Monday, May 14, 2012

Ultramarines Blue vs. Altdorf Guard Blue

I was recently requested to compare Ultramarines Blue to the new Altdorf Guard Blue. To do this I simply pulled out an extra Rhino top hatch bit leftover from my Vindicator and painted the two colors side by side. Since this was a quick comparison, I didn't undercoat the hatch and I laid the paint down pretty thickly. This left quite a few brush strokes, especially in the Altdorf Guard Blue. Here are the results:

Left: Ultramarines Blue. Right: Altdorf Guard Blue

Ultramarines Blue is on the left and Altdorf Guard Blue is on the right. At the top of the hatch I painted a small streak of Altdorf into the Ultramarines and at the bottom I painted a small streak of Ultramarines into the Altdorf.

The Altdorf appears to be slightly darker, but It's similar enough that I doubt I could easily tell the difference between a model painted with Ultramarines Blue and a model painted with Altdorf Guard Blue, especially if a generous wash were used. The most noticeable difference is that Altdorf is most definitely a "layer" paint. The Ultramarines Blue covered the gray plastic with only two or three coats. The Altdorf Guard Blue, on the other hand, required four or five coats before it completely covered the gray. Altdorf should probably be painted over a blue base coat for best results.

For my Ultramarines I've primarily used Mordian Blue for the power armor and reserved Ultramarines Blue for highlighting. However, I use Ultramarines Blue on my vehicles so they contrast slightly with the Marines. Given how much Altdorf Guard Blue was needed to cover a color other than blue, I'll definitely be priming my vehicles with Army Painter's Ultramarine Blue spray rather than a black or gray undercoat.


  1. Thanks James. I'm amazed at how close they seem to be. Aside from the brush strokes on the Altdorf, I have a hard time even discerning that there are two different shades there. It's a pleasant surprise because I'd heard some peple complain that they were so different, but I certainly can't tell from that photo.

    As an aside, are there so many brush strokes in the Altdorf side because of the general composition of the paint?

    1. Altdorf's composition is slightly different, although I'm not sure if that's the primary reason for all the brush strokes. I think a lot of it was because I was more interested in comparing the shades and just started painting directly onto the plastic without the benefit of an undercoat. The old Ultramarines is a lot more like a foundation or base paint and covered the plastic easily. I had to lay down a lot of the reformulated paint to cover the gray and to compensate for the plastic's lack of "tooth".

      You can't see it in the photo, but I painted a single, smoother coat on the bits of sprue connected to the hatch just to make sure that the strokes weren't characteristic of the paint. Altdorf didn't seem to leave any more brush strokes than the Ultramarines did.

      Come to think of it, painting with Altdorf Guard Blue reminded me a bit of Skull White; it goes on fine if you paint it in thin, smooth layers, but you're not going to want to paint it over dissimilar colors.

  2. Thanks a bunch for going through all this trouble. I'm glad to know there's an acceptable solution when I run out of my paint. :)


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