32 Must have citadel paints

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The Citadel paint line is the biggest inventory of Games Workshop. However, their only drawback is that they are more expensive than craft paint. 

Yet, the biggest advantage is they have a higher concentration of pigment, flow better, and are waterproof. Besides this, they offer their colors in a sequence of progressive layers, making it easy to find dark and lighter shades of the same colors to enable varying effects. 

In this guide, we discuss some must-have colors to stash for your painting project. 

What type of paint does the Citadel have?

Citadel designs its colors in a painting system. Simply put, they make different types of paint to make alternating between shading, highlighting, and special effects like contrast possible. 

Citadel has 9 basic lines of paint. They include:

  • The base colors – lays the groundwork for painting. It is also called the basecoat. 
  • Shades – It enables painters to define delicate textures and details on their minis.
  • Layer paints – It helps create layered highlights
  • Dry paints – it works well for dry brushing and helps make natural highlights on models.
  • Contrast – Glazes and Texture paint makes up Citadels Contrast paint. The glaze paint will intensify a particular area of color, and merge colors where the layers are too plain or too bright, while the texture paint creates deeper recesses to tail the undercoat. 
  • Air paints – it has over 51 colors and works well in an airbrush
  • Technical – it helps create rust, corrosion, or blood effects
  • Metallics – These paints help create metallic pigments similar to real metals
  • Spray paints – they help make painting miniatures faster through their spray mechanism

How many colors does the Citadel have?

Citadel is one of the biggest paint brands after Vallejo, with over 300 colors to make painting your miniatures in amazing shades possible, no matter your skill level. 

32 must-have citadel paints

As mentioned earlier, Citadel has over 300 paints, but no matter how wide their color range is, there are some basic Citadel paints you couldn’t live without. They include:

Base paints

  1. Krone red

If you need a dark shade of pink-red paint for your miniatures, the Khrone red paint is a good choice. It provides a solid basecoat for red color and will work for blood effects. 

  1. Rakarth flesh

This color is a great base for pale or undead skin tones. It is quite similar to Vallejo’s Deck tan. However, unlike Vallejo’s Deck tan, you can mix the Rakarth flesh color with the Pallid Wytch flesh to create an off-color skin.

  1. Mournfang brown

This is another good base paint for making flesh tones. But, if you have used brown, you know how versatile they can be. 

This brown won’t only look good on a Maori skin tone but will work well for creating dark earth and dirt bases or leather clothes and weapons with dark brown shades. 

  1. Waaagh Flesh 

Waaagh! The name may sound funny, but this paint actually works wonders as a base flesh tone.

However, unlike human skin tones, this paint has a green color that suits the flesh tones of orcs and goblins. So, if you have a 40K Warhammer Ork, Waaagh Flesh will look good on it. 

  1. Corax White

Yes, if you haven’t used this paint, you may think it has a white color. However, this base paint is not pure white but a very light grey. It gives a nice undercoat for bones. 

  1. Abbadon Black

Abbadon black gives your model an old-school look. However, it works effectively as a base paint for armor and hair. 

  1. Mephiston Red

Mephiston red is one of the best reds out there, especially for red-eye lenses

it covers really well for red paint, which has similar coverage issues to yellow and is a pretty good neutral red to work from for other tones. 

  1. Averland Sunset

Averland sunset is the best neutral yellow painters can use on their small figures. It covers amazingly well without having to layer up dozens of thin coats.

  1. Bugman’s Glow

If you need something other than Mournfang brown, Bugman’s glow is another good base for Caucasian skin tone and shadows. 

  1. Caliban Green

Caliban Green is unlike the usual green. It is a very dark green cyan and works great for painting armor, foliage, or reptilian scaly skin.

  1. Thunderhawk Blue

Thunderhawk blue is a medium-dark shade of blue-magenta and helps to highlight details on claws, teeth, and dark shadows. 

  1. Dryad bark

Dryad bark is another good base for flesh tone. It has a dark yellow shade making it easy to give other paints a good base and coverage for skin tone. 

  1. Wraithbone

Like the Corax white, Wraithbone has an off-white color. They make it easy to add warm and cold highlights to your paint. Plus, they work great for bones and weapons. 

  1. Naggaroth Night

The NAggaroth Night is one of the best purple bases for miniatures. If your figure has raised muscle areas, this paint will look good on it. 

  1. Rhinox Hide

Rhinox Hide is a reddish-dark brown that makes it easy to create an African skin tone. However, it also looks good on belts, holsters, straps, backpacks, boots, and many other leather items on miniatures.

Layer paints

  1. Kislev Flesh

Kislev will make a good flesh tone for human skin. However, unlike the Cadian flesh tone, Kislev Flesh works better for darker, more tanned skin. 

  1. Alaitoc blue

If you need light blue paint to build highlights, Alaitoc blue is a must-0have. 

Applied on your minis, it gives a cool metallic sheen, especially on Warhammer 40k Ultramarines. 

  1. Cadian fleshtone

This is another good layer of paint, and it allows you to paint a flesh tone by using several layers, you can create a rich light brown shade. 

