It’s no secret that GW paint pots are the worst. The Citadel bottle design is simply bad engineering. The extra tall, narrow pots for washes and technical paints are particularly offensive. In my opinion, it’s either lazy design or a money grab in the hopes that the majority of you will spill your Agrax Earthshade or Reikland Fleshshade.
Just look at how tall and top-heavy these pots are.
It’s as though GW is trying to sabotage your cost-saving efforts. Have you ever spilled a Games Workshop wash, like Nuln Oil? Or, maybe you’ve spilled citadel pots of various colors, and now your desk looks like a Jackson Pollock masterpiece.
In this article, I show you some evidence of bad GW paint pot design. My results are a series of photos for your viewing pleasure (and horror). Further below, I also present 3 broad solutions to the problem, including decanting to dropper bottles.
Wasting paint, sucks.
I hate wasting paint. And, it’s more than money. It’s also an environmental issue. I’m one of those miniature painters who tries to save as much paint as possible. This also includes other hobby consumables, like artist mediums and flocking material. For paint, one way to prevent paint waste is to use a wet palette, or simply using a glazed ceramic palette with deep round wells (like this one).
But, simply, I hate GW pots. Ugh. They aren’t easy to open with your thumb without a careful grip. The size of the bottle also makes it clunky to close with one hand. Pushing down on that cap with a finger or thumb, until it ‘clicks’, also risks tipping the entire pot. They are top heavy!
As a side note: The GW paint pots also don’t close tightly either. Part of this problem is because paint dries up in the rim and clogs the lip. This contributes to the awkward way the paint pots close. The dried paint jams up the closure, and to get a good seal, you are required to apply more downward force. This equates to greater spillage risk. Just bad all around.
Not everything GW makes is poor design.
Their plastic model kits are the best in the miniature industry. In recent years, entire Games Workshop product lines have advanced in leaps and bounds. This is why it is so confusing why the company still relies on an antiquated, obsolete paint bottle design. In fact, most miniature painters prefer dropper bottles.
Competitor miniature paint companies use dropper bottles (see brands from Vallejo, Reaper Series, and Army Painter).
3 Recommended Solutions: Stop Spilling your Paints!
There are 5 general ways you can reduce the risk of spilling those GW pots. Bar Games Workshop redesigning their paint bottle design (as they did years ago from the hex bottles).
1. Reduce Risk
Reducing risk means acting and thinking in a way that decreases the chance of a bottle tipping over while open. Formally, this means creating a standard operating procedure (SOP) for your hobby. For example, only use two hands when you’re opening a GW paint pot. Or, only open a paint pot if you are sure it’s secure on the table. This could be done with something that prevents tipping, like this 3D printed stand, or a simple DIY option.
2. Use Custom Paint Holders or Racks
This follows from the first point in reducing risk. As mentioned, there are products that can help prevent you from accidentally spilling a paint pot. If you browsed the photos, you’ll have noticed that some people have tried to use sticky-tack on the bottom of the paint pots. This works for a while, but given how much dust and debris is on a typical hobby desk, the sticky-ness wears off fast. Bottom-line if you want a more permanent solution, you’ll have to get something that works all the time. Maybe find a paint rack where you can open the paint lid and have the bottle sit close to you? Here’s a list of low-cost paint racks I found on Amazon.
3. Decant Paint from the Citadel Pots into a Dropper Bottle
This option takes work. This is especially true if you’ve got a large collection of Citadel paints. But, if you’re truly concerned about spilling your paints, decanting to a dropper bottle is great idea. Of course, you might be a miniature painter who prefers dispensing paint from a dropper bottle and therefore any effort is worth the trouble.
You do need to be careful about how you go about decanting GW paints into a dropper bottle. When you decant from a GW bottle to a dropper bottle, even the most meticulous of us will waste a good portion of paint. You won’t get all of it out of the original pot into the dropper bottle. Decanting into dropper bottles may be worth it only if you are doing so from new Citadel paint pots.
You’ll need a few items, which I list below. There are other sites that can show you how to decant in detail. But, in general this is what you’ll want to have to transfer your collection of GW paints into dropper bottles.
Stuff you need to decant from GW pots to dropper bottles
Exhibit A: GW Paint Pots are Bad Design
<trigger warning: the following images may disturb you>
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Do you hate GW paint pots? Have you joined the ranks of those who’ve spilled a Nuln Oil wash?