By reviewing five of the best miniature paint brushes on the market, this buyer’s guide will help you choose the right one for your particular needs.
Moreover, it will provide useful information about miniature painting in general.
Best Miniature Paint Brushes – Comparison Table
|Winsor & Newton Series 7 Brush Gift Set||3||Kolinsky Sable||6.4 x 4.4 x 15 inches||2.4 ounces|
|MyArtscape Paint Brush Set||15||Synthetic||15 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches||1.63 pounds|
|ZEM BRUSH Kolinsky Pure Sable Artist Brush Set||12||Synthetic||9 x 2.1 x 2.1 inches||4 ounces|
|The Army Painter Miniatures Paint Brush Set||4||Kolinsky Sable||8 x 0.2 x 2.5 inches||1.6 ounces|
|Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue Fine Tip||3||Sable hair||9.1 x 0.6 x 2.8 inches||0.8 ounces|
1. Winsor & Newton Series 7 – Best Sable Watercolor Brushes
Made from selected pure red sable of the highest quality, the brushes included in this set are solid and durable. Better yet, they have a nice amount of weight that makes them easy to maneuver. The set includes three brushes of different types: a round 4, a flat of a quarter inch and a Rigger 1.
Handmade and carefully constructed, these brushes are meant to last you a long time. The set includes a durable protective case that can double as a gift box.
Construction and Presentation
Featuring black polished handles, nickel plated ferrules and finely-arranged bristles, the brushes that constitute this set look amazingly polished and sleek.
Uses and Applications
All the brushes included in this set can be used with various types of paints that are typically used on miniatures and other types of crafts. However, because their bristles are made of fine sable hair, the brushes are at their best when used with watercolors.
When used with this type of paint, the brushes retain the perfect amount of material, releasing it in a slow and fluid manner that provides precision and consistency to every stroke.
Another great advantage that these brushes have is that they are incredibly ergonomic. Despite being somewhat short in length, they are designed in a way that makes them easy to handle. What is more, they have the right amount of weight, and it is very well-distributed. All this results in great control of your strokes, allowing you to create tiny details with an astounding level of precision. As if all that wasn’t enough, their ergonomic design of the brushes included in this set reduces the strain produced on your fingers and hands after hours of painting.
With everything on the table, it’s easy to see why the Winsor & Newton Series 7 Brush Gift Set is such a popular product, particularly among watercolorists. Durable, precise and expertly constructed, the brushes included in this set can help you create arts and crafts of a high-quality level. What’s more, bursting with sleekness and elegance, this product makes for a perfect gift.
2. MyArtscape Paint Brush Set – Best Multi-Purpose Paint Brush Set
Varied and versatile, this synthetic bristle brush set by MyArtscape is a great option for making all kinds of arts and crafts. Without a doubt, this includes the painting of miniature model kits. Using one of the various precision brushes included in this set, you can create even the smallest details. Additionally, you have a variety of wider brushes that can help you create broader details (such as diorama base painting) and embark on a multitude of other arts and crafts projects.
Often, people complain that their new brushes being losing bristles very quickly. This can be even more common with miniature paint brushes as they typically use finer, smaller bristles that present less resistance and durability. Luckily, the MyArtscape Paint Brush Set is nothing like that.
Applications and Uses
As previously mentioned, this miniature paint brush set includes a variety of brush styles, including flat shaders, rounds, brights, angle shaders, filberts and one fan. As a result, they can be used for a wide variety of different arts and crafts projects. Of course, this includes the painting of miniature models. At the same time, these brushes are compatible with various different kinds of paints, including acrylic, oil and watercolors. Taking all that into consideration, it can be said that the MyArtscape Paint Brush Set is a multi-purpose product.
Design and Performance
Featuring 15 different types of brushes, the MyArtscape Paint Brush Set is an incredibly varied one. Having brush tips that range from ultra-fine to very broad, you can use this set for most arts and crafts projects.
If you want to dedicate yourself to miniature painting, however, it is likely you will have to stick with the finer units featured in the set. At any rate, though, these fine brushes provide more than enough variety to create a variety of details and small touches with utmost precision.
