The Best Drybrushes for Miniatures, Models & Slapchop Techniques

Last Updated on June 29, 2023 by FauxHammer

A few months ago we decided to have a look at The Best Brushes for Painting your Miniatures. That article was intended to look at your primary brush set, the standard brushes if you will. Today we are specifically looking at the best Drybrushes for painting your miniatures and models. If you just want basic results, then there are some cheap options on this list too. but if you want to become the Ultimate Slapchop pro or just paint your armies quickly. We’ll show examples and products below that will help you get the best out of these products and this technique.

Please Note: This site uses affiliate links. Our Affiliate Partners are shown below
(Affiliate links will result in compensation to the site on qualifying purchases)

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

TAG TTC Kickstarter Advert 1

Our Affiliates / Hobby Stores

FauxHammer – Latest Video on YouTube

I must admit that for a long time I had an aversion to drybrushing. This is only becasue it was my only technique back when I was 13. My whole painting approach consisted of, spray a model black, then drybrush (more specifically “overbrush”) a colour over a certain area. It gave me layers and shadow and back when I was 13 it looked great! But we’ve come a long way from that now and looking back, they look awful!

Chaos Terminator painted by me when I was 13 with Gold drybrushed (overbrushed) on the trim

In moderation and by applying the technique in the correct way, drybrushing is incredible and provides striking results. It can also be used as a quick way to shade, highlight or even add weathering & texture to a model. One of the things the best drybrushers know is what drybrushes to use.

For drybrushing, having the best drybrush really does make a considerable difference as shown below.

Dry brushing has really taken off and thanks to the popularised Slapchop method of painting, is swiftly taking over as the go-to style for rapid results Army painters, it’s genuinely started taking over from Airbrushing. Due to its affordability, accessibility and almost paint-by-numbers approach.

Nowadays, Drybrushing really has taken over, but to get the results you see above and below are easily achievable by just about anyone. So long as you follow some simple steps on dry brushing, you’ll be making incredible-looking miniatures and even armies in little to no time at all!!!

Following Byron’s multiple tutorials, and with the right tools, you’ll quickly realise the benefits here. Whilst Airbrushing will still give the smoothest gradients, it’s quite an outlay. Even our beginner’s guide to airbrushing equipment will cost you around £80 ($100 USD) just to get very a starter set. if you then want to upgrade to a proper Airbrush, that’s at least the same again, if not double again for a top-end airbrush.

And I know for a fact that Drybrushing (with the right dry brushes) is taking over from Airbrushing for the majority of people, because has the top article for both “Best Airbrushes” and “Best Drybrushes”. We used to see 500 daily views on the former of those two articles and only a couple of hundred on this one. That has all but flipped on it’s head now with far more people looking for better drybrushes than airbrushes!

And I kinda blame both Slapchop and Byron of Artis Opus for this Sea-Change. Because since they released the Series D and followed it up with their amazing videos. People have quickly realised that the barrier to entry for getting incredible results like those shown above is really low.

In only 1 meeting with Byron in person, I was able to unlock the basic principle of this technique myself and deliver results at least good enough to feature my art on Warhammer Community

But don’t worry, you don’t need to sit down with Byron to Unlock these techniques yourself. I created a video for you which I and many others have found is the missing link between the pros like Byron, and the rest of us noobs watching his videos without direct feedback.

The results you get out of your drybrushing, or your slapchop, largely depend on how much you want to put into it. if you are happy with a few coats of grey and some coloured translucent paint over the top. Fine, get whatever brushes are cheapest. The point of this hobby is to have fun, that’s all. If you are having fun at a cost that’s within your means (ok maybe a bit over for most of us, but our wives will never know ) then you;re doing the right thing.

But in the last few years, we have truly unlocked, not only a new style of drybrushing product, but a whole technique around them too!

