The 5 Best Brushes for Painting Miniatures: How to Choose & Where to Buy

Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Watercolor Brushes

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  • Precise, reliable quality brushes made from natural kolinsky sable hair

  • The set includes every type of brush you need when painting miniatures

  • Each brush has perfect, endless shape retention for even color flow

  • The points are sharp, perfectly sized for painting miniatures, but also for watercolor creations

Raphael 8404 Kolinsky Sable Fine Point Brush Set, Size 02

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  • Even though it’s just one single brush, it can be used for all kinds of purposes

  • Great for painting miniatures and Warhammer figures

  • The bristles stay in place and have a sharp point

  • It has a large but very consistent belly, yet it maintains a point

Golden Maple Detail Paint Brush Set for Acrylic, Watercolor, Oil, Models, Warhammer 40k

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  • Extremely comfortable in use due to the triangle-shaped grip handle

  • Retains their shape and sharp points endlessly

  • The bristles of every brush are perfectly shaped to an exact point without strays

  • A solid set of relatively cheap brushes 

  • Suitable for beginning artists in painting miniatures that are starting and trying to paint their first models

Whether you are a big fan of providing miniatures from beautiful colors by painting them or maybe even specialize in painting wargames models, one thing you need to get that done is a set of good quality brushes. Like any painter, you will have to stock up on the best brushes to help you apply the paint you use in the best way possible. However, those small and tiny figures need a particular type of brush, as you may expect.

Painting miniature figures are precision work and can be a fantastic, calming hobby that keeps you occupied for a few hours with fine detail work! To make the best out of your painting experience, it is vital to find yourself a set of small enough brushes for all those small surfaces and fine details that need a layer of paint. But, what are the best brushes for painting miniatures, what to look for, and where do you find them?

As brushes are often sold in sets, they contain different tip options. However, not all of them may be useful for painting and detailing. That’s where we from Justcraftingaround.com come in. Our below article has taken 5 individual and different sets of brushes with the best composition for miniature painting into consideration and reviewed them on several criteria.

We have also put together a specific and comprehensive buying guide on these types of brushes, followed by a summary of the most frequently asked questions on paint brushes. Hopefully, we can help you find the right, high-quality tools you need for this hobby and all the information you need before you are ready to buy! 

Top Rated & Reviewed: The 5 Best Brushes for Painting Miniatures

We have reviewed five of the best brushes for painting miniatures that’ll bring you and your creations the best-looking results. Below, you will find an extensive review for every brush set, based on different criteria such as price, material, brand, and a lot more! Read on below to find out what Justcraftingaround.com recommends.

#1: Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Watercolor Brushes

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Specifications:

Hair type: Kolinsky Sable brushes

Amount of brushes: 4

Brush size: 0, 1, 2, and 3

The English manufacturer Winsor & Newton is not a newbie in the world of good quality brushes. And this set of 100% pure Kolinsky Sable hair brushes from the Series 7 is the proof of that. The bristles consist of natural hair that will, without a doubt, last a lifetime with the right care regime. The bristles of these high-quality brushes hold a point and will ensure you long-lasting fun, which also plays a big part in that are the ferrules, which are made rust-proof and nickel-plated, combined with comfortable and sleek, black polished handles.

This stylish gift set of Winsor & Newton Series 7 is, of course, perfect to gift, but not just to your surroundings; it is a beautiful gift to yourself when you are going for a more professional and experienced level of miniature painting. These handmade, natural-haired brushes are extremely popular for numerous reasons, including the sharp, crisp point that holds its shape for a lifetime. It does require to invest a bit more extra money, but we are strongly advocating for quality over quantity when it comes down t brushes for miniature painting.

Pros:

  • Precise, reliable quality brushes made from natural kolinsky sable hair
  • The set includes every type of brush you need when painting miniatures
  • Each brush has perfect, endless shape retention for even color flow
  • The points are sharp, perfectly sized for painting miniatures, but also for watercolor creations

Cons:

  • Less suitable for people with a smaller budget and just begin with miniature painting
  • The color release of the natural hair brushes might be less subtle 

#2: Raphael 8404 Kolinsky Sable Fine Point Brush Set, Size 02

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Specifications:

Hair type: Kolinsky Sable hair

Amount of brushes: 1

Brush size: 2

Another extremely popular brand in the manufacture of brushes is Raphael. This size 2 paint brush is of high quality and when you are looking for the best all-purpose brush; this is the one! The Kolinsky Sable brush works well with any type of application. The fine round point brush does what it is meant to do and has the ability to hold the pigment in large amounts due to the full belly. This brush is put together by using and combining several hair lengths to ensure the sharpest, most crisp point.

This Kolinsky Sable haired brush is handmade in France with the expertise of real artists. Whether you are looking to fill in your miniatures with a base coat, you wish to apply layers, or just want for an extra sharp point with the right balance spring and snap, this Raphael 8404 has got it in store for you. Raphael brushes are known to last long and stay with you through your creative journey!

