Ichiban Paint Brushes – A Review

With a week to go of Ichiban Painting and Games & Gears’ kickstarter to go we’d had the opportunity to take a look at the brushes themselves and report back on our findings. With the kickstarter (at time of writing) 1907% funded it may seem arbitrary to do a review but far from it.

Whilst we go way back with Hugo and I had great fun writing some rules for one of his Golden Demon entries in 2012 we pride ourselves on impartiality and that means reviewing them.

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So first impressions? Pretty good. The case is a nice touch and finds the balance between size and practicality. The logo is a little cheap and I kinda wanted to see Hugo’s on there as well. But to be honest, it wouldn’t have mattered, something embossed would have been more in keeping with the premium feel the guys are shooting for.

The brushes are beautiful. Slim and elegant, they look more like a set of writer’s pens and there’s something incredibly satisfying about putting the brush together. It’s the smooth action of a fountain pen. And they’re so very light. I can’t decide if they’re lighter than wooden brush but I could care over a gram either way. And they look way cool in black. My problem is that the paint doesn’t appear that hard-wearing and the brushes will scrape and chip against one another in the pouch. Or anything else I imagine, such is the price of working with metal. That and they’re going to get covered in paint anyway so I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

They’re wider, too than a standard brush but this is a good thing for two reasons. The first being they sit far more comfortably in the hand than a standard brush, again more akin to a pen, and that dramatically reduces hand fatigue. Which means you can paint for longer. Huzzah. The second is, thanks to the wider handle, there’s a wider barrel so there’s more bristles which has two benefits. A better point and a better charging.

This all adds up to a rather well-rounded painting experience. The brushes are comfortable and the sable bristles stand up to punishment well. They keep their shape better than anything I’ve ever purchased from a hobby shop or a Games Workshop and they retake their shape well. The one thing that would have been really cool is if the handle, that the painty end slots into, to form the cap, had a point shaper built into it so you knew every time you put the brush away it was going to come looking beautiful and perfect.

The stand available is a nice touch. If I’m honest I’m not sure how much I’d use it as I have to pack all my hobby stuff away between uses so a stand is just another thing to find a home for when the brushes tuck so nicely away. However it does make life that little bit easier when it comes to finding them and finding the right one. It’ll also help with the chipping issue as they won’t be rolling around on a tile or table. It’s a simple solution to the problem and easy to put together it just doesn’t jazz me. But I’m a fluff gamer, painting is something I do if I find myself alone for a few days without a wife and child and I’ve exhausted all the really good porn. So hardly ever. Lee, however, who has a space and a table and likes to get his hobby on regularly I imagine will really see the benefit.

However, one of the best things about the paint set is that they’re so nice you’ll want to use them. Next generation brushes is a tad gimmicky for me. They’re still sticks with bristles in the end at the end of the day, but what they are is good quality, comfortable and with good coverage. That makes for an easier time painting. So I’d say more of an evolution.

You’ll also be paying twice what you’d pay for a set of the same size brushes from someone like The Army Painter. However, you get what you pay for and, on the basis that they brushes are far more durable than anything I’ve seen elsewhere, I’d say they’re worth the money. But the defects like the paint scratching so easily does cause an eyebrow to be raised when the word premium gets used. If you’re paying twice the price for something I expect twice the quality. A better powder painting coating process (or one at all if they weren’t powder coated) should solve the scratching issue though when the brushes go into full production. Mine are a review set after all.

So is the kickstarter worth your hard-earned coin? Yes. Yes if you’re like me who hardly ever paints: because it’ll encourage you to do so. Yes if you’re regular painter and you’re fed up with your brushes knackered out after basecoating 30 marines.  And yes you fancy yourself as a pro because one of the minds behind the brushes is a pro. If you’re a tight git who’d much rather get em cheap and throw em out then this probably isn’t the kickstarter for you.

To read more or to pledge go here.

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6 thoughts on “Ichiban Paint Brushes – A Review

  1. Good review, I think I’ll have to order me some when they are available through normal channels. I really like that they made the handles thicker and hope that will make it easier on my hands.

  2. Have you just used the cheaper hobby brushes? There is no mention of how they compare to the more premium brushes like the W&N series 7.

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