Chaos Dwarf riding a Lammasu miniature painted almost entirely with Speedpaint and Contrast Paint (Miniature from Fabelzel)
On April 22nd, 2023, The Army Painter will be releasing their latest product, Speedpaint 2.0, a potential game-changer for tabletop gaming enthusiasts. This innovative product aims to revolutionize the painting experience (again) for hobbyists by offering a fast and easy way to paint miniatures without a patchy finish as Games-Workshop's Contrast Paint is known for having.
According to The Army Painter, Speedpaint 2.0 features a new and improved formula that contains new resins, which is supposed to prevent the reactivation "issue" that painters complained about from the first formulation. In case you are unaware, the thing that makes Speedpaint's finish not patchy is also the thing that makes it reactivate when paint is applied overtop of it. When Speedpaint reactivates, it begins to blend with the paint being applied overtop, so a matte varnish is required after application in order to apply further highlights. This is annoying for those of us who don't like the blending opportunities that reactivation presents, but for me, it was something I could tolerate as I love Speedpaint's finish so much.
The 2.0 formula is also supposed to have a similar working time to the first formula, allowing painters to continue their color blending experiments. As with most Army Painter paints, Speedpaint 2.0 will come in a handy dropper bottle that makes it easy to apply the paint exactly where you need it, without the mess.
Army Painter's Metallic Speedpaints applied to miniatures.
One of the most significant improvements in Speedpaint 2.0 will be its improved color range. A lot of new colors will be added to the range, including Speedpaint Metallics, which is very exciting. It's difficult for me to imagine how paint can be metallic, and still have the shading and highlighting qualities of a Speedpaint or Contrast Paint; we'll see how well it does (though in the photos it looks pretty impressive).
Despite the improvements claimed by The Army Painter, I do have some concerns about the new Speedpaint product. I am an avid Speedpaint (and Contrast Paint) user. I have pretty much abandoned the traditional method of painting miniatures and have whole-heartedly embraced the Speedpaint method, not as much for the time saving as for the enjoyment using these paints brings. I genuinely enjoy painting with these paints; painting miniatures is no longer a chore.
Chaos Dwarf miniature painted almost entirely with Speedpaint.
My greatest concern with the new product is that the finish will be as patchy as Contrast Paint. Don't get me wrong, I use Games-Workshop's Contrast Paints all of the time, especially when utilizing the slap-chop method or while painting highly detailed miniatures that have little-to-no smooth surfaces (that's where these sorts of paints really shine). I feel like Contrast Paint shades better than Speedpaint in some instances, but at the cost of horribly patchy raised areas.
My main reason for using Contrast Paints over Speedpaint in these circumstances is that the Contrast Paint can be painted over without activation (as compared to Speedpaint's reactivation issue mentioned above). Speedpaint really shines on moderately detailed miniatures, where there are some flat surfaces, as the finish is far less patchy and generally better. There are times when the Speedpaint application is so good that no touchups or highlight corrections are needed at all. If solving the reactivation issue means Speedpaint 2.0 has a finish more closely resembling Games-Workshop's Contrast Paint line, then this will be a colossal failure as far as I'm concerned. Some folks may like that The Army Painter will offer a cheap alternative to Contrast Paint, but it is the differences in the finish between the two that grab my interest.
Speedpaint and Contrast Paint are perfect for small miniatures. Above are Dwarf Warriors from the upcoming Spell•Reign miniatures line.
It may be worth hoarding up Speedpaint 1.0 if 2.0 ends up being a Contrast Paint clone. I am confident that The Army Painter will get this right, however. Their washes are among the best in the industry, so I trust they can get this product to where it needs to be. Either way, it is an exciting time for miniature painters, especially those of us who work a job (or two), and have precious free time to devote to our beloved miniature hobby.
- Jay C. Shepherd
- Content Creator
- Jay is a graphic designer, board game enthusiast, and professional wrestling fan who loves all things 80's, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and of course, video games. He is one of the rare few that believes that one can be a Trekkie and Star Wars fan at the same time.