Pros:

  • Even though it’s just one single brush, it can be used for all kinds of purposes
  • Great for painting miniatures and Warhammer figures
  • The bristles stay in place and have a sharp point
  • It has a large but very consistent belly, yet it maintains a point

Cons:

  • The hairs may fall out or be inconsistent

#3: Golden Maple Detail Paint Brush Set for Acrylic, Watercolor, Oil, Models, Warhammer 40k

Specifications:

Hair type: Synthetic nylon

Amount of brushes: 10

Brush sizes: 5/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8

For the ones looking for a great deal that brings you quality and quantity: Golden Maple has just got the right set of synthetic brushes for you. These ten synthetic brushes vary in size and include all the right ones to cover all the basics and include a micro detail paint brush. What speaks to us about this brush set is, of course, the price and completeness, but also the incredibly comfortable grip handle on every brush; ideal for painting those fine details.

Not only brings the soft, triangle grip and long-lasting ferrule a lot more comfort, it also prevents your brushes from rolling all over the place. Fine points and detail work during a long painting session are a breeze with this easy set of miniature brushes. The double crimped ferrules are made of sustainable chrome-plated copper and bring the handle a lot of strength and sturdiness.

Next to the set being of high quality and reasonably priced, they make a great gift as well to a fan of painting, painting miniatures, or watercolor painting.

Pros:

  • Extremely comfortable in use due to the triangle-shaped grip handle
  • Retains their shape and sharp points endlessly
  • The bristles of every brush are perfectly shaped to an exact point without strays
  • A solid set of relatively cheap brushes 
  • Suitable for beginning artists in painting miniatures that are starting and trying to paint their first models

Cons:

  • Without thorough cleaning, the smaller painting brushes might start bending after intense use
  • The brushes might be harder to clean 

#4: da Vinci Set of Painting Brushes, Russian Red Sable Hair, Series 36

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Specifications:

Hair type: Russian Red Sable hair

Amount of brushes: 5

Brush size: 0, 1, 2, 4, and 6

Since 1890, da Vinci has been the leading manufacturer of brushes in Germany. Over a decade, the brand creates high-quality brushes by hand, used for watercolor painting, painting miniature models, gouache, and many other painting techniques and applications. This set of round tip brushes by the German brand contains no less than five different sizes of brushes. 

They are known for the high capacity to hold color and pigment, and the tip is extra sharp.  Next to the highest quality Russian red sable hair used for the bristles, the brushes’ comfortable handle is made with sustainable wood from the German forests, backed up with a strong ferrule of nickel-plated brass for an extra sturdy design.

Pros:

  • The brushes feature a large reservoir and hold a lot of water and paint
  • da Vinci’s set is sustainably manufactured with wooden handles
  • The different sizes form together with the right balance between detailed work and larger surface painting on miniatures and models
  • Work well for both beginning as more experienced artists

Cons:

  • Hairs might fray and stick out over time
  • The price and quality might not be well balanced

#5: The Army Painter Miniatures Paint Brush Set of 3: Insane Detail, Regiment, and Small Drybrush

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Specifications:

Hair type: Rotmarder sable hairs

Amount of brushes: 3

Brush sizes: The Army Painter has their own sizing. The brush types include Insane Detail, Regiment, and Small Drybrush.

The Army Painter is a brand that is likely more familiar to the ones into wargaming and Warhammer figures. The ergonomically designed wooden-handle brushes are made in Germany and are as useful to beginning painters as more experienced miniature painters. All of them feature an extremely pointy tip and stay in shape. They work perfectly for highlighting the finest details and also larger surfaces on your miniatures. 

The flexible grip avoids hand fatigue, and the brushes allow you to have long painting sessions without having to load the brush too often with new pigment. Although these brushes do come with the advice to clean them properly, this set of three is a good value for money buy. This set of brushes for miniature painting are perfect for fans of war games.

Pros:

  • The perfect combination of any type of brush you need when painting models, including a dry brush for texture
  • The brushes are made with an ergonomically designed grip handle.
  • All three brushes have the traits of being soft, having a flexible, fine point, and perfect spring.
  • Suitable for beginning artists in painting miniatures and wargames

Cons:

  • Only two of the brushes are equipped with a triangular handle. The dry brush has a regular pencil handle.
  • The smallest brush, “Insane Detail,” is likely to split easily.

Buyers Guide on Best Brushes for Miniature Painting

As you could read in our reviews above, with all the different and good options available in material, price, and brand, finally purchasing the best set of brushes for you and your projects requires gathering some information first. That’s why we have listed all the beneficial information on this topic below in our detailed buying guide. Hopefully, this will provide you with enough information and resources to get started. 

How to Choose & What to Look for When Buying Miniature Paint Brushes

Many features come peeking around the corner when buying some brushes for miniature painting. You’ll want to consider what’s important to you. We suggest you take some time to consider the following things before you do so.

Hair types

In the world of miniature painting, there are two different types of hair used to put them together, synthetic hair and natural hair.

Synthetic brushes

Brushes that contain synthetic hairs are, in general, less likely to get damaged from paint. For example, when using acrylic paint – acrylic paint is known to be quite heavy on it. That being said, these brushes are a lot easier to keep clean and to maintain than natural-haired brushes. Last but not least, they are significantly less costly than natural haired brushes. After reading this, you probably ask yourself, “why would natural hair even be an option?”, well, read on below.

