What To Buy For A New Miniatures Paint Station?

What To Buy To Start Painting Miniatures

Ok. I am in the middle of establishing a Pins of War Forward Operating Base in the lead belt.

Part of that will be setting up a new corner for me to paint. Paints and brushes, I can mostly take from home I believe. Most of the other equipment, I will have to get new, not least because the pitiful “paint station” I have here doesn’t really deserve to be called that in the first place.

So I’m working on a shopping list to go raiding a hobby store this weekend. What do I need?

New Miniatures Painting Station Shopping List

#1 – Lighting

Good miniatures painting starts with good lighting! Or so I keep reading.

Most half-way serious painters seem to use a fluorescent magnifying lamp instead/in addition to a regular desk lamp. I suppose it is time I get one for myself. May help my make slightly more decent picture too (I hope!). Prices seem to be anywhere between 20 and 200 quid. Hmmm….

  • Let’s say £70 for a decent one?

#2 – Paint Station

As this will probably be a temporary set-up, I believe I will use some sort of paint station. Doing so, I can clear the painting stuff away again and use the space for … say … my laptop as well.

Now, there’s the infamous Citadel Paint Station… plastic, kinda small and 20 quid just for that. There’re a few cheaper MDF-variants I’ve seen out there. Or I could wing something with a cutting mat. Me being lazy, the last option will likely only result in a cluttered mess after a few sessions.

Paint racks for holding the paint pots, if you don’t want to build one yourself, also seem to run at about £20 (ouch).

Citadel or MDF? Something from HobbyCraft? Hmmm….

  • Citadel Paint Station = £20
  • Paint rack = £20

#3 – Files, Clippers, Knife, Glue

For these, I am pretty sure I can get a shiny new Xacto knife, some files, plastic glue, etc… from a hobby store, and for less than the “hobby brands” (Army Painter, Citadel, etc..) starter sets.

  • Knife = £5
  • Clippers/Cutters = £8
  • Modelling files = £5
  • Plastic Glue = £3

#4 – Drill, Putty, Liquid Green Stuff

Some more tools to properly prepare miniatures.

A small drill and some putty should be about £5 each. I am also of a mind to try GW’s Citadel Liquid Green Stuff, if only for a review perhaps, though I haven’t used it before. I’ll probably buy some paint thinner too (£4 ?).

  • Modelling Drill = £5
  • Putty = £5
  • Liquid Green Stuff = £2
  • Paint thinner = £4

#5 – Anything Else?

Hmm. I won’t need new paint (for now), but as I don’t have an airbrush, I might pick up a can or two of primer. Cups, cleaner, etc..  I can scavenge. I also still have a good cutting mat.

  • 2 Spray Cans of Primer = £20

Adding It All Up

Adding up all the above, I get a total £167,- . They are rough prices, of course, so as a benchmark, I suppose it’ll be a ~ £175,- budget to set up a workable paint station. In the end, it will probably be closer to £200,-, should I decide (likely!) to pick up the odd new brush or paint after all.

  • Does that seem about right? Did I forget something essential?
  • How much would you spend to set up a new (non-airbrush) painting station/table completely from scratch (- paints and miniatures)?
  • Which parts do you gear do you save on, and where do you think top-quality beats “the budget-option”?

Let me know what you think! Would love to hear your thoughts (and experiences!)




I am Zweischneid. Wargame Addict. Hopeless painter and founder of Pins of War. I hope you enjoyed this article. Don't forget to share your favourite miniature pictures and wargaming videos at www.pinsofwar.net.
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Latest posts by Zweischneid (see all)

  • Paul Edwards

    Check out http://www.hobbyzone.pl/pl/ for paint station and paint racks. Postage is high, but the prices of the equipment make up for that.

    • http://pinsofwar.net/ Zweischneid

      Thanks. Great finding all those smaller producers. Didn’t even know they existed.

  • Rob Norman

    If I didn’t already have paint racks, i’d be sorely tempted by the ones from Sphere Products at http://www.progeng.co.uk/paint-racks

    Also, although I don’t use a magnifying lamp (got an optivisor for that), I do recommend daylight bulbs and, if you can spare the cash, a pair of lamps is good for eliminating the shadows you get from only one lamp.

    • http://pinsofwar.net/ Zweischneid

      Thanks. Looks cool.

  • Badgerboy1977

    I’m looking at sorting out a better paint station for myself at the moment so I’m interested in what you come up with.

    Personally I’ve never used a magnifying lamp and probably never will as I find it detrimental to my painting rather than improving it, I don’t imagine thats everyones experience though.
    I tend to just use a couple of cheap posable lamps from IKEA with daylight bulbs for lighting.

    Liquid green stuff you should absolutely get, great stuff for gap and air bubble filling.

    Also you said you have brushes but if you haven’t got any Winsor and Newton Series 7 brushes yet, you should absolutely pick them up.
    They improved my painting no end when I got hold of them, they’re more expensive but they hold a point very well and last much longer than most equivalents if you take care of them.

    • http://pinsofwar.net/ Zweischneid

      Yeah. I might do something similar with the lights.

      I simply always see those magnifying glass lights in all the painter-studio shots, videos, etc.., so it seemed like a “must-have”. Guess I might simply do without it for now (as I always have). It’s not like I plan to paint any competition-level mini-freehands or anything of that sort.

      Thanks for the Brush, recommendations, I’ll give em a look.

      • Warrior Warlock

        I wouldnt try saving on the light. Most light bulbs are yellow(ish) or have another hue in them for ‘warmth’. Its better to geta white/daylight bulb from a dedicated hobby store. They are expensive, but help a lot with getting your tones and colours right. Mine incl. a magnifying glass, but i dont use it as ihave trouble judging depth when using it. But the light has made a big difference for me.

  • Ruska