The Best Drybrushes for Painting Miniatures & Models

8. The Army Painter Drybrushes

The Army painter Drybrushes are unfortunately some of the weaker Drybrushes offered. Both the Wargamer (white-handle) series and the cheaper Hobby (red-handled) series and just a little too stiff and coarse.

Best Drybrush for Miniatures & Models - The Army Painter Drybrushes

Whilst the point of drybrushing is to wipe the paint off your brush before applying it to a model. The synthetic hairs of these brushes do not retain enough paint when dried to perform a good drybrush finish. They tend to leave the most inconsistent effect of all the options on the list. It’s a pity as the smaller of the two Wargamer brushes are an interesting shape which should allow you to apply drybrushing technique in smaller areas.

Don’t get me wrong, these are not bad and for the price, they will allow you to drybrush. But no better than any cheap synthetic hair brush with a flat edge would.

7. Games Workshop Citadel Drybrushes

A slight step up and made with a blend of synthetic and Ox hair, these are pretty much the standard dry brushes used by most miniature painters. They do a good job. Until I realised there are much better options at a fraction of the price, they had been my go-to for all forms of drybrushing.

Best Drybrush for Miniatures & Models - Games Workshop Citadel Drybrushes

They are cheap enough to replace when you need to and readily available, which is very important to a lot of people.

The only main issue I have with them is that they do not last long enough. The ox hair is firm but brittle. After a couple of uses, you will have several stray hairs. Depending on how neat you like to be, this can cause chaos with follow-up drybrushing attempts. You either need to trim the brush making it even smaller or just replace it often

6. Rosemary & Co. Smooshing Brush

This range was designed to be an inexpensive artist-blending brush. The “Smooshing” Brush is made from badger hair. But these were designed more for Oil paints than Acrylics. There are different types of artists blending brush available but this seems to be the one that dry brushers would previously choose as a consistent set.

Best Drybrush for Miniatures & Models - Rosemary & Co Smooshing Brush

The hairs are packed tightly into the ferrule really to create a dense brush. One which is which will be firm to the touch, but still flexible. The domed shape allows for application at any angle. This leaves a more consistent blend on the surface of your model.

Additionally, the dense hair ensures the bristles protect each other from the bending and snapping you tend to get with flatter brushes.

They are available in small, medium and large.

5. Cheap Make-up Brushes

I used to feel like this wass some kind of secret that only a few people knew. The main best type of drybrush is cheap make-up brushes. When I say cheap, I mean budget store cheap. You will typically find these in Pound, Dollar or Euro stores.

Best Drybrush for Miniatures & Models - Make-Up Brushes

for a more consistent benchmark choice e.l.f is a commonly seen brand and the e.l.f Eye Conour Brush is a primarychoice. Though this one is only available in one size and personally, I don’t find it to be firm enough.

What you are looking for is any make-up brush with round ferrule and a domed head. Beyond that, you want something which has densely packed bristles and fibres with more flex than a snap.

Think, the more bristles that touch a surface the smoother your drybrush layer will be, and these bristles will protect each other from bending as you push the brush against the surface. The softer these bristles are the smoother it will be. But don’t go too soft as they will not be strong enough to actually push paint onto a mini.

Just have a feel of the brushes before you buy them if you can. Run them over the back of a knuckle to see if they sharply snap back into position or softly flex back. Start with the e.l.f Eye Conour Brush as a benchmark for the brush texture & feel. Though this is a bit soft and not as dense as proper hobby drybrushes, it will cost you about as much as a proper drybrush too!

But again, if you just want a cheap drybrush, go grab something from a budget store and consider that a win.

4. Green Stuff World – Blue Series

Another example of Green Stuff World’s limited ability to innovate within this industry. I’m yet to find the Exact product on AliExpress that GreenStuff World stuck their badge on here, but there’s probably one on there. After all, from their refillable water dispenser, and portable airbrush, This seems to be how they operate nowadays and it’s a shame. They were a great brand once and were respected for taking those little, unusual components like modelling chains and such similar odd gubbins. To a company that seems to just take the cheapest, potentially hobby-useful, stuff from other industries and slap their badge on them

And let’s not get started with their blatant “taking artists’ work without permission to promote their products”.