Natural brushes

Brushes from which the bristle is made of natural hair are more likely to be smoother in the application of paint, as they retain it better. Also, water is better maintained when using a natural haired brush. This big advantage allows you to paint with a smoother application and a longer while with the amount of paint you applied on your brush. No endless dipping and trying to get the color in the brush. In contrast to synthetic haired brushes, this type is somewhat more expensive; however, it is all worth it. This is because brushes from natural hair will keep up over the years, including the pointy tip.

Red Sable hair

The natural hair in brushes with natural bristles comes from.. well, an animal. Red sable, in this case, comes from animals in the weasel family.

Kolinsky Sable hair

The premium, highest quality red sable available; it is soft, long-lasting, and holds its shape well over time. The hair comes from the tail of an animal that’s called the kolinsky, a particular type of weasel instead of an actual sable.

Size

There are endless sizes available when you are on the hunt for brushes. They usually diversify from the smallest size indicated with 000 to the most significant size 12. To avoid confusion and indistinctness, the sizes most common in painting miniatures are 0, 1, 2, and rarely 3. However, a size 1 from one brand doesn’t automatically mean that it is the same size 1 as another brand. 

Capacity

In this subject, the term capacity is used to indicate the amount of paint or pigment the brush holds. It is helpful to consider when you are determining how small or large the surfaces will be that you are planning to paint. The more capacity, the less you will have to reload your brush with paint—ideal for applying paint on more extensive parts of the miniature, or a base coat, for example.

Point

Fine detail requires an accurate application of the paint. The factor that plays the most important in that is the point or tip of your brush. A split brush will make no one happy, as it is likely to spread your paint in places where you don’t want them to. Determine and inspect how sharp the brush point is. Any brush of good quality, natural or synthetic hair, should have a competent point when brand new. With good care, you are likely to keep your brush points sharp and sleek.

Snap and spring

The amount of snap means here if and how quick the bristles ‘snap’ back into the original shape after you have bent them in an angle. Often the number of hairs/bristles in a brush, the more it has. 

When we are speaking of spring, it is how well the belly of the brush controls itself on the surface. Spring differs from the snap, as that a brush can have very little snap, but a quality brush should always have spring. No or almost no spring can cause splaying of your brush when it touches the surface instead of maintaining its shape or point, and too much spring can cause a brush to release its paint or water load constantly.

Price and durability

Of course, price and durability come into play, apart from all the traits of the brush itself. Good quality brushes come with a higher price tag, and these often hang on brushes with natural hair. As mentioned before, these are the brushes that will last longer but require good care. When you care less about a longer-lasting brush, but the price is more important, then a synthetic brush could be your go-to option as damaging or breaking them will be less of a problem.

Taking care of your brushes

Speaking of durability: taking good care of your art supplies should always be considered a priority! When you are purchasing a nice (set of) brush(es), it is vital to take care of them as best as possible. When it comes down to natural hair, this type particularly needs more care when cleaning. There are many products available to buy that can assist you in cleaning your brushes, such as Vallejo alcohol brush cleaner. It is great to use at the end of a long painting session, and it breaks down the dry bits at the base of the bristles well.

While we have just mentioned the natural hair brushes – please mind that they all need a good thorough cleaning after each use for each type of bristles. Make sure to rinse them, not only after a session of painting but also in between changing colors. Don’t let your paint dry too long or too close to the ferrule. Last but not least: to store your brushes, do that either flat on a table or with the downside up (bristles down); this way, you will avoid excess water to seep into the ferrule (this can cause the wood/handle to swell).

Frequently Asked Questions

For any questions and answers around the best brushes for painting miniatures, please read on below.

What brushes do I need for miniatures?

When you are starting off and have no clue about which brushes you will need most, we suggest you start with brushes with the sizes 2/0, 0, and 1. Size 1 can provide a good base coat, 0 for details, and the 2/0 will be just what you need when you are working on the smallest and most tiny parts of your miniatures.

What is the best quality artist paint brushes?

The most sought-after paint brushes by professionals are the brushes manufactured by well-known brands such as da Vinci, Winsor & Newton, and Raphael’s French brand. What these have in common is the natural bristles, handmade from Kolinsky or Russian Red Sable tails.

What paintbrushes to buy for beginners?

The best set for beginners is either the Golden Maple set as it contains no less than ten different sizes of brushes. They are made of synthetic hairs, which result in a not too high price level and a good balance between value for money. However, when you are a professional and master many different techniques and applications, the Winsor & Newton Series 7 might just be the right set for you. These are more costly, but they are likely to last a lifetime with the right care and painting method.

A few final words

Although choosing the right brushes for painting miniatures for a big part comes down to personal preference, we tried our best to include several options. Painting miniatures and small figures is precise and detailed work, and with the right (set of) brushes, you will achieve the best result possible. 

Hopefully, our article and review guide has helped you find the right brushes for you and your miniatures! What is your favorite brand and what kind of brushes will you go for? Feel free to leave a reply and let us know in the comments below!

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