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Miniature paint brushes – What do you recommend?

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  ced1106 1 week, 4 days ago.

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    Hi all,

    What would be your go to range of paint brushes for miniature painting?

    I have one go to brush that Romain gave me years ago that use I all the time:

    Raphael Martre Kolinsky 8413

    It’s great but it won’t last forever, so I’m wondering what ranges/set you lot in the community would recommend people take a look at when shopping for paint brushes.


    • This topic was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by  lloyd.

    Cult of Games Member

    I found good paint brushes to be the right sort of price for a Christmas gift. So I usually get my family to buy me a new set every year.

    I’ve used Raphael 8404, Rosemary and Co, W&N Series 7, Redgrass Games and this year I got Artis Opus. I normally go with sizes 0-2 and get an extra small if they make them.

    Honestly they’ve all been good. Frankly my brush care has been the critical factor in how long they lasted.

    If I had to choose just one of them my Raphael 8404 size 1 has stood up best to my care. I’ve used it very roughly with metallics and washes and it still forms a point. While I’m mainly using my latest brushes I still go back to that Raphael brush for the awkward stuff I don’t want to use my nice brushes on.



    As well as the Raphael’s i’d check out

    Windsor Newton series 7 range,

    and Rosemary & Co series 33

    my personal go to

    (or series 99 slightly cheaper still)

    all of these ranges are good quality brushes you should be able to get hold of via art shops or online

    kolinsky sable is the highest quality natural hair for brush making so other ranges made of it should also be decent (but who made it also matters and I know the ones above are good)

    I’ve also heard good things abot



    I’m a fan of the Raphael 8404s and the Broken Toads because they hold a good point and have a good belly. If you want a bit less of a belly or a less expensive brush than the Rosemary & co Series 33 (Pure Kolinsky Sable) are also really good.

    However, for metallics I use whatever synthetic brush I can find, currently using an Army Painter one and some AK Interactive ones. They aren’t great, but at least it keeps your sables last a bit longer if you don’t use metallics in them.


    Cult of Games Member

    I just buy a set when I need them . Usually about £14 for 8 or 9. Do the job ok


    This was the last lot. They were £12



    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by  torros.


    @lloyd id say stick with raphael i love mine, cheapest place in uk for them ive found is

    also heard there’s a store not far from you which has quite a few good products for hobbying, if you ask nicely they might let you try before you buy




    Cult of Games Member

    Actually if you are painting using acrylics (or enamels) then sable (and other natural hair) brushes are NOT recommended. Acrylic paints wreck natural hair brushes over time (and they don’t like being overly damp, as when you clean the brush in water), and you’re much better off using decent quality synthetic brushes instead.

    Sable Brushes are good for using oils, watercolours. But in this case spending that extra isn’t going to reap you rewards. A lot of the time synthetic brushes get a bad reputation because the painter has bought cheap “hobby” brushes (which have trouble keeping a fine point). But spending a little extra for artist grade synthetics will get you a good brush that will last longer (and keep it’s point) than it’s natural hair equivalent 🙂

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by  phaidknott.


    @phaidknott not sure i fully agree, have some expensive synthetics and i just prefer the feel of sable, seems more supple to me.
    Problem with arcylics as a generic term is that there are so many different acrylic bases, i.e. tamiya & mr hobby are alcohol based as are most japanese paint systems, where as the majority of US and European brands are water soluble, which i would image makes a difference to natural fibres. That said im very anal about cleaning my brushes when i paint, and always finish by using a decent brush soap/conditioner after each session


    Cult of Games Member

    I discovered Pro Arte Renaissance brushes (I think it’s their water colour range?) – the ones with the green handles. One of their number 2 brushes does about 90% of all my painting now – even on 15mm stuff.

    Nice big belly to hold lots of paint, keep their tip for ages, an absolute joy to paint with.

