Are you looking for the best miniature paint set? Maybe, you are shopping for the best miniature paints for you to start the model painting hobby. A good miniature painting set begins and ends with its variety of rich paint colors. If you want a model painting kit with more accessories, like brushes and technical mediums, you can find those, too. Some miniature painting sets also have a useful carrying case to hold all your essential supplies. If you’re looking for the best miniature painting set for entering the tabletop mini painting hobby, or simply to expand your current paint collection, check out this review.
In this article, I review my top 10 best miniature paint sets for beginner miniature painters. These miniature paint kits also happen to make unique hobby gifts!
In a Hurry? Check Out the Top 3 Editor’s Picks! 🏆
- Reaper Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit Core Skills (Best Value)
- The Army Painter Wargames Delievered Mega Selection Paint Set (Most Comprehensive)
- Vallejo Basic Colors Paint Set (Basic Core Paints)
Continue reading for more details about what to look for in a great miniature painting set.
Best Acrylic Paint for Painting Miniatures and Models?
Here are 8 popular miniature paint brands:
- Citadel (Games Workshop)
- The Army Painter
- Vallejo paint
- Scalecolor paint
- Reaper paint
- P3 paints (Privateer Press)
- Kimera paints
- Pro Acryl paints
You can’t go wrong choosing acrylic paints made by any of these 8 hobby company brands. All of them are widely-regarded by miniature painting enthusiasts and professionals. If you’re looking for a miniature painting starter set, these hobby brands are a great place to look.
I prefer using a mix of Reaper Master Series Paints or The Army Painter colors for painting miniatures. This is because I really like how matte (non-glossy) these paints dry. The matte finish helps me blend and layer the paint and also maintains visible contrast on the model, even under poor ambient lighting conditions. The dropper bottles are nice, too!
Remember, you can mix and match paints from different brands. Because all acrylic model paints are water-based (using a similar acrylic binders and solvent formulae), hobby acrylic paints for miniatures will generally mix well with each other.
Although there are some exceptions, you can therefore feel free to mix acrylic paints across brands to create the color of your choice. If you’re looking for equivalent paint colors across brands (e.g., perhaps you want to replace your Citadel Game Workshop color with one made by Vallejo), you can find conversion charts all over the internet. You can download a paint conversion chart here.
You Only Need Three Things to Paint Miniatures
The essential ingredients for painting miniatures include the paint, brush, and the model you want to paint. For other tools and supplies you may want to add to your hobby, especially if you are budget-minded, see what stuff I boil down for you here.
For miniature painting, you want good quality, color rich paints that provide you with good coverage with few brushstrokes. In contrast, to cheap arts & crafts acrylic paints, hobby-grade model paints, such as those made by Vallejo, Reaper, Citadel, or Army Painter, will have formulations that make it easy to paint small surfaces with little effort.
Additionally, miniature paints designed for painting models and miniatures will have better durability than the cheap stuff you find in the arts & crafts section of a local shop or department store, e.g., Walmart. If you’re a beginner painter or want to expand your paint collection, then you’ll want to invest the best paint for miniatures.
What Makes a Good Miniature Paint Starter Set?
The best miniature paints are hobby grade acrylic paints that provide you with color rich pigments, excellent coverage, and easy color mixing. If you’re starting from scratch as a new miniature painter, then you’ll likely find an endless amount of things you can buy.
To get started painting, a number of companies make great beginner kits and sets that contain nearly everything you’ll want to jump right into the miniature painting hobby.
Here are 8 things to look for in a good miniature painting starter kit for beginner painters:
All miniature painting hobbyists need good quality paint. These are usually acrylic model paints that mix well with water (e.g., water-based solutions) that provide you with good coverage with little painting effort.
You can tell a model paint is of good quality for painting miniatures when you can cover a surface entirely with 2-3 layers of the paint. The coat should be smooth and durable. The miniature painting kits I review below all contain high quality acrylic paints formulated for painting small models and miniatures.
Of course, you’ll need brushes to paint miniatures. What are the best brushes for painting miniatures? Well, this a question best answered here. For newbies, I recommend starting with the best budget quality brush you can afford (at most $7-10). They can be made of synthetic or natural hair bristles.
