Best paint for miniatures: Bring your wargaming figures and minis to life

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The type of paint you apply to your miniature models can either make or break your projects.

That said, we want you to succeed every time! Choosing the best paint for miniatures will ensure your models look great and last throughout time: no matter if your goal is play or display.

We’ve lined up our favorite miniature paints, brands, and sets to help you jumpstart your next creation, whether you’re new to painting minis or looking for new suggestions.

Want to know our favorites? Take a look at our picks below!

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

Best overall
Best value
Best airbrush paints
Most unique
Best matte
Best overall

Get premium-quality primary colors to jumpstart any project, whether you’re a novice or an expert miniature painter.

Best value

The perfect pick for beginners looking for affordable sets without missing out on quality and versatility.

Best airbrush paints

A specifically developed, first-rate airbrush paint set suited for experienced miniature painters and ambitious starters.

Most unique

Take your miniature painting to the next level with these one-of-a-kind shimmery hues.

Best matte

Achieve the best matte finishes for war games, creative crafts, and more with these uber-matte Pro Acryl miniature paints.

03/07/2024 07:15 pm GMT

Best paint for miniatures

Best Paint for Miniatures_FEATURE

Dive right in to find inspiration for your upcoming miniature model creations; check out the best paints for miniatures below!

Best overall: Vallejo Basic Colors USA Paint Set

Vallejo Basic Colors Miniature Painting

Vallejo is a renowned brand in the miniature modeling community, offering some of the finest paint for miniature creative hobbies — and this pack contains all you’ll need, whether you’re starting out or expanding your paint collection.

These sets feature 16 dropper-style bottles containing 17ml of water-based acrylic paint. This is a basic colors pack, and while it may seem a little too simplistic, it’s not. You’ll have more than enough hues to whip up a wide range of colors and shades.

One of the upsides is that this product can be applied with a brush and an airbrush! We suggest having a paint thinner around in case you want to achieve a particular consistency or effect.

These miniature paints adhere to plastic and metal and offer smooth, opaque finishes. In addition, you won’t see traces of brushstrokes on your dried models: although this will also depend on the quality of your brushes.

This set is, by far, our top recommendation for all skill sets, especially considering its first-rate quality, versatility, and undeniable value for money. Continue reading to discover more paint for miniature figures by Vallejo!

Best for beginners: Reaper Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit Core Skills

Reaper Learn to Paint Kit Core Skills

If you’re new to the world of miniature modeling and are looking for a comprehensive starter kit, the all-in-one Reaper Miniatures paint box set is an excellent choice.

The popular brand has a vast range of products, including everything from various paint themes to ready-to-paint figures. However, what sets this kit apart is its combination of price, high quality, and versatility.

Curated for the true beginner, this set includes a guide covering miniature painting skills, 11 half-ounce paint bottles, two brushes, and three figures to get you practicing right away.

The paints in this kit are part of the brand’s Core Colors and Bones Ultra Colors lines. Both offer highly pigmented matte paint, excellent flow, and they are airbrush friendly. The Bones line also features metallics for added shimmer!

This set comes in a hardcover case, making storing and transporting your materials secure and convenient. While slightly pricier than the Vallejo miniature paints above, this Reaper edition for beginners is worth the investment as it provides everything you need in a single bundle.

Best value for money: The Army Painter Miniatures Paint Set

The Army Painter Starter Paint Set

The Army Painter is a popular brand among miniature model enthusiasts, and this Wargames Hobby Starter Paint set is our recommendation for first-time miniature painters segueing into more comprehensive kits.

This set includes a painting guide, ten dropper bottles of 18ml paint, and a brush. Although it contains basic paints, know that this is more than enough: learning to blend colors is a crucial skill to master in miniature painting.

We think it has unbeatable value for money, and this set makes for a fantastic creative gift for adult and teen hobbyists. And while not as high-quality as Vallejo’s miniature paints, The Army Painter’s pigments are pretty solid, especially if you’re currently focusing on basic techniques vs. fine-tuning details.

The brush in this kit will help you tweak your highlighting and base-coating skills and is ergonomically designed for comfortable gripping. In addition, the painting guide is packed with tips and illustrations. Don’t expect one more boring manual you’ll briefly skim through!

For this specific set, we recommend sticking to brushes. We suggest going for another option on our list if you want to explore airbrushes. If you love this kit and decide to take things up a notch, Amazon also sells The Army Painter Mega Paint Set.

Best D&D set: Dungeons and Dragons Adventurer’s Painting Set

The Army Painter Dungeons and Dragons Official Line Adventurer's Painting Set

Next up is another product developed by The Army Painter, this time inspired by the legendary fantasy tabletop role-playing game Dungeon and Dragons: one of the brand’s most sought-after lines.

