Recently we wrote up our thoughts on the Top 10 Brushes for Miniatures and Wargames models. A top pick on that list was the Series 33 Brush Set from Rosemary & Co.
I need to start with an apology, both to Rosemary & Co. and all of the other brush manufacturers who have sent review samples to FauxHammer. It has taken me months to review this set, for one reason. Once I picked up these brushes, I enjoyed working with them so much that I did not want to put them down at any risk of reducing the finished quality of my models. they are that good. The Rosemary & Co Series 33 #2 brush specifically, will not be far from my grasp for the foreseeable future.
With this set, Rosemary and Co are providing an incredible quality Sable Brush at some of the lowest prices available. An Excellent belly for holding paint and an ultra-fine tip that will last a long time with good care and attention. The only let down of this set is that their appearance makes them come across as no different to generic hobby store brushes, which is why I’m glad to put them in the spotlight. Also, they are not (as far as I can see) readily available outside of Europe.
Full Disclosure: Rosemary & Co Provided these brushes free of charge for the purposes of a full & impartial review.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Brush Set Overview
The Series 33 Brush Set is a Kolinsky Sable set featuring long hairs, fine tips and enough belly to store your acrylic paint. It may be worth noting that (like the majority of high-end brushes for miniatures) are designed for watercolour paints. It just so happens that they work incredibly well with acrylics too. The more time you spend painting add developing techniques like blending and glazing the more you’ll be using the paints like watercolours anyway.
The Series 33 brushes are twined with the Series 22. The former has a shorter bristle and the range is greater when it comes to the smaller sizes. The Series 33 features sizes from size #4 and larger, all the way down to #0. #00, #000 & #10/0. Whereas the Series 22 (which has longer bristles) has nothing lower than Size #0
Whilst the bristles on the Series 33 brushes
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Brush Set – Design
If the style doesn’t matter to you, skip this section. but thanks to Artis Opus especially, style does come in to play for many people when selecting brushes. After-all, no matter what it is, first impressions are important.
To me, this is possibly the biggest let down for Rosemary and Co. The brushes look cheap. When wandering your local hobby store, these brushes won’t stand out from anything else. they feature the generic black handle and the lettering is a standard gold stamp. It’s not bad, but it’s just the standard lettering you would expect to see on any n0-name brand. It doesn’t stand out like some of the more expensive sets. The brushes are light which is great if that’s what you prefer. I personally like the feel of a heavier brush so I know I have something substantial in my hand. And the bristle guard is made of cheap, hard, clear plastic. After months I still can’t get any of mine to stay on as there simply isn’t enough flex in the material to grab the ferrule.
I expect many of these considerations have been made, Rosemary & Co could easily put more effort into the design of their brushes, but why should they. If they know who they are and what their product is then the price is fair and reflective of the product they offer. There’s no bells and whistles here, but if all that matters to you is a fantastic brush with all quality put into the tip. This is what you are getting here.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Brush Set Brush – Tests
For the brushes in this review, I ran each of them on a series of initial paper tests. I picked up these tests from Scratchmade Journal – a Watercolour painting blog. Whilst I have applied the Watercolour tests to Acrylic Paints, which have a more restrictive flow, they are still able to show the quality of the brushes at hand.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Size #2
The #2 has been my go-to brush in this since taking it out of the packet. Doing everything from basecoating to all but the finest detail work. The brush holds plenty of paint, it held it’s the tip and has a good solid snap which ensures the paint will go where I want it.
Hopefully, you had a quick look at Scratchmade Journal for the details on what the above tests will show, but here’s a quick recap. the loops at the top will show just how far the paint will go on one brush load and also that it will deposit pigment evenly. Whilst the brush is swirled around the top of the loop, more pressure is applied. A poor brush would dump the majority of its pigment at the top of these swirls. These brushes are holding the pigment exactly as I would expect a high-quality Sable brush to do.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Size #1
I didn’t have a favourable experience with #1 brush, whilst the initial tests showed positively, using the brush on the mini showed some of the hidden issues.
Shown above, the think line below the loops shows just how fine a line the brush can paint, this one held up well in this regards. When painting a line, however, the fine tip of the brush would head in a separate direction to the body leading to several occasions of painting out of the lines and splaying paint where it wasn’t meant to go. You can also see from the loops above, this brush did not hold anywhere near as much paint as the #2.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Size #0
The #0 also splayed separately from the body of the brush and this one showed up straight away. as shown from the loops below, the brush had movement issues from the get-go, as shown by the marks at the top of the loops.
The thin-wide-thin lines in the middle and a good test of how the brush returns to shape after being pressed down and forcing the bristles to splay. The snap to return to shape on this brush was solid. Whilst painting edge highlights the brush was also prone to splaying. This was the one brush I was disappointed with from this set
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Size #00
The #00 was a fantastic brush and one of my favourite in the set. This became my go-to for panel lining. the only drawback with this brush is that due to its size, the paint dries way too fast. This is the expected behaviour for brushes of this size and length.
From the image above, you can see the squares which were used for shading deposit tests, as shown the pigment deployment is nice and even. gradients (the second square) are difficult to get right with a brush this size due to how fast the paint dries. This was an incredible brush for panel lining.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Size #000
Performance-wise, the #000 sat somewhere between the #00 and the #1. There was a little splaying from the tip and body of the brush, but not enough to bother me regarding the performance however.
The slicked lines above show the performance of this brush with deep strokes and how quickly the brush returns to its natural point. This held up incredibly well. The point of the brush is equal to the #00 however I left it mainly unused as the #00 was able to hold more paint.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Size #10/0
The final brush which is #10/0 in size was a stand out in this set. An absolutely perfect point which is incredible for painting the finest lines and details like eyes and scratches.
