Chronicle Cards MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes Review

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Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle All 3

You’ll have seen the ads bounced around your Facebook page, or someone sharing the Kickstarter amidst your local hobby group. Now, us here at FauxHammer.com have got our grubby, paint-splattered paws on some of Chronicle Cards’ much-anticipated Wolf Bristle and Sable brushes. Read on for our thoughts.

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Chronicle Cards MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes Review – Introduction

As you may expect from a Kickstarter that’s raised in the region of £300,000 of a circa £5,000 goal (or about $500,000 AUD of a $8,000 AUD goal, to give it its units of local currency), Chronicle Cards, there’s a reasonable degree of hype surrounding Australian-born Chronicle Cards’ Wolf Bristle and Kolinsky Sable Brushes.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Kickstarter
As of 28/10/2022.

The unusual construction of one of the sets – namely the wolf bristle brushes – has caught the eye of many hobbyist. It’s not a material often used in brushes; it’s certainly the first time any of us here at FauxHammer.com have heard of it being used (as the MKI set passed us by completely).

They’ve already established quite a pedigree for themselves, too. Their Kickstarter is quick to show would-be backers that Golden Demon finalist @kies_minis is a proud owner of their brushes, and that the globally revered @MiniWarGaming is also a fan.

Seeing all the fuss being kicked up, we reached out to Chronicle Cards to see if they’d be interested chucking us a set of their Wolf Bristle Brushes for a review. They kindly accepted, and after a flight of 9,500 miles and a quick stint in a postie’s van, a set of their new Wolf Bristle Brushes appeared on the doorstep of FauxHammer Towers.

Chronicle Cards MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes Review – Design

There’s a lot to unpack here as Chronicle Cards have gone to some real lengths to make their product look great.

We’ll start with the Wolf Bristle Brushes, as Chronicle Cards did send us a couple of their Kolinsky Sable Brushes too – but more on them in a moment. There is something we need to get out of the way: are the fibres for the MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes and the Sable Bristle Brushes ethically sourced?

Where do the Wolf Fur Fibres Come From?

This is an important question to ask. In some of our other brush reviews where we’ve just kinda gone “sable’s an animal product, duh” and got on with it without further comment. It’s a little unfair, then, that our review of Chronicle Cards’ brushes is the one that has this section inserted on it, however, there are some broader points to me made here that are applicable to all sable and other animal fibre brushes that we feel should be addressed.

Obviously, sable brushes are made from a kolinsky sable, a weasel-like creature native to Russia. Sable brushes have been in the hobbysphere for as long as there’s been a hobbysphere – but Chronicle Cards’ wolf bristle brushes have reminded a lot of people that many of the brushes we use contain animal products.

Understandably, then, there have been questions asked about the origin of the fur for these brushes – particularly surrounding the ethics of how they are sourced. This also happen to be something Chronicle Cards haven’t really addressed on their website nor on their Kickstarter. In his review, our buddy Stahly noted that:

“Chronicle Cards claim that their fibres are responsibly sourced – drawn from existing or vintage stock from everything from clothes to pelts from animals culled for environmental management. As the company is moving more formally into the US market they are working on getting certificated, but at the moment we can only trust Chronicle Cards’ marketing.”

Review: Wolf Bristle Brushes Set by Chronicle Cards » Tale of Painters

Stahly didn’t really get the straightest of answers, and those who have asked similar questions on the Kickstarter itself also haven’t really got a clear answer on the subject either. So, briefly making the transition from jumped-up hobby writer to investigative journalist, I decided to ask my contact at Chronicle Cards “are the wolf fur and sable fibres used ethically sourced?” (in those exact words).

Here’s the response I got:

“[The source of the fur] is confirmed through certificate of origin paperwork and guarantee verified through customs in accordance with relevant provisions.”

This doesn’t really answer the question either – and this is the same answer someone had on the Kickstarter. So, what does this actually mean?

Basically, this means that the fur used in the wolf and sable brushes has entered the country legally. It abides by all the rules and regulations required of the country of receipt, and means it won’t be destroyed by a bunch of burly-looking men and women like those you’d find on Border Force: America’s Gatekeepers the moment it enters your country. In turn, this means that the fur likely originated from a supplier that abides by the import/export laws for animal goods of the country of import.

