Wet pallets: a must have painting accessory

If you haven’t aren’t using a wet pallet you’re missing out.

Many modellers use a dry pallet for their paints.  We’ve all had and most likely have at least one of them lying around. Plastic, wood or perhaps ceramic plates, often with wells, in which we place and mix our paint.

Everyone starts out with them and while they’re very useful they are wasteful on your paints.

You deposit what you think is the amount of paint you’ll need on to the pallet, perhaps mix some together and then paint away only to then find that the paint dries and as it does so the consistency changes before you’ve finished with the colour.

And if, like me, you do your painting in short sessions — an hour here, an hour there — you need to mix up new paint each time which can get wasteful very quickly.

The wet pallet solves these problems and it’s long been a must have accessory for my scale model and miniature painting.

What is a wet pallet

Essentially, a wet palette is exactly what it sounds like.

Instead of dry plastic or wood that you put paint on, you put your paint on a wet membrane sheet that sits on a damp sponge in an air-tight container when not in use.

The top sheet helps improve the consistency and blending of the paint you place on it and it soaks up the water from the sponger under it to your paint moist, retaining the consistency and blend for much longer but the paint doesn’t get into the sponge. Keeping these in an air-tight container stops the paint from dying out with paint remaining usable for days, even weeks, between uses.

As a long term modeller and railway builder I’ve been an avid user of wet pallets for yonks and am surprised more railway modellers don’t use them. Being able to maintain the precise colour blends across painting sessions has resulted in markedly better results on my models and I’m certain its reduced my spend on acrylic paints.

So if you’re not already using one, I honestly recommend you give them a go. You’ll soon make up the cost in the savings made on expensive Army Painter, Vallejo and Citadel paints.

Which wet pallets to buy

I use and recommend the Frisk wet pallet which does everything you could ask at a reasonable price but the Army Painter version while costing more has 50 sheets of the membrane paper supplied with it verses 3 sheets supplied with the Frisk product. Given that Frisk charge approx. £3/3 sheets the Army Painter product can work out cheaper in the long term.

Wet PalletFinally, there’s the Martin Universal wet pallet which whilst being the most expensive of these three (in the UK at least) has a number of benefits.

I’m still testing it but so far standout features include are a clasp to keep the lid on tight, providing perhaps the longest wet paint times and a plastic tray with paint wells in so you can mix paint to the desired colour there before transferring it to the paper and finally, it’s also the smallest of the three so taking up less space on the workbench.

> For my American readers, the Frisk wet pallet is available here; the Army Painter version is available here  and the Martin Universal product can be bought here.

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