Your goal when you first start painting miniatures is to get used to how paint behaves on your brush and when you apply the paint on your model. You will probably ruin your first brushes in the first few weeks or months you start the hobby. So, don’t worry about buying expensive tools just yet. Play and have fun and learn to care for your starter equipment before investing in new, shiny tools.
3. Sample Miniatures
Some miniature painting starter kits come with miniatures that you can start to learn to paint right away. Reaper makes great starter kits that contain 28mm scale miniatures in the Fantasy genre. I venture to guess that the most popular miniatures are for roleplaying games (RPG), such as for Dungeon and Dragons (D&D), Pathfinder, or Frostgrave.
If you’re looking for more miniatures to practice on, or simply to have fun with, you can use miniatures from board games. A lot of popular board games come with fun miniatures that are easy to paint, including Monopoly, Warcry, Blood Rage, Zombicide, and Mansions of Madness (e.g., these are some of my favorites).
For an a la carte painting experience on miniatures that you could display or show off to gaming buddies or simply experiment with are those created by WizKids (designed for Pathfinder, D&D, or other RPG play). Check out this cool dragon!
4. Mixing Mediums
All modern paints for painting miniatures are made with water-based acrylic formulas. Although enamel and oil-based paints are still around, they are not as versatile or safe as acrylic model paints (e.g., you can even lick your brushes if you paint with most model acrylic paints without too much worry. Though, I don’t recommend you do this on any regular basis).
Mixing mediums often accompany beginner starter painting kits. A mixing medium may be a clear acrylic polymer that helps you thin your acrylic paint, or slows the drying speed. This additive changes the properties of the paint, making it more transparent (which is great for glazing), or help you wet-blend colors together.
A good beginner kit will not only come with a mixing medium, but will also include instructions for using them with the accompanying paint set.
In some miniature painting kits and sets, you may find “washes” or “shades”. These are paints that have a specific purpose for painting miniatures in that they help you pull out details on a model by darkening recesses.
A wash or quick shade (depending on the company brand terminology, e.g. Games Workshop) is usually a dark pigmented paint color that you apply liberally over a model. The thinner formulation of these mediums allow the pigments to settle in the deeper textures and crevices of a miniature, thereby adding shadow contrast to your model with less effort.
RELATED ARTICLE: BEST PAINT WASHES AND USE THEM ON MINIATURES AND MODELS
A primer is a special application you coat your model with to prepare the surface for paint. A primer fills in microscopic imperfections in a plastic, metal, or resin miniatures’ surface and helps overlying paint adhere to the surface. I highly recommend you use a primer before painting any model. Although some paint for miniatures painting sets come with primer, some don’t. In this case, you can buy a separate primer for your model.
Here are some primers I recommend for painting miniatures and models and why you should use them. My personal favorite primer is a polyurethane Vallejo Surface Primer (reviewed here).
When you are finished painting a miniature, you want to protect your work. This is especially important if you plan to play with the model, which means it will get handled a lot in games. Even abused!
A varnish acts as a protective sealant that protects the underlying paint job. Importantly, a good varnish will even out the reflective surface of a painting miniatures, which increases and maintains color contrast and depth. All of the miniatures I’ve ever painted in commission work or for my personal collection have 2 or more coats of varnish.
Finally, varnishes have the additional benefit of preventing color fading when your models are exposed to UV light (e.g., sunlight). Although most modern model acrylic paints are colorfast and highly-resilient to color fade, a varnish will further protect the model from the aging processes of UV light exposure and oxidation.
Some miniature painting starter kits come with short, well-written instructions for using the paint and supplies contained in the kit. Although, not a high priority when looking for a painting set, I have found these helpful for those are truly new to the hobby.
When you’re just starting out fresh, you may not know about all the great YouTube channels or blogs that provide tutorials and how-tos for painting miniatures. So, I do appreciate when a hobby/paint company provides good step-by-step instructions along with box sets or painting kits. For example, I really enjoyed using the pamphlet that came with my Scale 75 non-metallic metal (NMM) paint set.
What to know more about how to paint NMM? Check out the top 3 websites for how to paint NMM.
What Else Do I Need to Start Painting Miniatures?
I suggest you get a comfy chair, a solid hobby desk, and a good light source or two. Here are some great hobby lamp options for painting miniatures. Comfort is the key to enjoying miniature painting over the long term. Once you’re in the mini painting hobby, being comfortable will encourage you to paint for longer periods of time.
