My secret pleasure is painting these little mini-figures that you send into battle. It’s the nerdiest thing in the world, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s relaxing, that’s the main reason I do it - Cole Sprouse
If you’ve ever immersed yourself in the fantasy worlds that lie at the core of tabletop Wargaming and Role Playing Games, you’ll know just how important miniatures are in helping to create and bring them to life.
Some gaming systems are entirely reliant on miniatures, while other games use them to enhance their player’s individual and collective experience and enjoyment of the scenarios and adventures that they entangled in.
Regardless of how you use them and which gaming universe you’re involved in, miniatures can, and often do become an all involving passion.
One of the most crucial and fundamental ways you can fully embrace your passion for miniatures is by adding your own individual touch to the way they look.
Whether you’re fielding an army of Space Marines on a far-flung chaos-infected world or using an individual miniature as your dungeon delving avatar in a long and involving campaign, you’ll want your miniatures, or miniature, to capture the essence of your personality and who you are.
And the best way to add your own flourish to your ever-expanding collection of miniatures is by painting them. But with so many paints and brands flooding the shelves of gaming and modeling stores, finding the right paints to do the job properly, can feel like a daunting and almost insurmountable task.
Fear not though brave adventurers, that’s where we come in. With more than three decades of collective gaming experience under our belts, and having painted legions of miniatures, we’re here to guide you in the right direction and share our choice of the best paints for miniatures with you.
Assemble your forces, prepare for the quest, and arm yourself with chosen dice, it’s time to add a little more color to your gaming worlds…
OUR TOP PICK
Where better to start than with the game that started it all? Being ardent wargamers when they created ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ in nineteen seventy four Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, were already seriously devoted to the use of miniatures when they started work on their world-changing game, and would, had they still been with us, have given Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments a double thumbs up and their seal of approval.
Nolzur’s paint set contains everything that you’ll need to lose yourself in the Forgotten Realms as soon as you open the box.
With ten different water-based non-toxic (although we wouldn’t recommend that you drink them unless you’re prepared to make a saving throw against nausea) acrylic paints including a brush in primer and a metallic shade to help armor and weaponry gleam as they should, a starter brush, a painting guide, and an exclusive miniature that you can use to immediately begin to hone and perfect your painting skills, this starter paint set is a boon that every adventurer would be happy to find.
Made with heavy pigments, Nolzur’s Marvelous paints have a creamier and thicker consistency, which makes them easier to apply to miniatures and to get to grips with the fine detail that miniature painting demands.
With a little instruction from Nolzur, you’ll be ready to send your fully painted miniatures into the deepest depths of the foulest dungeons in less time than it takes a party to assemble in a tavern.
- Ten Of The Best - This set includes ten of the finest acrylic paints that you can use to bring your miniatures to life. And if there aren’t enough shades and colors to fire and inspire your imagination included in the box, you can always mix them to come up with your own devilishly, delightful shades.
- Miniature Included - It even includes an exclusive miniature that you can practice your painting skills on. And with the help of the included painting guide, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll master the art of painting miniatures.
- Non-Toxic And Eco Friendly - Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments are completely non-toxic and even come with the Nordic Swan Eco-Label stamp of approval, so you know that they’ve done everything that they can to lessen their impact and the effect that they have, on nature and the planet.
- Beginners Only - This Dungeon friendly paint set has been fashioned with the amateur in mind and anyone who has already started down the painting path might find it, and the choice of colors that it includes, a little too basic for their tastes.
Are you sitting comfortably? You’d better be because this complete paint set includes absolutely everything that you’ll ever need to bring even the biggest, most comprehensively detailed miniature armies to life.
This set contains enough paint to make it a prized treasure that even the most dedicated, hardcore miniature painter would happily plunge into unknown and thrice-damned catacombs in pursuit of.
With fifty acrylics in its arsenal, including thirty-nine normal colors, five metallics, four Quickshade washes, and two effects paints, this astounding collection of Warpaints has been created to satisfy the paint heavy palettes of even the most demanding gamers.