  1. Flashgitz yellow

Flahgitz yellow has a rich yellow color that makes it possible to add yellow highlights along all the armor edges and fists. 

  1. Xereus Purple

If you want to use purple as a contrast to golden armor on miniatures like Stormcast Eternals, this Xereus purple is a good choice. It is a lot better than most purples and layers well. 


  1. Nuln Oil

This paint has a black shade and helps you draw out details with natural-looking depth and shadow. It is useful for painting military buzzcut hair on the sides and back of the head and facial stubble but not as an overall flesh wash

  1. Agrax Earthshade

This color will work best as a brown shade for darker skin. Then again, it will also work well on marines and cloaks.

  1. Biel-Tan Green

Biel-tan green is a good shade paint for creating wash effects on goblin skin and DnD minis. It also works well as a mid-tone and for highlights. 


  1. Nihilakh Oxide

This paint makes excellent weathering effects and will look good on any army. It creates realistic oxides and aged metal effects. 

  1. Evil Sunz Scarlet

Evil Sunz Scarlet has a semi-bright red-orange color. It helps painters highlight almost any red-painted surface. 

Yet, its biggest advantage is that it will allow creating flame effects, glowing barrels, and helmet lenses easy. 


  1. Stirland Battlemire

Stirland Battlemire is one of Citadel’s texture paints that makes it easy to add a realistic battlefield snow effect on your wargaming minis. 

  1. Guilliman flesh

Guilliman Flesh is great for bringing color to flesh and washing over gold to get a warm result. It also works well on skulls. 

  1. Valhallan Blizzard

Like the Stirland Battlemire, Valhallan Bizzard is a texture paint that helps add a realistic snow effect to your base paints.  


  1. Leadbelcher

On Ultramarines, Leadbelcher will give you the best realistic gunmetal finish. It is a good paint for weathering effects and will look good on armies. 

  1. Retributor armor

If you need metallic base paint for armors and Ultramarine this warm-toned gold metallic paint promises to be trouble-free. 

Unlike most gold colors that seem yellowish, the warm gold of this paint makes the golf feel more like gold.  

  1. Balthazar Gold

Balthazar is another gold metallic paint with a much darker bronze kind of gold. It works well on Ultramarines and will make a nice metallic plate on minis. 

  1. Storm host silver

Storm host Silver is a bright, silvery metallic paint. They are great for adding highlights to steel metals.

Should you consider citadel paints set? What colors does it have?

Citadel paints are often expensive, but that does not mean you should forego purchasing them.

One of the best reasons to invest in Citadel paints is that they are relatively accessible and of good quality. 

A good paint set that will save you money and provide almost all the basic colors you need to paint your Warhammer figures is the Warhammer 40,000: Paints + Tools Set. This paint set has 

13 paints in 12ml pots, that will work well on Ultramarines and Necrons. It also includes basic tools like a Starter brush, clippers, and mold line scraper. 

Tips on using citadel paints

  • Do Citadel paints need a primer? Always prime the mini before using Citadel paints, or else they won’t stick well. 
  • Do you add water to Citadel paint? Citadel paints are water-based, so they accept water-based thinners and mediums. Just make sure to use the right ratio. 
  • Do Citadel paints need to be thinned? You want to thin the paint before use so that the thick pigmentation of Citadel paints does not cover up small details on your mini. Too much viscosity will cause ridges, lumpiness, or an orange-peel finish. Plus, it will drive you nuts if you’re using a sprayer. 
  • What happens if you thin paint too much? Paint that’s too thin will run and drip, messing up your floor and trim. So, don’t overdo it when thinning Citadel paints. 

Tips on storing citadel paints

Unlike Vallejo, which uses dropper bottles, Citadel paints often come in a pot. Hence, you need to know how to store the paint well. 

The good news is that there are several ways to store Citadel paints so they last long. Some of them include:

  • Use the Citadel paint box, rack, or project box, so the paint has a storage compartment.
  • Before storing in boxes, ensure the pot’s lid is well covered so it does not dry. If it dries, your paint may become useless. 
  • Clean the paint under the lid. This way, it does not stick. Else, you may find it difficult to open the paint bottle. 
  • Transfer them to dropper bottles to prevent drying out and waste.  
  • Store paints upside down. It makes it hard for air to get into the pot. 
  • Make sure you store them away from sunlight. 

Are citadel paints the best for Warhammer?

Citadel paints are designed for Warhammer models, so they work great on them. 

I’ve used Citadel paints on my 30k Space marines, chaos marines, flesh eater courts, Astra Militarum, Primaris marines, and some Ossiarch, and they looked amazing after painting. 

Your next thought – where to buy citadel paints

Want to buy Citadel paints for your next project?

Buying Citadel paints is pretty easy because Games Workshop products are accessible everywhere. Just visit your local hobby store to get Citadel paints for your minis or try online stores like Miniature Market, Amazon, Games Workshop, and Walmart. 

Paints images from the GW Citadel website