Prima Marketing makes an interesting collection of watercolour paints and it just so happens that I recently acquired the 12 half-pan set of their "Tropicals" selection.
They make a decent number of additional sets, this just happened to be the one I chanced to pick up while I was ordering some empty half-pans that Amazon would only sell as an add-on. In any case, I had heard of them before and people seemed to genuinely like them, so I figured, why not?
Apparently they do sell these in single half-pans, but the website has minimum orders and is clearly aimed at retailers. I did look on Amazon, but they're only selling the 12 pan sets. There is a couple of interesting ones I may look into, including the skin tones. Anyways, the packaging is well done and the tin is pretty standard:
I really like the fact that they include a swatch card with the paint names already printed on it. That's called attention to detail and inclines me to try some other products. Speaking of attention to detail, the paint number is printed on the side of the pan.
I think I prefer that, it's large and easy to read. I don't need the colour name, which is fairly useless with these paints anyways, and so these help to orient. Mind you, there doesn't appear to be any real rhyme or reason to the numbers, since they don't seem family grouped, so my guess is that it's basically tied to the set and the sequence they choose. That implies that the "Tropicals" is the second set in the line.
In the selection is a couple of greens, neither of which look too natural, but I found that they mix really, really, well. You can get some very natural greens with a little mixing, especially with colour #14 (Coconut).
There is a couple of yellows, one coolish and the other warm. These are joined by some earth tones, including the aforementioned Coconut, that act a bit yellowish when mixing.
The blues come with some pretty decent light coolish that has a good potential for skies as well as deeper blue that can be used for richer tones. There is also a pretty nice purple that can mix nicely as well.
Finally, the reds have a cool and warm option along with a fairly orange red. The completed colour chart looks like:
I haven't done a painting with them yet, but I did play around with some mixes and found a few really nice ones. You can get a really great variety of greens and, in particular, #21 and #23 mix to a gorgeous deep green that reminds me a bit of Sap Green. In fact, #21 (Pineapple) has a bit of the feel Quinacridone Gold. I also found that you can mix some really nice turquoise and purple shades. Finally, the surprise mix, and one that I really liked, was #17 and #23 mix to a nice, really easy, black.
So, impressions? The colours are staining, but liftable. I like the selection, despite having a bit of a head scratch at first, and the mixing options are surprisingly varied. I couldn't find any detail on the pigments, or lightfastness, so I'm going to suggest that they're not likely to be a match for some of the professional options. Having said that, the pans yield a rich colour and it flows smoothly on the paper.
The weird thing I noticed is that the colours tended to behave like they were on plastic when I attempted to use the mixing wells on the pans. Over time I think adhesion will be better, but I did find it weird to be honest.
In any case, as I said, I think I like these enough to probably acquire some additional sets. In particular, I'm thinking "Pastel Dreams" and "Complexions" and I may just order them tonight... Amazon Prime is dangerous.