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Expanding on Master Series Paints Starter Set


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I recently purchased the Master Series Paints Starter Set which comes with 13 paints. 


MSP core: 9028 Muddy Brown, 9044 Tanned Skin, 9039 Pure White, 9089 Cloudy Grey

MSP HD: 29811 Turf Green, 29819 Twilight Purple, 29809 Pale Saffron, 29843 Solid Black

MSP Bones: 9402 Heraldic Red, 9418 Oceanic Blue, 9435 Skeleton Bone, 9450 Dragon Gold, 9452 Blade Steel


Now that I've tried out painting on some bones and decided I like it, I'm thinking of expanding the number of paints I have. The carrying case holds 36 paints, which seems like a natural first expansion for someone not wanting to buy a set of 54 or one of the other paint sets (which offering limited range of colors). 


So I have 23 new colors to choose. It makes most sense to me to fill out the colors I already have with their associate triads. However, only four of my paints were core paints. What makes more sense, buying complete triads even though I might already have an HD or bones paint in a similar color, or substituting the HD and bones paint I do have in a triad?


Any advice on what colors I should add? I already know I want to get another brown or two (there's so many different leather items on figures) and a lighter flesh tone as well. How did you decide to expand your colors, and what colors did you choose and why?

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Out of sheer curiosity, how do you rate yourself as a painter?  New to such, a novice, been at it for a while, etc?


Sounds like an odd question to start with, but I have a reason - Reaper produces two rather lovely Learn To Paint Kits (commonly abbreviated as "LTPK") that are quite well written, have paints in them (plus brushes!) and miniatures to practice the techniques mentioned in said well-written books.  Now yes, they do come in their own cases as well (and would wind up giving you two additional cases to store paint in), but I'm looking at this from more of a "adding additional paints to what one already has" kind of perspective.  For example, to purchase JUST the paints that are in the Layer Up! LTPK it would be $40.59 USD, which is already $0.60 USD more than the LTPK by itself.  Picking up both of the Learn to Paint Kits would net an additional 22 paints, although this would give you two bottles with similar functions (9037 Pure Black is similar in nature to 29843 Solid Black, at least in that the two of them are outright blaaaaack in a bottle).


Going this route would provide additional colours to work with, but I'd have to let others weigh in as to whether or not it would provide a wide enough selection to work from as I'm not a very good judge on such things (and when I expanded from just the two LTPK's, I kind of bought something like 60 paints from a selection of ones myself and hubby liked).  Also, because I was curious, I took what was listed in the descriptions of the LTPK's and made a quick list (in numerical order... I think) of what's included with each of them, and how the breakdown from each paint set would be:




As for your question regarding whether to fill out triads or subbing out, that's a good question...  Myself, I'm rather fond of the Bones and HD paints and am steadily building towards owning the entire sets of each, but I also have a few triads, even if I don't really use them as such.

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I'm basically brand new to mini painting, but I have some artistic abilities. Unfortunately I don't have a camera or miniature photo taking set up, but here are some phone pictures from what I've done so far. The first two minis (first picture) I did some months ago. The rest I did in the last two weeks after buying the paints.


You're so kind to have put together a comparison of the different sets. When you expanded by 60, how did you choose which colors you did? Was it just individual colors, or did you give thought to triads at the time? My thought is that as a new painter they would provide ready-made sets of colors for shades, bases, and highlights. They also wouldn't clash with each other.

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First and foremost, apologies if some parts of this reply seem slightly disjointed, I wound up writing as I could while making supper ^_^;;;;;  Secondly, nice minis!


Nothing wrong at all with being newer to mini painting, as everyone starts there, and some of us are still around that area (like myself - I'm definitely still fairly new, I'd say) ^_^  I was mainly asking because it's always nice to know such things!  I definitely recommend the Learn to Paint Kits, as they're quite handy, and depending on how you look at it you're getting either the minis and brushes for free (alongside a case) or the paints for free - assuming my math is correct.  The instruction booklets are also rather well written, and help explain various techniques one may or may not know, or provide alternate tips and tricks that also might not be known.