    W&N Series 7 are really nice to paint with too – but they are really expensive and don’t actually hold all that much paint (their profile is more like a “cone shape” rather than the stereotypical cartoon paintbrush shape). A big brush with a big belly and a sharp point is far more enjoyable to use than even a W&N with a tiny point but you have to keep going back for more paint every few strokes!



    It is true that sables wear out more with acrylics than they do with watercolours or oils. But, if you only use them with water-based non-metallic acrylics and clean them well after use, they can still last you a long while. The biggest problem with synthetics vs. sable with me is that synthetics don’t hold moisture nearly as well as sables do, it’s just the nature of the material. Well made synthetics will therefore hold their point a lot longer than sable does. One thing I have at one point been thinking about is mixed brushes with both synthetic and sable in it, like the series 401 from Rosemary & Co.

    The reason why I won’t recommend sables with metallics is that metallics have tiny metallic particles in them. Some brands have bigger ones than others, but still. This wears out the point of brushes really quickly and I will always recommend using cheap brushes for this, preferably synthetics as they do withstand this a lot longer.


    Cult of Games Member

    @phaidknott can you recommend any good synthetic brands? The synthetics I’ve tried didn’t hold a lot of paint compared to my sables.


    Cult of Games Member

    There’s no preferred synthetic type of brush (you can get different types of synthetic fibres and even a mix of synthetic and natural fibres), for keeping paint on the brush it’s more to do with the brush shape more than the fibres used (typically the classic “bell” shaped brush is good for this as the bell forms a reservoir for the paint. If you get a “liner” style of brush then you will be going back to to the paint pot for more paint (but you gain more control for doing things line panel lines). However cheap hobby brushes (with plastic handles) shed bristles and amost come as new with no point to the brush head

    The “set” Torros showed is typically the type of thing I’d pick up personally (along with a couple of extras with the liner style of brush head). Acrylics at the end of the day is a form of “plastic”, so it adheres to natural fibres (while it has a harder time bonding with the synthetic fibres).

    I’d say you get more difference for your painting from how you use it, then the expense and technology of the brush. Some people prefer thin paintbrush handles, while other like a thicker style (like the pear shaped ones Torros posted and image off). But even if you still like and prefer the expensive Raphael brands, you can still buy synthetic brushes from them.

    And as Timcubb said copious amounts of brush care can extend the life of any brush and you can put it through hell and high water. However I just use a cheaper brush and clean normally with water (cheaper brushes mean you don’t have to be as fastidious about caring for them). But at the end of the day I don’t feel the sable brushes deliver a superior end result based purely on the fact they use Sable/Natural fibres (that’s more down to the talent of the painter).


    Cult of Games Member

    I use Roubloff (Kolinsky) 101F’s with the narrow reservoir for edge highlighting (typically  #1) and the 111F brush range for general paining base colours, details and shades. I think they are great, but I’ve never seen anyone else use them.

    Citadel is my goto for drybrushes and I use the Humbrol stippling brush pack.(they are decent and cheap).



    For me, there’s only one answer: W&N Series 7. Yes, they’re mink, so I tend to mine very carefully – I have some that are at least 10 years old, and still useful.

    I use Vallejo Brush Cleaner in a jar with a soft bristly bottom to give them a deep clean when I’m done, store them capped and in their plastic tube.

    My preferred sizes are 1, 0, and 00. I can do anything with those.

    I do have a few other brushes – including one very, very old Citadel Red Handle! It still has a function.


    Cult of Games Member

    I bought some W&N no7 brushes years ago and they are still great. No particular brush care beyond washing them in water after every use and not storing stupidly. As was mentioned, they don’t have the belly that other ranges have but I found that I adapted to them quickly and now think nothing of it. I’m looking to buy a new size 1 right now (the cats have stolen my other one and I’ll be damned if I know where they’ve hidden it) and despite looking at several different brands and even using a W&N synthetic for the last few weeks, I think I’ll buy another series 7. The synthetic is fine but it’s just a bit too firm for my painting tastes.

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