This is my up-to-date list of the best miniature paints I tested. Over the years, I tested over a thousand paints from (almost) all miniature paint manufacturers out there. So the ultimate question is: Which acrylic paint range is the best for painting Warhammer miniatures in 2024? To answer this question, I compiled a list sorted by categories. Best acrylics, best metallic paints, best washes, and best airbrush paints.

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What makes a good acrylic paint for painting miniatures

In my opinion, a good acrylic paint for painting miniatures should have a smooth consistency. This goes hand in hand with good self-leveling properties, to make it easy to apply without streaky results. It shouldn’t separate much and be ready to use after just a quick shaking, and should blend and mix well. Perhaps most importantly, a good acrylic paint should have high coverage and pigmentation. Meaning that it should not require more than a couple of thin coats to achieve the desired level of opacity. The level of gloss is also important, most people including me prefer a more matte finish. Furthermore, the paint should be durable and resistant to chipping, fading, and discolouration.

Acrylic paints vs enamel and oil paints

Acrylic paints are the industry standard for painting Warhammer and other tabletop miniatures. They are available in wide colour ranges, are quick-drying, and non-toxic because of their water-based nature. Brushes can be cleaned easily with water. Unlike oil and enamel paints, they don’t require strong solvents, making them safer and more convenient for daily use. Enamel and oil paints have their uses for weathering and advanced techniques like oil washes and panel lining. I explain this in more detail in this tutorial. But for this list I decided to cover acrylic-based paints only.

The best acrylic paints for painting Warhammer miniatures selected by Stahly
Most, but not all of the paints chosen for this post have been provided by their respective manufacturers. Thoughts and opinions are our own.

The best paints for painting Warhammer miniatures in 2024

On our hobby journey, we usually start with Games Workshop’s Citadel Colours. There is nothing wrong with that, their quality is certainly not bad. The selection is large, and they are available virtually everywhere.

But my recommendation has always been to mix and match the best colours from all available miniature paint brands. Each range has its pros and cons, stronger and weaker colours. If you have a problem with a specific colour, there is a good chance another manufacturer does it better. Different brands have different properties. With some experimentation, you might find a brand that complements your painting style better than good old Citadel paints.

In recent years, miniature paints have made a great leap forward in terms of quality. Especially in terms of opacity and pigmentation. Even if you’ve been using the same paints for years and are used to them, I advise you to leave the beaten path and switch to one of the paint ranges listed in this post.

In recent times, I have tested and reviewed pretty much all miniature paint brands out there. For this list, I have summarised my favourites by category:

  • Best beginner & all-round paint ranges
  • Best metallic paints
  • Best airbrush paints
  • Best acrylic washes & one coat paints

Best miniature paints for beginners

Warpaints Fanatic from The Army painter lined up, some of the best paints for miniature painting

The Army Painter Warpaints Fanatic

The old Warpaints range was shunned by many advanced painters, but with their reformulated Fanatic range, The Army Painter landed a hit. Warpaints Fanatic are a superb all-round paint range; the acrylics, metallics and washes are all of high quality. There is plenty of choice with 236 colours, which are neatly organized into families of six colours from dark to light (called flexible triad system), which makes the range intuitive to navigate. Various paint sets help you ease into this paint range, and the starter set is a fantastic first purchase for people getting into the hobby. Painters of all skill levels will also appreciate that even lighter colours are highly opaque. This leads to some of the purer colours like yellow, red, and orange being slightly pastel because of the high amount of opaque pigment, but that’s probably not much of a deal unless you’re used to paint ranges like Pro Acryl, AK, or artist paints like Kimera. The consistency is on the thicker side, so you need to practice thinning your paints correctly, the finish is satin like Citadel paints. Find out more in our detailed review here.

Where to buy: The Army Painter’s products are available virtually everywhere, so you shouldn’t have a problem picking these up:

Best all-round miniature paint range

Two Thin coats paints lined up, some of the best paints for miniature painting

Two Thin Coats by Duncan Rhodes

Two Thin Coat is another great, if not the best all-round paint range. The acrylics are brilliant, the metallics quite nice, and the washes don’t disappoint either. I love the smooth application, the creamy consistency which is not too thick not too thin, the outstanding self-levelling properties, and matte finish. The coverage is fantastic, too, Duncan Rhodes chose the name for a good reason. With the release of wave 2, there are 120 colours to choose from, with 60 more colours coming in wave 3 later this year. The “shadow – midtone – highlight” triad system makes this range intuitive for both beginners and more advanced painters. One of my most favourite things is that a lot of colours are very close matches to the Citadel range, which makes transitioning easy. They are a bit more expensive than other brands, but well worth the price in my opinion. Check out my review of the recent wave 2 here.