Without a doubt, the MyArtscape Paint Brush Set is a very functional product with a high level of quality. Featuring a wide array of brush styles, it can help you with more than just miniature painting. To be sure, they can be used to paint and decorate entire dioramas from beginning to end.
If you want to focus only on miniature painting, perhaps some of the brushes included in this kit will not be of much use. However, the ones that are useful to paint miniatures are precise, durable and effective. All in all, this is a miniature paint brush set that is very much worth looking into.
3. D’Artisan Shoppe – Best Overall Miniature Paint Brush Set
This beautiful, elegant and functional paint brush set by D’Artisan Shoppe has been turning the heads of miniature modeling enthusiasts since it first came out, and this is not without a good reason. Apart from having an incredible presentation, this set is incredibly efficient for miniature model painting.
Ergonomic, well-constructed and great with different types of paint, the brushes included in this set are a joy to hold and use. As if all that was not enough, this set includes a useful brush holder and organizer.
Looking at the exquisite design and construction that this product features, there is no denying that craftsmanship of a superior level was involved in its creation. To being with, all the handles are handmade and hand-polished, and they feature a triangular holding section that reduces strain while providing a fantastic grip. Additionally, these handles are beautifully painted with UV paint that protects them against sunlight and other potential dangers. Furthermore, the brushes’ ferrules are tightly integrated into the handles, and they hold the bristles tightly and durably.
If you have painted miniatures before, you know that, when it comes to it, precision is king. For that reason, you want to use a brush that has a finely-shaped, stable tip that holds and releases the paint in a consistent manner. That is not all you need, however, since the way you handle the brush can greatly affect the results you produce.
Precise and with a great flow, the brushes featured in this set are capable of cleanly and efficiently applying paint to a porous or non-porous surface. For that reason, they are a good choice for creating perfect details on miniature models.
At the same time, due to their synthetic bristles, all these brushes are very easy to clean using water or a brush cleaning product. As if all that was not enough, this set includes a brush holder and organizer case to help you manage your brushes at all times.
The D’Artisan Shoppe Miniature Paint Brushes Detail Set features 12 painting tools of the highest quality. Made of high-quality materials and expertly constructed, these brushes are durable and resistant to external elements. Even better than that, they are incredibly efficient at creating small details on the miniatures that come in most modeling kits. It does not hurt that these brushes are beautifully decorated with 7 layers of paint, and they come with a beautiful holder/organizer case.
4. ZEM BRUSH – Best Miniature Paint Brush Set for Creating Details
Made with high-quality wood, seamless nickel and authentic Russian Kolinsky sable hair, the brushes featured in this set are of an amazing quality. All these brushes feature finely-shaped real-hair tips that are particularlyuseful when painting small details on miniature figures.
Thin, lightweight and incredibly precise, these brushes are specially made for such uses, and other such as doll painting, nail decorating and various other types of precision-based arts and crafts. As a matter of fact, featuring a short back handle, they are particularly well-suited for being held from the front in order to make tiny strokes or points.
Manufacturing and Construction
Unlike mass-produced miniature paint brushes, those that are included in this set are made of high-quality materials and assembled individually. Without a doubt, this results in a better, more solid and more durable construction. As a matter of fact, the construction that this product features is so advanced that the sections where the handle, ferrule and bristles connect with each other are completely seamless. It should be mentioned, however, that, being very thin and precise, these brushes are somewhat fragile. Their handles, in particular, tend to break.
Precision and Uses
The ZEM BRUSH Kolinsky Pure Sable Artist Brush Set can be used with oil, acrylic and watercolor paints alike. While they are not well-suited for broader tasks, the brushes featured in this set are very efficient at creating details that require a great deal of precision.
As a result, they are a great option for painting miniatures. However, they are not the best choice for painting larger arts and crafts projects. At any rate, this miniature paint brush set is a great choice for a variety of projects that require precision and detail. So much so, in fact, that this product is often used by nail artists who paint with nail acrylic.
