My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review)

The US Moon landing in 1969 first gave us a real view of what Warhammer 40k xenomorphs may have seen as they prepared for the invasion of Terra. Whether by human eye or bio-electrical organs, the visible otherworldly landscape is often where battles wage for many tabletop wargames. How do you create this “look” in your miniature painting and modeling work? Basing miniatures with effects that recreate these unearthly landscapes is easier than you think!

In this article, I share my love for the Astrogranite Debris Citadel Technical Paint which I use to base and texturize models, and all without a lot of effort. While there are cheaper texture mediums available, Astrogranite and other Citadel Technical Paints are highly useful due to their user-friendliness, great results, and wide application in my miniature work.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - vertical banner image feature

My Top 3 Citadel Technical Paints for Most Miniature Painting Projects

  1. Astrogranite: This specialized paint is designed to mimic the appearance of rough, unpaved stone. It features a thick grey base infused with actual bits of debris, adding an authentic texture to your miniatures. By applying Astrogranite directly onto the base and then drybrushing it, you can bring out the intricate details and enhance the ruggedness. It is particularly suitable for urban rubble or rocky outcrops. For example, when used on a miniature’s base, Astrogranite can create the impression of a weathered city street or a rocky mountain terrain.
  2. Stirland Mud: If you’re aiming to replicate the look of mud, soil, or dirt on your miniatures, Stirland Mud is the ideal choice. This thick, brown paint contains textured components that allow you to achieve a realistic muddy effect. Whether you want to depict a muddy battlefield, a farmyard, or a rustic countryside, Stirland Mud can help bring your miniature to life. Applying Stirland Mud to the base or even to specific areas of your miniature will create the appearance of wet, earthy ground, as if the miniature has just trudged through muddy terrain.
  3. Agrellan Earth: For an intriguing visual effect of parched, cracked earth, Agrellan Earth is the perfect solution. This unique paint formulation exhibits a cracking pattern as it dries, effectively simulating the appearance of desiccated soil. When applied to a miniature’s base or any other suitable surface, Agrellan Earth adds a distinct dimension of realism. Imagine using it to depict a dry, barren landscape, an arid wasteland, or the cracked ground of a desert. The cracks formed by Agrellan Earth provide an interesting textural contrast and lend an air of desolation and aridity to your miniatures.
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Warhammer 40k necron model
The base on this Warhammer 40k Necron model was created using Citadel Technical Paint.
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - miniature base finished with citadel technical paint skull visible
Astrogranite Debris technical paint applied as a base texture, followed by subsequent drybrushing (for highlights) and darkening washes to adjust the shade.

Is Astrogranite the best Citadel Technical Paint? Should you give it a try? Read on to find out!


A Quick Word: What is a Citadel Technical Paint?

Citadel Technical Paints are a range of paints from Games Workshop, the makers of the popular miniature wargaming hobby. They are designed to give your miniatures a unique look and texture, with a wide variety of colors and textures available.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - texture paints from games workshop citadel
Popular Citadel texture paints for basing miniatures.

The most popular Citadel Technical Paints are their texture paints, which are used for basing your miniatures or adding special effects to them. These paints can be mixed with regular paint to create interesting textures such as mud, sand, stone, or even snow.

RELATED: ESSENTIAL BASING MATERIALS FOR MINIATURES AND MODELS

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Agrellan Badland paint pot 24ml size
Agrellan Badland is another popular citadel technical paint. Adding textured surfaces to your painted miniatures creates atmosphere and context, which helps immerse your viewer.

Note here, that the brand alternative are from the Vallejo Texture Gel range which also offers an array of textured mediums to add context and thematic interest to your miniatures and models. Take a closer look at Vallejo, if you’re looking to expand beyond Games Workshop offerings.

Are Citadel Technical Paints Expensive?

In my opinion, Citadel Technical Paints are worth it if you’re looking for a way to add unique effects to your models without having to use complicated techniques or materials. They are fast to use.

On the other hand, yes, I am aware that Citadel technical paints are a specialized hobby product, and may cost far more than generic brands or alternative textured art mediums.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - sanded tile grout alternative to texture paints affordable
Sanded tile grout is an affordable (and somewhat messy) alternative to hobby branded texture mediums, like Citadel Texture Paints.

But, there are three good reason for why Citadel textured products are popular and worth the investment. Simplicity, efficiency, and reliability.

Citadel Technical Paints are simple to use and fast. You don’t need to be an experienced painter or modeler to get great results with them. They dry quickly which means the project can be finished in no time at all. If you want reliable effects, with good results almost every time (you can’t screw up the application), then I suggest sticking with the Citadel texture range.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Operative umbral-six miniature painted studio photo
I painted this model using simple techniques, and based it using Citadel Astrogranite Debris.

Citadel technical paints work well. You can, in-principle, apply them as you would normal paint (though they are more like a thick paste), allow it to dry, and expect it to last a long time.

