Basic Brushes for Painting Models

Most miniature game companies such as Games Workshop and Privateer Press sell their own brands of brushes. Conveniently these are usually named after their purpose such as “basecoat brush” or “drybrush.” However, many people, including myself, believe that these game company brand brushes are often overpriced compared to the brushes of comparable quality found in art stores. Even if they aren’t actually overpriced, I firmly believe that a hobbyist should be educated about the tools he is going to be using and the options that are available beyond the limits of game company products. If you are looking for quality brushes and other tools then is one of the best options that you will find on the internet. With their quality and affordable products, you can easily hone your brushing skills. 

There are a multitude of brushes sizes available to the painter and the hobbyist and figuring out which ones are best to be used for painting miniatures can be a confusing task. Speaking from personal experience the range of variations of brush shapes and sizes can be very daunting to the beginning painter. In an attempt at making the task of choosing some basic beginner’s brushes simpler, I will explain the three basic brushes that I always have on hand when painting my 40k armies.

The smallest of these basic brushes is a Round, 10/0 or “ten-ought” size brush otherwise known as a “detail brush.” The tip of a 10/0 brush is so small and narrow that it doesn’t hold a great deal of paint nor do its strokes cover a large surface of the model, but it is able to apply paint to very small areas and hard-to-get-at locations on a model in a very controlled manner. I have found that it is best suited for painting the small details on a model such as eyes, belt buckles, rivets, buttons, etc.

The medium size brush is a Round size 1 brush or “basecoat brush” and is your mainstay for the painting work on a miniature. I use it for all of the painting done on a model with the exception of detail work. The tip holds more paint than the 10/0 and so is able to apply a large amount of paint in each stroke, and as a result, it is very useful for painting large portions of a model quickly and evenly.

The largest basic brush I always have on hand is a size 3 or 4 Round brush or “drybrush”, and is used for dry brushing the model. Drybrushing usually does not take the same amount of precision that the base coating and detail work does so the larger brush can make the work of dry brushing go by very quickly.

If you are going to be painting 40k vehicles as well, you’ll also want an additional size 3 or 4 brush that will not be used for dry brushing as dry brushing has a tendency to wear brushes out quickly. The larger size of these brushes will make painting the large sections of a vehicle much easier.

I hope that the little bit of wisdom I have gleaned through trial and error has been helpful to you, please feel free to contact me through e-mail with comments, suggestions, and questions.