Shades, washes, layers, or base paints are essential when painting miniatures and scale models, but it will be almost impossible to give your action models, military vehicles, or piece of terrain a realistic metal finish with metallic paints.
Vallejo makes one of the best metallics in the market, but their metal paint line feels like magic.
The thing that set apart Vallejo’s metal color from other brands’ metal colors and especially metallics is the pigment of the paint. Vallejo metal color uses aluminum pigment which gives the paint a very much realistic look that no other metal or metallic paint gives.
If you’re considering getting metal paints for your model, here’s everything you need to know about Vallejo metal paints.
Are Vallejo’s metal colors good?
Vallejo’s metal colors are great!
The metal color line from Vallejo cover and blend well with each other, especially during shading and highlights, and they sit well on regular paint colors if you want to tint your model.
Vallejo metal colors are also super thin, and with a brush, if you don’t wick off the access, they will run everywhere but still flow well for edge highlighting.
From their aluminum to the silver colors, they give different finishing textures, with some being darker and many of the darker colors being more matte. They are also great for making realistic weathered looks on military vehicles and airplanes.
On the other hand, they give your models a more natural silvery look, which regular Vallejo metallics won’t achieve, thanks to their aluminum pigments.
The best part is that with just one brushstroke, the color will cover well, whether on white or black paint. This advantage isn’t something you can get very often from regular metallics.
However, the Gold and Copper colors may give a duller finish.
Are these metal colors really the best in the industry?
Coverage and consistency-wise, Vallejo’s metal colors are some of the best metal paints in the industry since they are super shiny and incredibly fluid.
Unlike most metal paints, they cover smoothly between coats without adding thinner to the paint. I have used Vallejo metal colors straight from the dropper bottle into the airbrush cup. However, you may need to thin the metal paint with Vallejo Airbrush Thinner to create smooth transitions.
The only drawback of using Vallejo’s metal colors is that they won’t work well with a wet pallet. On a wet pallet, they will soak up far too much water and are already thin enough to spray or brush with. They also won’t work well for dry brushing.
Although Vallejo metal color is a new range designed for aircraft models for various ‘real metal’ finishes, they are far nicer than Vallejo’s conventional metallics in the model or game color ranges.
Vallejo metal color Vs. Citadel
Vallejo and Citadel are two of the most sought-after brands when it comes to getting metallic paints for your models. Still, it’s important to note that they differ in terms of pigments and results.
Technically, metallic colors are designed with metal flakes or pigments to help them give a realistic metal finish to the model.
Citadel metallics have these metal flakes, but Vallejo metal metallic paints are designed with aluminum pigments, making your model look like the real deal.
Furthermore, Citadel metallics won’t cover well in a single coat and will usually require multiple coats.
Plus, you also need to thin them down to get smooth coats due to their thick pigments. Vallejo metal colors behave reversed. They offer great coverage in a single coat, due to their finely-ground aluminum pigments. However, they both help with edge highlights.
Differences between Vallejo metal colors and Citadel metallic paints
|Coverage||Needs multiple coats||Covers in one single coat|
|Thinning||Requires thinning||It does not require thinning unless during transitions|
|Consistency||Super thick||As thin as a wash paint|
What metal colors does Vallejo have?
Besides their model air, game color, and model color metallics, Vallejo metal colors have 17 colors in their range. They include:
- 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
How is it to use Vallejo metal colors?
Vallejo metal paints have distinct characteristics that set them apart from other metallic colors. For instance:
Airbrushing with the Metal Colors from Vallejo is not that different than painting with other solvent-based metalizers. The paint is runny but, as most solvent-based paints, covers well in a single coat.
Vallejo metal colors flow easily from the brush and out of the airbrush because they are very runny.
- Dry time
Vallejo metal colors are fast-drying, giving a smooth, water-resistant finish when applied effectively. The paint dries to the touch in 15 minutes, but you need to wait twelve hours for the paint to fully cure for safe handling.
