How to get into miniatures (2023 Ultimate Guide)


I want to get into miniatures, where do I start? That’s a common question many people with no experience painting minis ask. 

While painting for beginners won’t be an easy task, especially as mini-painting requires certain skills, it’s something anyone can learn with practice and patience. 

Luckily, the painting process will not be the end of the hobby, so you won’t eventually get bored. Owning a miniature means you can also enjoy a fun time playing with your wargame minis. 

What war game miniatures can you paint?

When you hear the word wargame mini, the first thing that comes to mind for most entry-level mini painters is Game’s Workshop 40k Warhammer kits. But, war game miniatures are more than this. Some war game minis you can paint include:  

  • Game Workshop’s Warhammer 
  • Dungeons and Dragons minis
  • Fantasy flight games
  • The Lord of The Rings – Journeys through Middle Earth
  • Kingdom Death Miniatures
  • CMON
  • Imperial assault
  • Descent

Should you play the game or just paint the miniature?

While you may love painting your armies on a 40K Warhammer mini, I think it’ll be a shame to enjoy only the beauty of your painted minis without playing them. 

Most mini painters actively collect tabletop and sci-fi minis just for painting and displaying without playing with them since they look cool painted. For me, I like the idea of painting and playing the game. 

When you play the game, you can better appreciate the figure you want to paint. 

Playing the game also helps you get familiar with the figures. This way, you know how best to use paints to get the best color scheme and modification. 

How difficult is it to paint miniatures?

Miniature painting is a fun hobby. Nonetheless, it can be difficult for entry-level painters to master on the first try. But, it’s not as bad as it sounds if you practice often. 

The cost investment makes painting minis difficult. But, the most significant reason painting miniatures is considered difficult is that on the first try, you won’t always get what you want. Plus, you may spend time on a simple kit. Getting a pro-level finish takes a lot of practice. But, the good news is that even for experienced painters, there’s no simple way to learn all the skills required to paint your minis. 

On the other hand, how difficult painting your minis is will also depend on your creativity and motivation. Some people experience personal limitations, like color blindness and combination, when it involves their artistic prowess. 

How should you practice

Miniatures are quite expensive. DnD minis can cost as much as $60, while some fantasy models have a price range higher than this. This cost limitation makes buying multiple expensive kits daunting since you may try practicing your paint skills, only to spoil them.   

A good way to practice painting miniatures without considering cost is to get a cheap mini kit or repaint used ones with a bad paint job. 

If you want to improve your painting skills, get a starter kit that comes with some figures for you to paint. This way, you easily practice your painting skills without bothering about cost. Also, consider repainting them. It saves you money, and you’ll only spend time cleaning the already-painted miniature surface. It also improves your skills by allowing you to practice different painting styles in one single kit. 

Can you repaint miniatures?

If you’re trying to practice your painting skills and want to save money buying expensive Warhammer minis or tabletop armies, repainting miniatures is a good alternative. 

The only drawback to repainting used minis is that some might be in a stage of disrepair, with some parts broken or badly painted, making stripping off old paint a chore. 

Nonetheless, repainting your used minis is possible. All you need to do is strip the old paint and start painting. 

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Is miniature painting an expensive hobby?

Miniature painting isn’t really an expensive hobby, so long you buy kits and painting materials within your budget. However, it can quickly become an expensive hobby, especially when you go out of your way to get costly materials that make painting more convenient. 

Every experienced mini painter knows that painting can be frustrating. So, many looks for ways to get painting gears that make painting their minis easier and more fun.

From gadgets that make assembly a breeze to tools like airbrush that makes painting painless, miniature painting can be an expensive hobby.

But, the expensive nature of this hobby is pretty justifiable. Getting cheap materials because you are trying to cut costs may affect your painting skills and the results. 

What tools will you need to start with miniatures

As mentioned earlier, painting can be an expensive hobby, and it’s easy to focus on outfitting this hobby with extraneous gadgets. The problem with getting inessential tools is that you might never use them. 