Where to buy: By now, Two Thin Coats are widely available in all major hobby stores in the UK, Europe, and the US (via Noble Knight Games). Popular colours can sell out quickly, but you can also check ebay:

The shortlist:

  • AK Interactive 3rd Gen: With over 230 colours in the main range plus several expansions, this range offers the widest choice. But it can also be a little confusing to navigate as there are so many similar tones. The coverage is pretty good, but with the brighter colours, there is more on an emphasis on pigment purity and vibrancy than over opacity. Also, some of the Intense and metallic paints have a tendency to separate in their bottles and require a lot of shaking. Available at our partner stores here.
  • Pro Acryl: The screw cap nozzles of the bottles are a love or hate affair, but the quality of the paint is excellent. The metallics and washes are also fantastic. The consistency is a bit lower than most of the other paints on this list. They don’t require much if any thinning, but the pigmentation and opacity are still high. The brighter colours like yellow and green are a bit weak in opacity but like AK very saturated. Unfortunately, the selection is somewhat limited with just over 100 colours. You will definitely have to mix colours or bring in colours from other paint ranges. Check out my in-depth review here. Available at our partner stores here.
  • (New) Vallejo Game Color: The regular non-metallic acrylic paints in the updated Game Color range have amazing coverage due to a high amount of opaque pigments. They have a very smooth consistency, and a matte finish once dry. The palette offers a good selection of vibrant colours. For almost every colour there are matching paints for shading and highlighting (they call it the BSL system). The rest of the range like the metallics and washes are more average, but it’s the acrylics that shine. Some people are reporting issues with bubbling paint though, but if you don’t shake them for too long and take some care when you apply them, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. Check out my in-depth review of the new Vallejo Game Colors here. Available at our partner stores here.

My best metallic miniature paints

With both Two Thin Coats and Warpaints Fanatic you can’t go wrong with their metallics, and I also love Pro Acryl’s metallics. Nevertheless, I prefer mixing and matching from various ranges. Here comes a list of my most trusted metallic paints, all linked to our partner stores so you don’t have to search long.

The best silver and gold metallic paints for painting Warhammer miniatures selected by Stahly
My favourite silver and gold paints

Best silver paints

Best gold paints

The best copper, bronze, and brass metallic paints for painting Warhammer miniatures selected by Stahly
My top choices for painting copper, bronze, and brass

Best coppers, bronze, and brass paints

Best airbrush-ready miniature paints

All of the paints listed above will airbrush well with the correct amount of airbrush thinner (I prefer Vallejo’s airbrush thinner with a drop of flow improver). However, pre-diluted airbrush paints are more convenient, as you don’t need to experiment with the correct amount of thinner for each colour. Especially as an airbrush beginner, you can significantly reduce the risk of clogging the airbrush and thus eliminate a major source of error. Here comes a list of the best miniature paints formulated for airbrushing.

Three bottles of Warpaints Air vs three bottle of Vallejo Game Air

The Army Painter Warpaints Air

I really enjoy working with The Army Painter’s Warpaints Air, though they have to be shaken quite a lot and a vortex mixer is almost mandatory. They can be poured directly into the airbrush cup, but I found that a drop of Vallejo flow improver still can’t hurt. The coverage is great and they atomise very well. The colours are arranged in a triad system with shadow, midtone, and highlight colours. Most of the midtones are matched to The Army Painter’s colour primers and Warpaints Fanatic counterparts with the same name. Most of all I like the choice, with 126 colours, there is plenty. Check out my in-depth review of this range here.

Where to buy: The Army Painter products are available virtually everywhere, so you shouldn’t have a problem picking these up:

Vallejo Game Air

The Game Air range from Vallejo has just been reformulated to match the new Game Colors. With 51 colours (plus additives), the range is smaller than the Warpaints Air range, but each colour is identical to its Game Color version, which comes in extremely handy for switching between brush painting and airbrushing. They spray-on very nicely, have a matte finish, and need less shaking than Warpaints Air. I found they can really be poured directly from the bottle with even no flow improver needed. The range has no metallics, but the metallics from the Game Color range are suitable for airbrushing, or you can use the metallics from the Vallejo Mecha Color range, which I like even better (see above).

Where to buy: In Europe and the UK, Vallejo paints are widely available in all major hobby stores. I’ve heard they can be a little harder to find in the US, so try Amazon and ebay, too:

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Best acrylic washes & Contrast / Speedpaint / one coat paints

Finding the best washes on the market is not easy, and a task in itself, as there are so many differences. That’s why I’ve created an extra post just for acrylic washes, have a look here:

The same is true for one coat paints like Citadel Contrast or The Army Painter’s Speedpaints. I made a ranking for those here:

I have compiled this list of what I think are the best miniature paints for Warhammer, other tabletop games, and scale-modelling in general. to share my experience from over 20 years of painting and hobbying. On Tale of Painters, I have reviewed a plethora of hobby products from minor to major brands. Only those products that I actually use myself regularly have made it to this list and receive my Seal of Hobby Excellence.

You can find more of my hobby reviews in our review section, and more of my curated best-of hobby products posts here, for example my favourite matt varnishes and brushes.

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Conclusion – my personal best miniature paint range

I hope my recommendations help you to improve your hobby and take your painting skills to the next level. A lot comes down to personal preference, but the paints above have served me excellently over the last few years.

As I said at the beginning of this guide, I prefer to pick the best colours from each range. But if I had to limit myself to only one paint range, it would be Two Thin Coats. The acrylics, metallics, washes, and glazes all have a consistently high quality with no duds at all. I feel you simply can’t go wrong with Two Thin Coats, whether you’re a beginner or an expert painter. And while the price is higher than other ranges (about £3.95 / 4.50 € for 15ml of paint) I believe it’s justified, as in my opinion, hobby time is too valuable to waste with subpar paints.

When it comes to the in your opinion best miniature paints, what are your experiences with the various paint ranges out there? Which products should I try next? Feel free to drop your recommendations in the comments section below so that other readers can benefit from them too.