actual quality and ease, hands down, Citadel is much easier. 

For the most part, I’ve rarely ever had an issue with a citadel wash because they don’t have inconsistency issues, are4 not enamel based, won’t brittle the resin or plastic miniature kits, and work well with water.

  • They don’t require thinning

Citadel shade washes have slightly thin viscosity. So, you won’t need to thin it with water to work effectively. 

If you do need to thin them, add a single drop of flow improver and some drops of water to improve their surface levels.

  • Results are exceptional

Citadel paints often give your model and miniature figures a nice and strong matte effect. Still, that does not mean they won’t appear shiny like most washes do because the wash goes on glossy occasionally when you use its gloss variants. 

For instance, the Agrax Earthshade leaves a matte finish, but when you use the Agrax Earthshade Gloss, it looks glossy. 

  • They clean well

With the Citadel shade wash range, you won’t really have a hard time cleaning the wash, especially since they are water-based. 

Just get water and a clean rag, and you can easily get excesses out. 

What wash color do they have?

They have 19 shades of washes in different colors, from red to warmer brown hue, dark brown, blue, dark green, muted green orange, Grimey orche, and grey washes. 

  1. Soulblight Grey, a grey wash
  2. Nuln Oil is the classic black color
  3. Buln Oil Gloss
  4. Agrax Earthshade is neutral brown
  5. Agrax earth shade gloss
  6. Tagore Rageshade has a dark brown color
  7. Cyptek Armour Shade gloss is a brown color
  8. Reikland Fleshshade is a shade of red-orange
  9. Reikland Fleshshade gloss
  10. Seraphim Sepia  is a shade of orange
  11. Mortarion grime has an orche shade but is significantly less orange than the Seraphim Sepia. 
  12. Athenian camoshade is a camo green
  13. Korak green has a muted green shade
  14. Biel-tien green
  15. Poxwalker is a dark green wash that is darker but has more cool tones than the Biel-tan green.
  16. Coelia greenshade, is a medium dark shade of cyan.
  17. Tyran blue is a newly released blue wash and is lighter than the Darkenhof nightshade. 
  18. Drakenhof nightshade has a deep blue tone. 
  19. Druchi violet is a shade of magenta.
  20. Carroburg Crimson has a red color
  21. Berserker Bloodshade is a red wash but with slightly warm tones like brown. 
  22. Fuegian Orange
  23. Cassandra yellow
GW Citadel Shades Wash Paint Range | Image Source

What are Citadel’s best wash colors

Two Citadel washes that perform well overall are:

  • Nuln Oil and,
  • Agrax Earthshade. 

Nuln oil has a classic dark color. It adds depth, shadow, and grunge to just about anything you slap it on. It has a very strong dark tone, making it easy to contrast shadows on figures. 

Agrax, on the other hand, is a brown, almost black color. This means it can go on without muddying the colors, and it’ll go onto certain colors better, especially greens and black, 

Is it the best wash for miniatures and models?

Citadel washes are some of the easiest paints to use for painting miniatures and scale models. Plus, they have some amazing colors and flow out of the pot just fine when used with a paintbrush. 

They make it easy to paint recesses and get that weathered look on your model. Plus, they can easily turn to glaze paints used with an airbrush. It means you won’t have to spend time or money getting a glaze paint for your model and still give your miniature figure that exceptional dirty and textured look. 

However, they spill easily from the pot, so be careful.  

Do they have a wash set?

Games Workshop has several paint shade set that is great for painting your miniatures and models.

If you love collecting Age of Sigmar or Warhammer 40k fantasy models from Games Workshop, then the Citadel paint shade set is a must-have. 

At $37, this wash set contains 8 pots of Citadel shade washes. Nuln Oil, Carroburg Crimson, Drakenhof Nightshade, Biel- tan Green, Casandra Yellow, Agrax Earthshade, Reikland Fleshshade, and Seraphim Sepia. It also includes one medium-shade brush. 

A Great Discussion About One Shade Color To Rule Them All

Tips for using GW Citadel Washes

  • With the Citadel shade washes, you need to shake it well before use as it contains white pigments that will settle quickly on the bottom of the pot.
  • Washes are naturally pre-thinned. So, they don’t need additional thinner. But, to get them to work better, you might add some matting medium to help thin it without breaking the paint and a little flow aid to help it flow better into the recesses. 
  • If you need to glaze your model, Citadel washes work just well. Just get an airbrush, and airbrush them.
  • Citadel washes often come in a pot, unlike the dropper bottle style of brands like Vallejo and army painter. So, transferring paint to an airbrush can be difficult. The easiest way to pour them into the airbrush is with a brush. Take care not to spill the top-heavy pots since spilling Citadel pots is common.

Do you really need a wash paint for your miniature?

Washes give your model a more textured look. This way, they appear more realistic than cartoonish. So, you want to have them in your color palate. 

Shade washes are just a darker color than the base paint. For this reason, many painters would think there is nothing really special about them, especially since they are just a mixture of either ink or paint pigment with a little more medium and water than usual.

It also means they think you can use any paint you like and thin it down with a little water to create washes if you actually need them. Of course, a step like this works well but not as well as actually getting a Citadel shade wash or purposely made wash for your miniatures. 


There you have it. Citadel washes are a game changer! 

miniature painters will love using these washes for enhancing their figures. The wash paint easily settles into the crevices and details of the miniatures, providing depth and shading. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned painter, these washes are perfect for achieving the desired effects for your miniatures.

They are very easy to use, are novice-friendly, and have a great flow rate that can easily cover recesses and mistakes while making it possible to add texture to your figures. So, if you need a wash paint for your armies, they are a great place to start.