Noobs and Experts: 5 Friends Try Speed Paint 2.0

Special thanks to The Army Painter for providing the set of Speed Paints used in this article. 

This article contains images of miniatures unlocked early in the Frosthaven campaign, spoilers will be hidden until clicked on.

The launch of Games Workshop’s Contrast paint line kicked off quite a bit of activity across the industry. Promising to revolutionize painting with a one-coat-and-done system, they were quickly embraced by painters across the globe. The concept was similarly embraced by nearly every other big name paint manufacturer.

The Army Painter is one such manufacturer, with their line of Speed Paints bursting on to the scene. The Army Painter is a household name and easily found in FLGS across the country (at least the US), and the Goonhammer team was eager to try the new line.

The Army Painter recently sent a few of us “Master Sets” of the Speed Paints 2.0 line (more on that later) and we’ve been diligently putting them to through their paces. A more comprehensive review is forthcoming, but as part of trying them out I rallied my board gaming group for a painting night.

Photo Credit: Raf Cordero

One of the huge advertised benefits of Speed Paints (and all the similar products) is the speed in which you can get a miniature painted and their usefulness to painting newbies. It’s true that advanced painters have learned to treat these paints as another tool in the toolbox; they can be thinned into glazes, used to smooth mixing blends, or out of the pot as a “Step 1” solution. However how do they work at various experience levels?

Luckily my board game group represents a vast range of painters. I’m at the point where I’m willing to consider myself an expert, as is my friend Tom. Tim and Matt both have a number of miniatures under the belts and are no strangers to the tools. Finally there’s Chris, who had never put paint to a miniature until we took over his gaming table with a giant pile of paints, brushes, and accessories.

We’ve recently kicked off a Frosthaven campaign, so I collected our pool of characters and gave them a light zenithal prime before painting. Our goal was to have a casual painting night; we weren’t shooting for award winning paints. We just sat down to try the new line and get some color on our heroes.

Credit: Raf Cordero



Deathwalker. Image credit: Matt Miner

While the Deathwalker’s palette is muted, with dark blues and blacks, I opted for something slightly brighter for the table. Purple Swarm was used on the tattered over cloak with Slaughter Red on the scarf. All the black clothing was done in the aptly named Occultist Cloack, which shades to black where the paint pools but has a grey-blue tint on the highlights. It’s one of my favorite colors in the set and also makes for great black lining on white armor, like Power Armor or Star Wars Clone Trooper.

One of the nice things about Speed Paints is how you can mix them with the included medium to manage transparency. It’s a slightly more advanced technique than throwing 1 coat over it, but I was able to use it to give the globe in the staff a swirling effect and to give the base a nice frosty look.

Thing I Don't Know the Name Of (spoiler) - Click to Expand

Photo Credit: Matt Miner

The group discovered this enemy beast on a night that I was not present, so I don’t really know what it is or what it does. It’s a neat model, however. The fur was applied with greatly thinned (Medium again!) Occultist Cloak to keep the white from the zenithal while deepening shadows, and the swirling base is just a straight coat of magic blue.

I decided to attempt some freehand patterns to see how that worked, and am happy to report it was easy. The pink and orange striping was applied first, with the yellow pants applied after. You can’t just put the yellow over the freehanding, so it does require very careful application right up to the edge of the freehanding. Again, a mroe advanced technique but it shows the product’s range.


Tom previously painted his bannerman using traditional paints; for Speed Paint night he painted an unlocked character.

Unlocked Hero (spoiler) - Click to Expand

Photo Credit: Matt Miner

Tom’s Trapper, an unlocked class, really showcases the different tones available with these paints. The entire miniature is in greens and browns with the exception of the yellow hat, but there is still good contrast through the model. The colors in the Speed Paint range are well differentiated even within the same color family, and as long as care is taken to let them dry between applications you can really create strong depth.

The yellow hat, done with Maize Yellow and Ancient Honey again shows what you can do with careful application of thinned layers.


Photo Credit: Matt Miner

The Blink Blade is Tim’s primary character, and it’s full of glowing lines and runes throughout it’s costume. The original Speed Paint 1.0 line will reactivate if you don’t let it cure fully between layers, making picking details out a challenge. However Tim’s model here shows that the new 2.0 line has no such issues. He was able to paint the whole Blink Blade, including picking out details, with enough time to paint a second model.

Other Larger Thing I Don't Know the Name of (spoiler) - Click to Expand

Photo Credit: Matt Miner

This is another solid example of the range of browns included in the Mega Set. The fur, horns, loincloth, shoulders, and rope were done with different brown tones with a white drybrush back over the fur to pull it up. It allows for the Magic Blue fists and knee caps to pop. The beasts right fist shows the natural shading you get from Speed Paints; all the edge highlighting and ice crackle effect came from the zenithal drybrush.


Credit: Matt Miner


The Geminate is a single class that shifts between an offensive and defensive form and is represented by two different models. Note that again Matt was able to pull freehanding details on the faces of the models using Speed Paints, and the bases have clearly defined features painted different colors.


Photo credit: Matt Miner

Last but not least, we get to Chris. This Drifter is the first mini he’s ever painted! For a lot of us who have been at this for a while it can be difficult to remember what it was like painting our first minis. As this new genre of paints is often touted as a great option for new painters I’m really glad I was able to bring them out for someone whose never had his mind poisoned by the classic “Base, Shade, Drybrush” technique.

You can clearly see how well it came out, and he was even able to use Murder Red for a little blood effect on the dagger.

Wrapping Up

My initial impression of Speed Paints 2.0 is a positive one. They are what they say on the bottle: Speedy. All told, 5 painters tackled 8 miniatures in only a couple of hours and all came out to a great tabletop quality. Board game minis are not as finely detailed as wargame miniatures, but you can still see the depth of color the Speed Paints provide! They even made a convert out of a reticent paint; Chris mentioned how zen it was to sit and paint minis and how much he enjoyed it.

For more detailed step by step instructions on Frostgrave minis, check out our guides!