How Many Paint Brushes Do You Need for Painting Warhammer Miniatures? Unlock the 7 Secrets to a Versatile Brush Collection for Novices

Brush Sizes

How Many Paint Brushes Do You Need for Painting Warhammer Miniatures? The Beginners Guide

As an avid Warhammer hobbyist with over 20 years of painting experience, I often get asked – how many paint brushes does one really need to paint miniatures and models? What are the best brush types, sizes, and brands? Is an expensive kolinsky sable brush worth the investment or can you get by with cheaper synthetic options?

At Warhammer Universe, we believe having the right tools can make all the difference in getting the most enjoyment out of the hobby. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share my insights on brushes to help you figure out the optimal set for your needs and budget.

 

The Key Factors in Choosing Miniature Paint Brushes

When selecting brushes for painting miniatures like Warhammer models, there are several key factors to consider:

Material – Natural hair brushes like kolinsky sable hold paint better with smooth flow. Quality synthetics can work too. Shape – Pointed round is most versatile for control and precision. Size – A range covering #000 to #2 meets most needs. #0 and #1 are used most.
Capacity – The brush should hold enough paint to avoid constant reloading. Responsiveness – Good snap and spring for control. Bristles should return to shape when wet.
Durability – Sable brushes last longer with proper care. Synthetics are more resistant to damage. Price – Kolinsky sable runs $15-$35 per brush. Quality synthetics can cost less. Understanding these parameters will help you choose brushes tailored to your painting style and budget. I’ll explore each factor in-depth throughout this article.

 

How Many Paint Brushes Do You Need for Painting Warhammer Miniatures?: The Best Starting Brush Size for Painting Miniatures

For general use, a pointed round brush with a size #0 or #1 and a belly width around 2mm provides the optimal blend of precision and paint carrying capacity. This allows you to efficiently paint details while having enough paint flow for blending, layering washes, and other techniques without constant reloading.

I rely on my trusty Winsor & Newton Series 7 size #1 brush for 90% of painting tasks from basecoating to fine edge highlights. The slightly thinner size #0 is great when I need extra precision on the smallest details.

For larger smooth basecoating, I use a #2 or #3 brush. And I’ll break out a 10/0 detail brush for painting facial features and eyes. But that #0 or #1 pointed round is my go-to for most jobs.

Read our full breakdown on brush sizes here: Best Brush Sizes for Painting Warhammer

Brushes Miniature painting

Natural Hair vs Synthetic – Which Are the Best Brushes for Painting Miniatures?

Synthetic brushes are cheaper and more resistant to damage from solvents. But quality sable hair brushes have significant advantages:

  • Better paint carrying capacity and flow control
  • Hold their shape and sharp tip longer under repeated use
  • More durable with proper care and cleaning

For these reasons, most professional miniature painters prefer natural hair brushes. Kolinsky sable, in particular, offers resilient bristles that form a fine point for precision work. They also have excellent “snap” – the ability to return to shape after a stroke.

Quality synthetic brushes can also do the job. And they may be a sensible option if you’re on a tight budget. I used nothing but synthetics when first starting out. Upgrading to sable allowed me to see refined results from superior control and smooth blending ability.

One tip – reserve synthetic brushes for metallic paints which can be hard on natural bristles. Read our full Article on the differences here: Sable Hair Brushes for Painting Warhammer

How Many Paint Brushes Do You Need for Painting Warhammer Miniatures?: Factors That Define a High Quality Brush

Beyond hair type and size, these are key attributes that make for an excellent brush:

  • Sharp Point – Allows precise details and line work.
  • Good Snap – Bristles quickly return to shape after applying paint.
  • Decent Paint Capacity – Able to hold enough paint to avoid constant reloading.
  • Springy Bristles – Flexible tip gives better blending control on the surface.
  • Durable Ferrule – Securely holds bristles for longevity.
  • Comfortable Handle – Allows good grip and manoeuvrability.

A quality sable or synthetic brush with this combination of features will give you a great painting experience. The brush will feel like an extension of your hand rather than something working against you.