Overall, Citadel Technical Paints offer great value for money and are worth considering if you want to add some extra detail to your miniatures or terrain pieces. With a wide variety of colors and textures available, you’ll be sure to find something that suits your needs.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Texture paint pot on hobby desk agrellan badland used
I have many pots and bottles of art media. But, Citadel tends to make stuff that is super easy to use.

Citadel Technical Paints (Pros and Cons)

Here’s a quick list of the pros and cons of using Citadel Technical Paints:

Pros

  • Easy to apply with either a brush or texture tool
  • Water-based formula is easy to clean up
  • 24ml pot size is convenient for smaller projects
  • Can create realistic effects such as churned earth, grisly gore, rust and corrosion or spectral glows

Cons

  • Not suitable for large projects due to the small pot size
  • Can be difficult to work with if you don’t have the right tools

Read on to see why I tend to choose Astrogranite Debris my favorite technical paint.


Why Astrogranite Debris? The Best of the Citadel Technical Paints

Citadel Technical Paints are a great way to add special effects to your models. One of the best technical paints is Astrogranite, which is perfect for creating realistic rock and stone textures. It’s a water-based formula that’s easy to use and can be applied over white or other colors for eye-catching results.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - close up Citadel Texture paint astrogranite debris
Instant landscape in a bottle. Scoop some out and apply. No need to thin your Citadel Texture paints. You can apply any technical paint without thinning it, actually.

Here are the key reasons why I often choose Astrogranite Debris for basing and texturizing my miniatures.

  • Fast to apply
  • Versatile application
  • Neutral gray color
  • Basic texture to recreate many environments
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Holding a pot of texture astrogranite debris
A single 24ml pot of Citadel Texture paint will cover many small sized bases for your miniature collection.

Simple is better

In my miniature painting approach, I have a philosophy that leans toward simplification. The less complexity in my workflow, the better I am as an artist, a creator, and a hobbyist. Astrogranite is the perfect fit for this philosophy – it’s no-fuss and requires minimal preparation time.

How to apply Astrogranite Citadel Technical Paint

Here’s an example of how I use any Citadel Technical Paint. I’ll show you my method for applying Astrogranite Debris using the Warhammer 40k miniature, Operative Umbral-Six.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Warhammer 40k Operative Umbral Six miniature box art front cover
Let’s get started. This was a fun model to start working on. I began this work in a hotel room during a convention. Check out the earlier work.

1. Apply a primer

To apply Astrogranite or any other Citadel Technical Paint, I first prime my model’s base (or whatever surface I want to use this technical paint). I often do this with a regular brush-on primer like Vallejo Surface Primer.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Vallejo surface primer panzer gray bottle
Vallejo Surface Primer is my go-to primer for miniatures. If you have an airbrush, it works even better!

For the most part, I will also start with a dark primer, e.g., black or dark gray. I find using a dark primer to be more efficient and gives me cleaner results with less work.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Primed miniature base of painted model
A primed base starts the journey.

2. Load up a texture brush or applicator

I take a texture brush, load it with a dollop of the technical paint, and slap on a good amount on my working surface. It’s a thick paste and feels like toothpaste.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Technical texture tool loaded with citadel astrogranite debris paste
Don’t be shy. Apply a good amount of the texture paint using your applicator tool.

Yes, I lean toward using the Citadel Texture tool. But, any dental instrument or the sculpting tools from other brands like Army Painter work fine, too, and may be more affordable.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - close up of texture tool with citadel texture paste on it
I use the Citadel Texture tool because of its flexibility. There are two tips, a thin and wide end, that help you spread textured paste wherever you need it to go.
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - applying a dollop of citadel texture paint to base
The nice thing about Citadel Textured mediums is that it sticks very well. Spread it on your working surface as you would butter on toast.

Of course, there’s a trick I use with the Citadel texture tool. Because it’s flexible, you’ll have a much easier time working the technical paint into hard to fit areas. The plastic tool will flex when you apply pressure which also makes it easier to flatten bumps in the paste and create a smooth, even surface.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - applying citadel astrogranite to the miniature's base
Sticky, but spreadable. Citadel technical paints stays where you want it.

3. Naturally Spread and Shape the Technical Paint

For best results, I apply a thin layer of the technical paint–about 2mm thick. For reference, your finger nail is about 0.5mm thick.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - spreading and sculpting astrogranite debris texture paste to the model
Spread and sculpt your technical paint.

Make sure to “sculpt” or shape the texture paste in a way that looks organic. Make it look natural, as though the ground itself experienced the ages and eons of whatever atmosphere you’re envisioning.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Wet astrogranite texture paint on base
Once you’re happy with the application, allow the layer to completely dry. You can add more on top of this base layer if you like, or leave as is. It’ll look great either way!
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - 2mm thick layer of astrogranite on miniature base
I prefer to keep my base layer about 1-2mm thick. This allows the texture to dry in a predictable fashion.
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Dried astrogranite debris texture on miniature's base
It’ll take up to 30 minutes for a layer of Citadel Technical Paint to dry. Then, you’re free to work on it some more, or call it done. 😀

Allow the textured paint to dry completely. It can take between 10-30 minutes for a layer of technical paint to dry depending on the ambient humidity and temperature of your room.