Essential tools you’ll need to jump-start your mini painting adventure will include:

  • Brushes
  • Good quality hobby paints
  • Primer (to prepare the model for painting)
  • High-quality paint brush
  • Brush cleaner
  • A Desk lamp for visibility
  • Masking tape, to cover places that should not be painted
  • A stand to hold your minis

Getting these tools may take a toll on your budget, especially as an entry-level painter. So, I’d recommend getting a starter kit. Most starter kits come with every essential gadget you need to paint your minis. 

A good starter kit is the Reaper Learn to Paint Kit. It comes with paints, brushes, instructions, and a few minis to practice on, and will not cost much. 

Reaper Learn to Paint Kit

What type of paints and what brands will be best to use

Paints are the most essentials you’ll need for painting miniatures, so it’s important you know which to get. 

You’ll find acrylic, enamel, lacquer, and automotive paints. 

Acrylics are water-based. So, they tend to clean, thin, and cover easily. Acrylic paints also take less than 10 minutes to dry, giving the paint enough time to achieve smooth effects.

Enamel paints use alcohol thinners and tend to dry longer (up to one hour). Their advantage is in their durability as the paint last longer. But, they can cause health and safety risks since they are flammable and carry toxic substances that may cause health problems. 

Lacquer paints also behave similarly to enamels since they also use lacquer or alcohol thinners. The only difference is that oil solvents also make up enamels. 

Automotive paints are those used in painting real objects like cars. You want to avoid these paints as they’re not real hobby paints for minis. But, that does not mean you can’t use them. With practice, you’ll get the hang of it. 

Overall, acrylic paints are a far better option when painting minis. Since you might be repainting your small figures, they’ll clean up well. 

Popular brands like Citadel, Army Painter, and Vallejo will offer some of the best paints with the right consistency that makes painting your minis painless. 

What painting techniques can you use?

When it comes to the technique, it can be quite tricky because there are so many different techniques to try, from washing to dry brushing highlights, layering, and blending. 

Regardless of its multiplicity, three techniques, airbrushing, hand brushing, and spraying, help you achieve these secondary ones listed above. 

3 Recommended miniatures to start with

If you decide to try your hand at painting miniatures, some you should consider are:

  1. Warhammer 40,000 Recruit Edition. You get a good amount of minis to work on. 
  2. Zarbag’s Gitz box from Games Workshop. This miniature kit is cheap, and you get 7 detailed sculptured goblins and a couple of squids that will make painting Dungeons and Dragons min fun.
  3. Star Saga is another sci-fi dungeon mini. It has good plastic minis and nice-looking sci-fi map tiles.
Warhammer 40,000 Recruit Edition

Where to buy miniatures and miniature paint

Check your local hobby store that sells miniature kits and hobby-grade painting tools. If you can’t find the starter kit you want, visit online hobby stores to get one. 

Who are the best miniature painting artists?

If you’ve watched a few YouTube videos, you’ll see that you can’t really make your pick of the best mini painting artists since there are so many to show you how things are done. 

But, some of my favorites are Duncan Rhodes from Duncan Rhodes Academy, Kenny from Next Level Painting, Sam Lenz from Tabletop Minions, and Marco Frisoni from Not Just Mecha. 

Best YT tutorials channels about miniature painting

When you’re new to painting minis, YouTube is your friend. But, there’s a catch!

You might find yourself watching videos all day, trying to get a hold of the technique instead of doing the real thing – paint your mini! Youtube is a great tool, just make sure you dont watch more videos than you paint.

Some favorite channels of mine you should try are:

  • Duncan Rhodes Academy
  • Next Level Painting 
  • Not Just Mecha  
  • Tabletop Minions 
  • Kujo Painting
  • Soroastro
  • Maniac


Getting into miniature painting may be difficult if you consider it from the cost viewpoint. However, when you overlook this limitation, it’ll become easy to find your footing. 

All you need do is get the right painting gadgets, our mini, watch some YouTube videos and start painting to develop your skills. 

Good Videos and Tutorials To Start With