The Army Painter Fanatic Paints — A collection of greatness

A photo of the Fanantics Box Set from Army Painter

When I started my painting journey nearly 10 years ago, I was lost in a sea of paints and tools. Small pots of Citadel seemed wildly expensive, dropper bottles of Reaper appeared to be more affordable, Vallejo and AK Interactive felt like high end products…but then, there was The Army Painter. Looking on the shelf almost like a generic brand, I almost wrote them off, but I was impressed with the sheer amount of products they produced. Brushes, tufts, tiny chains, measurement tools, and some paints and washes. I bought my first brushes from them, a Hobby Basecoat, an Insane Detail, and two drybrushes. I still use the Basecoat brush to this day, as it has outlasted some of my other brushes. That level of utility and usefulness overtime has stuck with me.

When I received a review copy of the The Army Painter Fanatic line of paints, I was elated and I’ve been using them over the last two weeks, I’m happy to say that level of utility and usefulness has only been amplified by an incredible attention to detail, meaningful design choices, and a paint range that provides a variety of tones, washes, technical effects, metallics, fluorescents, and utility paints that can handle nearly every project.

Let’s dig in.


The Packaging:

This is a box of 216 meticulously organized paints. As a result, they are heavy. My box arrived damaged, despite the use of packing materials, but I credit that to the fact this is an entire paint range. The paints themselves are organized by brightness of color in heavy duty cardboard racks, and they are packed in TIGHT. For a moment, I thought that maybe the paint was attached to the bottom of their racks with rubber cement, but no…that’s just how tightly packed they are. Unfortunately, if you see this case on its side, odds are, they will have fallen out of their racks. But that’s ok.

A photo of the Fanantics Box Set from Army Painter

The exterior of this box isn’t meant for heavy duty handling.

The external packaging is a bit of a let down because it’s very thin. Currently, I’m looking at the edges of the case, which desperately need some tape or more glue to keep it together, but to be honest, I don’t think many enthusiasts who will purchase the entire range intend on keeping the paints in the box.


Inside the Box:

The brushes that come with the fanatics box set

Free brushes, especially nice ones, are definitely welcome.

Besides the aforementioned paints, you also receive the usual Army Painter guides, stickers, and as a wonderful surprise, four brushes! You receive the Wargamer Insane Detail, small Drybrush, and Regiment Brush, and when comparing my old Insane Detail brush to the new one, they provide more fibers, which is a relief. Also, they include a Masterclass: Moderate Drybrush. If you’ve been looking into modern drybrushing, most notably led by Artis Opus, this brush is more like a soft makeup brush, meant for creating smooth transitions.


The Paint Range:

Moving forward, I’ll break down my takes on the paints and separate out some details. The first thing I want to start with is the design of the bottles and labeling. Each bottle comes with two mixing balls, which helps lead to my favorite aspect of the paints, the consistency.

A detail photo of the paints included with the Fanatics Box Set

This range is DEEP with options.

The Bottles themselves are dropper bottles, and I did notice that some of the metallics tend to get a little messy, while the rest of the range didn’t.

A photo of the side labeling details of the fanatics box set

One side features more obvious names of the paint.

The labels are the standout here. Each paint comes with the standard “fantasy name”, like Patagon Pine, Runic Cobalt, Basilisk Red, but on the labels themselves, in two separate places, the actual name of the paint tone is printed; desaturated cool green, cool red, ruddy brown. On the other side of the label is an even more detailed version of the paint name; black, reddish brown, greyish green.  This is a tremendous advantage over other paints and provides painters with a level of flexibility I haven’t seen yet. I think of folks who are colorblind, or not painting in the best light…now you can look at the labels and clearly understand what paint you’re going to use.  Also, each paint in the series is part of a Flexible Triad System, clearly marked on each bottle.  This is great for beginners because they can pick up a few bottles and clearly see how each bottle relates to each other. This plus a basic understanding of color theory can help elevate your paintjobs to the next level.

A photo of the side labeling details of the fanatics box set

The other side of the label provides a name within it’s family and placement within the triad system.

But, I can’t just rate these paints on label design, right? So let’s jump into the paints themselves.


Normal Paints

Firstly, you get 180 paints running the entire color spectrum. With the flexible triad system, it’s very easy to find complementary colors for your project. Need a shadow or a highlight to work with your midtone? It’s there. Consistency wise, these are some of the most highly pigmented paints I’ve worked with. On my wet palette, there was little separation between medium and pigment. This made blending and coverage extremely easy for me, as evidenced in the photo below. I found it very easy to mix paints to achieve more blends, which allow for more complexity in your paintjobs. One thing I definitely recommend is to use a wet palette or a thinner of some sort. These are thick paints, when put on a model straight from the bottle it might end up chunky.

