DragonPainter Miniature Subscription Boxes Review

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DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Close Up

The miniatures hobby can be daunting at times – especially to newcomers. With so many models, paints, brushes, and guides to choose from – all of which are available in all kinds of different places and via different media – it can be hard to get your foot in the door. However, Wales-based DragonPainter have the perfect solution for you.

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DragonPainter Miniature Subscription Boxes Review – Summary

DragonPainter are the guardians of all brand-new miniature painters. If you’re new to the hobby and are clueless as to where to start, allow DragonPainter to show you with their carefully curated boxes of Reaper Miniatures-based products. Let these Welsh painting wizards to guide you along the first few steps of your path to becoming a master miniature painter

DragonPainter Miniature Subscription Boxes Review – Introduction

After many months, we finally reach the bottom of the pile of products we received in the wake of the UK Games Expo. It’s been a long, weird and wonderful ride – and one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done with FauxHammer.com. The hobby is in good hands, and there are a lot of very clever, very talented people out there doing fascinating, exciting, and cutting-edge things.

It’s perhaps fitting, then, that we arrive at DragonPainter last – because DragonPainter are a bit different to anything else we’ve looked at. Over the last couple of months, we’ve seen awesome original miniatures, state-of-the-art gaming systems, and a deluge of innovative games and products. But these are all things for people who know the lay of the treacherous hobby, wargaming, and TTRPG lands. What if you’re completely new to this weird and wonderful world?

Thus, we arrive at DragonPainter.

DragonPainter Products Review YouTube Video

DragonPainter “was born in the mountains of South Wales during lockdown 2020” following a gift given in order to help spread cheer and pass the interminable hours of confinement many of us experienced during the earliest part of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Designed to help brand-new painters take their first steps into a massive and sometimes daunting hobby, DragonPainter place the needs of the newbie at the forefront of their service. Trying to find a miniature to paint and all the paints, bushes and other rubbish you need can seem like an impossible task to newcomers: there are so many ranges, so many things on offer, where do you possible begin?

DragonPainter simply does it for you. With the help of Reaper Miniatures’ range, they provide you with absolutely everything a beginner could need to take their first steps into the hobby. In the form of monthly subscription boxes – or one-off purchase sets – DragonPainter will send you a miniature, some brushes, all the paints you need for your new figure, as well as an instructional leaflet that will take you through the steps of painting the model.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes

The value of each set to newcomers lies in the fact that the stress is taken out of the equation. You don’t have to worry about buying the wrong paints, the wrong brushes, or (heaven forbid) going into a shop somewhere, talking to someone, and leaving with more products than you could possibly need and several hundred units of your local currency lighter. As we said, DragonPainter simply picks everything you need, packages it up, and sends it to you.

DragonPainter very kindly sent us a Core, Tabletop and Ultimate box from their range to take a look at, as well as a Box o’ Minis. We’ll look at all of these in turn now.

DragonPainter Miniature Subscription Boxes Review – The Boxes

DragonPainter subscription boxes come in a number of tiers: Core, Tabletop and Ultimate. As you may suspect, the higher the tier, the more stuff that comes with the box, and as a result more the subscription costs. However, if you are looking to continue to improve as a painter, you will likely want to move up through the tiers should you subscribe. Why? You’ll see below.

Also: yes, in the pictures below the boxes do look pretty raggedy. Each DragonPainter set is packaged in a cardboard box that is glued shut for safety. Opening the thing will cause some of the cardboard to tear.

Core

Core tier is very basic. You have enough colours to make the green bits green, the brown bits brown, the pink bits pink, and so on. There are no airs and graces with this set – this one is intended for the most beginner-y of beginners.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Core Set

In the example we were sent, which was Willow Greenivy from February 2022, boxes have the following contents:

  • 4 x Reaper MSP Paints
  • 1 x Reaper Miniature
  • 2 x Major Brushes orange round synthetic brushes
  • 1 x Painting guide leaflet
  • 1 x Sticker of the miniature

If you’re just dripping your toes into the hobby, aren’t sure about where to begin, or are uncertain if you want to commit, a Core box from DragonPainter is where to start. This set is about the most basic of basics – using paints and brush control. Start small, establish those core skills.

