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The Getting Started series gives people who are new to painting, assembling, and modeling miniatures advise on how to get started. This includes information on what products and tools make the most sense to get started with, hobby basics, and more. If you are getting started with miniatures, this is the place you should go first!
In my original Getting Started: Hobby Tools article I wanted to discuss what I felt were the necessary tools to handle assembly of miniatures that any new hobbyist would need in their collection. That isn’t all of the tools that I use regularly though and as a follow up, I wanted to touch on other tools that I use quite often and why.
Other Commonly Used Tools
One of my most used tools is a is a curved tip tweezers. There are a ton of these out there as tweezers is something that most people have at least a basic tweezers in their bathroom for grooming. However, the curved tip I find is very useful for grabbing small bits, dipping in glue, and then using to attach to a model where my fingers would just be in the way. Maybe it’s just that I am getting older, or maybe I am just getting smarter but I rarely assemble anything that has smaller bits these days without reaching for my tweezers.
So you went out and bought your first model kit and now you need to know what you need to put it together huh? Well, I hope to clear up your confusion with this guide to helping you pick up the right tools so that you can assemble your first models. Once you have those first models assembled, then I will cover some of the additional tools that will help you take your models to the next level.
If you have been keeping up, you should now have or be ready to purchase brushes, a palette, and know which vendor(s) paints you want to go with. The next thing to find intimidating is the number of colors in that paint rack. Most manufacturers churn out 40, 50, 60 or more colors and picking which colors you want to get started at a few US dollars for each pot or dropper bottle can stretch your initial hobby funds pretty thin.
In this article, I will go over some strategies you can use in deciding what colors you want to pick up first as you start to put the finishing touches on your starting paint kit. It shouldn’t take a ton of colors to be able to get started with painting. Down the road, as you expand your collection of paints or perfect your abilities to mix the colors you need to help with your growing and continued painting hobby.
So in the last getting started article, I talked about paint brushes and the basic tools of painting. Next up, I wanted to dive into paints and which ones you may want to select as your first purchase. Between paints, brushes, palette, and other hobby tools it’s very easy to spend more in initial purchases then it cost you to buy the first box of models. It’s hidden costs that make getting into wargaming expensive and daunting for the beginner. I hope to help guide you with some of my experience in wargaming.
Selecting a Paint Line
With so many different paint lines on the market right now, it can be hard to choose which paint line to use. Not to mention, it can be another big question as to maybe which lines mix and match the easiest. My best advise is as you get started to pick one paint line and stick with it for your first line of models. Even today, the vast majority of my collection of paints are from one single paint line with a small sampling of products from three or four other vendors.
As a whole, Army Painter puts together a paint line that will do the job for most beginners. To be honest, when they first came on the market I avoided them thinking they were not the same quality of paint and would give me issues. I am not a fan of how some of their colors coat, particularly yellows. I feel there are better paint lines on the market.
If you are on a budget you can’t beat Army Painter getting started kits price. I think for anyone just getting started painting models Army Painter paints are a great starting point.
Reaper Master Series Paints
Reaper paints are my primary paint line for all colors and I own well over 100 different colors. The best thing I like about these is the triad system that Reaper users. Triad of colors start with a traditional shade color, base color, and highlight color while not changing the color tone to much from color to color. In addition, Reaper Master Series Paints are high pigment and coat very well.
If there was one thing I would criticize regarding the range, it is the metallic paints. While there are a number of shades, I find that they don’t coat nearly as well as another vendor on this list. Reaper paints aren’t as popular though and it can be hard to find painting tutorials that are using those paints. If you are one that needs to match color for color that they are using in the tutorial, you may also want to look elsewhere (or just ask me).
Citadel (Games-Workshop) Paints
This is where almost all of us got our start with miniature paint lines, even myself. I have never had a complaint about Citadel paints. It’s a great range of paint and the way they coat is something you can’t go wrong with.
Citadel Paints are popular. Finding tutorials using Citadel Paints is pretty easy. This will make it easier to slowly get into the hobby! Not to mention, it’s likely others in your local community are using this paint range. Nothing like having people you can talk to and ask about what colors and techniques they are using!
My one knock against them is that they still use paint pots. While not the only company that does this, I find that the pots don’t seal as well and can lead to paints drying out. There is nothing worse then going for that pot of color that you want and finding that the entire pot is dried out.
Vallejo paints are fairly common and popular with a lot of people, particularly when people are painting historical models as there are many painting and color guides out there using Vallejo paints (thanks largely to Flames of War). Another dropper bottle paint line (like most of the others), Vallejo paints tend towards both good coverage and generally good value.
I do have a small sampling of Vallejo paints in my collection, but only really there for matching historical colors on some of my WW2 Bolt Action armies where I had a hard time figuring out what the equivalent Reaper paint was. To be honest, I am finding that I really do like the few pots I own and will likely add to that small, but growing collection as time goes on.
I don’t have a lot of experience with this range, but I did recently pick up some of their metallic paints. I am extremely pleased with these for their coverage and smooth flow. I don’t know that I would advise a beginner to go buy these for their first paints, but if you were looking to add to your collection some metallic paints and wanted to explore another range then I would point you here.
Overall, there is my first thoughts on paint ranges. You pretty much can’t go wrong starting with Army Painter, Citadel, Valejo, or Reaper paints for your first start into painting. Buying a beginners set with your base colors is always a good way to go, but in the next article I will talk about selecting your first paints and things to think about that might help you save a few pennies on your initial start up costs.