• Robison Wells

Top 12 Best Miniature Painting YouTubers

There are a hundred miniature painting YouTubers out there--I've even dabbled in it myself--and I clearly can't talk about all of them. But the list that I've compiled below is the group of miniature painting YouTubers that I watch the most and from which I've gained the most insight. Some of them are more accessible to beginners, some are more advanced, and some are completely aspirational and I watch them purely to be inspired by their content.


Well, without further mucking about, here are the top 16 best miniature painting YouTubers.


Midwinter Minis


I take it as a source of pride that I was a fan of Guy from Midwinter Minis before he became megafamous, and was one of his early Patrons. He got his start by speed painting all of the models in the Blackstone Fortress box, and I had just gotten that box, and it was a match made in heaven (or The Warp).


Midwinter Minis is great because it's so accessible. He speed paints and he is content with a speed painted job. This isn't to say he's not very, very good--when he spends more time on a mini he is on par with most anyone else on this list, but he also will paint 200 Orcs to battle-ready standard in a week. One thing I love about him is that he doesn't make a big deal about paint colors (he isn't beholden to a certain brand) and in fact is color blind. He uses the same 14 or 15 paints for every mini. (Of course, he's good at mixing to get the right shades and hues.)


And of course Midwinter Minis would be nothing if it weren't for his girlfriend Penny, who is a staple of his videos and varies from tolerating his hobby (now full-time job) to thinking he's a nut. The videos with Penny are among the best.





Miniac


At the other end of the spectrum is Scott from Miniac, who is among the most... I hesitate to use the words "talented" or "skilled" because everyone on this list is talented and skilled, but he is one of the painters who goes after awards, pursuing the Crystal Brush and, presumably, the Golden Demon in 2022.


Scott's channel deals with more technical painting methods; it is not a channel for beginners, although beginners may find it aspirational. He will paint a model in monochrome or black and white just to see if he can accurately get the contrast right. He will go to extreme lengths to emulate the 'Eavy Metal style of painting. Put simply, he is advanced, but his videos are so enjoyable to watch that we're okay with him being better than us.





Ninjon

Ninjon (Jon) is a close friend of Scott from Miniac (they do a podcast together called Trapped Under Plastic). And I would put them on about the same skill level. They both go after awards, they both use advanced techniques, and they both are far better than I expect I'll ever be.


The difference between Ninjon and Miniac is that Ninjon's videos cater to the crowd who are trying to move between Beginner to Intermediate, whereas Miniac caters to those who are advanced and trying to go Pro. Some of Jon's best videos involve him giving the basics of airbrushing, or the basics of which paintbrushes to use, or the basics of materials every painter's desk should have.


This is not to say that he's entry-level. Some of his best videos are him branching out into oil paints (something which is quite advanced) or extremely detailed bust painting. But his videos are fun and engaging (he puts out less content than some of these others, only posting every other week) and always worth the watch.




Sonic Sledgehammer



Troy at Sonic Sledgehammer Studios is one of my very favorite painters on this list, if not my absolute favorite. And this is for two reasons: first, he is extremely accessible. He doesn't expect you to have any remarkable skills and abilities, and he doesn't get into the weeds of difficult technique. Second, he paints non-Games Workshop miniatures and, my favorite, historicals.


Though his new 3D printer has him branching out into new genres and styles--including Gaslands and Stargrave and Anvil Industries--the vast majority of his back catalog is dedicated to all the various incarnations of Bolt Action miniatures, with a sprinkling in of some Napoleonics and, very occasionally, a Space Marine.


Most of all, Troy is very PLEASANT. Listening to him talk (and following him on Twitter) makes it very clear that he is the kind of guy you'd like to have a drink with. The videos are never elaborate--no skits or fluff. Just a camera and a miniature, and good, solid painting advice.





eBay Miniature Rescues


The premise of this channel is very straightforward: Casey searches eBay for terrible miniatures that are selling for a very low price, and he will buy them, strip them, and paint them up to an advanced level--and then repost them on eBay to make a profit to pay for the channel.


Casey is a genuinely easygoing guy (which has been made all the more clear in recent weeks when his wife had a baby and he's been painting with the baby in a swing next to his desk), and that's what makes the channel so good. He will talk about a bad model that he's gotten, but he never badmouths the original owner and painter. He may have a video title of "WORST Miniature Ever" but he never belittles or criticizes anyone. He is good natured and pleasant.


He's also a dang good painter. Whether he's painting an entire demons of Khorne army or a single Mephiston model, he takes care to make sure that he's not just doing something adequate but that he's elevating the miniature to new heights. In the example I posted here he took a (mostly naked) dwarf model and completely changed its look with a purple skin tone--and it works.





Goobertown Hobbies

Brent at Goobertown Hobbies is probably the person on this list who is most channeling the spirit of Bob Ross, in miniature form. Everything about Brent is positive. There are other channels which will critique the models submitted by Patrons, and Brent is no different, but Brent never has a single bad thing to say about any model that is sent in, no matter how basic and simplistic it is. He always finds something to compliment.


He has a PhD (I believe in chemical engineering) and he will frequently use his channel to run experiments, such as seeing the effects of greasy fingers on miniatures--those with varnish, those without, and those without a basecoat.


