As my painting skills have started to improve, I’ve become less and less satisfied with the paints that I’ve been using. To start out with, we picked out some paints in the Games Workshop Citadel line. These paints are mid-priced paints, and they do work. But their consistency is too thick for me, and they come in a pot to dip your brush in. These paints tended to go on too heavy and can obscure details, and leaving the paint pot open will dry out the paint more quickly.
I searched around for other good paints and ran into many people recommending Vallejo paints, as well as the Reaper Master Series Paints (MSP). These paints come in dropper bottles that let you dispense however much paint you want, and then you can screw the cap on to keep the paint from drying out in the bottle. I wasn’t able to find Vallejo paints in my area, so I went with Reaper MSP paints instead. Reaper offers paint kits or sets that come with several colors. Since I knew I wanted to get deeper into painting minis, I chose to buy both the Reaper Bones Learn to Paint kit, as well as the MSP HD Paint Set #1. There are a couple of duplicate colors between the two sets, but they gave me the best range of colors for what I plan to paint between all of the Reaper sets.
On a side note, the Reaper MSP HD paints are supposedly high-density paints. This means there’s more pigment and they should provide better coverage with thinner layers.
I’ve already combined both sets into a single case, and there are even a few spots left empty to add more paints. I also put a few additional items into the case: a utility knife for removing mold lines, 3M adhesive strips to stick minis to painting bases, and an old electric toothbrush head to scrub minis when prepping them for paint. I also have a separate case with other items, like corks that I use with a flat-headed nail in them for painting bases, all of my paint brushes, and some mixing sticks.
Here’s the Learn to Paint kit:
And the MSP HD #1 kit:
Inside the Learn to Paint kit, you’ll find a pair of cheap paint brushes. I mean cheap. They might work out for dry-brushing, but they won’t be useful for any precise painting, which is most of mini painting. So, pick up some good brushes when you snag these kits. You’ll also find a set of three minis to paint: a skeleton, a knight, and an orc. These minis are from the Reaper Bones line, and are made of a rubbery plastic that’s very flexible. The minis are of good quality, but the material makes it more difficult to remove the mold lines than with a material that’s harder. To go with these minis, Reaper has provided a set of painting instructions to help people learn the basics of painting minis, as well as a set of paints to match those instructions. The instruction booklet does a great job of outlining which paints to use where, and in what order, and it illustrates where the paints go with a few pictures of each mini.
I painted the skeleton and the orc per the instructions, and I went a little off the trail with the knight. But, overall, I used the same concepts that were described in the instruction booklet: base-coating, dry-brushing, highlighting, and washing. I’m happy with how the minis came out, and they’ve given me more practice to help develop my painting skills.
So, here’s an overview of how each mini came out.
First up, the skeleton. I simply followed the instructions in the booklet. But, I did manage to add the bow string by using fishing line. I had to use a pin to poke a hole in the skeleton’s hand. Then I tied a single knot at each end of the bow, held in place with a dab of thin super glue. It definitely adds more authenticity to the mini. But it still bugs me a bit that there’s no arrow ready to be fired. I’m also not keen on the Harvest Brown color being used for wood or leather. Oh, the problems of the nit-picky engineer…
Next up, the knight. I wasn’t very excited to paint this one. There’s so much armor on him that it’s nearly all metallic. But, I wanted to give it a shot. I really hit the creases with a black wash to give the shadows depth. The color scheme on the shield is also different than the instructions. I wanted to mimic a wooden shield with metal reinforcement around the edges. He’s not terribly colorful, but the knight does actually look pretty good, even with all the metallic paint.
Lastly, the orc. This one I like the most. He turned out fantastic. Great shadows, plenty of color variation, and I got to really play with dry-brushing with all of the fur and chain mail. I pretty much just followed the instructions, but they were spot on. I think I only changed a couple of very minor things. (I used a darker color for the ground, instead of the Viper Green. I think it was Mossy Green that I used.)
I really enjoyed painting these minis, and the Reaper Bones Learn to Paint Kit is an excellent choice for anyone looking to pick up the hobby of painting minis. Just make sure to grab some better brushes on your way to the check-out counter.
If you’ve had great experiences with any painting kits or other brands, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to find out what others are using to paint their minis.