Chosen by gamers for gamers, it’s the only paint set that you’ll ever need to prepare your armies for tabletop warfare and your squads of battle-hardened miniatures for large-scale skirmishes.
It even includes a thorough and exhaustive guide to using the paints in its box so that you can imbue your miniatures with the sort of detail that would make forty-year veterans of the gaming world seethe with jealousy.
And to ensure that you always achieve the finish that your heart and imagination demands, Army Painter has also included a triangular detail-friendly brush that’ll help you to transcend to the next level of miniature painting.
- A Vast And Staggering Array - With over fifty different paints included in the box, you’ll be able to paint even the largest armies and bring them to life in your own chosen colors.
- Painting Guide - It includes a lavishly detailed guide to using, and making the most of, the included paints, which should help you improve your skills and master the art of detailed, miniature painting.
- The Old And The New Alike – Army Painter’s set is ideal for beginners and perfect for long-time wargaming and miniature devotees. It’s a comprehensive, and thorough set that’s been put together to win the heart of every gamer.
- A Hefty Price To Pay – Big, bold, and sure to win favor with every gamer, this set will nonetheless demand a heavy financial price from anyone who tries their hand with it. In other words, it’ll leave its mark on both your pocketbook and bank balance
If you want to paint miniatures, one of the first places you should always look for all of the tools that you’ll need, is with the companies that actually make the miniatures you want to paint.
After all, who knows more about painting miniatures than the people who make them? And that’s why we’ve included this incredible starter kit from one of our go-to suppliers of tabletop action, Reaper Miniatures.
Along with the eleven paints that’ll help you add color and detail to the denizens of your worlds, this set includes two paintbrushes, three miniatures, and a how-to guide that was put together by Rhonda Bender, an award-winning artist whose reputation was forged by the years she spent on the painting frontlines.
And it’s wrapped up in a hard plastic case that'll protect all of your miniatures and paints from everything the real world can, and will, throw at them.
If you’re looking for a way to dive headlong into the world of miniature painting, then Reaper’s starter set is the ideal platform to launch yourself from.
It has everything you’ll need to submerge yourself in the hobby, the paints, the brushes, and the miniatures and a helpful, easy to follow and understand guide that’ll show you how to achieve the level of miniature detail that you’ve been fantasizing about.
- It’s All Right Here – All of the paints, brushes, and miniatures that you’ll need to get started are included in this kit from Reaper Miniatures. And to help you on your way, they recruited Rhonda Bender to show you how to do it.
- All In One Storage – And all of those things that you need, come supplied in a hardy plastic case that’s not only easy to store but will also protect all of your precious miniature painting equipment from the trials and tribulations of life.
- A Few Gold Coins – We don’t know how Reaper can afford to sell this set for the price that they do, but we’re not about to argue with them about the price point. And if we were you, we’d snap this set up before they come to their senses and start to charge a much more realistic fee for it.
- Some Assembly Required – Reaper plunges you straight into the miniature deep end with this kit, as the three miniatures that they supply with it need to be assembled with a little patience and some glue. Don’t worry it’s easy to do, and might even help to increase your miniature centric joy.
There will come a time in your miniature painting life when you want to evolve beyond the confines of the beginner's world and stretch your ability and all of the things that you’ve learned to their limit.
Testing and pushing yourself is, after all, the only way to gradually improve your skills, and when you’ve accumulated enough painting experience points to move up to that demanding level, that’s when you’ll be ready for Vallejo.
Formulated and created for the most ardent model makers and miniature devotees, this paint set includes all the colors that you’ll need to bring any army or adventurer to fully realized life, and infuse your miniatures with incredibly realistic detail.
The brand of choice for professional model makers the world over, Vallejo is one of the miniature’s world’s best-kept secrets, and now that you’re one of us, we’re can, and have shared that secret with you.
