Buying brushes: what are the must-have types for figure painting?

Well, see above. I need to invest in some brushes as my old ones are quite bad, but I am somewhat lost. I watched a couple of videos by mini painters all of which gave completely contradictory advice on brush sizes.

I paint Warhammer miniatures -and tiny details on 1!35, 1!72 scale models. I use acrylic and oil paints (as I understand synthetic brushes are very recommended for oils), and I would like to know which brushes are used for the tiny detail work, blending, etc.
Thank you

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Looking forward to hearing what others use.
I have been using Ammo, Tamiya and generic brushes.

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Well chaps, personally, I use brushes from Rosemary & Co. Easily up there with the likes of W & N etc. I only use 0, 1 and 2’s. Cheaper too. Series 33 are the ones for figure painting. If using oils, they’ll last a long time. Acrylics, not so much. I usually get around 10-15 figures out of them but, I only use acrylics. HTH.

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For the appalling efforts I end up with, I may as well use these lol.



Lol good one Johnny ! I feel like I’m using those kinds of brushes when I do figures too !

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I use WN with Vallejo’s acrylics. 0,00,000, and 1 I think. Excellent brushes as long as you take care of them. I got them for about $10-11 apiece from an online art store in Connecticut USA. Love ‘em


Those are what my wife usually buys me :triumph:

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My figure painting technique is to under-coat with acrylics and then actually paint with artist oils. I paint figures ranging from 28 mm wargaming to 54 mm (with occasional larger scale figures), but mostly 1/35 scale.

So, +1 for the W&N sable brushes for oils. Shorter, stiffer bristles are needed to blend oils.

I use liner brushes for acrylics rather than rounds or brights since I feel the longer bristles hold usable amounts of paint better. Acrylic paint flows better from these, I think. I don’t blend or shade acrylics, just block them in to paint the oils over.

(I also use acrylics for detail hand-brush painting on my other models, though, using the same liner brushes.)

Brush size just depends. The rule of thumb is to use the largest brush for the job. This leaves the fewest brush marks when blending. I have and use brushes ranging from #2 all the way to 10x0. All just depends on the size of the spot being painted.

Over the past few years, I’ve found that the Army Painter series of brushes are a pretty good value, but they need to be selected carefully by actually looking at the brush before buying. Some of their smaller brushes are better than others.

I recently picked up several AK brushes. I haven’t used them yet, but they look very nice in the package.

Still, W&N sables are my go-to standard and always consistently reliable quality even buying over the internet. I replace these with new ones when mine get worn. I might experiment with other brushes, but they’re too hit of miss and inconsistent in quality, so I only buy ones that I can inspect first-hand.


I have to agree with what the other replies have said but I would like to highlight a couple of ranges that are worth a try. One is the Daler-Rowney ‘Aquafine’ range which is for watercolors but I find them very nice for acrylic work- not too stiff or soft and they keep their shape well. Also, for oils I think the Daler-Rowney ‘Georgian’ line are quite good.


I don’t have a specific brand, mostly middle priced, but the smallest i use is a 0 going up to 4. A size 1 is my normal brush for painting 1/285 microarmor.

IMHO the best advice I can give is buy the best you can afford. I do a fair amount of figure painting, in both 1/35th and other scales (up to 90mm in the past). Being antediluvian, I still use Humbrol enamels. From what I’ve read here and other places, it’s difficult to get good results brush painting with acrylics, but what do I know? I find the slow drying of enamels allows you to get better blending effects when you are highlighting or shadowing. This is why many top level figure painters use oils (I’m not putting myself in this class BTW!). It’s worthwhile looking back at the old Shep Paine figure painting book to see some of the effects achieved with comparatively crude materials “in the day”. I usually buy my brushes from art shops or Hobbycraft and while I don’t always buy a “name”, I look for good quality hair, I don’t use synthetic brushes at all. The smallest brush I have at the moment is 00000!

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commonly known as a gnats knacker lol