Costing £24.99 for a single box (or at its cheapest £17.99 per box for a 12-month subscription), it’s an easy, non-committal and not-too-expensive way of feeling out the hobby.

Tabletop

If you’re still relatively new to miniature painting but are looking to start upping your abilities (heck, maybe you’ve got a few Core sets and are ready to move on up), the Tabletop box is a good set to turn your eyes to.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Tabletop Set

The example Tabletop box that we were sent, which was the Executioner from June 2022, contains:

  • 8 x Reaper MSP Paints
  • 1 x Reaper Miniature
  • 2 x Major Brushes orange round synthetic brushes
  • 1 x Painting guide leaflet
  • 1 x Sticker of the miniature

With slightly more paints in the set, painters are encouraged to start thinking about mixing paints to create new shades and blends. There’s also provision for techniques such as drybrushing so new painters are able to expand their skills.

It’s a good step up from the Core set; a gentle transition into a few more painting methods to help keep you improving. Also, clocking in at £33.99 for a single box or at its cheapest £26.08 a box for a 12-month subscription, once again it won’t break the bank.

Ultimate

The big, bad, final box. The last step for beginners before they fly the coop. The Ultimate box is designed to take your mixing and blending, your highlighting and drybrushing, your washing and layering and hone them to perfection.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set

The example Ultimate box we received, which was Zombie Ogre from April 2022, contains:

  • 11 x Reaper MSP Paints
  • 1 x Pot of basing materials
  • 1 x Base
  • 1 x Reaper Miniature
  • 2 x Major Brushes orange round synthetic brushes
  • 1 x Painting guide leaflet
  • 1 x Sticker of the miniature

Costing £39.99 a box for a one-off, or £32.41 per box for a 12-month subscription, again the price increase feels like a fair reflection on the tier below it given that you are receiving a fair bit more stuff. Additional paints and basing materials will really help new painters feel like they are finishing off their miniatures to a standard they can really shout about.

The set can take you further, encourages you to do more, and begins expanding your painting horizons beyond that of being just a beginner.

Box o’ Minis

Now, I wasn’t sure whether or not to include the Box o’ minis that we were sent in this review. Whilst it’s another subscription service offered by DragonPainter, it didn’t really fit the overall “theme” of this review. The Box o’ Minis is, as you’d suspect, a lucky-dip package of random figures. It’s not really what DragonPainter is all about, which is learning to paint.

But then it absolutely saved my hide.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Box o' Minis

As regular readers will know, we’ve recently been playing a fair amount of D&D thanks to some truly awesome Epic Encounters boxes. However, when the time came to review and playtest Steamforged Games’ latest boss box, Barrow of the Corpse Crawler, we found ourselves without one of our testers – everyone’s favourite wizard, Rich, could not make the session. We had to draft in someone else – Rock Gnome Ranger-extraordinaire Ed – at the very last minute. It was at this point I realised we were without an appropriate mini for Ed. Or so I thought.

In the Box o’ Minis kindly sent by DragonPainter was a pack of three Deep Gnome Adventureres, including this little chap:

DragonPainter Products Review Reaper Halfling Adventurer 2
DragonPainter Products Review Reaper Halfling Adventurer 1

And thus, the session was saved.

So, thanks, DragonPainter. You saved my butt and more than earned this box a shout out in this review!

And, to be honest, the Box o’ Minis is a steal. I had the pack of three Deep Gnome Adventureres, Turanil the Male Elf Paladin, Sarah the Seeress, Lars Ragnarson, and a Dreadmere Tortoise and Drayman, with a combined retail price of £30.92. A DragonPainter Box o’ Minis sets you back £24.99, so that’s a fiver saved. Nice.

DragonPainter Miniature Subscription Boxes Review – Testing

In order to see whether or not DragonPainter know what they’re on about, we decided the best thing to do was to take one of the sets and put it through its paces. Using only the products in the chosen box, we’d follow the guide DragonPainter have put together and see what kind of results we get.

Let’s dive right in!

