Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Coat d'Arms Super Shader and Army Painter Quickshade comparison

I had some 15mm Roman cavalryman waiting for a paint job. I decided it was a good occasion to try and compare the effects of those shaders from two different brands. First the descriptions:

Coat d'Arms

The Super Shader comes in three different forms:

  • Light Brown - a very subtle one, good for soft skin tone gradations
  • Dark Brown - fairly strong and sometimes giving a hard shift of colour towards brown, especially with whites
  • Black - similar to a black wash, stains light colours, creates dark shades. Good for armour, dark horses, stuff like that.

Light Brown and Dark Brown are very thick, paste-like. Black is watery, a proper fluid. All of them are acrylics, dry fairly fast (you can continue painting after 15m - 1h), you don't need to clean the brush in any special way. They come in 60mm bottles, each costing £5.  Bottles are screw-caps, very convenient to use.

Army Painter

The Quickshade also comes in three colours:

  • Soft Tone
  • Strong Tone
  • Dark Tone

I have the Strong and Dark ones so can't share any insights about the Soft one. Strong Tone is roughly the equivalent of Coat d'Arms Dark Brown, Dark Tone however is not like Black.

Quickshade is oily, has to be left overnight to dry completely. I clean the brushes with soap.  It is called a dip, so you should dip minis in the can but I find this procedure to be too messy, getting rid of extra fluid is hard without using a brush and if you are already using a brush why not just paint it on? This is what I do. The can of paint is big (250ml), suitable for dipping. Since I use it for brushing I'm finding the can too large, very inconvenient. The dip tends to dry up inside the cap. After a time you have to remove the hardened fluid or the can will not close. Needless to say you lose product that way. I would be really happy with the Quickshade in smaller bottles, similar to the Coat d'Arms ones.

Both the strong tone and dark tone create nice shading, the dark tone shifting the colours noticeably towards darker hues, the strong tone giving them just a slight sepia cast.

The cans cost 24.99EUR / £19.99 each so per millilitre the Army Painter seems to be slightly more expensive (add to this the waste of drying up fluid).

Just remember - Super Shader is acrylic. It is fast and convenient as acrylics are. Quickshader is oily, it dries overnight and you can't just clean the brushes with water.


The minis are Magister Militum 15mm scale Romans.

The cavalry below have been painted with base colours and then given coats of different shaders. The one on the left got the dark horses and the riders coated with Coat d'Arms Black, softer colours with Dark Brown. The ones in the middle got entirely coated with Coat d'Arms Dark Brown. The cavalrymen on the right got coated with Army Painter Strong Tone. Here you see them just after applying the coat, still we in case of Army Painter, already almost dry in case of Coat d'Arms:

Here they are after fully dried, with the base flocked. I've done additional work on them, I picked out the details or colours where the shaders obliterated them (Coat d'Arms Black stained the flesh a lot), applied additional detailing. Here is the pic before matt varnish:

And after:
(the difference is more visible in real life than in a pic)


After finishing them I have trouble telling one from the other. The Coat d'Arms and Army Painter shaders seem to be very much on par. This however comes with a caveat of Coat d'Arms needing more care with application of Black shader, staining the light colours more and thus requiring more post work than Army Painter. I'd say Coat d'Arms is more convenient to work with, but more inconvenient after application, Army Painter the exact opposite. 

Entire bunch of stands here, most of them being done with Army Painter. There is no noticeable difference really and the Coat d'Arms ones blend right in:

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