There are so many choices when it comes to miniature model paint, that it is difficult to make a choice. That is where we come in, we have selected a few of the best choices for you. As a bonus, we have included a guide for the best miniature paint so you can choose the best product for your project. The information we provide will help you understand the paints and, therefore, what will affect the result. You will be able to make an informed and accurate decision as to what miniature or model paint to use for your specific needs.
- 1 Acrylic Based Miniature Paint
- 2 Best Paints for Miniatures
- 3 Best Paints for Miniatures: Enamel Paint
- 4 Best Paints for Miniatures: Paint Markers
- 5 Various Miniature Paint Features
- 6 Miniature or Model Paints and Artist Paints
- 7 Painting Miniatures, a How-to Guide
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
Acrylic Based Miniature Paint
Acrylic-based miniature paints are one of the more well-known and liked paints, which can be used on plastic models as well as other miniature models. Choosing this type of paint is sure to help you achieve the results you are looking for.
What is Acrylic Paint?
A color pigment has been combined with an acrylic polymer, which is then blended with water. This final paint product can also have fillers added, which may influence the performance of the paint. There have been some vast improvements with acrylic paint, and it can now be considered just as effective as oil-based paints. Benefits of acrylic paints include:
The reason acrylic paint is considered the best miniature paint is that it can easily be sprayed and brushed on. Acrylic paints also come in paint markers for finer work. There is more than one choice when it comes to finishes and can vary from glossy finishes to flat.
Best Paints for Miniatures
Vallejo USA Set
One of the best miniature paints that produce a consistent smooth effect, the Vallejo Basic USA Set should be considered. The paint is quite thick, but it spreads easily and can cover a wide area.
The miniature painting set offers even coverage and is, therefore, effective when applied to surfaces. When applying several layers of paint, you are ensured uniform and precise results.
Vallejo Basic USA Colors Paint Set Applications
The miniatures paint set works well on many surfaces and different materials, which makes it an all-round paint for miniatures. The paint works best on plastics and polyesters, which is what most miniatures are made of.
The paint also works well on the following:
This makes this miniature painting set a great choice for painting different types of models or dioramas.
The miniatures paint set is one of the best choices when it comes to miniature model painting. Since the paint is so versatile, it can easily be used for many other kinds of projects. The set includes a wonderful range of different colors, which is better than most of its competitor products. The Paint Set is something you should try if you are into miniature painting.
The Army Painter Set
For those of you just starting in miniature painting, the best paints for miniatures is the Army Painter Set. The miniature painting kit consists of numerous amazing colors, as well as technical paints and wash paints. Also, paintbrushes are included, so you have all you need to begin your miniature paint adventure.
The Vallejo brand is better in quality, but the Army Painter Set comes in a close second and will provide you with a great finish. Since there are so many colors in the miniature painting kit, you will be able to paint a variety of miniatures, creating a wonderful assorted miniature collection.
- Perfect consistency, neither too thick nor too thin, which makes them easy to apply
- Ideal for beginners and for advanced painters
- Including detailing brush for making detailed highlights on figures models
- Get the exact amount you need with the ergonomically designed dropper bottle
Tip: To improve the miniature paint set, place some small ball bearing in the paint bottles This helps to blend the paint if you see the color starting to separate.
Best Paints for Miniatures: Enamel Paint
Enamel paint is oil-based and, in the past, was the best miniature paints used until the acrylic paints arrived on the scene. The oil-based paints are color pigments blended with a drying oil. The most common oil used in the process is Linseed oil, which acts as a binder. When the paint is applied, there is a reaction between the oil and air and the paint hardens.
The enamel airbrush paint finish is durable and depending on the product, it can provide a glossy or polished look. Since the paint is oil-based, it can easily be thinned with thinners such as turpentine. By adding the thinners, the viscosity of the paint is altered, and the flow is also changed.
Some reasons why many artists use Enamel Paints:
Unfortunately, the enamel paints do tend to dry slowly, and you have to use thinners to clean up, which is not pleasant and can be toxic. You can use the slow dry time to paint gradually and do more of a thorough job. When layering paint colors, however, you will need patience as it will take longer.
Testor Enamel Paint
Looking for a hard and durable finish? The best miniature paint available is the Testor Enamel Paint. Even though enamel paints, today, are not the most popular or common choice, the Testor Paint is the only best option. There are not many other choices available, thankfully, this paint is outstanding in its category.
This Enamel Paint is a great option when it comes to airbrush painting. The Testor Paints are considered among the best airbrush paints for models. The paints provide amazing color and will adhere to any surface, so it is a popular choice amongst the model aircraft and automobile artists. Since the paint dries slowly, it provides a smooth finish that does not show any brush strokes. Create a light wash by easily thinning the paint out with thinners.
Best Paints for Miniatures: Paint Markers
Paint markers come in handy when you need to make some small changes and you do not want to take out your whole paint set. If you have quite a lot to cover, the markers can handle the high volume, as long as you do not have to be too precise with the work. In other words, it is great for doing those mass army minions.
These markers have thick tips, which provides excellent quality acrylic-base paint. The paint released is thick and opaque, even so, it will give you incredible coverage. Another great feature is that the markers can be re-filled.