A photo of the fanatics paint on a wet palette

The colors are fantastic. In my experiments, I used some of the desaturated blues, greens, brownish reds, and bright reds, and what’s in the bottle really lines up with the labels. Going back to my point about the label design, it’s really nice to read “light bluish gray” vs a fantasy name. I feel like these paints enable me to make better choices.

a photo of a model painted with fantatics paint

Thinking of the everyday buyer, I don’t think you’ll want to buy a full set of paints, but rather buy the paints you think you need. The triad system works well for this, and like always, choice of paint depends on the project, how you paint, your choice of thinner & how much you use.

One test I did not do is see how these work in an airbrush as I don’t own an airbrush. What I can say though is that these thin down nicely, so it’s entirely possible these paints would work well in an airbrush. I’m sure by the time I publish this review, there will be a few influencers using airbrushes and these paints.

Overall, a great set of paints.



Last year, I reviewed the Speedpaint Metallics, and I was highly impressed with their ability to coat a model quickly, retain a wash, and dry. These metallics are different. They’re more like traditional metallics, thick and varied. They provide you with 18 colors, and I used them as highlights. I also found they were useful with a drybrush for adding small scratches to a blade and armor. In particular, I liked the “Death Metal”, which was a mixture of mostly dark particles with some gold elements in it.

Does this replace the speedpaints? No. I still think those are better because of coverage alone. These metallics are more suited for small details in my limited experiments.



a photo of a model painted with fantatics paint

Army Painter also provides you with 18 washes, 17 of them being colors, and the last being a medium, which helps thin the washes more, into glaze consistency. For being my first time working with their washes, I was pretty impressed. On a Deadpool model, after painting the base tones with some of their red paints, I chose the Soft Tone, which brought back some more detail in the red without darkening my base tones. Once again, because the paint is formulated in a way that keeps it moist, I was able to work it into crevices and off of other areas very well. And considering the additional tones (Sepia, Rust, Orange, Red), these may prove to be very useful with my other projects and models.


Technical Paints

a photo of a model painted with fantatics paint

These paints were so surprising and enjoyable to use, it may be hyperbole, but I found this part of the box to be the best part of the set. Starting with blood effects, Dry Blood and True Blood offer some unique effects. Dry Blood has resin particles in it, which when dried does a great job of representing coagulated blood. True Blood is vibrant and glossy, which when mixed with glue made for a convincing effect.  Fresh and Dark Rust are fantastic takes on rusty paint effects. I found that applying them and then coming back through with a wet brush really helped the effect work, but I found that if I used them in conjunction with something like Dirty Down, it amplified the rust effect. Verdigris had a similar effect, working extremely well on metallics.

My favorite of these paints had to be the Oil Stains, which makes me think of a thick nuln oil + particles, which helped make some exhaust stains and overall grime on a piece of a metal on a model I’m working on for a competition.

Along with these paints, they include fluorescents. These super pigmented, thin paints are really meant for top highlights, and can be a little tough to use if you don’t know what you’re doing. If I had a blacklight handy, I could give them a proper test, but they look exciting.

Lastly, they include a stabilizer, a retarder, and some varnishes, along with a primer. The stabilizer is the key here. This cool product helps keep your paint together when thinned. This helped me make glazes and washes out of other colors, but I see its real use in helping to unify blends across a model.


Should you buy this whole set?

Maybe. Do I think you should definitely pick up the smaller sets? Try out some of the technical paints? Grab a metallic or two? Absolutely yes. 218 paints is a SIGNIFICANT investment, and while I am very impressed with this line, it’s a huge chunk of money for most people. For the rest of us, I highly recommend picking up some of the smaller packages of paints, and definitely encourage you to pick up individual bottles. Find the ones that work with your needs, and you’ll be happy.


Tabletop Editor | [email protected]

Randy is a designer, nerd, and mini painter. He's been painting since 2015, and has learned a lot in his time! Come with him as he continues to push his craft forward, always down to try new techniques, tools, and paints!



Army Painter Fanatic Paints

Review Guidelines

These paints set a new bar for quality. I really feel like Army Painter has listened to the audience, and really worked on producing paints that not only paint well, but are easily understood. That attention to detail is something that other companies could learn from, and I can’t wait to keep using them on my projects.

Randy Gregory II

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

See below for our list of partners and affiliates:

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now


To Top