Games & Gears Legends Series is a set of Kolinsky Sable Brushes, and I’ve been using them for about 4 months now, so I though it was time to share my views.
The set of 4 brushes, sizes 0, 2/0, 3/0, and 4/0, are aimed at detail work, and come in a nice protective case. They have Kolinsky Sable hairs, with the rest of the brush being of metal construction.
One of the neat and unique things about these brushes, is the way the handle comes apart and becomes a protective cap for the hairs, but just like the brushes, I found them a game of two halves!
The case is a nice bit of leather (faux?), and keeps the brushes together and out of harms way. With the brushes stored the correct way up the hair size is visible as soon as you open it, so you always get the correct one.
The 0 and 2/0 hairs, I thought, looked a little larger than their designation, but they come to a nice and decisive point, which I found gave excellent accuracy, especially as they have a good rigidity and don’t flex too easily.
These two brushes hold a reasonable amount of paint and transfer it to the medium in a well-controlled, even manner, but the brushes themselves can occasionally be difficult to control, probably due to their weight – more on this shortly – and their fairly ‘chunky’ feel. The point stays true with paint applied, and they have always returned back into shape when cleaned – they do seem to clean up very easily.
Both the 3/0 and 4/0 brushes, though, were a little disappointing. There is quite a size difference going from the larger to the smaller brushes in terms of the ‘belly’ of the hairs, and I wonder how they grade them. I found the hairs to be too long and flex far too easily to give good accuracy, especially as they just won’t hold their point once loaded with paint, however little you apply. I wanted to use these smaller brushes for things like eyes, and buttons – the smallest of things that just require a small ‘dab’ here and there’ – but they splay, and I found I could only use the sides of the brush, rather than the tips, to apply paint.
A problem I found inherent to all the brushes, though, was their weight and balance. Being an all-metal construction means that the brushes are fairly weighty; the 2/0 comes in at 10g as opposed to the 3g of Citadel’s small Artificer Layer brush, which is comparable in hair size. This weight takes its toll after you’ve been painting for some time, but it’s the balance point that I found more disconcerting.
It is a personal thing, but I found the balance point too far up the handle – I tend to hold my brushes quite close to the hairs, as I find I get more accuracy this way – and when using them I was always fighting the brush to get it just where I wanted it. I can always tell the following morning which brushes I’ve been using, as my hand aches.
This is a pity because the ferrules are a really nice shape and length, and fit the hand well, especially the 4/0, which has a differently contoured ferrule to the others.
There is a way to mitigate this somewhat, and that’s to use them without the handle fitted. This shortening of the brush reduces the weight to 6g, and brings the balance point forward slightly, though for me it was still an issue, just not as bad as it was.
Removing the handle does lead to a big plus, at least for me, as I paint using a magnifying lamp, and having a brush that I can reduce to 90mm in length meant that I didn’t keep hitting the lamp with the handle, whilst trying to keep everything in focus!
In fact, I’ve stopped using them with the handle fitted, they’re just too uncomfortable and ill balanced, but the handle does make a fine protective cap when they’re not in use, much better than the little clear plastic ones you usually get with brushes.
But… they don’t fit that great! On two of them they’re really tight to get on and off, though to be honest, this is easing with use, but trying to get them off sometimes involves quite a bit of force – I’ve stopped pushing them on fully. On the other two brushes they’re actually quite loose, and have fell off on occasion.
The Legends set is priced at £35 on the Game & Gears Website, so they’re not the most expensive Sable brushes on the market, far from it. At £8.75 a brush (not taking into account the cost of the case), some would consider them a bargain compared to Citadel’s Artificer range, which averages out at £14.55 each when brought as a set of three, or the Winsor & Newton series 7 brushes at around £12-£13 each. But let’s just say that, you get what you pay for!
For me, these are a bit too form over function – they look fantastic with their all-metal construction and gimmicky handle, but when it comes down to performance, as an overall package, I found them sadly lacking, especially the two smaller haired brushes.
The performance of the hairs on the 0 and 2/0 brushes are pretty good, but let down by their weight and balance. Whereas the 3/0 and 4/0 were no starters for me in terms of detail painting – the hairs refused to hold a point and were far too long and flexible.
For £35, I’d be happier buying just two Citadel or Winsor brushes and pocketing the difference!