The Miniature

As mentioned above, DragonPainter love Reaper products. And that’s awesome.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Core Set Close Up

Reaper are a cost-effective, budget-conscious alternative to other major miniature and hobby brands. As such, they’re a good place for total newbies to start.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - All Miniatures

The Core, Tabletop and Ultimate boxes each come with a different Reaper miniature. From left to right, we have Willow Greenivy from the Core set, the Executioner from the Tabletop set, and last of all the Zombie Ogre from the Ultimate set.

I decided to go for the full DragonPainter experience and get stuck into the Ultimate box – and the Zombie Ogre miniature.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Miniature

The Zombie Ogre is a good figure for beginners to start out with. Whilst he has a fair bit of detail on him, none of it is so small as to be frustrating or difficult to paint. There are lots of clear bits of differentiating texture on him – his ribs, his flesh, his armour, his bones – which lends the miniature to plenty of different techniques, such as layering and drybrushing, which is vital for learners.

Painting

Box selected, it was time to grab some brushes and start painting.

And, oh boy, what great brushes Major Brushes’ orange round synthetics aren’t.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Close Up

Their bristles don’t hold paint brilliantly, and you aren’t going to be able to knock out any detailed work with these bulky brushes. Even by the standard of other cheap synthetic brushes, these are pretty poor.

But, believe it or not, that’s okay.

These are basic brushes aimed at beginner painters – not snobby, Artis Opus or Windsor and Newton-wielding try-hards like me.

It’s crucial to remember who this set is for. These are basic brushes for beginner painters. Beginners don’t need to do extreme freehand detail, ultra-fine or spot highlights – they just need to get some paint on a figure and be pleased with it. As such, they need brushes that are hardwearing and ergonomic, that can withstand a good deal of heavy-handed painting and keep their shape well enough to get some basic highlights on larger textures – which these brushes can handle easily.

So, the brushes are fit for purpose. That’s a good start. But for the sake of their review, I’m roleplaying as a complete beginner. What do I do now?

Enter DragonPainter’s how to paint leaflet.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Leaflet

With clear, well-written instructions and basic tutorials on painting techniques, this guide is a great starter’s resource – and there’s one in every box, specifically created to show you how to use the paints and miniature included in each box.

Everything is explained in clear terms and accompanied with pictures. Instructions are kept simple so even the most inexperienced painter will be able to understand them. There aren’t too many steps, either, so newbies are unlikely to feel overwhelmed.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Leaflet Close Up

Some of the pictures are a little small and tend towards being slightly dark. At times, this does make it a bit difficult to figure out what should be happening in the next step, but at no point did I find this severely hampered me in my painting. For a newer, less confident painter, though, this might be a bit of a stumbling block.

Anyway, brushes in hand and guide beside me, I got stuck in and started painting.

The Ultimate box has everything you could need to paint your miniature to a good standard. Provision is made for basing your miniature, and whilst the box doesn’t come with any glue (as glue is an age-restricted product), it does come with a large base for the Zombie Ogre as well as some basing rocks.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Testing 1
DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Testing 2

The guide is quite thoughtful in how it explains things as well, building techniques up as it goes. For example, in this particular guide, drybrushing is explained and practiced on the base of the miniature before moving on to the weapons at a later stage. This is good, as the jagged texture of the base will help new painters understand what is supposed to happen when drybryshing before doing it on a flatter, more accident-prone surface like the figure’s weapons. The base is also a lot easier to correct should things not go quite right during a painter’s first few attempts drybrushing.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Testing 4

Layering and highlighting are also first practiced on larger areas of flesh early in the guide as well – which, again, are very easy to correct at that stage if things do not go quite right. Later in the guide, once the painter has had a chance to get their eye on for how highlighting works, this is returned to when painting details on the miniature’s face, boots, weapon, and insides.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Testing 6
DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Testing 5

The guide also establishes a lot of good hobby habits, for example by focusing on mixing your own highlight shades using a base colour and either a lighter shade or an off-white. For painters like me who have grown up on Citadel, this is something I’m not as au fait with as some painters (Citadel’s painting system provides you with paints so you don’t have to mix your own if you don’t want to). However, being able to mix your own shades and highlights is a must-have skill for any painter – no matter how new or advanced.

