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Just starting to horde my painting supplies


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Well, I've decided after 10 long years of hiding from painting after making several travesties of old ral partha miniatures that I'm going to have a go at it again, and am building up supplies to start anew with some GW miniatures that i have yet to actually buy.


Basically.. what I'm looking for here is some advice on the areas I haven't already made my mind up on, suggestions for alternatives of the things I have made my mind up on, and anything I may have not thought of yet. For starters, I'm starting with an almost zero knowledge base of painting, so it's going to be an uphill battle, but this time i've got the patience and maturity to keep going instead of giving up at the first botched job.


Here's the supplies I'm definately going with... the Reaper Master Paints and spray on primer/varnish... likely get the krylon fusion stuff since it's plastic friendly... getting black and white primer as well as matte and glossy varnishes. Though it's already been suggested that for plastic mini's the varnishes aren't really that necessary?


Where I definately need help is the brush department... I know nothing about brushes except what little I've been able to glean from a myriad of sources online.. so here I am wondering what to do about brushes... I read somewhere a good selection of sizes to have would be something like 5/0 or 10/0, 0, 20/0, and 1/2 or 3/4 for larger stuff.. but beyond the sizes I don't know what differentiates a brush from a brush. I'm on a budget here as well and having looked around at various sable brushes and synthetics the prices get pretty out of this world.


Would it be a good idea to start off with some synthetic brushes until I get a feel for painting and brush care, then expand into sables? Are the reaper brushes good? Are the GW brushes still any good? Is there anything about brush cleaners or cleansing techniques I should know? I've read over the forums here and topics on brushes and brush care seem to be scarce.


What about glues for modelling? Any specific ones that I should avoid? I've read that there's several types of glue that I should have on hand at all times as well? I used to be an avid modeller when I tried to paint back a decade ago, but I can't for the life of me remember which glue I used.. all I know was it smelled like grapefruit and worked well on plastic models, even though it was a bit stringy.

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I use a Windsor & Newton Series 7 brush, size 0. They make a regular version and a miniature version- I'd advise you to get one of each in size 0. You can get them at Dick Blick online, and it with shipping it doesn't make much sense to just order one brush. I've found that some people prefer the regular version, and some prefer the miniature version. The miniature version is shorter, and gives a bit more control for eyeballs and such. One of these brushes will become your favorite, and you'll use that one brush for everything.


Also order some Windsor & Newton brush cleaner.


I use Zap A Gap Green for metals, and good ole' Testor's red for plastic.


For primer I'd recommend Tamiya Fine Surface Primer, white spray-on, and Testor's Dullcoat spray for sealing. That's for pewter, I don't know much about plastics but these would probably work just as well.

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As far a brushes, you can buy W&N at a premium or wait on the deal----most places online will offer 'em at reduced prices. Several other companies make some very nice brushes that are, in some cases, less expensive than the W&Ns (and at comparable quality)---

DaVinci and Raphael are two other manufacturers that come to mind....

The DaVinci Maestro is an awesome little brush---but still about the same money as the W&Ns.


I'd just recommend Kolinsky of "some kind"----but, if I were on a budget, I'd buy *one* size 0 or size 1 *nice* Kolinsky (W&N, DaVinci) and treat it well---as opposed to buying cheaper brushes (and ultimately more of them).


And what about a brush for dry brushing? Just something cheap and synthetic and a bit larger maybe?


Definitely something cheaper---drybrushing will kill the brush.





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Tenax-7R for glue. I like to keep a hand full of miniature clamps handy too since depending on the miniature it can be a bit fiddly to hold three or four pieces together while you use the glue (watch out for plastic clamps though...don't want to end up gluing them onto your mini).


A lot of people don't like synthetic brushes, I myself kind of like them for certain things. I've got my natural brushes too - but some things I like the feel of synthetics for (I find they tend to work better for free hand...but to each there own). When it comes right down to it though, you will likely have a different touch than everyone who you talk to. Check your local stores to see if they have sales going on and see how you like how different brushes feel (most art stores will let you fiddle with the brushes to see how they react).