Suffice it to say I have little respect for Green Stuff World products of late, especially since they complained at us for reviewing their Average paints as Average. (Spoiler alert, they’re ok. )

As for the drybrushes…

Well, like other companies they’ve taken the style popularised by Artis opus, but in this case, they completely missed the mark in regard to what those brushes do and how they do it. But at least these do offer a viable alternative for those wanting to avoid natural hair.

That’s right, this is a synthetic brush.

For those wanting the ultimate blending technique you get from Drybrushing, this does have that inherent property where the bristles will not store enough moisture. The end results is generally a bit more chalky than natural hair alternatives.

But it’s still a better shape and bristle density than other above

3. The Army Painter Masterclass Drybrush

Domed dry brushes are certainly the popular choice nowadays, Initially Designed by Artis Opus and released in 2021 The Army Painter lead the charge as the first official large brand Copycat. If you ask them they will say they were designing these for a long time before the AO release, and that fact that they are both the same shape with the same type of hair as Artis Opus is purely a coincidence… I’m just not buying it.

Nobody made any advances in dry brushing for years, and then long after Artis Opus spent almost forever testing various types of brush and hair (I’ve seen their prototypes first-hand). TAP come out with incredibly similar brushes diameters an all) just several months later?

And I’ll happily remove this comment where I have directly inferred TAP directly copied AO. Just as soon as TAP offer up any timestamped evidence that they were working on prototypes of this style of brush before AO’s Kickstarter Campaign.

Until then, I’ll just share my opinion as I would of anything that reeks of plagiarism in this hobby. By all means, go with the cheap nock-off product, whilst the actual inventors and innovators are stifled…

However, this product now exists, and despite my own personal hangups about their creation, I can still be objective enough to give you my opinion on how they perform

They are to be fair, a good bit above anything ranked lower on this list. The domed shape alone leads to a softer blend than what you would get from coarser hair brushes. However, when compared to the options below, you can tell they are cheaper just by how light they are and how soft the bristle density is. Likely made in China, and these are still natural hair brushes.

You can see our review below

Army Painter Masterclass Drybrush Set Review - Featured

The main important difference is that both the length and density of the bristles are lower than their competitors below. Meaning they are more likely to clump and streak, and won’t last as long. When you need to replace one of them, you can still only buy them as a set of 3.

It’s still a good way to have a play at “next-level drybrushing” without breaking the bank. But after you’ve cut your teeth on these and need to quickly replace one. replace it with one of the brands below and you’ll see the difference.

2. Rosemary & Co – Model Drybrush

Look familiar? yeah, the Cat’s somewhat out of the bag with Artis Opus’s relationship with Rosemary & Co. These are the same brushes as you’ll get from Artis Opus. But at 4p cheaper per brush. These come with Rosemary & Co’s signature Black handles.

Other than the White handles and the Sexy Artis Opus wooden box packaging, you’re getting the same thing here.

But it is worth noting that Artis Opus designed these brushes. Rosemary and Co just make them. Personally, I’d rather put my money in the pocket of the company that is Innovating specifically for miniature painters, but if you have some aversion to the AO brand or style. Here’s an alternate colour and brand choice.

1. Artis Opus – Series D

Quite easily the number 1 brushes on this list are the Artis Opus Series D.

I had my eye on these since the Kickstarter and initially managed to score some from the Element Games Website. And I Love them

Working with signature artists to test out various brush combinations (including the Rosemary & Co Smooshing brushes above) these have been developed to have the perfect hair length and density to provide the most amazing results. The natural hair on these will give you a softer finish than what you will get from makeup brushes. The thick density of bristles also prevents the clumping you’ll get from other brands.

