Buy Gamblin Oil Paints
What are the best oil paints for painting miniatures? For most miniature painters, acrylic model paints have been the standard media. But, oil paints have a definite place in miniature painting, especially for scale modelers, and even for wargame model painting like those for Warhammer 40k, Age of Sigmar, or Bolt Action.
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In this article, I show you some of the key features and techniques you should know about using oil paints for miniature painting. I also review the top 10 best oil paints for miniatures and models.
Other dangerous chemicals and agents you may work with when painting with oil paints include solvents like turpentine and mineral spirits. Both turpentine and mineral spirits produce harmful vapors. My recommendation is to use low- or odorless mineral spirits (or white spirits) as your oil paint solvent and thinner, and work in a well-ventilated area.
Oil paints take a long time to dry (or cure). As a result they have a really long working time. You can apply oil paints to a surface and move it around with your brush for hours, or even days. Although some of you may consider this a drawback, especially those of you planning to paint an entire army of miniatures, this slow-drying property permits you to play with color and fix mistakes as they happen.
For miniature painters, oil paints have been especially popular for making washes and color filters. By their very nature, oil paints are transparent colors. Whereas acrylic paints begin as an opaque medium, oil paints are fantastic to work with as transparent glazes or washes (more about this below).
As with rules #1 and #2, in principle you want your bottom first layers to dry faster than your top layers. Some oil paint colors dry faster than others. Only through experimentation or asking around will you know what oil paints have faster or slower cure times.
A color filter is a thin film of colored oil paint that shifts the color underneath. Oil paints are great for making color filters over miniatures and scale models because they are naturally transparent and easy to smooth over any surface.
To prepare your model for miniature speeding painting with oil color, start with a zenithal highlighted model. See this article about how to apply zenithal highlights. Then, with your oil paints, use a solvent or oil (I recommend mineral spirits) to thin the paint. The paint-solvent mixture should be thicker, more pigment heavy, than an oil wash. Apply this thinned oil paint glaze over the areas of your model you want to paint.
For most budget or student-level oil paints, the binding agent is linseed oil. Linseed is inexpensive, abundant, and even edible (non-toxic), all of which are great features for students just starting to learn how to use oil paints. On the other hand, linseed oil and equivalent binding agents may tend to change color, e.g., yellow or oxidize, over time.
The best part about these oil paints is that they are already very popular among miniature artists. You will have the ability to crowdsource the answers to almost any question regarding the use of these oil paints for model work. You can find Winsor & Newton oil paints in your local art store or online on Amazon or Blick Art.
For some of my earlier work with oil paints, I used some of the warmer tones to add depth to my dirt-colored bases and add color filters to rocky features on terrain (i.e., dot filters). The thickness of this oil paint lends itself well to the dot filter technique (see above).
Grumbacher Pre-Tested Oil Paints have been made in America over the past 80 years. Use these paints as you would other oil paints for painting miniatures. You can thin these oil paints with mineral spirits or oil additives. Clean up is easy using soap and water.
Some of the colors, in my experience, do have a bit of excess oil that you may want to wick off with a cardboard or wooden palette before you use the paint. The consistency of the oil paints overall is good. The binder in these oil paints is archival quality safflower oil, which has lightfast properties.
The paints are perfect for creating that extra vibrant boost in your miniature painting. See our full review of these paints for wargame modeling and painting. miniatures with their vibrant colors and fairly good drying time. They also have a high quality pigment that ensures your work will last for years to come.
Best of all, they are simple to use straight from the tube or thinned with clear mineral spirits. You them as a wash or over an acrylic basecoat. Oil paints like these exemplify the versatility of the medium. In our experience, they work well with simple techniques on 28-32mm scale models, and the huge tubes means that a single purchase will last you years, if not decades. Take a closer look!
Due to the quality of the paint, and the fact that no fillers whatsoever are added to the paint to bulk them out and increase profits, some pigments come at a high price. But my advice would be to buy your paint tubes individually rather than buying a selection pack, so you can pick out only the ones that are suited to your painting style, or budget. Having said that, Michael Harding does provide an incredibly affordable introductory set of series 1 paints, that include some of the essential colours, get it here.
The consistency of the paint was silky smooth and buttery thick. Cranfield paints are easy to work with straight from the tube and are thick enough to paint with a palette knife. I added some oil of spike lavender to the colours and they retained their intensely vibrant, luminous hues. Cranfield oil paints work brilliantly for layering, blending and painting using the wet on wet technique.
Pigments chosen by Cranfield are of the highest quality and have ratings of I or II according to the ASTM. This means that they are lightfast. Overall, these paints are high quality and are of incredible value.
Like Michael Harding, Williamsburg paints were originally formulated by a professional oil painter. The founder was the artist Carl Plansky, but since his death the company has been taken over by Golden Artist Colours.
Williamsburg paints are expensive, but not as expensive as Old Holland. They have a large range of colours, and since being acquired by Golden Artist Colours, they have increased their range of earth colours to include French Earth Colours, as well as the traditional Italian earth colours.
They have a range of paints ground in safflower oil, as well as a range ground in linseed. Safflower oil is less prone to yellowing than linseed (the more widely used paint binder), but the resulting paint film will be softer.
Vasari paints handle well straight out of the tube and they are slightly more fluid than other brands, which almost makes the use of mediums feel redundant. These paints are excellent for working in fine detail, due to their consistency, but they may not suit an artist who likes to paint thickly with impasto strokes.
Some artists complain that the caps are prone to breaking and oil can separate and leak from the tubes. Paint separation is normal in professional grade paint. Student grade paints add additives called stabilisers to prevent this from happening. Make sure the caps are on tight, and clean around the edges of the paint tube to prevent this from happening.
Sennelier was widely used by 19th century impressionist painters who liked the buttery consistency the paint provides. The paint feels much easier to spread on your surface than paints that use linseed oil as a binder. It is probably one of the runniest paints available to buy.
Sennelier worked in collaboration with Cezanne to perfect the range of colours. Professional artists that used the paints include Monet, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Bonnard, Modigliani, Chagall, Ernst, Hockney. They have helped to shape the range produced today.
Royal Talens have multiple lines of oil paint, Rembrandt is their professional quality line and Van Gogh is a more economical, mid-range student quality paint. However, the pigment load is good and the paints have a soft consistency that is runnier than other oil paints on this list.
The line offers lots of single pigment colours, with good to excellent lightfastness, so the colours will be great for colour mixing and will be resistant to fading. The paints are great value for money, much cheaper than some of the professional paints, especially for more expensive pigments. For a serious student or aspiring artist, these paints would be a great choice.
Gamblin oil paints are a brilliant choice for beginners. They are a brand that balances exceptional quality with affordability. Many professional artists favour this brand too, for this reason.
Old Holland paint has a stiff consistency, brilliant for creating thick textured impasto work. If you like to create more painterly, textured effects, consider adding an impasto medium, like cold wax to thicken the paints even further. Cold wax will also add body to the paint, meaning that you will have to use less tube colour. This will save you money in the long run.
Blockx oil paints are perfect for the wet on wet technique because they are slow drying. Wet on wet, otherwise known as alla prima, requires the artist to finish the painting (or section) before the first application of paint dries. Read more about this technique and how to try it for yourself in our alla prima tutorial.
Schmincke Mussini oil paints work brilliantly when used with the glazing technique in oil painting. The paints are soft and they use finely milled pigments. Another important attribute is that many of their colours provide transparent properties, which is essential to the glazing technique. The finish of the dry paint film is luminous and satin-like with this brand, due to the fact they contain resin. Resin also acts to create structurally sound layers that are less likely to warp, or need oiling out. 041b061a72