As previously mentioned, this set of miniature paint brushes is compatible with a wide array of paint types, including all the most commonly associated with miniature modeling: acrylic, oil and watercolor. As a result, it’s a great option for those who are looking to decorate a project of this type.
Furthermore, this product can be used to paint most small arts and crafts projects. On the other hand, however, it’s not a very advisable product for people who are looking to paint larger projects or make repairs.
Taking everything into consideration, it can be confidently said that the ZEM BRUSH Kolinsky Pure Sable Artist Brush Set is a great option for miniature modeling purists. Due to the finesse and precision of its brushes, it can also be used with a lot of success to create other types of minimal arts and crafts projects.
However, it should be taken into account that their minimalistic nature translates itself to a variety of inconveniences and problems when it comes to solidity, stability and overall physical integrity. At any rate, though, when used in an appropriately-delicate fashion, this is a great set of miniature paint brushes.
5. The Army Painter – Best Paint Brush Set for Army Miniatures
As its name implies, the Army Painter Miniatures Paint Brush Set is a tough, effective and durable product that works particularly well with army miniatures and similar plastic models. Manufactured in Europe and completely hand-made, the brushes that compose this set boast a fantastic level of quality.
For one, its handles are hand-sculpted, and they feature an ergonomic triangulated middle section. Apart from that, each brush in this set has a double-crimped ferrule that is almost impossible to detach from the handle. As if all that wasn’t enough, it has real sable hair as bristles.
Ergonomics and Handling
When first inspecting this miniature paint brush set, right out of the gate, you will notice that the handles on the brushes are sturdier. What is more, their handles feature a shape that is not very common in this type of painting tool.
Understandably, this may generate some apprehension on your part. Be reassured, however, as this design provides a fantastic grip and a remarkable ease of handling. Even better, this triangulated mid-section design allows you to use the brushes for prolonged periods of time without suffering from hand strain or muscular pain.
Construction and Design
Despite being remarkably affordable, this miniature paint brush set is not flimsy or fragile. As a matter of fact, it is very resistant to external elements. The handles of the brushes are tough and strong, preventing splits and cracks that could completely ruin the items.
Meanwhile, the ferrules are tightly attached, reducing the possibility of a disjointed. Even better, despite being completely natural, the bristles that each of these brushes features are surprisingly impervious to falling off or breaking.
There is no doubt that this miniature paint brush set is a good one. Apart from being made of materials that enjoy a high level of quality, all the brushes included in this set are very well constructed. As a result, they are durable, effective and easy to use. All in all, the only blatant disadvantage that this product has is its elevated price.
Best Miniature Paint Brushes – Buyer’s Guide
Tips for Painting Miniatures
Prep the Model
Despite the technology used to create them, most miniature models are coated in various release agents that allow them to be removed from the mold intact. For that reason, often, model pieces have debris of these agents on them when you take them out of the box.
To prevent them from negatively impacting your painting process, clean the pieces before painting using a 1-to-1 mixture of lukewarm water and vinegar.
If Necessary, Fill Gaps
Sometimes, models feature parts that do not fill perfectly together. One of the best ways to solve this problem is to use paints, glues or filling products with a high level of density and a quick drying time. Using products of this kind can help pieces fit together without having to sandpaper or otherwise modify them in any way.
Use Primer and Sealer
One of the most common mistakes beginners make when trying to put together a miniature model is failing to use primer and sealer. Used before the paint, primer allows it to adhere better to the model.
Thin the Paints
Often, paints are thicker than they should be in order to be correctly applied to a specific type of surface. The reason why this happens is that some manufacturers want to give you the opportunity to thin the paints as needed.
Wash the Brushes
This should go without saying: It’s very important to wash your brush after you use it. If you do not, you are basically letting your painting tool become ruined for no good reason. You can do this simply by using warm water your bare fingers.
How to Brush Paint Scale Models
Brushes are available in a range of natural and synthetic hairs. I’m going to generalize things to keep it simple.