Whilst many people say they are “Expensive”. As you can see from the Rosemary and Co Brushes above, it’s a relativey standard price. Then when you look at the individual brush prices. They don’t cost that much more than the Smooshing Brush and will last several times longer than any synthetic make-up brush. So long as you take good care of them.

The proof of how these operate has already been shown in the multiple demo videos available on the Artis Opus Channel. Much like with Games Workshop’s paints, you aren’t just getting a tool here. You’re getting a complete upskill in hobby results. Especially once you unlock the power of the Dampening Pad and the Texture Palette, two tools that nobody else offers. Why? because whilst they may have copied the brushes, they simply don’t understand the technique.

But because of that lack of understanding, treating those similar style and shape brushes as you would and other drybrush, by wiping paint off on a paper towel or jamming the brush into the paint, tip first! You’ll significantly shorten the life of any drybrush. Which on those similar brands, are shortened anyway by the cheapening of the product.

Unlike the Badger Hair Smooshing brushes from Rosemary & Co, these are made from a different type of animal hair. Artis Opus have been keeping quiet in regard to the type of hair they are. Probably because of how much time they spent developing them! Perhaps, just consider though, these brushes are the Greatest of all time.

Element Games - Wargaming Webstore

Possibly the hardest part of getting the best drybrushes is finding brushes which consistently do the job. Sure you can get some dollar store brushes and they should work. But I ended up spending a lot of money over the years on different possible dry brushes, looking for the best one. All the while nervously watching favourite makeup brands disappear off the shelves or get changed in a new revision.

With the Series D you get the benefit of a consistent brush you know will do the job. And when used properly, will last forever.

If you want to get the most out of dry brushing and ensure your brushes last for the longest time. Check our video below.

With these brushes, you are setting yourself up well for the drybrushing and stippling techniques which go alongside them. Techniques popularised by the likes of Byron. When spending this much on a Drybrush, it also pushes you to get the most out of it.

Please Note: This site uses affiliate links. Our Affiliate Partners are shown below
(Affiliate links will result in compensation to the site on qualifying purchases)

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

TAG TTC Kickstarter Advert 1

Our Affiliates / Hobby Stores

FauxHammer – Latest Video on YouTube

What did you think of this article? please let me know in the comments. Would you like me to do some more top 10’s? If so, what?

See our Existing TOP 10 Articles by following this link.

If you like what I’m doing here you could really help encourage more content with a share on any social media platform.

Want to keep updated with the blog? You can subscribe in the sidebar for RSS or by email below

(Sidebar is below the article on Mobile Devices)


  • FauxHammer

    Self-appointed Editor in chief of - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

    View all posts
The Best Drybrushes for Miniatures & Models
Article Name
The Best Drybrushes for Miniatures & Models
Today we are specifically looking at the best Drybrushes for painting your miniatures and models.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo


Self-appointed Editor in chief of - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

4 thoughts on “The Best Drybrushes for Miniatures, Models & Slapchop Techniques

  • December 9, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    An advice to use cheap makeup brushes is totally amazing! GW brushes are NOWHERE near to what I bought yesterday for 2 bucks equivalent a piece (in Kiev mind you :) ) in a cheap makeup store. I might start to look as a paid commentator on this site soon :D, but you don’t stop to surprise me with unexpected and very useful information (and I read and watched a LOT of various other sources). Also ordered Artis Opus (they are waiting for stocks atm, unfortunately)

    • December 9, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks for your comment and your kudos Igor. Glad they worked out for you. I now use a mix of AO brushes and make-up brushes depending how rough or smooth I want the texture to be

  • October 29, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    i don’t understand how yall say one can get cheap makeup brushes at a pharmacy. i just checked pricing at a local pharmacy and the cheapest single brush they have is $14 and the most expensive is near 100. why the “f” would i get a makeup brush when i can get a Winsor and Newton or any other brand meant for miniatures for less at a hobby store than a dumb drug store.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

en_GBEnglish (UK)