4. Drybrush and highlight (optional)

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Drybrush dry tyrant skull paint pot on hobby desk
I like using Citadel dry paint medium, like Tyrant Skull or Longbeard Grey (a cooler tone).
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - drybrush application started
Make sure the bristles of your drybrush are “dry”. To learn more about drybrushing, see this tutorial.

For a more realistic effect, I may dry brush a highlight color over the dried texture.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - bristles on textured base drybrushing in progress
Use a light touch when dry brushing texture. It doesn’t take much effort to get pigment to stick well.
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - drybrush highlight applied to texturized base
When you’re done, your base may appear like this. I often end my work here.

If you’re like me, and want to add a bit more interest, sometimes I’ll apply a wash or shade to darken the recesses. This adds contrast.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Citadel shade pot agrax earthshade in my hands
To add contrast and a warm filter, I’ll apply a shade like Agrax Earthshade (one of my favorite washes).
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Applying shade wash to the textured and highlighted base of the model
For best results, I recommend applying any Citadel wash liberally without thinning.

I know there are other Citadel Technical Paints available in different colors, textured formats, and even special effects, like Nihilakh Oxide.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - A pot of Nihilakh Oxide product photo
Nihilakh Oxide

But for the widest variety of applications and ease of use, I find Astrogranite to be my go-to. This is because you can paint over Astrogranite and make this texture any color you want.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - A still wet shade on the miniature's base dark wash
Notice how the shade medium pools in the deeper recesses of the textured base.
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Dried and completed miniature base with astrogranite, highlight and shade applied,
When dry, the wash blends into the texture, adding depth and a warm hue. This is a wonderful effect.

Versatility: The Many Faces of Astrogranite (You can Paint it a different color)

The base texture provides the perfect foundation for recreating dirt, earth, or desert sand-like effects. How you approach finishing your textured base with Astrogranite Technical Paint is up to you.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Finished miniature Operative Umbral Six wide angle photograph
When you’re done, take a step back and assess your handy-work

You can paint it with a single color, or you can layer different colors and even paints like Citadel Contrast Paints over top of the Astrogranite texture for more dynamic effects. In the latter, of course, you’ll want to prime in a brighter color, e.g., white, light gray, or an egg shell tone.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - studio photo of my painted Operative Umbral Six miniature painted
Remember to capture photos of your hard work!

Still Not Sure? Here’s My Overview of the Top 5 Citadel Technical Paints

  1. Astrogranite: This thick grey paint is full of bits of debris – apply it straight onto the base of your miniature and then drybrush it to bring out the texture. It’s meant to look like rough, unpaved stone, and it’s perfect for urban rubble or rocky outcrops.
  2. Stirland Mud: A thick, brown paint that comes loaded with texture, it can be used to give the effect of mud, soil, or dirt.
  3. Agrellan Earth: This paint cracks as it dries, which creates a cool effect of parched, cracked earth.
  4. Valhallan Blizzard: This is a paste that replicates a cold, wintery scene with packed snow and crushed ice.
  5. Armageddon Dunes: It provides the texture of sandy and rocky desert-like bases.
My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - A Citadel Texture Tool sticking out of a pot of Astrogranite Debris paint
Reach deep for ideas.

Remember to use these paints straight from the pot, without watering them down, to get the best texture effect.


Conclusion

In conclusion, creating a realistic and eye-catching base for your wargaming miniatures is an essential part of the painting process, and using Citadel Technical Paints can make the task much easier.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Close up of painted miniature operative umbral six warhammer 40k
Not bad for a smartphone photo.

Astrogranite is one of the best and most versatile of these technical paints, allowing you to create realistic rock and stone textures with ease, and providing a great foundation for painting over and adding more color. Its texture is easy to apply and can provide amazing results without a lot of effort, making it a user-friendly option for painters of all skill levels.

My Favorite Citadel Technical Paint and How to Use Astrogranite Debris (Review) - citadel texture paint astrogranite review and tutorial - Wide angle photo of my painted miniature operative umbral six black backdrop
If you’re wondering how I capture photos with black backgrounds, check out this photo tutorial.

I use Astrogranite all the time nowadays. Whether you’re recreating an extraterrestrial landscape or a fantasy setting, Astrogranite is my top pick of the Citadel Technical Paints.

Did you find this overview of my experience with Astrogranite helpful? Even though there are a ton of other textured art mediums out there, in my latest work, I’ve reached for this pot of technical paint again and again. Give it a try; you won’t be disappointed!

Good luck and happy painting!

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