Friday, June 5, 2015

Citadel Brushes - Reviewed

  I have done it again, I have sacrificed my wallet to test out the new Citadel Brush range.  Well, most of it anyhow.  I had no interest in the scenery brushes or the re-branded green stuff spreader.

 These are a different take from usual brush ranges in the past, and on the whole, I kinda like them.  They have the following 'ranges'; Base, Layer, Dry, Glaze and shade.  There are technical and scenery ranges too, but not for this kid.

  The base range seems to be synthetic, and the dry range are something else... camel hair maybe?  The rest are other natural sables, but I do not think they are kolinsky sables, with the exception of the Artificer Layer, which is their finest detail brush.  They seem to me to be reasonably priced, again, except for the artificer layer brush which comes in at a whopping $20, most of the range is in the $5-$10 range.

  Overall, I think they are good for someone just getting into this and looking to get a decent set of brushes.  I do not think they will replace the Winsor-Newton series 7 or Raphael's for the golden demon types, but for us mere mortals, they do seem to do the jobs.  Let me break them down for you now...

 The base brushes

These are the workhorses of the line.  These are definitely synthetic brushes, but for basecoating, who needs sable?  The small base brush is, IMHO, too small for basecoating, although I did find myself using it when I got near other basecoat colors for finer control.  The two big ones are angled and they are good slathering on the paints.  Not too much to complain about in this range.  The medium brush does not seem to hold a lot of paint, but base coats are quick, often messy jobs and it didn't bug me too much. 

 The shade and glaze brushes.

I did not work too long with these, but initial observations were that they held a lot of 'paint' and were pretty decent.  The medium shade brush got the most work, as the large shade is mostly for buildings and really big models, not what I was working on.  I did not try the glaze brush, but I can't doubt that it works also.

The dry brushes

Wow.  I really like these brushes.  I mean really really.  They are a very heavy type material, I think I read somewhere that they were camel hair.  Having petted only a few camels in my lifetime, I cannot attest to this.  But they do hold on to the dry paints and really stand up to the rigors of dry-brushing well.  I have to say I like these bad boys, all three of them.  Big thumbs up.  I have never thought of buying dry brushes, since I generally use cheap hobby store brushes for that and throw them away soon after.  These will stand up to a lot of dry brushing, methinks.

The layer brushes.

Well, heck, they can't all be great, right?  So, I will say, again, I'm not the golden demon painter.  I'm just a "tabletop standard" guy.  I like my stuff to look good, but I don't chase the latest OSL/Zenithal fads. I do however own a set of Winsor&Newton series 7 brushes and some Raphaels as well.  These brushes are not them.  While I am not knocking them for what they are, they don't rise up to those standards.

They are, however, more than good enough for about 80% of the world of painters.  They hold paint well enough, and unlike older citadel brushes, they hold their tips rather well. 

The exception to all of this is the XSL or "artificer layer" brush.  This is the brush that is on par with the W&N and Raphael brushes, price wise.  It is also on par with them performance wise.  It holds a very fine tip while holding paint quite well.  This is the "gateway drug" of the citadel line and as people use this one, they will yearn for the higher quality brushes.

So, overall, the line of brushes is quite good for a good chunk of the hobby world.  Very good, in fact.  They are more expensive than the hobby store junk, but not quite as bad as the high end brushes.  For anyone getting into the hobby, or wanting to "up" their game a little, this is not a bad set to go with.  As a plus, all the Paint Splatter and demos from GW will use these brushes and make it even easier for folks to follow along as Duncan Rhodes illuminates us all to the "emperor's painting truth!"

For the accomplished and finicky painters out there, these may not be the ones they recommend.  But these are folks that have years of high level experience and a preconceived set of requirements and opinions, so they may not be the best source of recommendations either :)

Check them out, chances are you won't be disappointed.