Vallejo was the first company in the world to create acrylic and water-based paints for models and miniatures and like Wolverine, they’re the very best at what they do.
When you’re ready to take that next step and be the absolute best miniature painter that you can possibly be, the only way to do it is with Vallejo.
- All The Paints You’ll Need – It's a comprehensive paint set that includes all of the paints that you’ll need to project your imagination directly onto your miniatures with a few (okay, a lot) of confident strokes of a paintbrush.
- Forged In Fire - Vallejo’s reputation has been forged in painting fire and created through years of sterling dedication to creating the sort of acrylic paints that any and all hobbyists would be happy to use on their models and miniatures. And that’s why they’re so relatively unknown outside of the modeling world. Because nobody, no matter how old they are, wants to share their favorite toys with anyone else.
- Reassuringly Expensive – When you're the best at what you do, like Vallejo is, you can pretty much charge what you want to for your products and be content in the knowledge that people will happily pay whatever price you ask. And Vallejo does change a considerable price for their paints, and their rabid fanbase gladly pay it.
Unless you’ve been trapped in a Fortress of Eternal Solitude or have been temporally cursed by a necromancer, you’ll know that the foremost name in global miniature production and gaming, is Games Workshop.
And the game that they primarily put their not inconsiderable miniature-based weight behind is Warhammer.
‘Age of Sigmar’ was, and is part of Games Workshop's rebrand of the fantasy version of Warhammer, and this paint set includes all of the paints and tools that you’ll need to assemble and prepare the miniatures that the game uses for dice-controlled combat.
But the great thing about this set is that it can be used to paint and put together any miniatures that you want to, and you don’t have to be a Game Workshop loyalist to use it.
- Everything You Need – The set includes thirteen paints, a brush, and all of the trimming and cutting tools that you’ll need to remove your miniatures from their sprues and frames.
- Games Workshop Quality – One of the main reasons why Games Workshop and Citadel (their miniature and paint imprint) became famous the world over was due to the quality of their products. And that quality is still a force to be reckoned with, so if you want your miniatures to look better than the rest, the best way to do it is by painting them the Games Workshop way.
- Quality Isn’t Cheap – There's no getting around the fact that Games Workshop products aren’t cheap. They know that they’re one of the best, and they charge accordingly. Whether or not you want to pay that price is entirely up to you.
Best Paints For Miniatures Buying Guide
Which Paints Should I Use To Bring My Miniatures To Life?
That’s a good question, and in order to answer it, you'll have to determine your budget and whether you want to use an entry-level set or a more professional one to paint your miniatures.
Once you’ve come up with an answer to both, take another look at our list, and we guarantee you that you’ll soon reach a decision that both you, and your miniatures will be happy with.
That said, if it was our miniatures and we were looking for a set to paint them with, the one that we’d always choose would be the Reaper Miniatures set. Eleven paints, three miniatures, two brushes, and a carry case? What more could any player want or need from a paint set?
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Miniature?
In tabletop wargaming and role-playing games, players use models to represent armies, squads, and battalions of their choosing or to represent the characters that they’re playing in an adventure or scenario.
These models are collectively known as miniatures and have been used in this context for more than one hundred years. First popularised by HG Wells and his book ‘Little Wars’ (a wargaming rulebook) miniatures have a long and storied history but are most commonly associated with Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer.
Miniatures are most commonly made from either plastic, resin, or metal and can vary in scale from two to fifty-four millimeters, although the most commonly used one is twenty eight millimeters. Highly detailed, miniatures are seen as being a part of a hobby that is continuing to thrive globally and shows no sign of slowing down.
What Are Miniature Paints?
As almost all miniatures are supplied unpainted, in order to bring them to life, the players who use them as avatars for their characters or to fill the ranks of their tabletop armies, more often than not paint their miniatures.
The paints used to add color and character to miniatures are almost always water-based acrylics and non-toxic and have been formulated to adhere to, and bring out the best detail in the models and miniatures that they’re used to paint.