Natural hair brushes
Natural hairs are generally used for oil paint and watercolor paint, and are more expensive depending on the quality of the hair used in the brush. They can be prone to damage and do not work with well with acrylic paint, because the pH of acrylic paint is the opposite to that of the natural hairs.
Synthetic brushes, which I prefer to use, are cheaper and more durable than natural hairs, and can be used with oil, watercolor, and acrylic paint. Like natural hair, there are different qualities of the synthetic hair. I prefer artist synthetic brushes from manufacturers such as Royal & Langnickel, Winsor & Newton, and Pro Art.
Sizes of Brushes
It’s important to have a range of sizes of brushes from very fine to quite wide. For painting models, I find that stiffer bristles are better. You can test your brushes by leaving them in water for a minute. And then if you bend the bristles like so, you can see which bounce back. The left brush and middle brush would be appropriate for watercolor, but only the one on the right would be useful for painting models.
Before using your paint, make sure you stir it well for at least 30 seconds. I use a matchstick to do this. This makes sure the paint pigment, binder, and liquid is fully mixed. Once it has been stirred, you can check the consistency of the paint.
Straight out of the pot, the paint will be too thick and your brush will leave stroke marks when you try painting with it. You want to the paint to be roughly the consistency of milk, as they say. I find that a ratio of one part thinner to six or seven parts paint is usually good, although the amount of paint could be reduced if you want it to be thinner or if the paint going out of the pot is really thick.
Sometimes, for example, I use a one part thinner to four parts paint ratio. Here I have a one part thinner to one part paint ratio, and this is very thin and basically a wash.
What kind of brush should I use for different types of paint?
Acrylic paint should be thinner with water or acrylic thinners. An enamel paint should be thinner with enamel thinner or White Spirit. Turpentine can also be used, but it is not as refined at White Spirit.
Enamel paints will get you a better finish than acrylic, as enamels will take longer to dry. So the paint has more time to spread on the surface. This reduces visible brush strokes. I usually leave enamel paint to dry overnight so I ensure that it is dried and cured properly.
Mini tutorial to brush paint your models
- Before you start, I recommend washing the sprue in warm, soapy water with a splash of vinegar as this removes any residue from the mold that might stop the paint from sticking. I find I never need to use primer. However, if you want to use primer than this step can be avoided.
- Small parts more easily painted on the sprue … but sometimes I find it’s better to cut them off and make little handles for them, so they’re easier to hold while I paint them. Always thin your paint through one part thinner to seven parts paint. This makes the paint easier to apply, and again reduces visible brush strokes. However, it will increase the drying and curing time of the paint.
- Apply at least three to four thin coats of paint. Never one or two thicker coats, as the thicker paint will leave brushstrokes and possibly cover up detail in the molding. Use the largest brush you can on the surface as this will reduce brushstrokes. I use a two centimeter wide brush on large areas of my 1-72nd scale models. But you may want one even wider for larger scales.
- Try and brush in all the same direction for each coat. So from the nose of the plane to the tail, or from the top of the tank or ship to the bottom. You can alternate the direction of the brushstrokes with each coat to give a more even coverage.
- When using masking tape, paint away from the masking tape to stop the painting building up against it and leaving a ridge when you remove the tape. I recommend Tamiya masking tape for use on scale models.
- Painting very small details can be difficult. To make it easier, I secure the model or part in place on the table. Then, because I’m right handed, I rest my left hand palm up on the table. I then rest my right hand in my left hand, so now when I paint I can study my right hand. This makes painting a lot more accurate and easier.
- It’s very important to look after your brushes. After painting with acrylics, I’ll rinse the brush in water to remove as much paint as possible. Then gently rub some soap into the bristles and then rinse the brush again.
- I’ll then form the bristles back into a point by either rolling the brush or using my fingers, and leave it to dry upright in a jar. For enamel paints, I’ll rinse them in White Spirit first and then repeat all the steps I’ve already mentioned.
Without a doubt, painting can make or break a diorama or a miniature modeling project. For that reason, it’s incredibly important to use the right tools for this task, including the perfect brushes. Hopefully, this guide will help you choose the most adequate miniature paint brush set for your needs.