It didn’t take long for the BrokenToad Mk2 brushes to be recognised within the miniatures community as one of the best ranges available – high-quality hand made brushes with heads of male Kolinsky Sable hair available individually or as part of a gift set that comprised of a size 2, 1, 0 and 3/0.
The End of an Era
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. The BrokenToad team don’t compromise on quality – be it in their brushes or their resin casting. There was some difficulty in getting the right quality of Sable through in the volume needed to continue production and instead of ramping up the prices to chase more Sable, BT called time and announced that there would be no more Mk2 brushes produced.
This led to shock and sadness within the community as people tried to snap up the last available sets rather than find a new brush supplier. Brushes are a massively personal choice and even if you compared the same style of brush – Kolinsky sable, wooden handle, metal ferrule – all of the brands you would try would have a different feel to them, be it in head or belly size, handle thickness or in the feel of the brush head when actually painting.
After a period of mourning, there was a light offered. The Mk2’s might be gone, but there was hope. The Mk3 range was launched in October 2019, promptly selling out.
The Mk3s are a little more expensive, but the already generous belly of the Mk2 brushes has been filled out further with additional sable, making them much larger brushes. This was mentioned at the launch but I haven’t seen many people commenting on this (alternatively, I’m looking in the wrong places!)
I’d been resisting picking up a set of Mk3s – I was one of the ones scrambling for an additional set of Mk2s when their cancellation was announced, meaning I still have my current set of Mk2s and a backup set. However, on Thursday BrokenToad announced that until Sunday, they would be having a sale! £5 off the Mk3 gift set was enough to break my will power and they arrived on Saturday (today!) morning.
The new set comes in a new box – a very sleek, matte design with a much smaller, inset glossy logo. It’s simple and understated but classy, exactly what you want from a gift box.
The brushes arrive inside a cellophane slip to keep them from rolling around – despite them all having caps on, it’s there to make sure nothing befalls your precious new brushes before you can play with them.
The backing card in the packet is actually a brush care guide, with the aim of helping people maximise the lifetime of their brushes.
The handle of each Mk3 isn’t straight up and down – there’s a comfortable curve towards the middle of the brush to aid holding it for extended periods.
Comparing the Mk3s to the Mk2s
I mentioned above that I was one of the people who went after the Mk2s when production stopped. As that set is still safe and sound, I thought I’d have a look at how the new set differs from the Mk2s.
The first difference is the box. I didn’t have a problem with the Mk2 box – I like the neutral tone, it fits with the colour of the brushes. The new box is slightly thinner and longer, along with being a lot more stylish with the black on black finish.
Looking at the Mk3s in comparison to the Mk2s, the heads are much larger. As I hadn’t seen many people mention it, I wasn’t fully expecting how much larger they would be. Take the above picture – both are brand new BT brushes, both have the same sharp point along with the same size of body to the brush head. However, they’re not the same size of brush!
The Mk2 Size 0 on the left would be almost impossible to tell apart from the Mk3 3/0 on the right if they didn’t have the sizes written on them. This scaling-up of the head is even more obvious on the largest brush in the set – the Size 2.
I mentioned the size upgrade to Normski at BrokenToad, who told me that the new Size 2 might be considered a Size 4 elsewhere. The Size 2 has become my go-to brush for most things so I’m looking forward to testing out this extra-chunky Size 2 to see if it speeds me up a bit!
The Mk3 brushes are most definitely bigger than the Mk2s, but will they be better? Knowing BrokenToad’s attitude towards quality, I have no doubt that they will be once I get them going and into regular service.
If you fancy picking up a set for yourself to have a go with, they’re available from BrokenToad here. They’re still going to be on sale at £35 until the end of Sunday 19th January, after which they’ll revert to full price.
BrokenToad are one of the Sponsors here at Chilling Network, but these particular brushes were purchased with cold, hard cash (that’s a lie, it was PayPal, so it was neither cold and hard, or cash, just a funds transfer.)