Two Thin Coats Paints Review – Trans Atlantis Games and Duncan Rhodes Painting Academy
What happens when you combine a premium paint line with one of the most famous faces in miniature painting tutorials? Well you get Two Thin Coats Paints! After a very successful kickstarter, Trans Atlantis Games and the Duncan Rhodes Painting Academy have joined forces to put out an initial range of 60 colours and we have been lucky enough to try them out and share our feelings on how they handle! In this review we’ll be talking about the range and sharing some images of models that I have managed to paint up with them so far! This is also going to be somewhat of a “living review” and I’ll update as I get more experience with them – while I’ve been painting with them for a couple of months now, there’s lots more I still want to do with them!
Massive thanks to TAG for sending us a free review set to check out on the site – If you would like to support the site then why not pick up your Two Thin Coats from our affiliate Element Games and save yourself some money too!
We have also filmed a companion video review which you can see down below or over on YouTube
A little while ago we also had Peter from TAG and Duncan join us on the podcast to talk about the range – you can listen to that just below!
So grab your paintbrushes, pour a brew and sit back as we check out the Two Thin Coats paint range!
Two Thin Coats Paint Review
So in case you are not up to speed with what the Two Thin Coats is then let’s rewind and give a little bit of a history lesson! In early 2021 Trans Atlantis Games were looking to create a new range of paints, and had approached Duncan and Roger from the Duncan Rhodes Painting Academy about making this happen. Duncan, of course, is well known to painters around the world as the nicest guy in the hobby and one of the best painting tutorial hosts on the internet! First making his stamp on the world doing Warhammer TV painting videos, Duncan has gone from strength to strength and now hosts the successful Duncan Rhodes Painting Academy where he continues to show people of all ability levels how to paint.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of different paint ranges out there now from the big brand down to small indie outfits, and I think it’s safe to say that it must be difficult to launch a new range and make it stand out from the crowd. When I first heard about the paint range it was very much the involvement and stamp of approval from Duncan that made me sit up and take attention – I didn’t think Duncan would be the kind of person who would just slap their name on anything.
Speaking to both Peter and Duncan on the podcast, we learned that Duncan was very much involved in the process of making this paint range from the start of his involvement with everything from the range of colours (48 had originally been planned, but this was expanded up to the current 60 due to Duncan feeling it wasn’t a “complete set” without them) to input about the consistency and coverage and even to how the paints smell!
I think it’s safe to say that the Kickstarter was a massive success and painters around the world have started to receive their paints, with the range now on sale from a number of UK stockists too – We were lucky enough to be set a full set to try out and review. I’ve had these for a couple of months now as wanted to get a real feel for them on a range of different model types rather than just rush out a review, but feel now I can share my thoughts on the range!
So what’s in the current set and how does the system work? Essentially the range is made up of a number of triads of colours, each covering a Shadow, a Midtone and a Highlight – This gives you three complimentary paints for each colour that can be used together to have paints that work well together to allow highlighting of a single colour. For example the red triad consists of Berserker Red (Shadow), Sanguine Scarlet (midtone) and Demon Red (Highlight) – When painting red you could base the entire piece with the shadow then work up through the midtone and highlight in order to add depth and transition up through the triplet. 18 different triads are featured in this initial range covering all the usual things you would expect such as all primary and secondary colours, a flesh triad, bone colours, browns covering both leather and wood ranges and some excellent blacks and whites.
Two of the triads cover metallics with both a really nice silver and gold triplet which have quickly become some of my favorite metallic paints I’ve ever used.
Rounding out the range are 6 washes covering black, brown, flesh, 2 different greens and a sepia
The range has an accompanying conversion chart that allows you to see the closest similar colour for Citadel Paints and Army Painter ranges – while these will have some variances in colour, it does allow you to substitute some colours if you are using guides that feature other ranges, or convert TTC paints back to an equivalent from another range if you don’t have the full colour range available for example.
This triad system is an excellent way of doing just what Duncan does in his videos – make painting accessible and easy for everyone regardless of experience – If you are painting green you simply work your way through the triad to get some great results. But for more advanced painters this gives you a huge toolkit for mixing colours to expand the colour palette out even further. I do hope that this range gets expanded out further though, as while mixing can get you any colour, you can’t really beat the ease and accessibility of pre mixed colours!