Over time with use, even the best brushes wear down. But high-end sable brushes can still last years with proper care and maintenance.

Looking for more discussion on brush tips? Brush tips for Miniatures

The Most Popular Miniature Paint Brush Brands

Now that you know what to look for, here are top miniature paint brush brands commonly used for painting Warhammer models:

Winsor & Newton Series 7 – The most popular all-around brush. Jackson’s Art has them here. Raphael 8404 – Critically acclaimed with smooth capacity.

Rosemary & Co Series 33 – Inexpensive sables, great value. Find them here.
Artis Opus Series S – Created specifically for miniature painters. Available here.

Citadel (Games Workshop) – Decent starter quality. Check prices here.
Army Painter Wargamer – Cheaper alternative with unique triangle handles for comfort. See them here.

The Warsor & Newton Series 7 is tried and true favourite for good reason. I used these brushes exclusively for many years. The Raphael 8404 also gets rave reviews as a top contender.

Rosemary & Co and Artis Opus cater more directly to miniature painters with quality sable brushes at different price points.

And the Citadel and Army Painter ranges work well enough for those on a budget.

 

Maintenance and Care of Sable Brushes

To extend the life of your kolinsky sable brushes:

  • Rinse thoroughly after each session
  • Avoid letting paint dry on the bristles
  • Store horizontally or with bristles facing down
  • Clean regularly with brush soap like The Masters Brush Cleaner

With good care, a quality sable brush will last for years of painting projects, saving money in the long run.

Synthetic brushes are more disposable. But you can get more mileage out of them by keeping to gentle cleaning practices as well.

Read our full guide on how to care for your brushes here: How to Clean Brushes for Miniatures

 

How to Get Started with Your First Brush Set for Painting Miniatures

If you’re brand new to the hobby, here is a recommended starter set:

  • 1x Size #0, 1x Size #1, and 1x Size #2 pointed round brushes
  • Kolinsky sable or synthetic hair
  • From Winsor & Newton, Raphael, Rosemary, Citadel or Army Painter
  • The Masters Brush Cleaner
  • Brush carry case

With these essentials, you’ll be set up for success across a variety of painting tasks from basecoats to fine details. Expect to spend around $50-$100 for a starter selection of quality brushes.

As I mentioned earlier, I used cheap synthetics exclusively for my first year or so until improving technique allowed me to better appreciate the nuanced control of upgraded tools. Don’t feel like you need to break the bank right way.

Pay attention to what you like or dislike about any brushes you try early on. This will help refine your preferences for future upgrades tailored to your unique painting style.

Over time, you might add specialty brushes like a 10/0 for extra-fine details or a wide flat brush for large vehicles. But a standard pointed round trio covers most everything needed for infantry models.

Read our full overview on getting started here: What to look for in Brushes when Painting Warhammer Miniatures

How To Airbrush Metallics

 

The Best Brush for You Comes Down to Personal Preference

With the above guidance in mind, there is no definitive single “best” brush for painting miniatures. Personal factors like hand size, comfort, painting style, and budget play a major role.

A large part of creating something is the value and experience of your own freedom, freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, don’t read endlessly, begin your journey by simply starting.

My longtime Winsor & Newton loyalty shifted after I tried the Artis Opus Series S brushes designed specifically for hobbyists. The fuller belly and precise tip won me over to get even smoother basecoats and highlights. But another painter may have the opposite experience.

The most talented artists can create stunning works with cheap craft store brushes and failed prints for palette surfaces. Even a round brush cut from a household broom was used early on by renowned painter Bob Ross!

Upgrading quality tools can certainly make painting easier and more enjoyable. But no one brush will magically transform anyone into a Golden Demon winner. Find what feels right for you. Experiment, practice proper care, and keep developing your skills.

Conclusion

Equipping yourself with a set of pointed round sable or synthetic brushes in sizes #0 through #2 makes a sensible starting point. From there, tailor and expand your brush collection based on personal preference as you advance your hobby journey.

I hope you found this guide helpful. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions as you figure out your ideal brush setup. And don’t forget to check out more tutorials and unboxing videos from all of us here at Warhammer Universe!

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