Here are Other Helpful Supplies for New Miniature Painters:
|Essentials for painting miniatures||Why you need it|
|Palette||Somewhere you can mix and thin your paints before applying to your model|
|Brush cleaner or soap||To clean and maintain your brushes and other essential tools|
|Primer||To prepare your model’s surface for paint application|
|Varnish sealer||To protect your completed painting, especially if the model is for gaming|
|Water pot or cup||For cleaning brushes and easy access to water for thinning paints|
|Miniature or model painting handle||To clean and maintain your brushes and other essential tools|
|Hobby knife or blade||A versatile tool for cleaning a model’s surface or other cutting needs|
|Sprue cutters or clippers||Required for removing parts from mold casted sprues and kits, including plastic, metal, or resin|
|Glue||Bonds model parts together during assembly|
|Hands-free model assembly holder||Holds very small parts for you while you wait for glue to dry. Also useful for painting and spray application, e.g., airbrushing|
Best Paint Colors in a Miniature Painting Starter Kit?
What are the must-have colors for starting in the miniature painting hobby? The best miniature painting starter kits will come with a color palette derived from the three primary colors: blue, red, and yellow. The kit will also have black and white paints. With black and white paints, you can lighten (tint) or darken (shade) any paint color you please. Using neutral colors is versatile and every new painter should learn how different colors mix to create new tones.
Although color theory is a concept everyone should understand at some point, my suggestion for new painters is to first use colors that you find attractive. For example, if your favorite color is “blue”, then start painting your miniatures with that color. Don’t necessarily follow the rules. First, have fun, then learn how to take your understanding to the next level by learning new techniques, concepts, and motifs.
If you’re looking a unique color scheme for a new tabletop army collection, here are 5 ways to decide on a paint scheme.
Note that some miniature painting starter sets are specifically designed around a particular theme, concept, story, or game. For example, if you play D&D, there are paint starter D&D paint sets that contain paints that will help you paint up models to fit the palette of the studio art of a Dungeons and Dragons adventure campaign.
Are Miniature Paint Sets Worth It?
Here are 4 reasons why a miniature paint starter set is worth it:
- Bundled savings
- Larger variety of paint colors
- Quick entry into the miniature painting hobby
- Great hobby gifts (for yourself or others)
It is cheaper to buy your paints in a bundled package. Sure, you can buy your paint supplies one at a time: pick and choose single paints, brushes, and other tools. But, for paint colors, you can save a lot getting a few in a set at the same time instead of piecemealing your paint collection.
Of course, not every mini paint starter set will have everything you’re looking for. But, generally, you’ll find there’s a good economic reason to enter the hobby with a miniature paint bundled set. The bundled savings is especially notable for those who starting from scratch or have very little paints and brushes in their collections already.
Explore New Colors!
With a miniature paint set, you also have the opportunity for collecting paint colors you may not think of using. Some may think this is a waste of money. But, I’ve found that sometimes, you may want to explore a different paint color palette. Instead of shopping for random colors that catch your eye, you can refer back to your bundled paint set and see how to make that other unused color work for you.
Some paint sets for miniatures also carry a theme, like the D&D paint sets or the Citadel Paint sets (which may be geared toward a specific army faction, e.g., Stormcast Eternals, Necrons, or Space Marine chapter).
No Gate Keeping
Let’s not forget that a miniature paint set allows any beginner painter enter the hobby quickly. If you’re looking for a fast way to get everything you need without hassling about with a shopping list, try getting a miniature painting kit. Citadel, Vallejo, and The Army Painter make great miniature painting sets that include paints and brushes, and often come with a handy instruction manual to get started.
Finally, although not a major reason for most, a mini painting set is a great hobby gift. For anyone inclined to start the hobby, but aren’t sure where to start, a miniature painting starter kit is a fantastic step through the door. I remember my early days in the hobby. I had no idea where to start, and so I hesitated starting the miniature painting hobby at all. That is, until someone gifted me a few paints and brushes.
3 Basic Tips for Using Acrylic Model Paint
- Thin your paint
- Don’t let paint dry on your brush
- Paint in layers
1. Thin Your Paint
For best results, remember to thin your acrylic paints with a bit of clean water. You want to add a dab of water to make your acrylic paint flow better and more predictably on your miniature.