The Adventures Paint set is perfect for D&D players and fans and includes ten water-based, non-toxic acrylic paints (including a metallic tint) and a brush-on primer. Remember: always use your primer! 

Each bottle contains 12ml of paint, which is a lower amount compared to some of the other picks on our list. However, for under $30, you’ll get other perks in this set, such as two iconic, intricately carved D&D figurines to paint from scratch: Minsc and Boo. 

This is the perfect treat for avid D&D enthusiasts and a fun entry set for anyone wanting to pursue fantasy-themed miniature painting. And don’t worry; an easy-to-follow painting guide will be included to teach you every step of the way. 

These heavy, creamy pigments can be thinned with water and be used with an airbrush if preferred. If you’re looking for something other than primary colors, keep reading to discover our suggestions for impactful, shimmery pigments.

Best Warhammer set: Warhammer Paints and Tools Set Box

Warhammer Citadel Paints and tools set

Warhammer 40,000 is one of the most famous miniature wargames around the globe and is produced by Games Workshop: the same creators of the renowned acrylic miniature paint line, Citadel.

This complete miniature paint and tool set is perfect for both seasoned fans and beginners alike, offering quality materials to enhance your experience. Colors are specifically designed to match the 40k universe and all its grimdark glory.

Sets contain 13 Citadel brand paints (12ml), including a special Tesseract Glow pigment to bring your Necrons to life (so to speak) and technical paints to embellish display bases. You will, however, need to purchase a primer separately.

In addition to paint, these kits include pliers, a mold line scraper, and a starter brush. Keep in mind that this set is designed to paint Ultramarines and Necrons from the previous starter set, so if you picked up one of the new starter sets with Tyranids like Leviathan you might need additional colors.

Best airbrush paint: Vallejo Building Set Model Air Paint

Vallejo Airbrush Model Paint

You can use many of the paints listed so far for airbrushing, but we highly recommend Vallejo’s model air paint editions developed specifically for this purpose.

Although the brand has a metallics airbrush paint set, we suggest starting with the basics first. This complete set is very affordable and includes 16 bottles (17ml of paint): a little more than your average bottle.

Like all Vallejo products, you’re guaranteed excellent consistency, making miniature airbrushing sessions a breeze. Plus, the dropper tip bottles will prevent you from wasting paint unnecessarily.

Note that these paints are labeled watercolor paints on Amazon: but this is incorrect. This set contains water-based, matte acrylic paint. Even though this product is prepped to be used right out of the box (after a good shake!), paints can be diluted in water if you’re after a specific outcome.

This is a great way to play with transparencies and washes; you can also purchase the brand’s paint thinner if you want to try something even more effective than water. While best for airbrushing, these paints can be applied with brushes too.

Best customizable paint set: Game Injection Citadel Paint Build-Your-Own Assortment

Customized Citadel Paint set

Do you have the urge to cherry-pick your favorite products and get cracking? This build-your-own-assortment set might just be what you’re looking for.

This custom paint bundle invites you to select from an extensive catalog of Citadel paints and tools to create your very own kit. Options include everything from Citadel layer paints, base paints, technical paints, and brushes!

And trust me, the list is ginormous! We’re sure you’ll find something you like and/or need. All you have to do is click on the “Customize Now” button (Amazon), and you’ll be directed to a page where you can select and add five items to build your set.

It’s important to know that the overall cost of your bundle will depend on the items of your choice: items cost anywhere between $4 to $14. However, if you’re sticking to the basics, you’ll have an affordable, custom five-paint kit for great value.

We advise checking how much paint each bottle has beforehand to ensure you’re getting what you want. If you want to add more paints to your bundle, you’ll be advised to create an additional pack. The perk? Sets will be shipped together, so you’ll pay a single shipping fee vs. a separate fee per bundle.

Best for modeling vehicles: Vallejo Rust, Stain, & Streaking Effects Color Series Paint Set

Vallejo Rust, Stain and Streaking Set Paint Set

One of the most popular miniature modeling motifs is vehicles. That said, if this is your cup of tea, this is one of the best miniature paint sets to add to your craft desk.

This is yet another Vallejo product, this time part of the brands’ Effects Color Series. Sets include eight bottles of high-quality acrylics featuring unique shades like German Camouflage Black Brown, Orange Rust, and Dark Rust to achieve realistic rust and weathered effects.

Bottles feature dropper caps, making it easier to control the amount of paint you use. You can use an airbrush, too, just make sure to dilute the paint a little. In addition, these sets include a step-by-step manual with tips and tricks to help you get started.

