Review: Dry Brush for miniature painting (RedGrass Games)
+ Review of Wet Palette, Brushes, and Handle after year(s) of use
Before, I typically posted my reviews on FB, but now FB is crappy for anything text-heavy.
So I post it here, it's more convenient :).
Last year, Redgrass Games graciously sent me their drybrush, that they added to their regular #2 and #00 brushes product line. I hadn’t time to write a proper review, so here it is.
Drybrushing is often (and wrongly) considered as a beginner/fast/easy technique. Like all techniques, it isn’t suited to all cases, and it takes practice to master (some experienced painters achieve jaw-dropping blends using drybrushing). And if you use a shitty brush, don’t expect stellar results.
I’ll also write a little about their previous products that I regularly use, namely the Wet Palette, the #2 and #00 Brushes, and the Handle 360 V2. I reviewed them « long » ago (1 ½ to 3 ½ years), so I figured it might be of interest to see if they stood the test of time.
Disclaimer: The following is my point of view and therefore does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the rest of the universe.
Review of Dry Brush for miniature painting
Unpacking the stuff
Redgrass drybrush comes in one size, on the “small” end of the spectrum for similar brushes.
It’s delivered in transparent pouch, with a small tube fitted over the bristle.
Perceived quality is fine, same as the regular brushes. The handle is painted in metallic red, the ferrule is in black metal. It’s a rectangular & flat shaped synthetic brush (acrylic hair). Most of the drybrushing work does not require natural hair (see later on).
Using the stuff
I used it on several minis during the last 6 months. Not on all the dudes I painted, but quite a bit of them. I tend to drybrush less than before, but it’s a technique that I still use regularly, with a variety of different brushes.
As written above, the brush is rather small. So, mostly for miniatures. Though, for scenery and large models (vehicles etc), it can be handy on small areas.
The bristle’s flat shape allows to use it on its larger side, or on its smaller side (for smaller areas of the mini).
The hair is thin, it allows to achieve fairly smooth blends. Most important feature for a drybrush.
The overall resistance is also good, on the higher end of the spectrum (see after). This is an important feature. Drybrushing takes a heavy toll of the brush, so it can lose its shape quite fast. Plus, I paint often and don’t take super care of my brushes...
Comparison with others dry brushes
I believe I used all kinds of drybrushes over the years: Dedicated drybrushes for miniatures, craft strore brushes, old brushes that I cut off, make-up brushes... They all have their advantages and drawbacks.
In the picture hereunder, a sample of what I use at the moment (I have several others). From bottom to top : Redgrass, Army Painter (Small), AK interactive, Makeup (small, brand unknown), Raphael (old 8404 size 0, cut-off).
Various drybrushes after about 6 months of use.
The Redgrass is a bit deformed, and hair is worn. But not too much. Not as good as day 1, not as flat, but still useable after several months.
The AP is a tad more deformed, and hair is worn. Still useable, though. Note that AP have a bevelled shape (i.e. not rectangular), but at this stage of wear/deformation, the bevelled shape is basically useless, and the brush is not as flat as on day 1.
The AK is more deformed too, and hair is more worn. Still useable, but less than the RGG & AP. AK’s hair are shorter than RRG and AP, so the paint goes quicker in the ferrule, I guess that didn’t help.
The other two are not really comparable to synthetic brushes, but here’s a few words on them:
The Makeup brush is a bit deformed, and hair is a bit worn. But I’ve used it much less than the previous 3. Makeup brushes have natural hair (finer), so they allow smoother blends than synthetics. But they’re typically much more fragile. I only use them when relevant, to keep them a bit longer. Note that there are some dedicated drybrushes with natural hair, but they’re priced quite higher that dedicated synthetic or generic makeup.
The Raphael is still fine, so to say (it had already seen many minis before I cut off the tip). I’ve also used it much less, since it’s only relevant for very small areas.
At this moment I’d say that, looking at the 3 similar dedicated drybrushes (RGG, AP, AK):
RGG comes first, AP close second, and AK third.
Redgrass Games dry brush is a good robust one, I can recommend it. It allows to do the bulk of the drybrushing work in most cases. Or all cases, depends on what and how you paint: You might need a larger one for scenery and large models, a smaller one for very small areas, and a natural one for advanced work.
Review of RGG Wet Palette, Brushes, and Handle after year(s) of use
I’ve been using these continuously and intensively since I have them. Less that a full-time pro (it’s a hobby), but I paint quite often, typically several times per week, on evenings and weekends.
Wet Palette original review here.
I’ve been using it since mid-2018 (I backed their first Kickstarter). So thats’ been 3 1/2 years! I add water in-between (and during) sessions, wash the box and the foam with dishwasher liquid from time to time (perhaps once a month). Basically, I never keep it dry, except when I’m on vacation far from home (a few weeks per year).
There's white marks on the top of the lid, after an accident due to a resin leakage that glued paper on it. Never been able to remove the paper remnants. Lesson: When using synthetic water, sealing is of utmost importance. That shit goes everywhere and is rock solid once cured. I believe that ther are also marks du to acetone spill. That poor lid has suffered.
See 1st picture above (the one with the new drybrush). One can see the traces of abuse.
The lid’s seal has some blacks marks on it. Not been able to remove. They appeared after 2+ years of use. I believe it’s mould (fungi) that grew in the rubber’s pores due to the constant moisture. No smell whatsoever. Seal is still functional and does its job of limiting the water evaporation when the lid is closed.
I tried everything to remove these dark spots, except Clearasil.
The foam is still the original one. It’s stained, but perfectly functional (I have a 2nd spare foam, still brand new). No smell either (though in that case it would be due to bacteria, not fungi). Since tap water quality can vary greatly from one place to another (bacterial load, hardness, and whatnot) ; consider washing the foam more often and/or using filtered water, and/or add a piece of copper, in case of not-so-good tap water quality.
Like men's 3rd laundry pile : "Dirty but wearable"
Same conclusions as in my original review. The foam even lasted much more than I thought. Note that RGG have released a new version of the wet palette, but I’m happy with this one, I don’t need another.
Brushes #2 and #00 original review here.
I’ve been using them since end-2018. A bit more than 3 years. I’ve worn several of them, of course. That’s what happens when you paint often, whatever the brush’s brand. Only diamonds are forever.
After ruining several brushes, I’d say that on the long run a RGG #2 seems to wear a bit faster than a Raphael 8404 #2, and a RGG #00 seem to wear a bit slower than the Raphael #00. But that’s close., its more a feeling that anything else (I would have had to note precisely when I used this or that brush).
No picture, but everybody knows what a ruined brush looks like.
My original preference has also been confirmed: I tend to use more the Raph 8404 in size #2, and more the RGG in size #00. But that’s a matter of personal taste.
Basically, same conclusions as in my original review.
Handle 360 V2 original review here (in french).
I’ve been using it since mid-2020. 1 1/2 years.
"In space, no one can hear you scream."
As you can see, there’s paint all over it (I used it when priming and never cared to clean it).
The orange putty is dirty but useable. I believe I’ve changed it once or twice since the beginning, so it’s definitely durable. I still have spare orange putty, brand new, somewhere.
The rotating cap is not the original. It’s a custom one that I designed and 3D-printed. Wider, flared, to prevent my fingers from touching the mini’s base (I mentioned it in my original review). I prefer my custom-made cap, but others might find it inconvenient (depending on hand size, grip, and whatnot).
Here again, basically same conclusions as in my original review. Although, with my custom cap, I use it more than I thought at first. It has become one of my 2 favourite handles (the other one is the Large Rathcore).
Roolz, 03 february 2022