But none of this detracts from the fact that Brent is a really good painter. He doesn't flash his nice paintjobs for everyone to see--I honestly wouldn't know how good he is if I didn't follow him on Instagram--but when he gives advice it is solid and easy-to-follow advice.





Squidmar Miniatures

Emil at Squidmar Miniatures is an absolute beast of a miniature painter, whose skills far surpass my own. And to tell the truth, he doesn't really spend the majority of his videos actually teaching you to paint: he talks about things associated with painting. More than anything, he is a really good YouTuber who just happens to talk about painting.


From his recent project where he bought the most expensive Warhammer miniature ever (a solid metal Thunderhawk Gunship) to his continual collaborations with Fiverr where he commissions painters of all skill levels to paint, and then critiques them (very positively) to the videos where he takes commissions to paint an entire model--an entire Mortarion or an entire Baneblade--in an hour.


You can tell he's an amazing painter--it shows through in everything he does--but he's more about the painting hobby and community, and he routinely does charity videos where he does wonderful things in the community (such as when he replaced a gamer's T'au army--exquisitely painted by dozens of volunteers--for free after the gamer had been forced to sell his own to pay bills.) Squidmar is a class act.





Vince Venturella

How could I not include Vince Venturella on this list? Vince is many different things on YouTube, and a painting teacher is only one of them (he is, I think, better known for his Warhammer Wednesday livestreams where he talks about the hobby--primarily Age of Sigmar--and gets deep into the meta.) But that's not to say that he ignores painting.


More than any other YouTuber on this list, I don't know how Vince finds the time to do all of the amazing stuff he does. For starters, he has his Hobby Cheating videos which are both accessible and advanced. He teaches--in a manner that is unique to him--how to paint anything from the texture of leather to proper non-metallic metal. But he also has his Warhammer Wednesday show (which must require a TON of reading and preparation) and then on Instagram, with shocking speed, he will turn out award-worthy paint jobs over and over. Definitely someone to watch.





Duncan Rhodes

Duncan Rhodes definitely deserves a nod as one of the greats of painting tutorials. He was Games Workshop's painting video guy for years, with clear instruction and expert technique, before venturing out on his own to start his own YouTube channel.


The thing about Duncan is that he continues to paint in a very Games Workshop style--basecoat, wash, layer, highlight--no matter whether he's working on a Games Workshop model or not, and I think that's what makes him such a good teacher. He's using a system that is easy to follow--he practically invented it--and he's doing it incredibly well.


The channel is so similar to the old Games Workshop channel that if you didn't see him paint the occasional Star Wars: Legion model or Modiphius mini, as well as seeing him use Army Painter brushes and occasionally paints from Army Painter or Vallejo (though he still sticks strongly to Citadel).





Darren Latham


Yes, this channel is no longer turning out new videos, but he deserves a mention. Darren Latham was an 'Eavy Metal painter for ten years and a sculptor for Games Workshop (he did Be'lakor). His videos are long-form, taking a single miniature and spreading its paint work out over eight or ten videos.


He is easy to follow along with, but there's no doubt at all that he is advanced. He paints like an 'Eavy Metal painter, and that means that something that one of these other painters would do in three steps, he does in nine. The results speak for themselves, however, and it's a master class in painting minis.





52 Miniatures

I recently discovered 52 Miniatures, and I absolutely love it. If Goobertown Hobbies is the Bob Ross of miniature YouTube, then 52 Miniatures is the philosopher. Listening to him talk as he paints (or sometimes doesn't paint) is intoxicating. He is a person who thinks deeply about this hobby, every aspect of it. And I don't mean that in a Vince Venturella way--52 Miniatures is not making meta videos--but he is making videos contemplating color theory and paint technique and why we as people even paint at all.


One of his best, and most recent, (and the one linked here) is a contemplation on the diversity that exists (or doesn't exist) in the Warhammer hobby. This is not to say that his channel is devoted to social issues, but just to say that he thinks about these kinds of things, and when he wants to talk about it, he does.


The videos are some of the best filmed in this list. I'm not sure exactly where he lives--possibly Scandinavia--but if it were not for the clear presence of a camera operator, you'd think that he was a deep thinker who hobbied alone in a forest. It may not be your cup of tea, but I love it.





Dana Howl

Dana was a former animator before she dove headfirst into the miniature painting scene, she comes at the hobby with a different sensibility than most. She is, if anything, anti-conformity. If she feels like painting her Nighhaunt in hot pinks and vivid greens, she will. If she wants to take a Tyranid force (as she does in the linked video) and try to make them fit into Nintendo's Bowser's Castle aesthetic, then that's what she's going to do. She an amazing painter--don't get me wrong--she's just outside the box.


You never, ever get the feeling that Dana is chasing the algorithm. She does what she wants, when she wants, and for whatever reason she wants. Yes, she has a hobby basics series that she began many months ago, but she's openly said that she regrets starting it and is only finishing it out of a sense of obligation.


A frequent collaborator with other painting YouTubers, she's always up for a challenge. But perhaps the thing I like best about Dana's channel is her enthusiasm. When she gets something stuck in her head--like Cursed City, for example--she is going to dive into it until she has not only painted the figures but built an entire, multi-level Cursed Ciy in which they can all live. I always smile when I see that Dana Howl has a new video up.



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