To thin your paint, take a bit of paint from your paint bot (or dispense from dropper bottles) onto a palette. A palette is any surface that you use to work with your paint before place it on your model. For thinning paints, it doesn’t matter if you use a wet or dry palette.
2. Don’t Let Paint Dry on Your Brush
Unless you’re planning to use the dry brush technique, don’t let acrylic paint dry on your brush. Dried acrylic paint is quick way to destroy your brush bristles. It’s also a pain to clean paint from your brushes when it has dried.
If you’re looking to prolong the service life of your tools, make sure you take care of them. This includes keeping paint off your bristles when you’re done painting. Here is an article about simple ways to care for your brushes.
3. Paint in Layers
The best way to apply paint to a model is to use layers. Don’t try to cover your model’s surface in a single layer of paint (see tip #1). A single layer of paint may not completely cover a miniature’s surface. That’s okay.
Apply one layer and let it dry before applying another. Those first one to two layers of paint may look splotchy, but after a while the color will build up into a smooth even coat. Although the paints in the miniature paint sets below use high-quality paints with rich color pigments, you’ll still want to follow this tip for great results.
Top 10 Best Miniature and Model Painting Kits for Starters and Newbies
Here are my 10 recommended best miniature painting kits for beginner miniature painters and hobbyists:
- Reaper Miniatures Master Series Paints Starter Set for Mini Figures
- Reaper Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit Core Skills
- Dungeons and Dragons Official Paint Line Adventurer’s Paint Set
- Dungeons and Dragons Official Paint Line Monsters Paint Set
- D&D Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments Underdark Paint Set
- The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit
- Reaper Mini Dungeon Dwellers Colors Set
- The Army Painter Miniatures Paint Set, Wargames Hobby Starter Paint Set
- Master Series Paints: Pathfinder Colors of Golarion
- Vallejo Basic Colors Paint Set
The Reaper Miniatures Master Series Paints Starter Set for Mini Figures is a great paint set for any beginner miniature painter or hobbyist interested in painting miniatures. Because of the completeness of this set, I’ve given this kit away as a gift to teens and younger painters. It has everything you need to start painting miniatures, and the paints and supplies will be very useful if someone decides to stick with the hobby.
In this shoebox sized plastic container, which doubles as a handy carrying case to store your hobby supplies, you get high-quality acrylic paint formulated for painting miniatures.
Reaper Master Series paints were formulated by award-winning miniature artists that make them easy to use, thin, mix and match, and have a wonderfully matte, color rich finish. In this set, you get 13 of the most popular Master Series Paint colors for painting miniatures.
Although you don’t get brushes or a miniature (instead see the Core Skills Kit below), this is a good place to start if you’re looking to start with a core collection of paints that you will absolutely want to have ready for any project.
Notably, this set contains HD or High-Density paints that make base coating miniatures much easier and faster, as well as colors from the Reaper Core Color and Bones Ultra-Color line. Each of these paint-types are formulated slightly different and will help you learn the versatility owning paints designed for a particular purpose. In my experience, Reaper Core Color and Bones paints works great in an airbrush when thinned with a bit of water.
Overall, the Reaper Starter Paint set is a great package that you’ll always find a use for and has great utility across a multitude of miniature and model painting projects.
- Great selection of high-quality acrylic paints
- Useful plastic carrying case for storage and travel
- Learn established painting techniques with a variety of paint formulations
- Bundled cost-savings for useful color palette
The Reaper Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit Core Skills is the #1 starter set to get for anyone who may be interested in starting in the hobby. As with the Reaper starter set above, I’ve given this away as a gift for for birthdays and other special occasions. As a miniature paint starter set for beginning painters, this is one of the sets I recommend most. There are several reasons for this.
The “Learn to Paint Core Skills” kit is a self-contained box that includes 11 Master Series Paints, 3 awesome RPG miniatures, and 2 Master Series brushes.
The Learn to Paint kit is also packaged in a very useful plastic carrying case (e.g., kind of like a toolbox). It’s great for storage and travel. I personally have one of these cases ready for when I need the portability of moving around with my hobby supplies. For those starting out in the hobby, having a self-contained case to hold everything is also convenient when you don’t have a dedicated hobby workstation.
