How to drybrush your X-Wing Miniatures

What is drybrushing? And how do you drybrush your X-Wing Miniatures?

Let me start by saying that this is one of the most important techniques you will learn when it comes to miniature painting. Along with shading/washing this is one of the basic techniques that will have a big impact on your painting skills and that you can use on almost any miniature you paint. It is mainly used for highlighting but you can use it for blending, weathering, patterns and many other areas in miniature painting.


As the name implies it is very much just painting with a very very dry brush. In the example above you can see how I highlighted the centre of the engine with white to simulate an engine glow on the YT-2400. A bit harder to see on the image is how I used a dark blue on the outsides of the engine to further enhance the glow and slowly went with lighter blues on the inside to blend the different blues together. Until I finally arrived at pure white for the “hottest” part in the middle of the engine.

The next two images show how I picked out the highlights on a B-Wing by simply drybrushing over it with a lighter colour.

This is a very simple example on how to drybrush the whole model and the difference seems to be quite subtle on the above images. But it can have a great impact on the overall look of your model and much like washing immediately gives your miniature a lot more depth.

What drybrushing essentially does and how to use it

Drybrushing will only affect the raised areas on a model and leave the recesses dark and shaded. Because you are using a very dry brush with only a little paint left the pigments will not reach your deeper areas and only adhere to the higher parts, thus creating very natural looking highlights.

In order to use drybrushing effectively you will need to do 3 things:

  • Use a specific brush (you can use either an old, used brush or buy a Drybrush)
  • Wipe most of the paint off on a paper tissue or similar (about 99%)
  • Use broad, swiping motions to cover the desired area

A very effective way to check if you still have too much paint on your brush is by swiping it over the skin of your hand. You will get a feel of how much paint you will want to leave on your brush after a while. Just remember that you can’t take paint away but you can always add more πŸ˜‰

Now you know what drybrushing is all about and can start using it! Just remember that drybrushing will ruin your brush and make it unsuitable for any other painting purposes πŸ˜‰ You can find some more information about different brushes here.

Feel free to experiment with it and let me know how it goes. I would love to hear about your first experiences so please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you if you have an questions.

Happy experimenting everyone πŸ™‚

May the paint be with you



  1. Hey, I tried the drybrushing technique and it worked wonders. Do you suggest any specific colors when using this?

    • Hey Jack, glad you’re back πŸ˜‰ Generally you would want to go with a lighter colour than your base coat. e.g. if you are drybrushing on a dark blue area you would want to drybrush with a lighter blue to really make the highlights pop. You can achieve even better results if you use another even lighter blue on top of the first drybrush coat and focus on the “highest” parts of your model only. Hope this helps πŸ™‚ happy painting!

  2. Manu – Good guide, thanks, but why do you state that drybrushing will ruin the brush and make it unsuitable for any other painting purposes? I will be using acrylic paint for the drybrushing, and I assume I can just rinse the brush in water as I do when I paint any other part of the model?

    • You can rinse the brush for sure but after a lot of usage and since you are using very dry paint it will eventually stick to the brush. Also because you are “wiggling” the brush back and forth quite vigorously you will most likely damage the bristles in the process. Best of luck πŸ™‚

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