Looking for paints to use for miniature painting can get overwhelming. If you look it up on online stores, there are tons of options and a variety of technical paints that will come up. You’ll probably get lost in what seems like an ocean of choices. Hold up! We got you.
Firstly, to narrow down your options, as a beginner it is best if you stick with acrylic paints first. Acrylic paints are relatively easier to work with compared to non-acrylic ones. It is easy to change the consistency of the paint depending on how you prefer it to be and it dries quickly allowing you to move through your project faster than other paints.
In this article, we will present some of the best paint options for you to get, as starting artists. We have compiled it all in one place in a relatively easier format for you to easily browse through the options that you have.
Miniature paint top picks in review
Our team has found that the following four paint ranges are the best options and widely recommended by experienced painters across the globe. We have also included an additional item, that you might want to consider getting along the way in your miniature painting journey.
Without further ado, here are our top picks of miniature paints:
Games Workshop Citadel Paints
- Most recommended miniature paint
- Great selection to choose from
- Suitable for beginners
Citadel Paints is high-quality acrylic paint, that is specially formulated for its different uses. What I mean by this is that base type of Citadel paints are formulated for base-coating the miniatures fairly quick and easy while the layer types are made to be used straight over base paints without any mixing.
Citadel paints are the most readily available brand of miniature paints with around 34 base paints and 70 layer paints and more varients of paints available. You can check out their site for more options. But for now, you can focus on the base, layers, and shades.
What makes it great for beginners is that the paint comes in a pot and can be used straight from it. It is really easy to use and very convenient especially if you are more focused on the in and out of painting.
Vallejo Model Color Series
- Expansive range of colors to choose from
- Available individually or in themes sets
- Good coverage
Another great brand of miniature paint is Vallejo. Their Model Color has been formulated with permanent pigments specially made for fine arts.
All colors are completely lightfast and opaque. The water-based formula of this brand has also been developing not only for plastic and polyester surfaces but also great for difficult surfaces such as metals. The consistency is also very smooth as so it doesn’t leave any traces of brush strokes.
If you opt to use Vallejo, you have to be aware that unlike Citadel, Vallejo comes in a bottle. Although having it in bottles have more pros, it may be a bit harder to use for a beginner since you would need a palette, which in itself is an extra step that might be unnecessary unless you are an advanced user.
The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit
- Company specialized in miniature paint
- Large range of paints to choose from
- 18 ml dropper bottles (bigger than most other brands)
- Available individually and in sets
You may notice that in both Citadel and Vallejo, you are more likely to buy one color at a time rather than in sets. It gives you control over what color you would purchase. But if you have no idea what color to get and want to skip the hassle of having to collect colors over a longer period of time, then a painting kit would be best for you.
The Army Painter Miniature Painting kit is the best place to start if your budget supports it, and you want a comprehensive starter pack that includes a total of 50 paints, as well as one triangular-handled Regiment paintbrush. It won’t leave you lost as it also included a detailed painting guide especially on how to prep your paints. You’ll save a great deal of money and time with this set.
Quality-wise, it still gives excellent coverage. It is also made with heavy pigments and great consistency which can be used for airbrushes and or with a regular paintbrush. The paint is also marked with the Nordic Swan Eco-label which ensures that it made non-toxic and eco-friendly ensuring the health of the user and the environment.
Reaper Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit: Core Skills
- Great choice for any beginner
- Easy to work with
- Paint system makes it easy to blend them properly
Reaper is another brand that you’d like to check out. If you’re sitting in front of your computer realizing that after buying paints you still have brushes and minis to purchase, and would like to skip all that hassle than this kit is the best one for you.
The Reaper Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit: Core Skills is great to get when you definitely have nothing prepared for your miniature journey. You don’t have to wonder which colors to get or what figures you want to start with as it is all included in the pack. It is also great in learning the basics of miniature painting.
So, the box set would already include 11 paints, 3 fantasy miniatures, 2 paintbrushes, and 1 guide book to help you through. The paints are highly pigmented with excellent flow and a matte finish. Its water-soluble formula is also great for airbrushes and perfect for different surfaces such as plastic, metal, and resin models.
A paint rack helps organize your equipment
Here is an additional item that we believe can help you with every miniature project that you have. Avoid having a cluttered workspace and enjoy the painting with fewer items in the way.
The Broken Token Modular Paint Rack is definitely one of the items that will help you organize not only your brushes but also your paints and other supplies that you’ll be using. What we like about this is that you can start small and add-on as your tools increase in number.
Your items will be well displayed making it easier to locate the tools that you need making it more time-efficient. Just make sure that you check the sizes of the holes. Pots fit well in the 35mm hole and the 26mm holes are great for bottles.
Guide for purchasing your next miniature paint
Whether you want to explore more choices of paints online or visit your local crafting store to check out the paints yourself, there are a few things we would like you to keep in mind before making your purchase.
Peter Thuborg of Age of Miniatures has written a more comprehensive buying guide with a set of criteria to consider, when choosing your miniature paint in this article. Below are some of the key points, that will help you get a quick overlook of things to consider before choosing the best miniature paint for your needs.
The budget has always been the first thing to consider when shopping. It would basically tell you how much paint and what range you’ll be able to get with the set amount of money that you have. But aside from just checking the price of the item, it is also best to consider how much volume you’ll be able to get for the price stated. That way, you can get the most out of your money.
2. Container type and quality
The container of your paints plays a great role inconvenience and how long the paint will last you. For beginners, pots are easier to work with than bottles. However, pots can cause your paint to easily dry up compared to those in the bottles.
Aside from the type of container that you’ll get, it is also important to survey the quality of your container, whether it is a pot or bottle. Make sure that there are no damages and the caps of the container would block the air from entering when the paint is not in use. This way your paints would last much longer.
3. Range of color
There are some paint brands that have a huge variety of colors with a lot of different shades; however, there are also some that only have a couple few. It is best to check out what colors you can get from each range.
Also, make sure to check the range of colors available. Some may have dull and muted colors while others have a more vibrant tone. You might go home shocked that you have unknowingly chosen to opposite tones.
One of the most important properties of miniature paints would be its consistency and coverage. It is better to start with a thicker paint consistency since you can always thin it down with water but you can go from thin or watery paints to thick paints. This is also why pots are more recommended for beginners since it has a thicker consistency compared to those in bottles, giving you more control over your preferred consistency.