Brush care - don't let paint dry in the ferrules. There are a handful of different cleaners out there, some are for actually dissolving the paint - others behave more like a conditioner. I tend to use both. Once a month or so depending on how much I am using them I'll take 15-20 minutes to clean all my brushes. Pretty simple...soak, brush, soak, brush. Keep doing that till none of the paint comes out of the bristles and from up in the ferrule. After that, I'll use the brush soap, rinse that gentley and let them dry. The soap I use is really more of a conditioner - though it does a good job of keeping things clean between the big cleanings.


Other things...depends on what you are doing. I use my Copic Multiliners on some miniatures, while on others I'll use my airbrush. If you are doing big miniatures (you said GW...so there may be tanks in your future) I would highly recomend an airbrush. The multiliners come in handy since you don't have a lot of the issues of brush control and paint drying out before it has a chance to touch the mini like you do with some of the 20/0 brushes...though that depends somewhat on where you live and how you paint.

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As far as the dry brush goes... do i want a round brush for that? or a fan brush or does it even really matter?

I personally like "Flat" ferrules for dry-brushing. The ones I use most often are flat size #0, size #2, and size #4.


The material (sable, hog hair, synthetic) varies on the texture I'm targeting. I usually use sable for the softest/smoothest response. ::D: (but they get beat-up pretty fast! :down: )

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So I hit up the local hobbytown USA for some of the supplies I am hording.. surprisingly they had a lot of the stuff I needed.. but as far as the spray primers and finishes go, the stuff they had there was very polystyrene unfriendly.. and since most miniatures are plastic these days for GW stuff... I don't want to watch my space marines get eaten away by noxious fumes from nurgle-in-a-can ... should I just go back to the original krylon fusion primers? Or can anybody suggest some good plastic friendly primer and matte/gloss finishes?

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I second all of the plugs for a kolinski brush. I do a lot of painting with a series 7 #2 or miniature #2, both are awesome and definately worth investing in. I don't think they make you a better painter but they take away the headaches of bad equipment so you can concentrate on improving your skills.





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Here's the supplies I'm definately going with... the Reaper Master Paints and spray on primer/varnish... likely get the krylon fusion stuff since it's plastic friendly... getting black and white primer as well as matte and glossy varnishes. Though it's already been suggested that for plastic mini's the varnishes aren't really that necessary?


Varnishes are still necessary for plastic minis.


I've used Duplicolor Sandable Primer (from an auto parts store) on old Plastech (Battletech) plastic minis and they were fine, but I haven't tried them on any plastic minis of recent vintage.


On the varnishing side, spray varnishes should be fine since the mini should be complete covered in paint anyway, but I would experiment on a junk mini before spraying something that you care about.



Would it be a good idea to start off with some synthetic brushes until I get a feel for painting and brush care, then expand into sables? Are the reaper brushes good? Are the GW brushes still any good? Is there anything about brush cleaners or cleansing techniques I should know? I've read over the forums here and topics on brushes and brush care seem to be scarce.


I suggest getting both synthetics and sable or sable blend brushes. If you can afford them, a #1 or #2, a #0, and a #000 Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes + a porcelain palette will cost you about $40 from Dick Blick. The brushes will last for years with proper care and are well worth the money. I recommend the regular version over the miniature one. Both will have great points.


No matter what, you'll want to get good brush soap from your local Michael's or Hobby Lobby (look for the 40% off coupons and sales in the sunday papers and time your purchases) and then use it religiously. If you get sable or sable blend brushes, you should also use some hair conditioner on your brushes as well.


The Reaper Kolinsky Sable brushes are pretty good, but the W&N brushes are better. I've tried the GW drybrush (pretty good), but none of the other brushes. W&N Series 7 brushes from Dick Blick are a bit more expensive but well worth it.


Here and here are a couple of articles that offer some more suggestions on things that you might want to get.



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Indeed I hadn't run into your guide until now Madog, thanks kindly, never hurts to have too much information *bleeds from his eyes* ... much.


Does anybody have any more recent experiences with spray on primers on polystyrene mini's? I'm sure they're made of the same material today as they were years ago.. but I'd rather not go out and spend some money on some miniatures and spray primer and find my little soldiers deformed because the primer was a little bit too aggressive.


About the brushes.. is a #3/0 the same as a #000?

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Here's my advice, for what it's worth:


Brushes: Either the GW set of three or the Reaper set of three to start with. The Reaper set are all synthetic. In the GW, I think the Base Coat and Detail brush are natural hair, while the Small Drybrush is synthetic. You can add a couple larger drybrushes if you like, but if you are mostly painting human-sized 28mm figs you won't need them for a while.