This will be the standard absolutely any maker of sable or other animal product brushes will be expected to meet – not just Chronicle Cards, but Artis Opus, Windsor and Newton, Rosemary and Co., and even Games Workshop. However, “legal” is not the same as “ethical”, and this is where things get very muddy because there’s no blanket definition of what can be considered ethical.

This is another matter entirely – and one only you as a consumer can really make a judgement about. Are you happy using animal products? Are you not? It’s not something we can answer for you – and neither can Chronicle Cards, which is likely why the answers they’ve given to these questions has been a little vague. Do with the information what you will, but this is a line of questioning you may feel is worth applying to all your hobby purchases.

MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes

With that bit out of the way, let’s get on with taking a good look at these brushes.

So, let’s begin with the box the MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes come in.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle Unboxing 1

It looks great, covered in pixel-style artwork depicting a werewolf stalking through trees under the cover of moonlight. Y’know, just in case you’d forgotten where the fibres for the brushes came from.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle Unboxing 2

It’s a good size, too, and decorative enough to bring some visual interest to any hobby shelf or painting table. It’d also make a great gift!

Popping the lid off, we don’t get straight into the brushes.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle Unboxing 3

Inside the tube lies a swanky little black velvetlike drawstring pouch. Your brushes are actually in here.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle Unboxing 4

It’s a really nice little touch and, as you may suspect, printed with an image of a wolf’s face – again, just to make sure you’re absolutely certain you’re aware of what these brushes are made out of. I think if you haven’t got the point by now, you never will.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle Unboxing 5

Finally, opening up the pouch we find no fewer than 10 absolutely gorgeous brushes.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle Unboxing 6

This set contains:

  • 1 x size 7 “Fenrir”
  • 1 x size 3 “O’Donnel”
  • 2 x size 2 “Amarok”
  • 2 x size 1 “Wepwawet”
  • 2 x size 0 “Garmr”
  • 1 x size 00 “Freki”
  • 1 x size 000 “Geri”

We’ll have a closer look at all these brushes and how they perform shortly when we give them a spin painting something. But for now, here they are close-up.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle All 3
I mean, there’s no two ways about it: these brushes look absolutely fantastic.
Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle All 2
They are very smart, and the range of sizes offered is good, too.
Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle All 1

Straight out of the packet, their tips are razor-sharp, and there’s a great spread of sizes across them all. At this early stage, I’m not too sure about the 7 – aside from painting large areas on, say, a vehicle or other larger models, this brush likely won’t have much application on your most miniature of minis.

Their domed design is intended to be ergonomic, and I have to admit that I actually rather like it.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle Held

They’re very comfortable between my fingers and rest lightly in my hand. Holding them, I feel I have a good amount of control and plenty of grip thanks to the larger handle. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that I am significantly larger than the average person, so if you have smaller hands, these might not be so easy for you to get a grip on.

So, at this point, we’ve seen that Chronicle Cards have tried very hard to really hammer home the “wolf” part of their Wolf Bristle Brushes. The artwork, the printing on the brush bag, there are wolves on everything.

So why is the word “nylon” in amongst the construction components, which are listed on the bottom of the tube?

Chronicle Cards Brushes Wolf Bristle Underside

For those of you unfamiliar, nylon is the product used in synthetic, non-animal fibre brushes such as the Citadel STC range.

Whilst nowhere on their Kickstarter is it claimed that the Wolf Bristle Brushes are 100% animal fibre, the subtext of how the product is being sold is that these are all made from wolf bristles. That there appears to be some nylon amongst the bristles came as a bit of a surprise.

We did a little digging on this and no-one seems to have noticed, aside from our buddy Stahly, who in his review over on Tale of Painters noted that some of the smaller brushes were curling after extended use – the same way synthetic bristles do over time. In the comments on that article, one person who goes by “Aruz” hypothesised that several of the brushes in the set – particularly the smaller brushes some curling had been noticed with – were, in fact, all synthetic.

We reached out to our contact at Chronicle Cards to see if they could shed any light on this. Here’s the response we had:

“None of the brushes are nylon, however there’s a small amount within the ferrule on the 000 just to give it some better rigidity given its size.”

