Best Brushes for Painting Details on Miniatures


Best Brushes for Painting Details on Miniatures

As a Warhammer enthusiast with over 20 years of painting experience, I am often asked, “What are the best brush brands for painting fine details on Warhammer miniatures?” After testing countless brushes over the years, I have developed strong opinions on which brushes consistently produce the best results. In this comprehensive guide, I will share my top brush recommendations and provide tips on choosing, using, and maintaining brushes to bring your miniatures to life.

Rosemary Brushes

My #1 Pick: Rosemary & Co Series 33

If I had to choose just one brush brand for painting Warhammer miniatures, I would select the Rosemary & Co Series 33 brushes. Handmade in England from premium Kolinsky sable hair, these brushes offer an unbeatable combination of affordability, durability, and performance.

Even after heavy use, the bristles maintain their fine point and excellent paint retention. I rely on Rosemary & Co brushes like my trusty size 1 brush to paint intricate details as small as eyes and buckles with precision. With proper cleaning and care, my Series 33 brushes have lasted over 5 years and still produce flawless results.

While not the cheapest, Rosemary & Co brushes deliver professional quality at an accessible price point. I wholeheartedly recommend investing in this superb British brand. Our friends at Warhammer Universe also swear by these brushes for painting stunning Warhammer models.

Key Benefits of Rosemary & Co Series 33:

  • Sharp tip retains fine point detail
  • Quality Kolinsky sable hair has excellent paint retention
  • Durable construction stands up to heavy use
  • Great value from £5-12 per brush

Raphael brand brush

Runner Up: Raphaël 8404

French brand Raphaël has been producing prestigious brushes since 1793. Handcrafted in France, their popular 8404 series comes highly recommended by many expert miniature painters.

The 8404 rounds are my runner up pick because their responsive red sable bristles provide pinpoint control perfect for painting the tiniest details like faces and freehand designs. The innovative funnel shaped brush head holds ample fluid in the deep belly while tapering to an ultra-fine tip.

While pricier than alternatives, 8404 brushes deliver extraordinary longevity and consistency. I typically use these for my most intricate details once my cheaper brushes wear out. Investing in a few key Raphaël brushes pays dividends through accurate detailed work and longevity.

Key Benefits of Raphaël 8404 Brushes:

  • Extremely fine tip enables precise control
  • Holds more paint in the belly than similar brushes
  • Maintains perfect point despite frequent use
  • Durable quality with a higher price tag

Other Noteworthy Brush Brands

Beyond my top two brands, several other brush ranges deserve recognition for their merits painting Warhammer miniatures:

Winsor & Newton Series 7 – A perennial favorite worldwide, these classic Kolinsky sable rounds made in England provide reliable performance across a vast array of artistic disciplines. The Miniature version features shorter bristles for intricate control.

Da Vinci Maestro 10 – Handcrafted from Siberian Kolinsky sable hair in Germany, Da Vinci brushes boast unparalleled softness and paint retention. The Maestro 10 maintains its shape well over time despite frequent use.

Citadel Artificer – Games Workshop’s own Artificer range offers a great introductory experience with Warhammer-specific types like basecoating, layering and dry brushing rounds. Serious painters may eventually upgrade, but Artificers foster success.

Army Painter – Designed by and for miniature enthusiasts, Army Painter covers all essential brushes for detail work, vehicles and dry brushing. The triangular handles provide comfort during lengthy painting sessions.

Army Painter Brushes

What Makes a Good Brush for Miniatures?

Read our longer article for the Best Brushes for Miniatures.

With countless brushes on the market, deciding on the best option can feel overwhelming. Based on extensive first-hand testing, here are the top factors that make an exceptional brush for painting miniatures:

  • Fine Pointed Tip – A brush’s ability to maintain a sharp tip while loaded with paint determines precision for details.
  • Good Belly Capacity – The brush head needs to carry enough paint to avoid constantly redipping, while avoiding overloaded blobbing.
  • Responsive Bristles – Soft bristles with springy bounce back into a fine point are essential for control.
  • Tapered Profile – A conical or funnel-shaped head balances tip precision with paint capacity.
  • Comfortable Handle – Short lightweight handles provide comfort and stability when working for prolonged periods.
  • Affordable Cost – Given wear and replacement over years of use, starting affordably leaves room to upgrade.

Warhammer 40k paints

Brush Shapes and Sizes

Warhammer miniatures have intricate defined curves demanding a spectrum of precision brush shapes and sizes. For most applications, round brushes strike the ideal balance of flow and control. Round heads naturally taper to a fine tip which pairs perfectly with the responsive spring of luxury sable hairs.

Round brushes for detail work typically range between sizes 000 (thinnest) to 4 (thickest):

  • 10/0 or 000 = Eyes, freehand designs
  • 00 or 0 = Faces, armor etchings
  • 1 = Edge highlights, buckles, decorations
  • 2 = Base coating small areas
  • 3 or 4 = Base coating larger areas

Flat brushes featuring square ferrules have very broad heads useful for quickly covering large areas, while their straight edges create sharp paint transitions. Their wide profile makes flats less suitable for precision work, but larger flats efficiently basecoat big models or vehicles.

Filbert brushes combine the properties of rounds and flats, with slightly flattened heads. Their oval shape provides broader paint coverage than most rounds, while maintaining a tapered tip. Filberts work well when you need more carrying capacity than a round offers, especially for large basecoating jobs.

Finally, for texturing and shading, drybrushes made from stiff boar bristles can create weathered blending effects by brushing lightly over raised areas. Controlling just how much paint transfers takes practice. I recommend Army Painter’s drybrush range which is cut uniquely to optimize paint pick up. An overview of brush sizes can be found here: Best Brush sizes for Miniatures


Caring for Your Brushes

The best brushes are only as good as the care they receive. My decades of experience provide this advice to maximize brush performance and longevity when painting miniatures:

-Clean thoroughly after every session with mild soap and lukewarm water. Gently massage paint out rather than pulling on bristles.

-Always store brushes tip-up in protectors when not in use to avoid bending bristles permanently out of shape.

-Apply hair conditioner occasionally to rejuvenate dried out sable hairs. Let it soak in 10 minutes before rinsing out thoroughly.

-Avoid getting paint too high into ferrule to prevent hairs from drying stuck together.

-Work paint out of bristles gently in hand rather than wiping harshly on paper towel or pot rim.

-Do not use for stirring or mixing paints. The agitation permanently damages delicate tips.

Dedicate an old brush specifically as a mixer to preserve your good brushes. Following these best practices will help your favourite brushes endure for many glorious painting projects. Read our full guide for brush care here: How to Clean your brushes for miniatures

Redhair Warhammer 40k

Bring Your Miniatures to Life

I hope this guide provides valuable wisdom culled from extensive first-hand testing regarding the best brushes for painting stunning details on Warhammer miniatures. Investing in a quality brush range that suits your style and budget allows you to focus on unleashing creativity rather than wrestling with stubborn tools.

Pair Pro Artist quality Rosemary & Co Series 33 brushes or precise Raphaël 8404 rounds with paints, primer and washes from Warhammer Universe to watch your artistic vision spring to life.

The journey to artistic mastery requires patience and inspiration in equal measure. I wish you profound joy as you chase the dream of one day looking at a fully painted army feeling overwhelming pride at having brought each miniature to life with your own hands. Happy painting!

Still looking for more? Read our guide on Best Brushes for Painting Warhammer Miniatures

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