Of course, when your burgeoning collection of paints increase beyond the small plastic container, you may want to consider a hobby paint storage display rack to organize your stuff.
The plastic miniatures included in this beginner set take up primer and paint well. They are great for learning how to paint. The brushes are of decent quality, but may need to be replaced in a fairly short period of time depending on how much they are used and cared for. The paints will last a very long time as long as they are capped and stored at a normal ambient temperature and humidity.
Finally, this kit comes with amazingly prepared instructions with photos that show you how to paint miniatures. This includes instructions for the basic painting techniques of basecoating, washing, and dry brushing. Whether you’re looking for a miniature painting starter bundle for yourself or as a gift to a fellow hobbyist, the Learn to Paint Core Skills kit is fantastic!
- Self-contained set with everything you need to start
- Great paints, brushes, and 3 detailed plastic miniatures
- Carrying case is convenient
- Excellent value miniature painting starter kit
If you’re planning to paint your next RPG miniatures for a campaign, D&D or other roleplaying tabletop game, then the Dungeons and Dragons Official Adventurer’s Paint Set is a great place to start. Whether you’re a new painter, looking to start in the hobby, or someone who wants to expand their experience with new paints formulated around RPG miniatures (and made by The Army Painter brand), this is a fantastic D&D paint set.
The kit comes with 10 acrylic mediums you would want to get started, including 8 normal colors, 1 metallic paint (steel), and a bottle of primer. The primer is especially useful for preparing your model for paint. This adventure set also includes a starter brush and a D&D miniature (Minsc & Boo, famed through “Baldur’s Gate” video game).
There’s also a really useful painting guide to start you off on your painting journey. As an all-in-one miniature painting starter kit, if you’re into role playing games with miniatures, the Official Dungeons and Dragons Paint Line Adventurer’s Paint Set is a fan favorite and would be an excellent gift to someone in your adventuring party (including yourself). Check it out!
- Inexpensive all-in-one bundle to start painting miniatures
- Built for D&D fans and other role players
- Comes with painting guide and miniature
- Includes primer and paint to jump right into the hobby
Do you want to paint monsters? Well, roll for initiative! Obviously, you don’t need any specific paint set to get started with minis. Any will do. The only reason you may want to choose the Dungeons and Dragons Official Paint Line Monsters Paint Set is because of how all-encompassing this set is. It’s a veritable monster of a kit and is one of the best all-in-one miniature painting sets you can get, and is especially awesome as a starter D&D mini painting kit.
You’re not holding anything back when you pick this kit up. You really want to get into the hobby! Included in this set are 36 bottles of non-toxic paints (28 acrylic model paints, 3 metallic paints, 3 washes, and 2 special effect paints). All of the dropper bottles are 12 ml and provide more than enough to paint a lot of models.
This set is a great standalone miniature painting bundle. Or, consider this a fantastic expansion set for the Adventurer’s Set above (see #3). The D&D Owlbear Monster mini is a classic sculpt that will get you started with painting monsters large and small. The mini is already assembled, but unpainted. So, you’re ready to dive right into painting with this set.
- More paints, more fun (36 bottles of formulated paints by The Army Painter)
- Designed for D&D fans, but great for all miniature hobbyists
- Technical paints and washes provide you with additional hobby opportunities
- Stand alone set, or use as an expansion to your other paint collections
The world has witnessed a resurgence in roleplaying games, including Dungeons & Dragons. And, it is no surprise that painting sets built around this tabletop RPG have emerged. The Dungeons and Dragons Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments Underdark Paint Set is no exception. This is miniature painting set is similar to the Adventurer’s Paint set (#3), but includes paint colors with a more muted tone (e.g., desaturated).
This miniature painting set comes with 10 water-based acrylic paints, including a metallic paint and 1 effect paint. The theme, of course, is the Underdark, home of the dark elves and heroes like Drizzt. The paint colors are uniquely packaged in this set and you may not find them elsewhere. If you’re looking for an “Underdark” themed paint color palette, this paint set is certainly it.
Also, included in this miniature starter set is the exclusive Drizzt Do’Urden plastic miniature ready for you to paint. Although there is no brush in the set, you can easily find affordable brushes to learn with.
As with other D&D paints, the acrylics are made with fine pigments in a color dense paint which create a easy-to-use consistency and excellent paint coverage. You’ll want to shake your bottles vigorously before use to ensure the pigment and binder are mixed well. Use a small motorized hobby paint mixer to help you if you have a lot of bottles to shake.
