Brush-painting tank/artillery shell cases

Can anyone suggest the best way to brush-paint shell cases for tank and artillery ammunition? I have experimented with Humbrol enamel 54 (Brass), but find the finish to be rather grainy.
Maybe I should be using acrylics to achieve a smoother finish. Also, does anyone have a preferred undercoat for this colour?

One suggestion I have come across is to undercoat with Burnt Umber, and to follow with a top coat
of Vallejo’s Liquid Gold …



Vallejo brass is hands down the best brass I’ve ever come across. Not grainy at all. Number 70.801. Every other brass or brass substitute I’ve used is as you say kind of grainy

Here are shells I painted for my most recent build

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I had good results with Mig Ammo Brass. A Mig-0197. I applied it with a brush but very wet/flowed on to avoid brush marks.


LifeColor makes a good set, although they work best airbrushed. But look at the pix of the six rounds attached to the sprue, they were each brushed on.

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Also, a UK company Darkstar Miniatures produces a line of acrylic metallics. They are excellent for brushing. I got mine from

When the archived reviews are available again, there are reviews here on KitMaker.

I have the Lifecolor set and I like them very much. They brush well. They are very highly and finely pigmented and give a great finish.

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I’ve used Alclad lacquers. First I paint the parts to be brass matte black (doesn’t matter what kind of paint as long as it is matte and smooth - I use an acrylic). Then, because Alclad is a toxic lacquer (no airbrushing lacquers in my basement!), I dip the parts into it and let them drip dry. Result is a nice smooth brush-stroke free finish! Vallejo also gives a good finish.

As I build lots of artillery models, I have to deal with a lot of brass. I’ve tried just about everything on the market, and given away lots of bottles of brass paint that just didn’t look like brass. I’ve settled on Vallejo Model Color Brass 70.801 for brush painting. It comes out of the bottle looking way too thick, don’t thin it, just use it straight from the bottle. I do like the airbrushed results better. For airbrushing I use the AK Xtreme Metal Brass, AK475 straight from the bottle - no thinning necessary. I also use the AK Xtreme Metal Pale Brass, AK 672, which better portrays bright polished brass for some things. I also have a tube of AK True Metal Brass, AK460. This is a wax that I apply with a cotton swab and then buff on the edges, and high points to give a bit of depth.