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A couple of Noob questions


Bloodthorn
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In the long run, cheaping out on the paints early on will probably wind up costing you more. (that's what happened to me)

I'll second this. While I still use them from time to time, I have bunch of craft paint that just sits there drying out for the most part (I keep telling myself that I will use them for terrain).

 

My painting improved a lot when I started using MSP and W&N series 7's (it improved when I switched to Pro Paints and Reaper brushes also). While you can paint a great mini using craft paints (I've seen it), using 'quality tools' will keep you from getting frustrated.

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I've been using the Reaper kolinskys for a while now too, and my 0 is just starting now to not hold a point as well, and this is after about 18 months of abuse. My size-1 was badly splayed, I ws using it for drybrushing, and then this plug og of guck came out of the ferrule, and now it snaps to a point again. Heh.

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WOW! You guys are all awesome! Thanks alot for all the tips on getting me started! My wife didnt like the idea of living on mustard and cardboard, nor did my daughter want to wear a coat made from blisters! LOL (I thought it would be cute!) I did notice the WN and Reaper K brushes brought up, which is better? Or is it just a personal preference?

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I've only used the pro brushes so far, but they're pretty nice. For $5 a pop (bear in mind you'll get a selection of six in different sizes if you get the first 3 ltp kits - the small drybrush, 2 #0's, a #000, a 3/0, and a 5/0) they're of quite good quality for most work. I added a super fine 20/0 to make eyes and details easier (the smallest in the kits is a 5/0... not bad, but the 20/0 definitely saves hassle).

 

At twice the price, the Kolinskys are a step up from this. (plus they have an even smaller 30/0 mmm... tiny) The difference, I believe, is in the quality of hair on the brushes. The way I see it, if you're just starting out you can get a lot of fine use out of the pro brushes. Once your skills have progressed to the point where you're looking for more, then check out the Kolinskys.

 

You could certainly start out with the kolinskys right away, but I don't think you'd get as much out of them in the early stages as you would later when your skills compliment their finer quality. You'd just wind up paying double for pretty much the same early result.

 

With proper cleaning after use and care, the pro brushes will serve you admirably for months of use. By that time, having gotten used to them and the properties of the paint in general as well as the techniques, you would be ready to bust out some Kolinskys and really put them to work! ::D:

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I'll add this in a second reply since it's on a slightly different part of the topic.

 

You may also want to think about what you'll use as a thinner/flow improver and a palette.

 

For the raw basics, you can get a bottle of Future floor wax that'll last you nearly an eternity. Pre-mix this with water in a smaller container and use it as your default thinner. If you go to the main reaper page and look up the craft articles there's one that offers more info on this, as well as basic ratios. To make things easier, I dumped out one of my spare MSP pure blacks and washed out the container (I stored the black in an old pro paint empty), and I use this for my thinner mix so I can keep my drop formulas nice and consistent.

 

I personally use a much higher ratio of future to water, at 50/50. I think the average is only 10% future. I do this because I like every wash and coat to have that extra layer of protection from the future. I've found no residue build-up or negative side-effects, and by the time I'm done priming, painting, and sealing a mini they can endure all kinds of abuse on the table and still hold their paint. If your minis aren't seeing a lot of action this amount of future to water isn't necessary. Heck, it might not even be necessary in my case... but with clumsy players you can never be too careful when risking a hard-earned paint job!

 

For a palette, I took the white caps from soda bottles, popped out the cap liner, and rinsed them out. I have an old testors brush handy, and I'll add my paint drops, the thinner drops, and then stir it up with the testors brush. I find this lets my mix stick around a bit and not separate or dry up as easily. For some techniques where you're trying to gauge transparency before application, you may want to use an empty clear blister instead (as describe in the craft article referred to above). It's up to you and your personal preference.

