Retributor Armour: Best Gold Metallic Paint? [Review]

Best metallic gold paint for miniatures and models. Citadel Retributor Armour metallic base paint

Are you looking for the best metallic gold paint for your miniature and modeling needs? Retributor Armour metallic paint as a base color in the pot is awesome. On the other hand, operate the spray version with caution (it’s not worth it in my opinion). For miniature painting that require a warm gold metallic paint, definitely consider the base citadel gold metallic paint, Retributor Armour.

In this article, I review my favorite gold metallic paint: Retributor Armour Gold metallic base paint. I also share my thoughts about the metallic spray version of Retributor Armour Gold.


Continue reading for more details and two useful tips for painting with Retributor Armour gold metallic paint.

What is the Best Metallic Gold Paint for Miniatures and Models?

I’ve been painting a lot of Adeptus Custodes models from Games Workshop (GW) for a personal Warhammer 40k collection. I really liked the gold metallic theme, shiny and warm, with splashes of red, which reminded me of the ancient Roman military. So I went with the studio scheme using the box art as a reference.


But, what struck me is the use of Retributor Armour, a Citadel Base colored metallic paint ($6.50). This is the main color for the Adeptus Custodes army. Suffice it to say, Retributor Armour metallic paint is amazing!

In my opinion, Retributor Armour base paint is the best warm-toned gold metallic paint available.

Retributor Armour base paint is the best warm-toned gold metallic paint - Retributor Armour review

Metallic paints generally have poor coverage. Gold metallics in particular have been troublesome for me. It is both a yellow-ish color (which are generally hard to use already), and oftentimes don’t carry the warm-hue and color saturation that makes gold feel…gold.


I know there are tons of options for metallic gold paints out there. Scale 75 has a line of metallics, which I think are great, but the gold lacks the warmth. Vallejo Model Air metallics also make a great gold paint that covers well, but also lacks the yellow-warmth. You can use inks or washes to add warmth; however, this process tends to remove a lot of the shine.

Look how shiny these miniatures look with an even coat of Retributor Armour base paint!

Either way, there are two things I look for in metallic paint:

  1. Good coverage – the metallic paint doesn’t require a lot of layering to build up a solid, even coat
  2. Maintains shine or reflective properties – the metallic paint needs to keep its shine as its applied. Some metallics don’t hold their reflective properties unless they are applied in a certain way. I think this is due to how the metal flakes are aligned within the paint as it dries on the miniature.
Retributor Armour: Best Gold Metallic Paint? [Quick Review] - Best metallic paints for miniatures gold color
Only two coats of Retributor Armour applied with a brush

Retributor Armour paint has all of these properties, which have impressed me enough to bother writing an entire article about it. It’s simply fantastic for gold metal bits on your miniatures.

Retributor Armour: Best Gold Metallic Ever? [Review] - Best metallic gold paint
Long shadows cast on a game board in the late afternoon…

I do think the Citadel base paints across the board are really good. But, this particular metallic is my favorite and I tend to use it for all the gold bits on various models.

What About the Retributor Armour Spray?

As much as I love the regular version in the paint pot, the Retributor Armour spray ($27-30) isn’t as nice. You would think that putting the gold metallic in an easy to apply aerosol form would be a great idea.

But, nope. Not really.

Retributor Armour: Best Gold Metallic Ever? [Quick Review]
So, is it worth it? Meh.

Why? I’ve found that the spray doesn’t give that same warm color. It lacks the color-saturation oomph that the regular Retributor Armour from the paint pot does. I’m not sure why, though I’ve read that other painters have discovered the same thing: Retributor Armour spray cannot be used interchangeably with the paint pot version. Admittedly, Games Workshop has stated the same.

Retributor Armour: Best Gold Metallic paint ?  Best metallic gold paint spray or brush on
Retributor Armour brush-on from the paint pot (left); spray version (right). Note the lack of warmth to the gold metallic when it is from the spray can.

If you start painting with the spray, you can’t reliably use the paint pot version to touch-up your models. Bummer. It’s kind of a frustrating experience when you first learn this.

Sure, there’s a practical reason for using the spray version over the brush (speed), but they aren’t really going to look the same. Lastly, for $27-30, the spray version of Retributor Armour isn’t cheap and may not cover the same amount of surface area as the pot.