With regards to a dedicated space to take photos, it's one of those "nice to have but not at all essential" kind of things, at least in my book - a LOT of the various pics I've taken on my threads were from a mobile phone and the miniature held under a "not so great for colour but it's what I have" Ikea lamp that's in the bendy arm of a NOT lamp (yeah, odd name for a lamp, I know!).  I say use what you have, and do what you can for pictures - the folks here on the Reaper Mini forums are rather friendly, and quite helpful ::):   Most people will either use their painting area (as many find a lamp of some sort helpful when painting - I myself will eventually be picking up a pair of Viltrox L116T LED panels to have better, more even (and controllable/dimmable) lighting over my painting area, but I'm also planning on using those for photography and/or videography uses.  They are nice and inexpensive however.


As for expanding my paints that I could use, I followed a few guidelines...  Initial paint order was to acquire the paints I didn't have for the Random Rainbow Dragon Challenge.  Second order was for the paints that hubby rolled, as well as a bottle of Grey Liner to try it out for priming Bones (spoiler: it works great, but it is grey :P ).  After this, came my large expansion to what is visible later on in this post ^_^;;;;


First and foremost, I let hubby choose ten Bones colours, and ten HD colours he really liked from the list that's conveniently printed on the last two pages of the LTPK Core Skills Instruction Booklet...  Then I chose ten of each that were mainly of my preference, but also added in to what hubby had picked.  After that, I believe I added in one triad (one of the blue ones) plus filled out the one Lava Orange is part of (because I LOVE ORANGE!).  Ordering this many is nowhere near necessary, I just happened to do it because I wanted a nice selection of paints, and at the time hubby wasn't all that fond of mixing paint and wanted to be able to have a colour he was looking for right out of the bottle.


In short, it can be described as going for a wide selection of colour options, as well as ones that appealed to us.  I also have plans to hopefully triple the amount of paints bottles I have, but that isn't quite as alarming as it sounds initially since I'm planning on getting a bunch of washes, inks, glazes, terrain paints/effects, and weathering acrylics in order to have a wide variety of ... conveniences at my disposal.



I find that a colour chart can be handy for a quick reference to the various paints, as sadly there doesn't appear to be a tool to easily do such on Reaper's website (although I could be wrong), but thankfully an old Reaper Mini employee (he no longer works for the company) did up a convenient post including PDFs of their various lines: 



You'll want to click the one that says "2016 Spring Paint Line".






^ How my paint rack of 75ish currently looks after that large purchase.  It's a decent selection (mostly Bones and HD paints), but it's a fairly decent selection for most things, and is fairly easy to come up with a different shade if I so wish.  Hubby's preference for blues and purples, as well as my own for oranges and red stands out just slightly ^_^;;;;

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Don't think too much about the number of paints that can fit in a case. It won't take long before you have more than that number, anyhow...  


Please note the difference between the different series of paints;

Bones and HD are 'High Density' paints, and when using these, a single layer is usually enough for covering. 

Core paints are thinner, and often require more than one layer for a good result. 

Some people use Bones/HD for base paint, then use Core for shade/highlight work. 

If you mix paints you'll find that mixing HDs with Core paints can be an adventure...


I would suggest that you get,

Palomino Yellow as it's a good base for Reds, Yellows, Golds and even some skintones. 

(Reds and yellows are kind of transparent, so can be difficult to get right. We usually use a black base for metallics, but PY seems ot give a nice effect with some Golds)

Brown/Gray Liner because it's the best 'primer' for Bones minis.


I find that the best Reaper metallics are in the Bones series. 

(But some swears by the metallics from Scale75. And I'm playing with those, too... They're nice.. )


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A few must have colors IMHO:

- Brown liner

- Nightshade purple

- Snow shadow

- Sapphire blue

- Palomino gold

- Naga green


I use the first three on almost every model for base coating.


For metallics the absolute best aren't Reaper, but rather the Vallejo Metal Color line. They are technically airbrush paints, but brush on beautifully and look better than any other metallic I've seen.

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