Best Acrylic Paint for Miniatures

By Mandy Moss

Art is about bringing your creative vision to life, and many will agree that there is very little room for error. When choosing paint for your miniatures, of course you’re going to want the best and most professional acrylic paint possible.

Best Acrylic Paint for Miniatures

In order to guide and ease that process, I have compiled an explanation of different bits of information that may be important to know before choosing the right type of paint for your needs.

If you don’t have time to go through all the features, here are my top 3 picks:

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Choosing the Perfect Acrylic Paint for Your Miniature

I am going to present eight different brands of acrylic paint for your miniatures that have a variety of differences. Some paints are higher in price, some are created for beginners, some offer more variety in color and some are just more ideal than the others.

1. Vallejo Acrylic Paint

Vallejo Acrylic Paint is a widely known and abundantly used line of acrylic paints for miniatures. What I love about Vallejo is a very wide variety of high quality paints to choose from.

You would want to explore all their different options as you dig further into your project as some of these sets require more experience, but a generally good set to start with is the Basic USA Set

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Because of Water-based formula your final end-product will last forever. It will adhere to your surface smoothly so You won’t see any pealing or slow drying when using this type of paint. 

My favorite quality of this paint is how well it covers. It is possible to paint thin layers and still achieve excellent results, which is vital for miniature painting.

You will see also how these type of paints apply and dry evenly. Aside from having a smooth application, you won’t see any streaky lines or areas on your miniature where it may seem to have an patchy appearance. With their dropper style bottles, there is less of a mess and an easier transfer of color.

This specific set comes with a pretty diverse array of 16 color choices. It’s recommended to prime the miniature before applying Vallejo paint so it has even better and more leveling adhesion. This set comes with just the paint, so make sure to have your own tools, primer, and cleaning materials aside from this purchase.

2. Reaper Acrylic Paint

Similar to Vallejo, Reaper miniature paints come in a wide variety of product lines and colors to meet the needs of different project ideas. You will find Its consistency a little thinner compared to Reaper acrylics but nevertheless, they are still very pigmented and provide amazing coverage.

With the Learn How to Paint Kit, you get everything you need to get started. You even get three miniatures and guide book to master your skills. It is probably the best setting for all of you who are unsure whether miniature painting is something you want to pursue in the future.

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For those who don’t appreciate miniatures and brushes, there is a second set that contains a more diverse group of colors instead called Reaper Miniatures Master Series Starter Set

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Just like with Vallejo and most acrylic paints, it is recommended you prime your miniature model before painting it. Reaper will also offers you dropper styled bottles but this specific they will more likely get clogged, so make sure to have a needle on hand to avoid mess and frustration.

3. The Army Painter Acrylic Paint

Army Painter has a reputation for providing high-quality and professional results when it comes to painting miniatures. It is made with heavy pigmentation, so you will get good coverage overall but shake it well so that it mixes well. Since Army Painter shades are heavy in pigment, they are a little thicker but appear smooth at the same time.

The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit offers a very wide range of colors and paint choices. You will find it great choice if you are planning to use it often and wish to explore all the possibilities. It is meant For both beginning painters looking to experiment with miniature paintings, as well as experienced painters searching for their ideal brand.

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In this kit, you will get 50 colors in total, including 39 acrylic paint, 5 metallic, 4 quick wash, and 2 effect colors so you can get the full effect of acrylics for your miniatures. All the paints included in the kit are non-toxic and eco-friendly. With paint dropper caps you will simplify all the administration and cleanup.

As always, don’t forget your primer as it is not included inside the set. If you’re trying to stick with the theme of using the same brand, The Army Painter Color Primer will do just the trick.

4. Citadel Acrylic Paint

For all of your artistic dreams Citadel has a variety of paint types and lines to choose from. They offer great coverage and excellent quality, which is why I consider them to be such a good choice and why I put them on my Top 8 list.

You have two options when looking at Citadel acrylic paint for miniatures. You can choose the Game Injection Citadel Assortment set and make your own bundle of five by choosing between base, contrast, shade, or technical colors.

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They range between 0.4 oz and 0.8 oz in size. You can also choose to buy individual pots from Game Workshop (which is just a brand inside of Citadel) such as Abaddon Black or  Stirland Mud in different textures if you know which specific ones you want.

Those of you who prefer dipper pots rather than dropper lids will find this brand more convenient. You will find mixing colors more challenging because of cleaning your brush between colors, but the quality will make up for it.

NOTE: Primer is necessary and it’s important to prepare your own brushes beforehand.

5. Molotow Acrylic Paint Markers

Although this set is a bit different from your traditional acrylic paint, don’t let that deter you from thinking it won’t perform just as well. The option of being able to use acrylic paint in marker form will be of use to any of you, who either prefer a marker for precise coloring or wants to change things up.

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A major plus to this brand is that you don’t have to disperse of the markers when they run out of paint, you can actually refill them.