- Formulated around the D&D Underdark theme
- Unique paint colors not found anywhere else
- The effect and metallic paint are broadly useful
- If you’re a fan of Drizzt and dark elven lore, this may be a fun place to dive into the miniature hobby
The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit is the set you buy when you’re excited as a beginner miniature painter who wants to get every paint supply you may ever want all in one place. This is also a good option if you’re looking for an alternative to a Citadel Paint set, which can be a bit pricey for what you get.
If you’re looking for a quick way to build up your Warhammer paint set collection, this is a great choice. You’ll of course want brushes and other doodads. But, in terms of color and art mediums, The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit has packaged your needs in a thoughtful, complete collection.
The Army Painter acrylic paint line are notable for their excellent grade paints that provide you with great coverage (some colors are better than others) with popular colors for almost any tabletop gaming palette, e.g., Warhammer 40k, Fantasy, Historical, RPGs, and more. This particular set includes 60 Warpaints (in larger 18ml bottles), including 43 acrylic colors , 5 metallic paints (for weaponry, armor, and mechanical elements), as well as 7 quickshade washes (great for speed painting, too), and 5 effect paints.
READ MORE: BEST WASHES FOR MINIATURE AND MODEL PAINTING
The brush-on primer in this set is useful for getting started. But, I would recommend getting more primer medium later, especially a spray-on primer, for better results with your painting. The dropper bottles make dispensing paint on your palette easy and convenient. Along with agitator balls, which you can drop into the paint bottles, you shouldn’t have much trouble keeping the paint mixed well.
Overall, if you’re looking to dive right into the hobby of painting miniatures and not sure what paint colors you want, The Army Painter Miniature Painting Set is an amazing place to start. You may not need all the colors here, but the cost-savings when you buy as a bundle is significant. Take a look!
- Large paint set at a good price; great value
- Convenient dropper bottles (18ml) with free mixing balls
- Color-coded bottle caps for easy identification of paint media
- Comprehensive kit of acrylic color paints, metallics, effect paints, and quick shade washes
Sometimes you don’t need to start big. The Reaper Mini Dungeon Dwellers Colors Set is a simple set of 6 thematic paint colors for dungeons exploring miniatures. Created by Reaper, the Bones line of acrylic paints are excellent quality with great coverage. You get grim and dungeon-associated colors named appropriately, such as Vampiric Mist, Succubus Kiss, Eldritch Purple (my favorite), Cursed Gold, Skeleton Key, and Dungeon Grey.
If you’re creative, you will find a lot of versatility in these colors alone. Even if you’re a beginner miniature painter, you’ll discover you can do a lot with very little. You can paint an entire miniature successfully with this 6 color palette. The cost-per-bottle for this bundled paint set is excellent and the colors are uniquely situated (you won’t find them elsewhere easily).
Collectively, I think this is a great miniature painting set for those who may already have some experience painting miniatures, but are looking to take a scenic detour. Underground, perhaps? Let’s just say that of all the paint brands that I’ve used, my favored paints have always steered me toward the Reaper Series paint line. Give ’em a shot yourself!
- Short and sweet, like a dungeon appetizer or dessert
- Just 6 colors, but feasible as a stand alone color palette
- Strong, thematic tones with Reaper quality
- Good bundled value
The Army Painter Miniatures Paint Set, Wargames Hobby Starter Paint Set is the set you get when you don’t want to go too big, or at least not right away. This miniature painting beginner set is modest, but mighty.
The Army Painter Wargames hobby starter is a pack of cor acrylic colors in 18ml bottles. These include the widely useful strong tone quickshade wash, which is great for pulling out the details quickly on a painted model. The included instructions will show you how.
The other colors fill the common gamut: blue, red, yellow, green, black and white. A steel metallic is included for armor, weapons, and the like. A flesh tone and leather color work together for the obvious historical or fantasy motifs this kit may be optimized for. The starter brush is admittedly mediocre, but a good place for anyone to begin their miniature painting journey.
Taken together, this makes a great all-in-one complete starter set gift or a place to get your feet when in the miniature painting hobby. Although there isn’t an included miniature like other sets, you probably have one in mind already. Or, check out these fun pre-assembled miniatures that this paint set would work well with.
