GW Paint Pots are The Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?

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.

GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Top-heavy with a cap that requires you to place lateral force to open. One-handed operation is encouraged, it even seems intuitive, but this is a recipe for disaster.

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.

AN EXAMPLE OF GREAT DESIGN: THE GW WATER POT

Citadel Water Pot 2018

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

ImageProductReason

Clear Plastic Dropper Bottles

Dropper bottles, the final paint destination. These are the most commonly used bottles for miniature paints

Small Clear Plastic Mini Funnels

If you're as careful as I am, these will help you keep paint from spilling as you make the transfer

Airbrush Flow Improver (for ease of transfer)

Sometimes the GW paint needs a bit of thinning to help it flow into the new dropper bottle. This thinner works better than water and other mediums for this purpose. You only need a few drops.

Paint Shaker (to mix paint)

Some of my paints are too thick to pour. So, give them a good shake. This helps.

Exhibit A: GW Paint Pots are Bad Design

<trigger warning: the following images may disturb you>

GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
This looks exactly like the mess I made with my first spill. My sympathies!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
This is better than spilling a whole bottle of Nuln Oil. It seems salvageable, but I know this is still a painful experience.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Look at how the wash creeps into the hardwood grain. It’s working as intended; too bad it’s not on a model!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Yikes! Looks like he tried to open the cap with his thumb and all hell broke loose. Do you remember the “Goldfinger” James Bond movie (1964)?
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GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Oops!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
When you spill one too many Nuln Oil pots…
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Oh, the horror. Actually, you got off easy!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Bloody…could be worse, I guess.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
F-#%$&! Oh, it’s on his shirt, too!
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GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Using a plastic tray is a good preventive measure after-the-spill
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Damn those Citadel Paint pots!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
A good attempt. I’ve tried this tacky stuff before. It works for a few days, then the sticky-ness wears off. Hmm, I’ve also promised myself that I’m “not gonna spill that shade, and not get irritated.” — it didn’t work so well. Good luck, my friend.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
At least the spilled wash didn’t get on the unpainted models?
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Close call!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Looks okay to me. Scoop that spill up and cycle it back into the pot.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Proof those Citadel shade pots are too tall. Or, all of us are too clumsy. Which is it?
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
So, you spilled your Citadel wash. Either small, medium, or large spilled amounts, the good news is that you’ve got Kleenex tissue to the rescue!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Oh, how I hate wasting my favorite colors. Get that blue back into the bottle… looks like it could have spilled off the table.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
You could use that grid to calculate the surface area of that irregular shape. What for? No idea. At least you’d make progress in something.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
That sucks. At least this looks as if you can weather those tank tracks with the spilled Agrax Earthshade. It’s a good color!
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GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Did you just spill your Nuln oil in your paint caddy? That’s the entire $8 pot!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
I almost didn’t post this. There’s barely any spill. But, I did notice that “Stephen King” (a favorite author of mine) is there amongst the French literature. Must be pulp fiction?
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Does it count when you spill your Nuln oil on a paper towel and it doesn’t go anywhere?
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Hurry! Before it runs off….the edge.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
It doesn’t even look like you tried to clean this spill up. Hey buddy, your spilled Drakenhof Nighshade is drying up!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
That doesn’t belong there!
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GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
The sticky tack doesn’t work — I’ve tried.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Oops. That was my favorite table cloth! Eww, really?
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Citadel sells painting stations to contain the spills they encourage with their BADLY designed paint pots. Ingenious!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Chaos… it’s a real thing. Spilling Technical paints is especially painful, because you can’t easily recycle it back into the pot. It gums up too fast and doesn’t play well with water-thinning.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
A spill from a 24ml pot of Athonian Camoshade hurts the wallet!
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Good attitude! See, GW spills happen so often that people realize that it’s ‘a rite of passage’. This guy passes with flying colors. Just look at that splatter on his denims.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
At least you had newsprint to catch all of the shade spillage. Though, the downside is that it’s irrecoverable.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
If I was a forensic scientist (probably a fun job), I’d conclude that the paint bottle performed a ‘clockwise twist in the air’ as it drop to the ground. How else to explain the elliptical splatter pattern?
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
….pretty typical. Evil miniatures gets a chaotic treatment of GW paint wash.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
What is that? An oil leak? I think I saw this under my first car, just before I sold it….
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
Ink blots… Hmm, that’s a what my early Monday mornings feel like after a long weekend of video games.
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
An Everlasting Wet Palette – too bad none of the wash made it into the ‘wavy’ palette
GW Paint Pots are the Worst (Picture Heavy): What to Do?
I see more than 6 Citadel products in this photograph. One of them has failed miserably.

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Do you hate GW paint pots? Have you joined the ranks of those who’ve spilled a Nuln Oil wash?

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