Molotow markers have acrylic-based pigment that will give you a full coverage result, but it’s important that you assembled and refill them properly, otherwise it may not work as well as it should. Its quick-dry formula and good adhesion will make sure your paint won’t peal of your surface.

A well-rounded choice when searching for a good starter set is Molotow ONE4ALL Acrylic Marker Paint Set. Inside, you will receive duplicate colors with 10 of them being 1mm and another 10 being 2mm acrylic markers.

You will get variety of colors included in the set, from yellows to blues to browns, along with “outliner” colors like black, white, and gray.

6. Badger Starter set

The unique aspect of Badger Starter Set is that while it is primarily advertised as an air-brush application, you can also use it with a brush. The Set contains 12 different colors.

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When thinking of applying Badger Starter set, think of using it on top of another paint, or to aid in creating a unique shade. I highly recommend using them with other acrylics to achieve best results. Alternatively, you can apply them just as it is, but be aware that ity may not perform as well on its own as the other options will.

7. Scale75 Acrylic Paints

Scale75 is made for more experienced painters because you will need a little while to learn how to use it properly. Its insane pigmentation and coverage are the reason why It’s such a popular choice.

In order to avoid clumpy paint or separation, You need to shake it up very well, or invest in some agitators.

Scale75’s acrylic lines are a little thicker in consistency, which will help you maintain a nice level of coverage whenever you need it. The drying time is longer, but this can be helpful if you want to spread out the color, blend in the paint, thin an area, or simply take your time to perfect something.

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There’s such a vast array of lines that Scale75 offers that can cater to so many possibilities in painting, my two favorites are The Color Blue Set and Color fantasy set

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Based on a consistent amount of wonderfully decorated miniatures, Scale75 proves to be one of the best acrylic paints (for experienced artists.) Depending on your desired outcome, you can browse the different lines that are offered and find the exact colors you may need.

8. Army Painter Dungeon set

Even though we extensively covered just the regular Army Painter paint, it’s good enough to add a second recommendation. This line is catered specifically to Dungeons and Dragons and has two different choices when making your purchase.

There are two sets available:

The Army Painter Dungeons and Dragons Official Paint Line Set comes with 10 acrylic paints. 8 of them are regular colors, 1 is a metallic other brush-on primer. The best part about this set is that you get Minsc and Boo miniatures pre-assembled as well as starter brushes and painting guide.

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The Dungeons and Dragons Miniature Painting Kit Bundle is more extensive kit with 36 paints; 28 acrylic, 3 metallic, 3 washes, and 2 effect paints. You will also receive a painting guide, a basecoat, detail and a dry brush.

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Is a Primer Really Necessary for painting on miniatures?

Do not skip primer when painting your miniatures. You can choose a black primer that provides quick and easy coverage, or you can apply white that you may have to layer a bit.

Priming can be done in several ways depending on your time and desired look. Whether you are concerned about the temperature in your area or you have the time to let your miniature sit for a while so that it can dry, brush-on primer is your best option. For faster results and no brush strokes, spray on primer is your best bet.

TIP:  When you plan to prime your miniature black and then paint it with any light colors, you will have to go over the black primer with white one as well so those light colors show through.

Do Specific Brushes Matter?

You need to be smart but efficient when choosing the brushes you want to use. It’s okay to aim for lower prices when choosing your brushes, just don’t aim for low quality. Amazon offers a very nice Kolinsky brush set I really love.

Sable hair brushes last longer and prove to be of better quality, you just need to make sure you properly clean them.

If you aren’t a fan of sable hair, Golden Maple has a set of detail brushes. While these are synthetic and a bit cheaper, have at the same time comparable results to the Kolinsky set.

Essentially it does not matter if you pick Natural Or Synthetic Paintbrushes. Just make sure, you Choose a set that is made with a good quality material in mind

TIP: Very lightly wet your brush while painting. Acrylic paints can dry very quickly and this helps make your painting process smoother.

Do you need to Seal your miniatures?

Sealer provides that extra layer of protection for your miniature. A good analogy for remembering to use sealer is the same as putting a raincoat on during a storm.

When you have a raincoat on, the rain hits that top layer but doesn’t get to reach your clothing underneath, which is exactly what a sealer does.

Make sure to wait until your acrylic paint is completely dry before applying, as you don’t want to mess anything up towards the end.

Do very even and thin coats when you are applying this in order to avoid oversaturation.

Unless you want an overly glossy appearance, it’s good to aim for a matte varnish and just touch up the desired areas with a gloss finish.

I like this Gloss Finish and this Matte Finish you can find on Amazon.

TIP:  If you worrie about something going wrong when applying sealant, start by first adding one layer of gloss and then following up with a layer of matte. Using gloss will provide an initial hard and protective layer, while matte sealant will add onto that protection and take away the shine. 

Do You Have to Use Specifically Acrylic Paint on Miniatures?

Essentially, you can use any paint you want to on your miniatures, but it is always recommended that you use acrylic paints. They adhere and cover miniature better than other type of paints.

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