The paints themselves are very very smooth and go on really nicely – they are very pigmented meaning that even if you heavily thin the paints they keep their vibrancy and flow well. What I’ve also found is that while in some other ranges the amount you need to thin a paint by can vary wildly, these all seem to be constant across the board with even traditional problem colours like yellow and orange applying amazingly well even when thinned. The “Two Thin Coats” advice may have become a bit of a meme, but honestly two thin coats of these paints give a beautiful gorgeously smooth almost satin finish that looks a dream in person
The bone triad is one of my favorites, as in some other ranges bone base colours can be difficult to thin correctly and sometimes feel like they are starting to fall apart and become a washed out mess – but with Dragon fang the colour looks almost airbrushed once it’s dry, it’s just that smooth and looks amazing on skulls etc!
I mentioned the metallics earlier, but they are honestly some of the best metals I have ever used as they have a really nice shine to them which you can see in some of the painted model examples below – some other ranges often have the problem of metals getting a little thin and runny, or being too clumpy to work with for detail, but these are just amazing to work with, flow off the brush well and look incredible on models – If they do expand the range then more metals is something I would be very excited to see, and I can see these being the go-to metals for a lot of painters once they have had a play with them!
Doom Death Black is a boring pick for favourite paint from the range, but I think it is my favourite black I’ve ever used because of its great coverage – base rims just look so good with a coat of this around it, and the silky smooth finish really seals the deal compared to other blacks I’ve used – and again because these paints keep their potency when thinned it is very versatile for mixing with other colours too – Likewise the white has a nice finish, and while not in the same triad is complimented by a nice off-white with Trooper White.
The washes have a similar feel to the older citadel washes from the Devlan Mud era and have some nice flow to them, finding the recesses and darkening colours but not tinting them a different colour like some shades tend to do. People that may not like the consistency of the new contrast based washes from GW will find these to be a great alternative, my only disappointment being that there is just 6 colours! again, if the range is successful I hope they expand these out further! Another random fact, but the washes smell of coconut! I don’t know what they smell like originally, but the team made a conscious decision to make these pleasant smelling – and as a fan of Bounty bars I’m certainly happy with how they smell!
Above you can see a selection of models I’ve painted with the range covering colours from most of the triads – you can see how vibrant the colours are and how the metals really capture the light for a nice true metallic effect. I wanted to try these out on a range of different models just to see how they can be pushed in different directions – and they really worth from the more colourful stuff like Nebula and the Seraphon all the way down to gritter models like the Necromunda gangers. I’m really looking forward to trying these out on more models in the near future and many colours are now my go-to for painting models!
So are there any downsides? Well for the principle of balance I’ll mention a couple of downsides – firstly they are priced higher than some ranges at £3.95 a bottle – however they are certainly worth the price tag as they are a very good premium paint with excellent pigmentation, so it inst really fair to compare them against cheaper ranges that do not have as good coverage. The ace metallic colours are actually cheaper than GW colours at £3.95 for 15ml rather than £4.75 for 12ml for the premium Citadel Colour golds. The fact that these are in dropper bottles also means that paint goes further as there is less wastage – however that does lead into my other small negative I have.
In the sample that I was sent I found that some bottles were actually so full that they started to overflow as soon as I took the lid off, leading to a frantic cleaning operation! I chatted with Peter from Trans Atlantis about this and he said that the bottles are actually filled a tiny bit more than the stated 15ml as they don’t want anyone to get shortchanged on the contents! I suspect that a couple of the bottles I had were filled to capacity and so the act of taking the lid off caused them to overflow and spill down the sides – so while you may not have this experience, I feel I have to share it as it happened to me on 2 or 3 couple of the bottles out of the entire 60, though this is probably an error relating to that particular batch rather than a regular thing – and at the end of the day extra paint over the stated contents is always good!
While there are many paint ranges out there, I can honestly say I have quickly fallen in love with these and plan on using these on all my projects going forward – and there’s still stuff I want to do with these such as try shooting them out of an airbrush or thinning them down super thin to make some glazes. With an initial range of 60 paints it’s also exciting to think about how they may expand out this range in future and add additional colours! While a full set of 60 colours may be a little expensive in one go, they are certainly an investment and stand up there with other long established paint ranges.
Tune into our Weekly Painting Steam to see us use these live – we hope to have Peter and Duncan join us on the show soon too to share their tips and tricks for using the range!
Two Thin Coats paints are available to buy now on Element Games – use our affiliate link to help out the site too!
Trans Atlantis Games sent Sprues & Brews free paints for review purposes