Keeping it moist

I've heard about wet palettes before, but recently I had a friend who picked up the new Army Painter wet palette, and when I saw it at a nearby game store, I thought I'd pick it up and give it a try.

The first thing in the box are some pamphlets. The first is a simple catalog fold-out.

Then a booklet on assembling models

And finally one on painting models with the army painter method.

Then there is a plastic clamshell - with another instruction sheet, hydro sponges and hydro sheets in it.

The sheet is some good general information on paint and brush use.  One interesting tidbit is them saying explicitly that the first few drops from ANY drop bottle is going to be medium, so you should squirt (gently) about four drops from the bottle after shaking your paint (then shake again).  I have definitely noticed this, but never saw it stated out (so now I realize it isn't me (for once!)).

Two sponges, and 50 sheets of paper.

Unfortunately, as much stuff as is in here, there is one thing that should be here but is missing - instruction on using the wet palette itself.  This wouldn't need to be more than another single sheet - but would give things like how much water to use etc.  Time to do some internet research (and of course it is all going to end up being you-tube videos instead of people actually writing anything down.)

Finally is the actual wet palette - in bubble wrap

The case has a nice strap to hold it together if you want to take it with you, or just to keep it fully closed when you aren't using it to keep it from drying out.

The strap is elastic with a bit of velcro, bit easily slides off.

The lid comes off, and there is a tray to hold brushes.

Then beneath this the bottom will hold the sponge and paper.

The bottom of the case has edges to help not to slip, and to help the strap stay in place.

So to use the palette - first put one of the sponges in the bottom.  You will want to wet this down - it should be full of water so don't wring it out.  It should have enough water (about 4 tablespoons) so that the sponge is soaked, but there is no water running out of the tray.

Then add one of the paper sheets.  Smooth this down over the sponge so no bubbles remain.  The paper will be slightly damp, but you should not see water on it.

Ok, so out of the lightbox and onto the paint table.

Now add your favorite paint.  I found that I use a bit less here than in my normal hard palette - probably because I don't lose as much to drying out.

If your paint starts to spread out on the sheet, then you have too much water in it. Be aware that this will actually thin your paint slightly, so take that into account.

I painted some turbo-dork color-shift people eater and some valejo black, then put the cover on the palette and put the strap around it for the night.

The next evening (so about 24 hours later) I opened the palette, and the paint was still usable.  I didn't have much of the black left, but it had not dried.

The turbo-dork paint had separated on the palette - this is nothing about the palette but about the paint.  This is some of the first batches - they have been improving the formula since then to not separate as quickly.

If the top paper starts to dry out and peel up, you can add a bit of water to the sponge.  DO NOT put it on the paper - that will just cause any paint you have on it to spread and run off.  Also, paint does not keep from drying out if you don't remember to put the cover back on when you are done.  (Yes, I did both of those :-) ).

I find it kind of fitting that I'm trying out a wet palette while painting Trident Realm models :-).  However so far my results have been good, and this is inexpensive enough that it isn't a huge gamble if it didn't work out.

Because it is all fun and games . . .


  1. I've just bought the same thing and am looking forward to trying it. I also spent an unreasonable amount of time searching for an instruction leaflet on how to use it...

    - Shane

  2. Delicious and moist!

    "it is all going to end up being you-tube videos instead of people actually writing anything down.".. oh gawd how I feel your pain here!!

    I actually bought a different wet palette and it did have a bunch of (at least short and to the point) videos etc online for guidance, and I've been using it for months now, but it was still very interesting to read some actual written thoughts about this, and you've kinda documented some things I'd slowly figured out over time (like =really= how much water is best to be in it). Wish I'd had this to read before I used it!

    A few more thoughts sprung to mind for tips (that I learned the hard way):

    1. Don't use the wet palette with metallic paints. I mean, you can if you really want to and you're quick to use up the paint, but it will start to separate the metallic elements in the paint pretty quickly - and will be totally separated out if you leave it overnight or something.

    2. You usually won't need to 'thin out' paint on the wet palette at all with adding any more water at all, and certainly not as much as you are used to on a regular palette.

    3. Certain colours and effects you might find a normal palette is still more effective for. Something I've picked up over years of painting that I did totally subconsciously for example is letting some paint colours wait on my palette for a while to actually dry up and thicken up a bit, usually to make them get more opaque, or for certain thicker line effects etc. Actually using the wet palette made me realise some of these little things I do with a normal palette that I wasn't really aware of.

    (Thanks for your comments on my KoW thread btw :D (I'm also Remy77077)

  3. Thanks. I agree with the matallics comment - they quickly separated. Also I don't see it working well when drybrushing.


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