Paint Brushes and Paints

Your models are prepped and undercoated. We are ready to turn them into mini-mastepieces. The next two tools are the cornerstones of the hobby.

1. Paintbrushes- for this hobby, there is no more important tool than the brush. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can use a variety of materials in the bristles. Games Workshop brushes offer reasonably priced, mid to entry level brushes on their site.

Games Workshop’s line of brushes. Picture links to their site.

The fewer the number of bristles, the better suited they are to getting finer and finer lines. Shown below is GW’s Fine Detail Brush, used to paint the smallest details on you models. You can see how few bristles there are on the brush and can imagine how fine a line you could get with it.

Fine Detail Brush


2.Paints- there is a huge variety in types of paints, offered by an equally numerous list of manufacturers. I have always used Games Workshop paints, for better or worse. Some people love them (like I do) and some people have found the paints made by other companies work best for them. Trial and error will be your best bet. All of the models in the gallery and all tutorials will use Games Workshop paints.

The current range of paints is the most extensive that GW has made since I have been in the hobby. They offer 144 paints, some with very specific purposes. The three that I will refer to most are their Base Paints, Layer Paints and Washes.

Base Paints– these high-pigment paints are designed to go on as the layer on top of the undercoat. They hide the black undercoat well and generally go on in a single coat. The general rule of thumb is that the lighter the color, the more coats you will need for coverage.

A selection of Citadel Base Paints.


Layer Paints- the most numerous of the paints, coming in 70 colors. These paints are the backbone of the hobby and are the ones you will use the most. Coverage is good, although lighter colors may need several coats.

A selection of Citadel Layer Paints.


Shades- these very useful paints are highly pigmented and very thin paints that when used will “flow” into the recessed areas of a model. They help to create definition on the models, providing strong contrast.

A selection of Citadel Shades.


Techniques for using all of these will be discussed in individual tutorials. However, while we are here, lets take a really basic look at how all three work in concert with each other.

Chaos Space Marine

Using the model above, lets focus on his top not to illustrate the uses of all three types of paints.

Use of the three types of paints.

In the example above, a red base paint, in this case Mephiston Red was used over the black undercoat. When that was dry, a heavy wash of the shade Carroburg Crimson was used. This flowed into the spots between the “hairs” and provided contrast and depth. When the wash had completely dried,  Evil Sunz Scarlet, a layer paint, was used to carefully paint each of the hairs. After that a further “highlight” was added to the very edges using the layer paint Wild Rider Red. This was painted on the spots where the light would be reflecting off the surface. Highlights will be covered in depth in future tutorials.

You can see that by using the paints together you can achieve a dynamic look.

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