More than Models: Paintbrushes

Obviously, without paintbrushes we wouldn’t get very far. Even with airbrushes, there are some things that can only be done with a paintbrush, such as eyes, buttons, mouths, that sort of thing. I’m sure there are people out there who do paint eyes and teeth and fingers with airbrushes, but they’re clearly just show offs.

This is another one of those points that people will get fervent about. They’ll tell you that most brushes are worthless and you should only use Doctor Brushington’s Unicorn Pubic Hair brushes, at a reasonable £50 a brush. Some will tell you that GW brushes are fine, others will equate you with the devil if you so much and look at a GW brush. GW themselves seem convinced that to paint a model, firstly you’ll need a Citadel Big Brush to undercoat it followed by a Citadel Not Quite As Big brush to layer, then a Citadel Mediumish brush for the next layer, then a Citadel Drybrush brush (available in three sizes) for dry brushing, then a Citadel Wash brush for washes, then a Citadel Detail brush for, well, detail, then a Citadel Fine Detail brush for even more detail. Oh, and don’t forget your Citadel Stippling brush for any blood splatter, and your Citadel Basing brush for applying Citadel PVA glue. Considering each brush is around £3-4 a pop, that’s a lot of expensive popping for your painting.

People like me will tell you it’s more about the painter than the brush. However, I am wrong, as there is a certain kind of brush you really need. You need a brush that has a point, and is relatively firm. It’s hard for me to express to you what constitutes a firm brush, but I would say that if you get it wet and flick it with your thumb you should feel the moisture.

The point-requirement is easier to explain and spot. Basically, to paint smaller things, you need a brush that doesn’t look like a Japanese paper fan, and won’t sag under the weight of paint. If you were doing calligraphy with the brushes, you need to be able to dot the i’s. Conversely, painting a rhino dreadnought, dragon, monolith, giant etc will probably require a larger brush. The point of a brush isn’t such an issue with the larger models, as any inaccuracies can be rectified later. I speak from experience, as my Space Marine chapter is a dual-colour chapter, split down the middle. So many mistakes.

Anyhow, onto the cheap equivalent. My my first post, I showed you all a picture of this set, which I’m going to do again because it’s awesome:

If I could marry a set of brushes…


This set costed me £2 from here. The brushes vary in size from fairly diddy to big daddy. They are firm, and hold a decent point. You get about 15, AND they come in a lovely rolly bag thing. What more could you really want?

I’m also terrible at looking after my brushes. I do try, but I’m just rubbish. So buying a whole new set for less than the cost of one decent brush makes me a happy painter. Brush on the fritz? Chuck it in the bin! Or better yet relegate it to the ‘drybrush pile’, or the even lower ‘PVA pile’.

And if you ever find yourself desperate for some absolute fine detail, just do what I do:


Use a toothpick.

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