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Testing 3

What’s more, Reaper paints are great for this kind of thing. Straight out of the bottle they have a good consistency and reasonable coverage, and with just a touch of water this only improves. DragonPainter‘s selection of the range for this particular mini is spot-on as well, which only expedites the painting process.

As you’d expect, everything is very beginner friendly. Nothing is too complicated, and nothing is expected of the painter. The paint job is simple yet extremely satisfying, and also doesn’t take too long to complete.

Finishing Up

Here’s the finished figure, painted using only the brushes and paints that came in the set (aside from some black used to tidy the base rim).

DragonPainter Products Review Painting Boxes - Ultimate Set Testing 7

It’s as simple yet satisfying paint job that focusses on big textures, big techniques and big colours. To be honest, given how much I didn’t like the Major Brushes that came in the set, I’m quite impressed with the overall look of the miniature.

Whilst my shoddy photography has overexposed some of the highlights on the face and chest, the colour choices are spot on – particularly for the rusted metal and the flesh. It’s an eye-catching and satisfying finish to a pleasing and fun model to paint.

As I mentioned, it doesn’t take long to complete, either. I knocked this guy out in just shy of an hour (once the glue on his base had dried).

DragonPainter Miniature Subscription Boxes Review – Price and Availability

DragonPainter‘s subscription boxes come in a range of styles and flavours. Here’s a classic FauxHammer.com price breakdown table with the info pertaining to these sets.

ProductOne-Off Purchase Price (GBP)Subscription Price (3 Months, GBP)Subscription Price (6 Months, GBP)Subscription Price (12 Months, GBP)
Core Set£24.99£59.99
(£19.99 per month)
£119.99
(£19.99 per month)
£215.99
(17.99 per month)
Tabletop Set£33.99£86.99
(£28.99 per month)
£173.99
(£28.99 per month)
£312.99
(£26.08 per month)
Ultimate Set£39.99£107.99
(£35.99 per month)
£204.99
(£34.17 per month)
£388.99
(£32.41 per month)
Box o’ Minis£24.99XXX

There’s more, too. Subscribing to DragonPainter nets you some cool bonuses, and DragonPainter also offer other services on their website:

  • Subscribers get 10% off in their store.
  • If there’s a paint you don’t want or don’t need in your subscription box, if you let DragonPainter know before they ship your box they’ll credit you £1.60 per paint that can be used in their store.
  • They love a referral code. You’ll get £3 store credit each time your referral code is used.
  • DragonPainter have recently launched their Paint Pick ‘n’ Mix service, so you can buy bundles of paints and save yourself a few bob.

There’s a lot on offer here, so make sure you check out their store.

DragonPainter Miniature Subscription Boxes Review – Final Thoughts

Pros Cons
Super beginner friendly
Well-thought-out box contents
Good range of offers and products
Just for beginners

These sets aren’t for me.

No, wait; not like that! No, these sets aren’t for me in the same way that size 10 shoes, regular office chairs, and, as I’ve recently learned, most men’s plain white shirts aren’t for me. I’ve outgrown them. I’m not at a point with my painting where I can take much from these sets. I already know just about everything that these sets can teach me – but that’s because these sets aren’t intended for me.

If, however, you’re a complete beginner, or perhaps a parent with a child champing at the bit to get involved in the miniature painting hobby, DragonPainter‘s sets are the perfect start to your journey.

They take all the thinking and all the stress out of the process for you. Everything you need to get started is provided. Figure? Check. Brushes and paints? Check. Handy guide on how to actually paint your new miniature instead of just hurling paint onto plastic and hoping for the best? Check, check, and check again.

Painting miniatures can also be extremely expensive, so that DragonPainter‘s sets don’t break the bank is a big bonus as well.

So, sure, I might be at a point in my hobby where I personally don’t have much need for DragonPainter‘s boxes, but there are plenty of people out there who could use these products as a gateway into a singularly satisfying creatiev hobby.

And, heavens above, if my first ever mini had come out looking half as good as the Zombie Ogre I painted to DragonPainter‘s instructions, I’d have been over the moon.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Author

  • 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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About VoltorRWH 114 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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