I am here to bring you another review of another awesome Game Envy product I received recently: The Exemplar Premier Wet Palette System. I realize as I write this that I’ve never covered wet palettes in depth. I will cover what I can in this post and write up another post dedicated to them at a later date.
As per usual, I have NOT been gifted this product or have been paid for this review and I spent my own money on it. Note: this was purchased through Kickstarter and is not currently, available for general retail, at the time of this writing, it is only available for pre-orders here.
This campaign was very successful. They made $166,319USD of a needed $10,000USD with a total of 3,013 backers.
My initial pledge, before add-ons and shipping, was $30USD. This was the first complete set option including all of the stretch goals. The palette set came with the wet palette in color of your choice (red, blue, green, or black), the dry palette and mixing tray insert (included in all palettes), two (2) sponges, and fifty (50) pieces of their wet palette paper. As for stretch goals I received: an Exemplar palette paper squeegee, a brush blotter sponge, an anti-microbial copper foil palette insert, and an awesome sticker.
I will be upfront, before we get too far into this, that I do not have experience with other miniature painting specific wet palettes. I have used the Masterson Sta-wet Handy Palette which, while great for miniature painting, is geared towards use with much thicker artist’s paints. That said, the Exemplar, is much easier to work with for this medium.
There is a lot to go over so let’s jump right in. This is the Exemplar Wet Palette.
This palette is made with miniature painters in mind. The Exemplar wet palette is also geared towards painters of any skill level making it a great option for new painters who may not know how wet palettes work out of the gate.
It is made of BPA-free polypropylene plastic. This makes it safe to use and recyclable as well as heat and crack resistant. Being made of polypropylene means it is resistant to damage from many types of solvents used in painting products so it is easy to give it a deep clean when needed. If you don’t want to bother with solvents for cleaning it can also be thrown in the dishwasher (most likely top rack only)!
Let’s start with the breakdown of sections. The top of the lid pops open to reveal a storage area. It also has a dry palette and mixing tray inside, more about that in a minute. The storage section can hold up to 8 brushes with caps on and some various tools. If you still want to keep the dry palette handy it will fit into the body of the palette. The lid, when in the up position, doubles as a device holder so you can have your reference photos or favorite media going while you paint.
The Exmplar Wet Palette measures in at 6.5″ x 9.5″ or 165mm x 250mm it is slightly larger than the Sta-Wet Handy Palette (8.5″ x 7″). However, it is not so much larger as to overwhelm a smaller painting space.
All of the components that make up the palette, seen below, are replaceable.
One of the neatest things about this palette is the vent. It allows you to either create a vacuum when the lid is sealed to help prevent mold and keep paints fresher. If left opened it can help to control how much moisture is in it. It does not mean that, from experience, let you open it and it will dry out. It will hold moisture for a very long time. It can, however, be difficult to seal firmly but that is a minor annoyance and not something that would make or break this for me.
Now let’s talk paper. I’ve always been one to use regular baking parchment paper because the paper that comes with the Sta-Wet Handy palette is, in my experience, much harder to use with miniature specific paints. The paper that is made for the Exemplar is…okay. I have had a couple of times where paint seeped through the paper and stained the sponge. Of course, I may have also left the paint to sit for too long. That was easily cleaned out with a good rinse of warm water. So, while I’ll definitely use the paper I purchased I am not sure I will get more when I get low. The Kickstarter claims that the paper keeps paint functional for longer and gives optimal permeation to help with blending and mixing.
Below are the pictures of how my paint separated over time. These colors are a Heartbreak Red sample from Reaper Miniatures, I am not sure if this is available for general retail yet. Then the blue-green, called Jade, is from Monument Hobbies Pro Acryl line. The only thing I did to the paint was pull a line off so I could see how well it was thinning. It may be hard to see in the smaller photos but after an hour it was still at an optimal, for me, consistency. After twelve (12) hours the red had separated enough that I had to mix it back up to use. Then, it is hard to tell but, the Jade separated a minimal amount. Even though they did separate, once remixed they were still at a usable consistency.
However, the sponge is amazing. For being only 3mm thick it holds a lot of water. When I first opened my Kickstarter package I thought I was going to have to double up on them like mentioned on the campaign page. This was not the case. It holds an incredible amount of water for how thin it is. It is made from a foam rather than the more sponge like material found in other palettes. The reason for suggesting stacking is for climate and moisture preferences.
The sponge is said to be mold resistant. Which, so far, I’ve definitely not had a problem with that. I am notoriously bad at forgetting that I have water in it. I have definitely ruined a good handful of the sponges I have for the Sta-Wet Handy Palette. The sponge is white which is nice because it is a fairly neutral color. It allows me to see the paint in a truer manner than the yellow ones that come with the Handy Palette. The refill bundle includes fifty (50) sheets of paper and two (2) sponges that are perfectly sized for the palette. I do not know if they will be sold separately or only in the bundle with the paper.
Next up are the stretch goals.
With the package I received a Copper Foil Palette Insert. This foil is anti-microbial which helps it deter mold from growing. It looked like it was going to be very hard to put in the bottom of the palette without crinkling or getting bubbles stuck under it. Surprisingly, it was fairly simple and I had very little issue. I used the paper squeegee to help lay it down. I do enjoy that it is a flat piece instead of wire like I use in the Sta-Wet palette that raises up the sponge and sometimes makes it difficult to keep everything level.
The paper squeegee is what it says. It is a rectangular piece of plastic. It allows you to remove bubbles and creases without using your hands which may not give you as flat a surface as you’d prefer. It also keeps your hands out of the palette.
Now for the brush blotter sponge sheet. It is essentially, what I believe to be, a strip of white cellulose sponge. As for what it does, it is what it says it is. I have been using it to remove excess water from the brush after I rinse it. I, however, believe that it is intended to be used to unload excess paint on the brush after loading it.
There are instructions that come in a PDF in the updates that instructs you to line up the squeegee and cut a piece off. This piece fits nicely in the rectangular section of the dry palette. I like that because it’s easier to keep track of.
So, a quick overview of my opinions on it.
I love that the palette itself is very sturdy and easy to clean with or without cleaning solvents. It is a great size for my small painting area. While the stretch goals seem small I very much enjoy and appreciate them. The paper is just okay but the sponge is amazing.
Overall, I think it’s a great product and if you’re in the market for a new wet palette definitely check this one out.