- A modest, but complete set of useful paints and media
- Good value with included brush, quickshade wash, and metallic paint
- Excellent quality paint line made by The Army Painter
- Included a Wargaming Army Painting Guide with photos
What’s the better RPG system, D&D or Pathfinder? Does it matter for painting miniatures? Nope! Good thing, too, because this set is aweseome for any miniatures you may want to paint for your next RPG campaign. The Master Series Paints: Pathfinder Colors of Golarion is a Reaper-branded set of miniature paints designed around the Pathfinder intellectual property (IP).
As the official paint set for Pathfinder, you can expect the color gamut to closely match the artwork in the Pathfinder compendium of books and other published media. As with other Reaper painting starter sets, this Pathfinder set comes in a handy plastic carrying case that is great for storing or transporting your hobby paints and other supplies. Honestly, I love having this box around for when I want to move about my home to paint.
Although on the pricier side than the box sets, this contains a lot of unique, exclusive paint colors. Innovative color is a great way to have your model’s stand out from the pack. Here, you get 28 bottles (0.5 oz or 15ml) of officially licensed Pathfinder colored paints. The paints are water-soluble (as with almost all acrylic paints for miniatures and models) that dry fast, clean up easily, and thin well (even for airbrushing).
Reaper paints are renown for their awesomely, smooth matte finish, and the paints in this set are no exception. The paints here blend well using a variety of techniques, e.g., layering and glazing or wet-blending. Like other paints shown here in this list, Reaper Pathfinder paints work great on metal, plastic, or resin miniatures. With a good primer, the finish is durable, resilient to peeling and cracking, and don’t fade over time, i.e., the paints are colorfast.
- 28 unique colors in the Pathfinder Universe
- Officially licensed paints with Reaper paint quality and accessibility
- Great supplement to other kits, or use to start your own collection
- Convenient plastic travel and storage case
This is the best Vallejo paint set for starting miniature painters. The Vallejo Basic Colors Paint Set epitomizes simplicity when it comes to starting out in the miniature painting hobby. Rock solid paint quality in a collection of highly- or dare I say all-useful colors.
In fact, the Vallejo Model Color paint set here is the most reliable paint set you can buy where you are most likely to use all the paints. Some kits come with extraneous colors you’ll never need, but if you’re serious about painting miniatures, this set will not only be a great start, but will carry you through your veteran painting years.
Vallejo Model Color is a favored miniature paint line of many professional artists and helped award-winning painters get through those final contest rounds. Model color formulations contain permanent pigments for all kinds of fine art, too, and are completely lightfast and opaque.
The paint was created with a mind toward consistency for extremely smooth and even paint distribution (or film), which helps prevent the trace of brush strokes on a finished piece. This is a professional grade paint. Using Vallejo Surface Primer, I’ve been able to achieve very satisfying results with Model Color paints on different miniature surfaces, including plastic, metal, and resin.
Although the paint set does not come with other materials, e.g., lacking brushes or other media, this is probably the best paint set to start with if you are okay with shopping for your other supplies, separately (which has its advantages). Take a look at the other important supplies you may want. If you’re looking for the best quality miniature paints to begin your hobby, then take a closer look at Vallejo Model Color paints.
- Professional grade acrylic model paint set
- Favored paint line by many professional, award-winning artists
- Vallejo paints are consistent, easy-to-use, color rich, and lightfast
- Great value bundle
Best Miniature Painting Starter Set?
There are a few different miniature painting starter sets on the market, but I think the best one for beginners is the Reaper Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit Core Skills followed closely by The Army Painter Wargames Hobby Starter Paint Set. These sets come with all the basic paints and brushes you need to get started, along with the core colors and instructions on how to use them.
As mentioned above, there are other ways to decide how to find the right miniature painting kit, depending on whether you’re just a beginner or someone who paints a lot and is looking to expand their collection.
For most people who aren’t sure how to decide, I tend to recommend that you decide on your budget. Expect to spend between $50-200 USD for a good starter set. The value in getting a hobby paint kit is that you’ll save money with a bundled purchase. For example, if you bought the colors and tools separately, it would cost more than the price of a miniature paint starter kit.