The biggest advantage, honestly, of the Vallejo Metal Color range, is their consistency.
They require no thinning, don’t obscure detail, and dry with a believable and real gloss finish. Many other metallic colors start very thick or have a slightly more satin look when dry.
Yet, with Vallejo metal color, the consistency is almost as thin as a wash, and you have the best metal coverage without sacrificing detail.
Another advantage of Vallejo metal colors is that they don’t really require thinning since they are designed runny for airbrush use. However, if you intend to use them to make transitions, you may need to thin them to avoid losing details.
Vallejo metal paints have finely ground aluminum pigments. It’s no wonder they flow well from a brush and airbrush and give smooth coverage with ease.
Technically, the size of the metallic pigments in the paint will affect your models’ reflective properties. Vallejo metal paints have thin aluminum pigments that offer a more matte finish on the painted surface of your model.
- Will they last for long?
The smooth aluminum pigments of Vallejo metal paints mean that when they dry, they form a resistant surface less prone to fast damage during handling.
What Vallejo metal colors are best for?
The best part of Vallejo metal colors is that they work well on different models and parts. You can use them to paint the auto canon on a Warhammer 40K vehicle, a riffle barrel, or piping wires on a piece of terrain.
On the other hand, Vallejo metal colors help you achieve various effects on your models. For instance,
I use the 77.720 Gunmetal Grey as a base, 77.703 Dark Aluminium as a mid-tone, and 77.707 Chrome as the highlight. I also use the 77.712 Steel as a cool shadow and spray some 77.713 Jet Exhaust for weathering effects.
How to use Vallejo metal color
- Can you use them with an airbrush or a brush?
Vallejo metal colors are designed specifically for airbrushing. It is why they appear a little runny.
While they were made specifically for airbrush use, I have been using them mostly with a brush. They work like magic with a paintbrush, so you still get smooth, thin, and excellent coverage.
- What is the right psi setting for airbrushing Vallejo metal colors?
When using Vallejo metals with an airbrush, set it to 15 to 20 PSI settings so that the paint sprays well in the model.
- Do you need to prime the miniature before using Vallejo metallic?
Priming is an important step when painting miniatures and models. So, prime the miniature before using Vallejo metallics.
If you are using metal paint on your airframes and aircraft model components, use the Gloss Black Primer. They come in 60 ml and 200 ml bottles with hinge caps and droppers to enhance the special characteristics of the aluminum shades. The gloss primer improves the luster of the metal paint.
Then again, that does not mean you can’t use a standard black primer. Vallejo metallic paints still work well with standard black primers. I have even used stynylrez (badger) primer Grey, white and black primers without issues on my Dull Aluminum and Magnesium metallics.
- Do you need to varnish them?
Varnishing keeps your paint long-lasting, so you need to varnish your Vallejo metal paints. The good news is that Vallejo also provides a Gloss metal varnish in 60ml bottles in their metal paint line.
- Do you thin Vallejo’s metal colors
Generally, Vallejo metal paints are runny since they are designed for airbrushing. But, to use them properly with an airbrush, you should thin them a little, especially when you want to create smooth transitions between each coat.
- How to clean
The best part of Vallejo metal paints is that they are water-based. So, with some water and soap, you can easily clean excesses. Alternatively, use the Vallejo airbrush cleaner when airbrushing their metal paints.
- Do metal colors dry quickly?
Metal Color dries very quickly, but you want to wait between 12 to 24 hours after application before applying another layer of paint.
- Do you shake Vallejo metal paints before use?
Yes, you have to shake the paint well before using it, as the aluminum pigment may settle quite a bit at the bottom of the bottle. Shaking the paint ensures it mixes well, flows better, and offers superior coverage.
Vallejo’s metal colors play similar roles as their metallic paint range. However, they are by far, the best metallic paints in the industry thanks to their realistic aluminum pigments. So, if you’re considering buying metal paint for your military vehicles, action figures, and airplanes, there is no doubt that Metal Colors from Vallejo will make a nice addition to your toolbox.