Once you have beaten these brushes up a bit learning the basics, go get some nice sables. You'll hear several names bandied about: Windsor Newton, DaVinci, and Raphael seem to be the current favorites. What do I think? Well, in the painting world I don't think anyone has done more to promote the WNS7 than Jennifer Haley. Jen now recommends DaVinci and Raphael. If I were getting new brushes, I'd go with what Jen buys.


BTW, I bought the boxed GW Master Brushes on sale and love them.


No matter what brushes you get when, buy some WN Brush Cleaner and Restorer and a cake of Master's brush soap. Learn when and how to use both. Your brushes will thank you.


Things to not waste your money on: Any brush size smaller than 5/0. Really, even 3/0 is getting a bit tiny. When you are ready to upgrade to sables, go to an art store and try some out. No one can really tell you what size to get. For one thing, each manufacturer means something different by the size of the brush. Think I'm kidding? You should put my three #2's from Reaper, Vallejo, and Adikolor side by side. The differences in size are pretty marked, though the printed size is the same.


There is also your personal preference; what you feel comfortable with. What you may find is as your brush skills increase, you favor a larger brush, but are more picky about how it feels and responds. You'll like a #1 with nice spring and a sharp point over a 3/0 that is not as responsive.


Oh, and when I say "art store", I mean the real deal, NOT Michael's or some other big chain. Someplace where the guy behind the counter is working to get a discount on the stuff he needs for his studio, so he can help you pick a nice brush.


Also, if you go to the store you can test the brushes. Sure, you'll pay a little more, but you can be sure you've got good brushes. Nothing sucks more than taking a brush out of the package and finding out it doesn't hold a point, no matter HOW much you "saved" buying it. Sure, you can return it, but then there's all that agrivation.


It's kind of fun to go on the great brush hunt, playing with different ones until you find what you like.


There are two things that you can get at Michael's: WN Cirrus flats and the little plastic brushes with crappy natural hair. A dozen are $1. Really good wash brushes, useless for anything else. The WN Cirrus flats make nice drybrushes.


Primer: I have used GW, Armory, Duplicolor Sandable White & Black, Tamiya Fine White, Tamiya Gray, Floquil, Krylon, Krylon Fusion, Rust-o-leum Painter's Touch Sandable Primer and the crap you get from Wal-mart for $1. What can I say, I was just getting started and didn't know any better.


What do I recommend? Depends on what you're priming for. Paint and Take figures or squads of table-top gaming minis: Duplicolor tops the list. Painter's touch is also nice. Krylon Fusion is OK, but I mainly get it for things where I want a color other than white or black as the primer. If you are at all concerned about the stuff working with plastic, then go with Fusion. I believe Duplicolor will work with plastic ut the Painter's Touch my not. The labelling does not say it is for priming plastic.


For your character figures or something for a contest, Tamiya is the primer of choice. After that would be Floquil. The painters at Brushthralls suggest Duplicolor Sandable White and one other I can't think of off the top of my head.


As for everything else on that list: don't bother. It's either too expensive for the quality you get or cheap crap.


Spray sealer: again, depends on your purpose. For tabletop minis, the seal of choice is a gloss sealer topped by Dull Cote. For display pieces, you'd be more likely to put a couple light coats of Dull Cote.


Something you may not have thought of: additives. To start with, just save yourself some grief and buy either Reaper or Vallejo that's ready to use. Yes, you can mix your own, but the stuff from the model companies is formulated for model paints. Also a couple empty droppers and some distilled water. Later you may want to get droppers and things like matte medium to make your own "gunk" or "magic wash", but go easy on yourself to start.


Besides the stuff, the most important thing you can do is go hang out at your FLGS with some other painters who are willing to show you the ropes. If they will let you try some of thier paints, so much the better.


Good luck and keep us up to date on how it's coming.

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Damn that was one hell of a good writeup there, answered a lot of my questions too.. thanks a lot. About the spray sealer... I'm guessing it doesn't make much difference if it eats plastic or not, one brand is much the same as another? Won't eat the plastic due to paint covering it all? As for brands? Follow the same brands as the primers? Tamiya for all sealant jobs?

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