In the end, it all comes down to what you’re looking for in a miniature painting set. Do you need more specialized tools and colors? Or are you content with the basic colors and supplies that most starter sets come with? Whichever route you decide to go, make sure you have some fun with it and happy painting!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do I need to prime my miniatures before painting them?
Yes, I always recommend that your prime your miniatures. Here’s why. In general, the best primers for painting miniatures are applied using a spray application. You can use brush on surface primers, too, which work well. My favorite primer for plastic, resin, or metal miniatures is Vallejo Surface Primer (see the review). They just take more time and skill to apply quickly and evenly on miniatures.
What if I don’t find the right colors in my paint set?
Most starter paint sets give you enough colors for painting whatever genre of models you have. But, if you need more colors that what’s included in your model painting starter kit, then you can probably find extra colors to purchase a la carte.
Most hobby brand acrylic paint sets are part of a larger collection from the same company, so I don’t expect you’ll have trouble expanding upon your paint set over time.
Of course, it’s also possible to mix the colors you currently have to make the exact tone, shade, hue, highlight, or tint that you’re looking for. But, this is a lot of imperfect work! It’s usually a lot cheaper and time-effective to buy extra colors than to spend the time trying to create new colors with your current paint collection.
Which are the best acrylic paint brands for painting miniatures?
I highly recommend you choose acrylic paints that come from any these hobby company brands:
- Citadel (Games Workshop)
- P3 (Privateer Press)
- The Army Painter
- Kimera colors
- Pro Acryl
All acrylic model paints are water based (using a similar acrylic binders and solvent formulations). You can mix and match different colors by brand or by color. If you want to compare paint colors across several categories, you use my paint brand conversion chart or find others online. You can download a paint conversion chart to find the colors of your favorite hobby paint brand for your miniature painting hobby.
What about no-name acrylic starter kits?
A lot of home stores or craft stores offer small kits of acrylic paint. However, these are often of unreliable quality and use color pigments that are too coarse for detailed miniature painting. Arts & craft paints work well for large models, such as terrain, but aren’t really suited well for scale miniature painting, e.g., Warhammer, tabletop minis.
Sure, these paints are cheaper and appear more affordable, but you won’t achieve the quality results you may be looking for. And, it is possible these non-branded acrylic paints won’t hold up to the abuse we put our gaming miniatures through during gameplay.
What are the best paint brushes for miniatures?
I breakdown what you look for in the best brushes for painting miniatures in this guide. Briefly, Winsor & Newton Series 7 (size #1) is the most popular paint brush for miniature painting enthusiasts (28-35mm scale tabletop models). The Army Painter Wargames “Regiment” paint brush is my current workhorse for most of my work, while there are other budget options that work great too and I recommend.
How do you thin acrylic paints?
Model acrylic paints are water-soluble and can be easily thinned in water. You can thin using other mediums, too; but I think water is the best universal thinners for hobby paints. The ratio of paint to water depends on your application. Check out this article about the differences between basecoats, layers, and glazes, and you will see how and when to thin paints for your hobby painting project.
I love painting miniatures and my enthusiasm is matched by my compulsion to share the hobby with others. There’s something special about finishing a painting project, with a model (that started blank) coming alive in full, living color. Putting life into a miniature isn’t something to take lightly. Painting miniatures does change you a little.
Getting into the hobby of miniature painting isn’t hard. Not really. All you need a model, paint, and brush. Dabble a bit of your imagination, some motivation, too, and you’re in!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of model paint sets and found this information useful. If still you’re unsure whether this hobby is for you, or what to buy to get started, let me know your thoughts below.
I’d love to help. And, if you have any feedback for this article or ideas for more, leave me note! 😃
Happy hobby painting!
Summary: 10 best miniature painting sets for beginner painters
|Reaper Miniatures Master Series Paints Starter Set for Mini Figures||
|Reaper Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit Core Skills||
|Dungeons and Dragons Official Paint Line Adventurer's Paint Set||
|Dungeons and Dragons Official Paint Line Monsters Paint Set||
|Dungeons and Dragons Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments Underdark Paint Set||
|The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit||
|Reaper Mini Dungeon Dwellers Colors Set||
|The Army Painter Miniatures Paint Set, Wargames Hobby Starter Paint Set||
|Master Series Paints: Pathfinder Colors of Golarion||
|Vallejo Basic Colors Paint Set||