Can You Airbrush Retributor Armour (the paint pot version)?

The spray version isn’t what we thought it could be. But, how about airbrushing the Retributor Armour from the paint pot? Can that be done?


I’ve tried doing this with an airbrush (Badger Patriot 105) with a 0.3mm nozzle. You’ll have to set your PSI to at least 25 psi, and thin the paint a bit with an appropriate thinner. I use the Liquitex Airbrush Medium ($9.50).

Mix this in with your Retributor Armour if you want to airbrush it, or simply want it to flow a tad better off your brush.

The thinner is mixed about 1:10 (more gold metallic paint to less thinner). It doesn’t take much to thin the Retributor Armour paint. Make sure you shake your pot before you mix it with any thinners. The metallic flakes do tend to settle if the pot is left sitting around for a while.

You can either mix the paint and thinner together outside of the airbrush reservoir, or within the airbrush (not recommended). In either case, make sure you’ve got the solution mixed well.

Airbrushing is simple. Apply as you would any other color.

Retributor Armour: Best Gold Metallic Ever? [Quick Review]
The base coat was airbrushed using Retributor Armour. It’s not as shiny as brush-applied paint, but with some dry brushing (see below) you can bring the reflective surface back.

It’ll take a few coats of airbrushing to get solid, even coverage. But it’ll be easy going. Make sure you let each layer dry before applying the next airbrushed-layer.

Can You Dry Brush Retributor Armour Metallic Gold?

Yes! So I’ve tried this on a bunch of models. You can dry brush Retributor Armour like any other paint. Get an old brush, or use the dedicated dry brushes from Games Workshop, which I like.

Retributor Armour: Best Gold Metallic Ever? [Quick Review]
Dry brushing Retributor Armour bring back some of the shine after a wash (sepia). Photo taken for Instagram. I love the character that gold metallics add to models.


Get some of the gold metallic paint into the bristles; rub off the excess moisture on a paper towel until the pigment barely shows on the paper, then apply to the model surface with light back-and-forth strokes. Pay particular attention to edges and high parts of the model.

Final Word

I highly recommend Retributor Armour as the gold metallic paint that can handle almost all your gold painting needs (unless you’re looking for a less-warm toned metallic). The paint pot version is superior in my opinion than the spray can version.

Do you paint a lot of gold in your miniatures? If there’s a gold metallic paint you prefer, let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for better ways to get the miniature painting job done!

Happy metallic painting!

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10 thoughts on “Retributor Armour: Best Gold Metallic Paint? [Review]”

  1. Hello,
    I’ve made the mistake of base coating with the spray, and now regretting it. Do you think that going for total coverage by the paint pot version would fix it?

    1. Yeah, you can recoat what you did with the pot version of the Retributor armor. It’ll take on the more golden warmth I think you’re looking for 🙂

  2. That’s perfect because I prefer the less orangy gold of the right sample. Time to buy the spray version!!!

  3. I have a bad issue: when I paint with gold, it either go transparent or stick very thickly and destroy all the fine details. What am I doing wrong?

    1. If you’re using the retributor armour gold metallic paint, you’ll need to shake the pot to mix the paint really well to avoid the transparency. If the paint is too thick, certainly you’ll need to apply the metallic gold thinner. Try loading your brush and wiping a bit of the paint off on the side of the pot until you have a smaller amount. Paint in thin layers to build up the gold metallic coverage. Let me know if this helps!

  4. I follow your guides all the time,and they’re fantastic. What drew me to this particular one was the guide on how to airbrush retributor armour.

    It’s been some years since you posted this, so can I ask if you still stand by the 1:10 ratio of thinner to retributor armour? I’ve seen wildly contradictory claims elsewhere.

    Thanks again for all your content, it’s superb!

    1. Yeah it’s been 3 years and I still think my approach stands ! Btw thanks for the comment !!! It’s very much appreciated. I tend to go back to older posts all the time to update them (if needed). :))

      1. Wow that reply was so quick, I didn’t even think to check until today. Thanks!

        Could you use Vallejo Airbrush Thinner instead of the Liquitex Airbrush Medium? If so, what ratio would you recommend? Cheers again 🙂

      2. Yes those two are pretty interchangeable. I actually use the Vallejo thinner quite a bit nowadays since the bottle dropper is better 🙂

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