- High-covering, premium acrylic-based pigmented markers paint for every surface
- Flowmaster pump marker system has patented capillary technology and is refillable
- Acrylic-based hybrid paint is UV and weather-resistant for highest opacity
- Solvent-free and dilutable with water or acetone and tips are exchangeable
Various Miniature Paint Features
The Opacity of Paint
When paint has been applied to a surface and it appears transparent or opaque (appears murky), this is what s referred to as the paint’s opacity. You will need to consider this for specific effects, and it can also help define the final color. For example, when it comes to darker surfaces, you should use opaque paint. This will help the color of the paint appear to be brighter and more noticeable. Otherwise, you will need to apply more than one coat of paint to achieve similar results.
Tip: When buying your paint, check the transparency rating
Both the opaque and more transparent paints work great on lighter surface colors. Darker tinted paints also appear lighter on these surfaces. Additives can be added to the paint, such as Flowable Extender. The extender simply influences the paint flow and will slow down the paints drying time.
Paint Drying Time
When it comes to paint dry time, faster is not good, especially for miniature paints. When acrylic paint dries too fast, it can produce a lumpy mess because the paint will dry on the brush. Drying too fast can also mess with blending colors and it will not work well with trying to create certain effects.
Most good quality paints should have a rating depicting its lightfastness. The rating establishes how easily paint is affected by fading or how the paint will change if exposed to light. When purchasing miniature paints, always check for its lightfastness, which will help you produce more of a durable paint finish.
The paint will naturally darken as it dries, which is what is referred to as color shift. The best way to avoid any problems with this is to test out the paints first before moving on to your main project.
Paint Viscosity and Paint Body
The viscosity and body will influence how the paint is applied. For example, paint which is body-less and has low viscosity is excellent for use in airbrushing and provides a watercolor effect. Paints that have more vibrant and opaque colors, usually have more pigment as well as binder and has smaller quantities of water.
If you are looking for a more textured look, you will need paint that has a high viscosity and more body. When working with paint you can achieve your desired consistency by including additives. For example, adding water will increase the paint flow.
Note: Including additives may affect the paint opacity, especially in the case of water.
Companies like Liquitex provide many different types of additives for acrylic paints. All of these additives can affect the flow of the paint and will slow down the paints drying time. Additives are a great way if want to achieve a specific kind of effect for your paint project.
Miniature or Model Paints and Artist Paints
When it comes to artist paints, they are made with the highest quality materials and have high pigment concentrations. The paints that are sold as Model or Miniature Paints are similar, the only difference being in the additives.
Paint manufacturers keep their formulas close to the heart, so nobody knows what goes inside. But Artist Paints are generally considered better quality. Since this subject is open to debate, it is best to try the various paint yourself and then choose the one that works best for you.
If you are an experienced artist, both Paints have something to offer. On the other hand, if you are a beginner, the Model or Miniature Paints offer great miniature paint sets. The sets contain selected colors and the results are extremely good. If you are a beginner choosing Artist Paints, it is best to ask for assistance in choosing the correct product.
Painting Miniatures, a How-to Guide
Preparing and Cleaning your Miniature
When a miniature item is made, the manufactures use a releasing agent in the mold, so it comes out smoothly. This releasing agent can remain on the casting, which then stops the paint from sticking to the model item. This is why you need to clean the miniature item before you start to paint.
Removing Mold Lines
Many of the miniatures are made with a two-part mold, and even if the mold is one of the best, it will always leave a mold line. The mold line is where the two parts of the mold meet to form the miniature item. You will need to remove these mold lines before painting to have a better appearance.
Applying a Primer
When it comes to the paint not sticking to the miniature, you should consider applying a primer beforehand. The benefits of adding a primer include:
- Helps the paint stick to the miniature
- Provides a better color as it adds an undertone to the paint.
Attaching the Miniature Base
Miniature items usually come with a base that helps the model stand upright. In most cases, the base comes separate from the miniature. So, it is best to join the base and miniature with some glue, before you begin painting.
You can take it as it comes when painting your miniature, but if you want to be more accurate, it is best to prepare some form of color scheme beforehand. The paints can be blended to create a specific color or tone you might need.
Once you have come up with a color scheme, you start painting. The first thing to do is to apply your basecoat. Thin your paint out a bit if it is too thick and after the basecoat has dried, you can do a second coat. Repeat and apply layers until the entire miniature model is adequately covered.
Applying a Wash
By applying a wash after painting, you can create more detailed miniatures. Take a slightly darker color than the base, and apply a thin layer, which should flow easily into cracks or crevices. This technique brings out contrasts and shadows, which helps to provide a more realistic look.
Blend or Dry Brushing
You can highlight certain parts of your miniature item by taking a small amount of paint and touching up the selected surfaces. This is known as Dry brushing. The paint color should be a tone lighter than your basecoat. The paint is usually applied to surfaces that are raised, which creates a slight contrast.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a Primer for my Miniature Painting?
Using a primer on a Miniature is the same as for any other painting project. The primer helps the paint stick to your miniature. Also, applying a darker primer will make your top-coat darker, a white primer will make it lighter and grey will produce something in the middle.
Can you explain what a Basecoat is?
If you have added a primer, your basecoat will come next. Thin out your chosen color of paint appropriately and apply to your miniature. The basecoat is simply the first layer of your chosen color for the miniature.
What is a Wash or Shade?
The terms Shade or Wash are the same thing. This is extremely thin paint used on miniatures, which runs into the cracks and details and adds contrast and depth.