 

A note on custom mixes: a notepad is handy, very handy. When I need a custom color I'll exploit the dropper bottles and mix drop by drop, writing down how many drops of each color go in. This is especially good for mixing custom hair or skin tones. Keeping this handy will save grief down the road if you ever want to replicate the "formula" again.

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Okay, as far as brushes go-don't hold back on the Kolinsky's just because of cost. They WILL end up saving you more in the long run. There are multiple companies that have Kolinsky brushes-Reaper, Davinci, Windsor and Newton. Which one you like is personal preferance. I used to have to buy a brush a month, now I buy a brush a year to year and a half. Even if I was buying $1 brushes a month (they were more like $5), buying one $10 a brush a year would still save me money. The cheaper brushes are made of cheaper materials and don't hold a point as well or as long, a lot of them start to droop at the tip after a while.

 

Saying to wait for your Kolinsky's until you've achieved a higher status as a painter is kind of silly. Would you refrain from using the oven until you were a better cook using a fire pit in the back yard instead? Using inferior tools makes it harder to improve. Once you are an excellent painter, you'd be more likely to be able to make those inferior tools work better. Just my two cents, take it or leave it, but welcome to painting.

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This is true, but it's not like the pro brushes are garbage or something. They are pretty good brushes. Given that it's what comes in the kits anyways and being on a budget... does it make more sense to spend $5 for an additional detail brush, or $60 to get a whole new set of Kolinskys right away?

 

Obviously the kolinskys are the superior product, but why not use the pro brushes on hand first and then start replacing Kolinskys in?

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Three Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes (say, a #2, a #0, and a #3/0) is going to be about $35 or so from Dick Blick (with shipping). And, they'll last a very long time and are well worth the money. You'll still want to use the Pro brushes (synthetics) when you are speed painting, painting over rough spots, or in very tight recesses.

 

Ron

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I've always found that trying to do things on the cheap is never worth it. The cost in terms of frustration - to say nothing of money - just isn't worth it in the end. FWIW, I'm planning on making the move to Kolinsky brushes next month - the MSP Set #1 that came in the mail last week cleaned me out this month's extra cash . . .

 

BTW, is there anyway to get the painting guides from the Learn to Paint kits by themselves? I'd like to see if there's anything I've been missing.

 

The Egg

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... and being on a budget... does it make more sense to spend $5 for an additional detail brush, or $60 to get a whole new set of Kolinskys right away?

 

Obviously the kolinskys are the superior product, but why not use the pro brushes on hand first and then start replacing Kolinskys in?

If you can get and maintain a good point with the red handled brushes, use them. Don't count on them lasting for a long time.

 

I have some Reaper Master Series and W&N S7's that are over 5 years old. (I don't think the Reaper's are - but I bought them as they were released.) I paint at least every other night for about an hour a session. I am brutal on my brushes and am just now looking to replace my W&N "0" that does 75% of the work on my minis.

 

Switching to W&N's (or Reaper's Master Series) - there is a bit of adjustment as they behave just a bit different than the hog or synthetic brushes. You have to learn to pull the paint - not push it.

 

Would you rebuild a race car engine with a cresent wrench? It is a good general purpose tool, but there are better more specific tools out there.

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The point was that if this guy is just getting started, and starting fresh, and on a budget, then he needs advice for quality and value.

 

The priority expense should be good paint, because without this you got nothin'. Hence my recommendation for the three learn to paint kits. A great way to get a head start on MSP's.

 

Sure, Kolinskys and W&N are way better than the pro brushes. But pro brushes are good quality for the price, and he's going to get a set of six in the kits. $5 more gets a 20/0, and the guy is off to a rocking start for under $100.

 

If this guy had money to burn then yeah, get all the high end gear right away. I just don't see the sense in telling a guy who's stated he's on a tight start-up budget to toss six gratis brushes and fork out bigger money to replace 'em right away.

 

A few months down the road, sure. But for a non-budget crushing start the pro brushes/kits are likely his best option, at least for the interim of just getting started.

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