It was quite difficult to perform all of the tests above due to the
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Brush Set Brush – Mini Painting
My intention here was to paint a few mini’s with these brushes to see how they performed. However, as I said in the opening, once I picked these up I was scared to put them down. Instead of a direct here’s what this brush does, I’ve taken some images of the models I’ve painted with these brushes to show off the progress I’ve made with them.
I have to admit that only some of the comparison below is due to the brush. The “After” image was also due to the painting course I went on which was the first time I put these brushes through their paces. So some of the detail difference is thanks to the course.
You can still see the level of detail available using these brushes from the “After” image. Everything from the spot in the eye to the frown lines, even the chin dimple show the pin-point accuracy available with these brushes. The skin creases specifically have 3 different colours applied. The majority of this was painted with the #0 brush, the crest on the side of his head however was painted with the #2, That’s just how fine the point is.
The “After” image below was done entirely with the #2 brush. This is one of the smoothest blends I was able to accomplish.
The #2 was able to hold a decent amount of paint in the belly. perfect for a painter of my level as I can’t work quite as fast as some more professional glazers. I can understand why these at a higher skill level would want a larger belly but this has been fine for me over small to average-sized surfaces.
Using the brushes applying to a full model was great, even when using denser paints such as the example below. which was painted for another review.
All of the details above were painted with teh Series 33 brushes with the exception of the base layer in blue. The smaller brush helped with the fine pointed Details. but when it came to edge highlighting, the weight of the paint would splay the hairs causing me to make uneven edges. this is one of the reasons I opted to add battle damage, to cover those splays.
When it comes to teh scratches themselves. the fine point of these brushes ensures I was able to get super thin lines. Once again, great fo eyes.
The model below was a follow up to the one above. generally improving on some techniques. Again the base grey layer was airbrushed on but all other colours were applied with a Rosemary & Co brush.
The part I’m most proud of here is the shoulder pad. I’ve struggled to paint yellow in the past, but with these brushes, I managed to get the yellow down smooth and apply a gradient using glazing. Due to the detail allowed by these brushes, I also managed to finally nail space marine eyes
Finally, the below model is a work in progress using entirely glazing. The intent here was to get some high contrast in the model so this is painted over a very high-contrast base layer.
Some of the layers above are about 7-8 deep, with one load of paint on the #2 brush I was able to cover just over half of the marine’s armour. The point shown above though is that the brushes provide an excellent flow which leaves a smooth surface.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Brush Set Brush – Availability
If I had to note any issues with these brushes (and I do becasue I’m reviewing them). It’s that the availability of them is lacking. I don’t know of a miniatures store which stocks them. I don’t even know of a hobby store or art’s supply store that stocks them (Either Brick & Mortar or Online). There are a few places that sell them but not enough IMHO. In fact, if you search for “Rosemary & Co Series 33” now on google, one of the top 5 results is a miniature painter on Reddit asking where they can get them!
When you consider how much cheaper these are compared to their direct competition (Including Game’s Workshops own brushes) it generally upsets me that more people can’t easily get their hands on them.
My one piece of advice (request) to Rosemary & Co, is to get a direct Amazon storefront set up just to have another place (an easy place) where people globally can see these brushes with clear shipping costs.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Brush Set – The Elephant
I’ve been procrastinating over whether or not to include this section. But you simply can’t find a post online about these brushes being directly compared with another brand. So let’s just cut to it and address the elephant in the room, becasue if I don’t, the second this review goes live, someone else will. I also want to ensure there’s no misguidance about the products.
Yes, Artis Opus brushes are made by Rosemary & Co.
Whilst you may be saying, “but they’re made in the same place”. That’s the same as saying the Toyota Aggo is the same as the Citroen C1 or the Peugeot 107 because the’re made in the same place. They share many components, and manufacturing practises, but they are not the same car.
With the brushes, you can expect equivalent quality levels from the hair alone but that is where the comparison ends. Artis Opus did not just ask to paint these brushes white and slap a premium on them!
The Artis Opus Brushes have been made to a very particular Miniature Painter specification based on a lot of research. They also perform differently and we’ll be reviewing them separately.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Brush Set – Will they Improve my Hobby?
If you’ve been painting a while you’ve probably wondered what the best brushes are. The best brushes are really the brushes that work for you. and the #0 & #2 Series 33 Rosemary & Co brushes especially, work for me.
If you’ve never tried a Kolinsky Sable brush before any are wondering what all the fuss is about these will show you the improvements you can make by improving your brush quality. so yes, these will definitely improve your hobby.
If you already use a Kolinsky brush, then for the price (if you can get your hands on them), I’d definitely say it’s worth giving these a shot. At the very least these will act as some high-quality workhorses to churn out your armies.
Rosemary & Co – Series 33 Brush Set – Final Thoughts
#0 & below, hair is too long
Cheap in Appearance
These brushes are incredibly good quality and at the price, they are a steal – so long as you can get them. In the UK it’s easy enough you can just go to the Rosemary & Co Website, but until they open up to stores like Amazon for global availability. they risk being a lesser-known brand in this community.
I understand that these aren’t targeted at miniature painters, I just worry that without this general availability, the huge miniature painting community are loosing out on an option which is sorely needed. This could be the perfect bridge for many people who are wanting to shift away from the high-cost average-quality brushes offered by many miniature brands. here you have a low-cost high-quality brush which could be your entry to the world of Sable brushes.
Like I said at the top and throughout, I love these brushes so much that I simply do not want to move on to my next brand for review. The #2 is going into my hall of fame. if you want to see more of what I have painted with these brushes, check out the FauxHammer Instagram. Everything from the Nurgle Plage Drone to the Plague Marine above was painted using these same brushes.
I don’t think I’ll be putting them down any time soon, other than to complete further reviews.
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