I mean, I’d consider that fair enough. The 000 is really, really tiny. It’s a shame this isn’t covered in the Kickstarter anywhere, but at least we know!

Ultimately, though, these brushes certainly appear to be very good. Up next: the painting test.

Already thinking you’d like to give these brushes a go? Head over to Chronicle Cards’ Kickstarter and see if any of the pledge tiers catch your eye.

Kolinsky Sable Brushes

Now, this review is primarily for Chronicle Cards’ Wolf Bristle Brushes, but the good folks at CC sent us a couple of their sable brushes as well, and it felt remiss not to give them a quick mention here.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Sable 1

In terms of their shape, they’re very similar to their wolf-fibre cousins. Brush tips are of similar lengths, and overall handle design is exactly the same. They’re very comfortable to hold, but as we mentioned above, if you have smaller hands the larger handles might be a bit more difficult for you to grip.

They are a different colour, sporting a smart black look instead of the glossy wood of the other brushes. Very smart, very neat, very nice.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Sable 2

Now, these will likely make a stand-up alternative to the wolf bristle brushes. If you perhaps have reservations about wolf bristle brushes for any reason at all, or just think your current set of sable brushes is looking a little worse for wear and due a replacement, these will not disappoint.

We had a quick go with these brushes whilst testing the others (more on that below) and could find little to criticise. If you’re a fan of sable brushes anyway but think that the larger handles of Chronicle Cards’ brushes might appeal to you, these are most certainly worth your consideration.

Tempted? Head over to their Kickstarter and see what pledges are still available.

Chronicle Cards MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes Review – Testing

So, what better way to see what these brushes can do than to wrap them around a model?

I’ve recently caught up on all my Horus Heresy Blood Angels and have finally moved on to the Leagues of Votann set. I decided to take inspiration for my space dwarves’ overall look from the armour of the Doom Slayer – better known as “Doomguy” – from Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal. Here was the test piece I created a few days before to give you a sense of what I was aiming for.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing Example
“Rip an’ tear, ’til ‘ez dun!”

With another model selected, brushes at the ready, and paints good to go, it was time to see if Chronicle Cards’ Wolf Bristle Brushes were all they were cracked up to be.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing 1

I did the majority of the base coating of the larger areas with sizes 3 and 2, switching to the 1 for a few of the finer details. The first thing I noticed with these brushes is the strength of their bristles. The brushes feel considerably sturdier than their sable counterparts – and a lot of synthetics, too. They do not yield to the model as easily as softer sable might.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing 2
Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing 3

That the bristles are firmer, however, does seem to influence how they hold their points. Because the brushes’ fibres are naturally coarser, they are keener to maintain their points – and do so rather well.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing 4

With the majority of the basecoats dry, I used the 3 to apply a thin wash to those basecoats in order to start building up some definition between the colours on the model. In this case, I found that the anatomy and size of the brush head also lends itself to carrying just the right amount of wash. This extends to paint, too – the shape and rigidity of the brush head makes application of paint both smooth and predictable.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing 6
Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing 5

Once the washes were dry, I turned instead to the sable brushes we mentioned above to see how they compared to the wolf fibres. As I was applying some base colour over the raised-most areas of the figure to provide a base for later highlighting, I was using the same paints and similar techniques to what I had been doing with the wolf bristle brushes of the same sizes.

If you’re used to using sable brushes, or you’ve been using the firmer-headed wolf bristle brushes for a while, you’ll find there’s a noticeable difference between Chronicle Cards’ two offerings. The sable is definitely much softer – as you’d likely expect – and yields to the model much easier. The sable brushes are much more, I’d guess, “traditional” in how it handles, whilst the firmer wolf fibres put up more of a fight.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing 8

For details, I turned to the 0, 00 and 000. I didn’t expect to enjoy using the 0 and 00 as much as I did. These were the brushes I did most of my fine layering and edge highlighting with. I found the slightly firmer bristles were easy to control. I used the 000 for the tiniest bits of detail – spot highlights, et-cetera – though at this stage, the brush head is so tiny that telling it apart from others of similar size is basically impossible. It’s a teeny tiny brush, and any paint short of the perfect consistency is going to dry in its bristles very fast. Reserve this one for eyes and other minute details.

Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing 9
Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing 10

I have to admit, as I suggested above, I did struggle to find a use for the 7 on this particular miniature. The brush is just a bit too big to be useful for the work I was doing on this little guy, however it would be useful for working on larger areas – particularly on vehicles. Its sturdy construction would lend itself to a slightly more heavy-handed approach to painting, which many people slip towards when, for example, base coating the side of a Space Marines Rhino.

Anyway, here’s the finished model:

Chronicle Cards Brushes Testing Completed Model

Whilst we can’t comment on longevity at the moment (as we’ve only had these brushes a few days!) impressions whilst painting are, overall, very positive. There’s a lot to like here – especially if you find it easier painting with a larger-handled brush.

Like what you’ve seen so far? Head over to CC’s Kickstarter for more information on this product and a look at what else is available.

Will Chronicle Cards MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes Improve my Hobby?

This is always a tough question to answer. Like just about every aspect of the hobby, whether or not you’ll like a set of brushes is extremely objective.

On the whole, I had a positive experience with the MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes as well as the sample of Sable Brushes from Chronicle Cards. The wolf fibres are slightly more rigid than the average sable brush which does affect how the brush performs when being used.

The handles are very ergonomic, but I could imagine the larger grip may be uncomfortable for some people with smaller hands, or a bit too much of a change for people used to using thinner, more “traditional” paintbrushes.

If this sounds like something you’d like to give a try with your painting, check out the Kickstarter for more information.

Chronicle Cards MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes Review – Price and Availability

As of writing this (28/10/2022), the Kickstarter is nearing its end – we’ve got about 70 hours and counting before the initial period is over. However, you’ll still be able to late pledge to the available tiers for a while after the Kickstarter has come to an end.

The most basic pledge tier of $50 AUD (about £28GBP/$32USD/€32EUR) will net you…

  • MKII Wolf Bristle Brush Set with 10 brushes, a velvet pouch and display tube
  • ‘Forgotten Secrets’ DND Adventure PDF and STL files
  • Unlocked Stretch Goals (of which there are quite a lot, including extra brushes, miniatures, and other things that’ll appeal to any hobbyist)

This goes up through several tiers to an ultimate pledge of $200 AUD (about £110GBP/$128USD/€128EUR) for the following:

  • Kolinsky Sable Brush Set with 8 brushes sized from 0 to 7 in a velvet pouch and display tube
  • MKII Wolf Bristle Brush Set with 10 brushes, a velvet pouch and display tube
  • ‘Jacaranda’ Handmade Dice Set with Leather Case
  • ‘Forgotten Secrets’ DND Adventure PDF and STL files
  • Unlocked Stretch Goals (which, as we’ve said, there are quite a few of)

If you’re a retailer, there are also a number of options to allow you to grab these items in bulk for your re-selling pleasure.

In all, a set of 10 MK II Wolf Bristle Brushes for £28GBP/$32USD/€32EUR/$50AUD feels like an absolute steal. Clocking in at roughly £2.80 per (high-quality) brush, this is a price you can’t really argue with. Even if you ultimately decide these aren’t for you, you’ve not exactly broken the bank. Check out the full Kickstarter and all the pledge goals here.

Chronicle Cards’ MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes Review – Final Thoughts

ProsCons
Brushes look amazing and come in a lovely container
Good-quality brushes that will last a long time, provided you look after them
Very ergonomic and satisfying to use
Very fair price
Aren’t wholly wolf fibre – there is a bit of nylon sprinkled in there.

Here at FauxHammer.com, we love trying out things that are a bit different – and there’s no denying that Chronicle Cards’ MK II Wolf Bristle Brushes are just that.

Firmer fibres and rounded, ergonomic handles make for an interesting and new painting experience – and one that will appeal to a lot of people. If you’re tempted by these brushes, we would recommend you take the plunge and give them a go – especially considering they are so reasonably priced.

Interested? Make sure you check out Chronicle Cards MKII Wolf Bristle Brushes over on Kickstarter!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Author

  • VoltorRWH

    Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

About VoltorRWH 120 Articles
Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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