With so many different types of paint, choosing the best paints for your miniature and model projects can be difficult. For the best results, you will want to use the best paints for your model projects. If you wonder what the best paint to purchase is, don’t worry. We have you covered. This guide will help you choose the best paint for your crafting project, and we have also included a list of the top model paint brands.
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What Is The Difference Between Acrylic Paint And Enamel Paint
The difference between enamel and acrylics is that enamel is oil-based, and acrylics are water-based.
Years ago, enamel was the primary paint used for models and miniatures. Enamel paint does not need a base coat, lasts a long time, and can be applied to multiple surfaces, including wood, metal, plastic, glass, copper, and outdoor surfaces. The negative side of using enamels is that it takes a long time to dry and might have a foul odor or fumes. Unlike acrylics, oil paints require mineral spirit for cleanup.
Acrylic paints have become more popular because they dry quickly, do not have any toxic odors. Acrylic paint spills can easily be cleaned with warm water and soap. Acrylics come in a wide variety of colors, and the transparency can be adjusted without altering the viscosity.
The choice between enamel paints and acrylics is a personal preference. If you are starting, a good option would be to start with acrylics because they are easier to clean and work with. Paintbrushes can also be cleaned with warm water if you are using acrylics. You will need mineral spirits to clean brushes if you are using enamels.
Benefits Of Acrylic Paints Overview:
- Dries quickly
- Vibrant colors
- A large variety of colors
- Transparency of the paint can be altered
- Easy to clean
Best Acrylic Paints For Miniatures
Crafters enjoy working with acrylics because they can spray the paint or use a brush. There is also a choice of having a flat finish or a glossy finish.
Vallejo Basic U.S.A. acrylic paints are formulated with permanent lightfast pigments. The thick paint goes on smooth and can cover a large area. Even though the paint can be used on metal and wood, they work best on smooth surfaces like plastic. The set includes a combination of primary colors and secondary colors, which is perfect for miniature models.
The Army Paints are very popular with miniature painters and are well known for their professional quality. The set comes with 39 different paint colors, 5 metallic paints, 2 effect paints, 4 quick shade washes, and 1 triangular handled detailed brush. These high-quality paints are consistent and mage with quality pigments.
The dropper bottles make it easy to excrete the paint without making a mess. If you prefer to use spray paint, they also carry The Army Painter Color Primer, Matt White, 400ml, 13.5oz – Acrylic Spray Undercoat for Miniature Painting.
You have the choice of buying the set, or you can purchase individual bottles if you prefer.
Enamel Miniature Paints
Enamel paints have always been famous for model painting. Even though acrylics have become popular for models, enamel offers brilliant bright colors that work well on multiple surfaces. One positive is that you do not need a base color before painting, and depending on the surface, you can achieve a polished or glossy look.
Enamel Top Picks
Testors Metallic Enamel Paint
Testors lead-free metallic enamel paint can be applied in thin coats and is the best option if you are looking for fast-drying paint that does not smudge. The paint has fine color pigment, which produces an even coverage. Testors enamel paint can also be used with Testors aerosol spray paints. The washing technique can be accomplished by using a Testors Enamel thinner.
There are other enamel paints available, but Testors enamel paints are the top choice of miniature painters
What To Consider Before Purchasing Miniature Paint
There are many different types of paints available, and the other brands will produce different effects and shades. A thin paint will work well in an airbrush system or can be used as a watercolor technique.
Thicker liquid paint is a great option for thicker coats of paint. Thicker paint contains more permanent pigments and less water, which will produce a stronger bond with vibrant colors. These paints can create a rising appearance when dried, or if you would like a smoother finish, you can add a little water to the paint.
Color shift is the change of the colors when they dry. Most acrylics will dry darker than when it is wet. It is a good idea to test the paint on a small area or a practice piece before working on your miniature model.
Lightfast is a rating that shows how a color will fade to natural elements like direct sunlight. Paints with a higher lightfast will keep their original color for many years, while a lower lightfast paint will fade quickly.
Final Thoughts On The Best Paint For Miniatures
Most model paints can be purchased at your local craft store or online. If this is your first time purchasing miniature paint, you will find excellent results with the popular model paints highlighted above.
There are more paints available, but we wanted to keep the list small, so it is easier to decide. The brands mentioned above are the most popular for model painters.
You will also want to invest in high-quality paint brushes to have consistent brush strokes.
Always practice and test the paints before using them on your models.