modelling vegetation

How to Get Wargaming Brushes and Tools for Cheap: Aliexpress Edition

Games Workshop is pretty much known from selling average quality tools and materials like brushes and pliers at premium price, so here is an idea where to get your wargaming and painting supplies from at stunningly low prices, sometimes discounted 90% comparing to GW: Aliexpress. All the supplies sold by GW are made in China anyway, so why not bypass the middlemen and buy directly from the source? Aliexpress is a quite popular shopping portal with Chinese products and among countless items that you can find there, you can get tons of great products suitable for Warhammer 40K, historicals or just scale modeling.

I’m regularly buying gear there and have never been dissapointed even once. Take a look at my picks of various tools and kits, available with big discounts – and most often with free shipping to EU and Europe.

Wargaming and scale modeling tools from China

3 Precise Brushes for 1,25 USD – Priced $0,4 for a brush, comparing to Citadel Brushes that costs more than $30 (crazy!). While seller claims it’s a Kolinsky sable brush made of fur of Siberian Kolinsky weasel, I don’t think it’s true, and it’s maybe horsehair brush? Still, great quality, and this is simply the best brush for the price.

It has long metal ferrule and solid handle – so it’s no cheap craft store brush. It comes in three variants (000 to 0), and it’s designed to paint details. Obviously, as with many other brushes, it’s not indestructible, but for this price even if the bristles start to deform after a few weeks or months, just pick another one. And it’s free shipping worldwide, so you can always get more.

Aliexpress brush

Pin Vise – 5,73 USD – If you want to drill hands or gun barrels, or do some weathering, pin vise is a must have for any modeler. This boxed set contains 20 different drills, from 0,3 mm to 1,6mm. Great deal, and definitely cheaper than in brick-and-mortar tool stores.

 pin vise miniatures Aliexpress

Pliers for cutting parts from sprues – 2,09 USDAre you working with plastic miniatures on sprues? You’ll need this. Funnily, mine came with a package that reads “Made in Japan”. Quality is so good (unlike my Army Painter pliers bought for $10 that snapped after cutting about first 40 miniatures from sprue), that they serve me nicely for several years now, and they’re still in sale. These cutters have 3600 customers reviews and average rating of 4.9, so yeah – it’s great tool.

pliers for modelling

Neodymium (or “rare earth”) magnets – up to $5-10 per 100 pieces –Price depends on size and quantity. If you’re playing Warhammer 40K, where infantry and vehicles has different weapon options, you might want to magnetize that Dreadnought or Killa Kans. These small magnets fit wargaming miniatures and easier and cheapest way to buy magnets in bulk is Aliexpress. Choose sizes carefully and measure your miniatures before ordering.

Seller named China Magnets Factory specializes in these magnets and if you need custom sized magnets, just ask them – they can deliver any size and shape.


Trees (from $1 per 10 trees) – While you’re there, you can pick up some artificial trees, as it’s easy to make forest terrain with this ready made artificial birches, and palms and conifers. Typically they’re bought by railroad modellers and wargamers can make some good looking and cheap terrain with these trees. You can touch it up with washes or drybrushing, especially trunks, if it looks to plastic to you. Available in various sizes, so check carefully to pick the ones that fit your project.

trees modelling

Flower Tufts – $8.19 with free shipping. Fantastic looking flower tufts, that makes great miniature bases.

tufts aliexpress

The same seller also offers modelling grass flock for $7 per large tub. Great stuff, and considering large volume, cheaper than in normal online stores.

modelling grass aliexpress

Dried moss – $5 or less for a lot that will make you dozens of brushes. Sometimes called “Reindeer moss”. Make your own trees, brushes or even Normandy bocage with this moss. It’s popular material for many crafts, like floristry. Cut to size and glue with PVA glue to get great looking vegetation for your diorama or gaming table.

dried moss

Aquarium decorations – Using aquarium decorations for dioramas is an old trick that will make you easy terrain. Here are some examples:

  • Ruins – $14,99.
  • Large jungle tree – $2,60 USD – as a centrepiece of alien terrain.
  • Dragon Skull – Looks great on a fantasy table, when combined with some overgrown plants, moss and weathering.

dragon skull modelling

  • Long grass aquarium mat – 1,98 USD. This large plastic mat can be cut to size and individual bushes can be picked out, adding to bases for your miniatures.
  • Ready-made vegetation – available in many variants for $9.9. Look really good on dioramas. Slightly more expensive, but fantastic stuff.

modelling vegetation

Finally, Aliexpress is a great source of plastic bases for miniatures. You can find plenty of special bases for fantasy, historical and sci-fi minis. There are even sellers that specialize in this merchandise, like “Wargame Base World“. Bases picture below are just $1.59 per 5 pcs.

bases wargaming figures china

Minis from Aliexpress

There are also some really cool miniatures on Aliexpress, offered by some sellers, which might be actually recasts. But they do look cool, and judging from comments they’re really good quality. Sellers like  “Resin Figures Store” and “Resin store” offer lots of interesting stuff that you won’t find anywhere else, like busts, larger scale figures and more. Check them out too, for some unusual historical, fantasy and sci-fi sculpts.

miniatures aliexpress

In conclusion

You can get literally thousands of different brushes, tools and materials for painting miniatures and wargaming, no matter if you’re doing just quick tabletop painting to get your army on the table or elaborate dioramas that look like little art masterpieces. Be aware, that typical order takes 2 to 3 weeks to be sent from China, but considering free shipping worldwide, it’s a great deal anyway.


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