Remember that these miniature paints are best for detailed work and will require a little more skill to fully master, especially if you’ve just recently begun incorporating more realistic, intricate touches into your work.

Best unique pigment: Vallejo The Shifters Eccentric Colors Paint set

Vallejo The Shifters Miniature model paint

Vallejo’s Shifters Eccentric Color Series provides an excellent solution if you’re looking to add a fantasy-inspired touch and uniqueness to your work. I love these one-of-a-kind shades!

This is the series’ first edition, boasting vibrant multichromatic hues and glass-like coating that will make your miniature figurines stand out no matter where the light hits.

Each set features six bottles of gloss effect paints (17ml), including tones like light violet-green and emerald green mauve. It’s worth noting that these paints are suitable for both brushwork and airbrushes — colors lay down exceptionally well when used with an airbrush!

Also, as always, you can mix these colors as you see fit, but we advise doing a little test and trial before applying them directly to your airbrush or model. The outcome of blending these is less predictable than with your standard miniature paints.

And while it may be tempting to thin out your paints, we suggest avoiding this to ensure you retain that beautiful shiny effect that made you purchase this stunning set in the first place!

Best matte finish: Monument Hobbies Pro Acryl Expansion Set #4

Pro Acryl Matte Model Paint Set

Pro Acryl by Monument Hobbies is another in-demand miniature paint line, and this product is an excellent choice if you’re goal is high-quality, super matte finishes.

This excellent miniature paint set includes 12 bottles of high-density, non-toxic paint, each containing 22ml — more than most miniature paint packs tend to offer.

Whether you’re into wargaming Warhammer 40k or exploring other creative hobbies like painting and mixed-medium art, Pro Acryl’s pigment-packed formula delivers exceptional outcomes due to its smooth, full coverage of surfaces.

Because this paint is highly pigmented, it responds very well to thinning, whether you want to add it to your airbrush or brush. The brand’s Expansion series is one of its most popular lines, featuring some of the best miniature paints you’ll come by.

You can find Pro Acryl Expansion sets #1, #2, and #3 on Amazon, but our favorite is this #4 pack. However, it’s all about personal preference and, of course, what your projects require! Take a look at the range of cool colors on offer to achieve the matte finishes you desire!

Best skin color paint: Vallejo Face/Skin Colors Paint Set

Skin Color Vallejo Paint Model Set

This Vallejo set includes some of the best paint for figurines you’ll find and is our top pick if you’re looking to replicate realistic flesh/skin tones.

Each pack includes eight bottles featuring a variety of shades that can be mixed to achieve lighter or darker hues. Colors can be blended effortlessly, thanks to this paint’s high-quality pigments and consistency. It’s also opaque, lightfast, and super smooth.

However, it’s important to note that while using good quality paint impacts outcomes significantly, honing your technique is also necessary. So don’t fret if your first attempts come out a little lumpy!

This product is mainly designed for brush application, and we recommend sticking to this approach vs. airbrushing. Direct brushstrokes will help you achieve authentic-looking flesh tones, highlights, shadows, and contrast that are hard to get with spraying.

On the other hand, you can always try out an airbrush if that is what your projects require. Just remember to add some water or a thinner to your mix: you want to ensure your feed stays unclogged! This paint adheres to resin, plastic, and metal — suitable for a variety of miniature modeling themes and mediums.

Quick tips: Purchasing and using the best miniature paints

We’ve compiled some essential tips and reminders to help you when purchasing and using the best miniature paints.

  • Make sure your set includes a primer. If not, remember to buy this separately. You cannot paint models without priming first!
  • Don’t be turned off from basic color sets. Miniature painting is all about mixing and matching colors; you can achieve a lot with a set of primary colors. Special paints aren’t crucial at first.
  • Top miniature painting brands all guarantee quality. However, they are different from each other and they may not all meet your projects’ needs. Make sure to look into opacity, consistency, if paints are airbrush-friendly, etc.
  • If you’re going to use an airbrush, check if the paint of your choice needs thinning. And if so, can this be done with water, or is using a thinner best? Stick to the same brand as your paints for ideal results.
  • Check how much paint there is per bottle. Most sets tend to contain 12ml-17ml bottles, but some options include over 20ml of paint per bottle.
  • Make sure your surfaces are compatible with your paints. Most adhere to plastic, metal, and resin, but always best to check beforehand.
  • Just because many miniature paints are marketed for wargaming, this doesn’t mean they can’t be used for other types of minis (or other creative crafts like dioramas, bonkei, and dollhouses).
  • Lastly: take care of your brushes! Washing and preserving your tools properly means longevity and long-lasting items for years.

That’s it for this guide to the best paint for miniatures you can buy. Which paint set are you using? Let everyone know in the comments below!

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