I wanted to conclude this impromptu series with what you might find in my toolbox for the painting aspect of our hobby. More than just brushes play a part in producing a quality paint job on a figure, and we're going to touch on what I think you need to stock your own proverbial toolbox with to get the most out of your hard work and hours of dedication.
Let's dive right into the meat of the matter with what brushes to use, and when to use what style.
Below you'll see the basic breakdown of brush tip styles. From top to bottom it goes; Bright, Filbert, Flat and finally Round.
I'll use the Bright and Flat styles for nearly interchangeable purposes such as large flat surfaces on vehicles or anything else I want to lay a smooth, even coat down. I find that using a the Filbert or Round tips can give me a harder time at this on larger surfaces, and quite frankly, just plain take longer to accomplish the same task.
Filbert tip brushes I mostly use only for applying Weathering Powders. Not that they can't be used for other applications, this is just how I choose to use them. I like the more rounded, wide tips for this purpose. They hold a good amount of powder and distribute it nicely.
Round tips should be doing the backbreaking majority of your work when it comes to miniature painting. They are the most versatile of all the tip styles, and offer the most flexibility in uses, and the sharp points are great for detail work.
Let's not leave out the kind of hair that makes up your brush, Kolinsky Sable. The best brand for miniature painting out there right now would be Raphael Series 8404 Kolinsky Red Sable brushes. These are the cadillac of brushes, used by top miniature painters the world over. I just recently purchased a few myself, and while I won't pretend they aren't expensive, they are worth every penny. The must-have is a size 0, Round. This is your workhorse brush. I purchased a few other sizes as well for other uses, but you can do 99% of your work with a size 0 on a 28mm figure.
Now I only buy the Raphael 8404 Series for a few of my Round brushes. For the Bright, Flat and Filbert styles I purchase the Dick Blick Sable brand. They are a more affordable alternative for brushes that you might abuse a little more than the Rounds. Like the Filberts with Weathering Powders.
Brush / Bristle Protectors and a Brush Case
Protect your investment in quality Brushes!!! I can't emphasize this enough. When you buy your brushes, they should come with these little clear plastic tubes that surround the tips. Do not throw these away, and once you clean your brushes after using them, put these back on them. Following that, get a good case to store your brushes in once they are dry. Trust me, after spending a hundred dollars in brushes, spending another few bucks for a case won't kill you.
I've talked to multiple painters on this, and all agree on one thing... paint with two lights, using daylight bulbs. The lights should be positioned to either side of you, and above you, both angled down towards your painting station. This will give you a good saturation of light, eliminating any unnecessary shadows that harsh lighting will produce. The daylight bulbs will help you see the color of your paints accurately and not color them with a yellow tint like incandescent bulbs will.
And please, do not go spend your paycheck on specialty "hobby" or "craft" lamps. They are over-inflated in price. Go to your local office supply store and buy them there.
A Wet Palette will keep your paints moist as the surface your paints rest on is a porous one, and underneath is a medium for holding water. Usually parchment paper, and sponge cloth or paper towels respectively. You can purchase one like the above picture, or make your own! We all know by now I'm lazy when it comes to making my own tools like this, so I bought one. The Painting Corps, however, has a couple GREAT articles on how to make your own, cheaply and effectively. Check them both out here and here. I use this for painting exclusively now, even when I'm not mixing colors as it saves my paint from drying out since I don't care to paint straight from the pot, and it also thins out your paints ever so slightly on it's own.
Paint Station and Storage
A good paint station keeps me organized. I use the new GW one as I just like it, and had a gift card to use up at the time they came out. You don't have to have one if you don't want, I just like it. Paint storage is also one of those tools that is more philosophy than physicality. Just have a good, temperature controlled (not your garage in the summer, or a freezer), place to store your paints in an upright position. It's the "Upright Position" we're paying attention to here. Storing your paints on their side will actually cause them to dry out faster.
Rinse Cups and Water
Before you hang me for actually mentioning Rinse Cups and Water as my final two tools, hear me out. Always use two Rinse Cups. One for standard pigment paints, and one for metallic pigment paints. If you rinse out your brush after using metallic paints in your cup, then start painting with standard pigments and continue to rinse out your brush in the same cup, you'll begin to transfer metallic flakes to your standard pigment paint surfaces.
Water is the last tool for the sole purpose to let you know that I don't use any other tool to thin out my paints or make them flow better. If you do, then that's up to you, but you shouldn't have to, it's as simple as that.
I hope this helps when taking a look at what you need to equip yourself... WAIT!!!
What do you mean I haven't mentioned the paint itself? Oh.. right. I guess I didn't, did I? Yes, that was on purpose. I'll go into paints and primers and sealants in another post. The tools above are pretty tried and true when it comes to needing them. When you begin to dive into paints, then opinions become a strong part of the article and I didn't want to dive into that here.
What do you use when painting? Something in your "Toolbox" that's not in mine? Share!!! That's the only way we improve sometimes.