One could say painting is a fundamental part of our hobby. However, no matter where you go, you will find someone, somewhere playing with a bare plastic or primed army. The days of enforcing a painting standard are long behind us, and good riddance! But, as a player, I can safely say personally I love it when my opponent turns up with a fully painted or even in-progress army, as it shows a certain level of commitment.
At Badly Painted Minis, we are blessed with some truly terrible (great) painters, and we are all over the spectrum on why we paint, what drives us, and why we use certain techniques. It is quite interesting to see what everyone is up to on a given Saturday night (Or it was, back before Covid hit. But, we share a lot of our work with each other regardless). We all have such a drastic differences in how we paint, and what one of us considers essential, others may ignore entirely.
As the Clubhouse is a microcosm of the greater tabletop hobby, it does tend to match what I see online on Reddit and Facebook. So, I’ve talked to a few folks from BPM, to see what drives them and why, because chances are it may be something you’ve seen, or if not, might expand your horizons.
Let’s start with myself as a quick example!
“I need both a burst of motivation and a goal ahead of time to paint. I tend to go for a quick and dirty scheme, priming in the primary color if I can, and I love detailed models because I find they need little to no highlighting to look tabletop ready”
You can see the results in the Vostroyans featured above; quick, effective, and I have 2000 points of them. All done in time for a trip to Miniwargaming.
Alright, moving on to someone quite similar.
Nick is a newer hobbyist, having come back into the hobby relatively recently. Nick is also admittedly not a huge fan of painting, at least, he wasn’t. Contrasts changed that, and it is now not surprising to see full warbands of miniatures painted in a couple of days on his part of the painting table.
Nick had this to say: “I would have to say that with contrast paints, when I want to sit down and paint I can actually pump out quite a few models in a sitting. I don’t have to worry about having a bunch of different paint pots out, mixing paints, or thinning paints.
I like how my miniatures come out fairly cohesive with the way the paint naturally flows to the recesses and crevices in the miniatures, while leaving a nice highlight on raised areas. If I really wanted to I can dry brush on top of the contrast paint to get that next level of highlights.
Overall though I think I just wanted to cut out a bunch of steps from the traditional miniature painting style such as layering and edge highlighting.”
It is hard to argue with the results! Tabletop ready and in no time flat.
Kurt is sort of a middle ground: More willing to highlight and spend time on the advanced techniques, but willing to cut them out if the model looks good already. He has fantastic looking Space Marines from the Minotaurs Chapter, and Fyreslayers that use much of these techniques.
He had this to say: “So my style is a pretty bog standard undercoat-base coat-details-wash-highlights and I often skip the last step depending on how the wash turns out.
I also tend to favor dry-brushing over traditional highlighting because it saves time and my hands aren’t that precise.“
Certainly, few people ever have anything negative to say about his paint schemes. Sometimes pragmatic just works!
Our next painter is very similar!
Tyler only recently joined the 40k side of things, but he did play Guild-ball and Frostgrave before we converted him. He tends to follow the box-art fairly closely, and doesn’t mind working within an established scheme.
What he had to say: “My paint style is do the art box paint theme! With all of the my games I try to do a standard paint theme, with my Guild-Ball, Frostgrave, Salamanders is all right on the box art! ‘The classic look’. “
Nothing wrong with working inside a scheme; Historical miniatures have done it for years, long before we came along with our fancy “Science Fiction” and “Fantasy”.
Now we start to diverge; We have a quick (but still bad) painter, and then we have the really, insanely bad ones. (remember our joke folks!). Let’s start with quick.
Paul (known as Grixtius around here) is a legendarily fast painter. While he maintains a fairly well above average quality, the sheer speed he has turned out models is absolutely insane. Finishing whole armies days before tournaments, painting 60+ Poxwalkers in one sitting. These things should not be possible. Yet they are!
How does he explain this Olympian speed? “I like challenging myself with new projects. I like speed batch painting.
Once I have my colour scheme picked out, I can go through a whole batch doing one step, then move on. By the time I’m finished with one pass, the first models are usually dry enough to start the next step.”
The thrill of the challenge, and not wanting to waste any time. These things combine to make the fastest painter around these parts.
Now we hit the big leagues, the Kings of Terrible, the Emperors of Fail. The worst (best, if you’re new here!) of us around. How do they maintain such quality, and does it come with serious side effects?
Cody is one of our worse (better) painters, and that can be chalked up to simply his willingness to try new things. He is fairly active online, finding techniques he likes, then showing up one day with effects we here at BPM have never seen before. From Marble to Lava, and even Power weapons, his models stand out as extremely unique. Combined with his kit-bashing, this makes for a powerful looking force, and one that is a joy to play against.
“I like to try new things when it comes to painting… But when I find something I like I stick to it… I’m about 50/50 make it look good but get it done quick”
As one of Cody’s most regular opponents (punching bag, really), having our two mostly painted armies makes for a great spectacle. I can really appreciate that, if not his dice rolls…
Moving on to someone else just as skilled, in both kit-bashing and painting. Let’s move on to our Clubhouse’s painting king!
Nathan is probably our worst (best) painter; his work on his Genestealer Cult, Wild West Exodus, and upcoming Sigmar models are extremely cool. But, as a consequence, his models take a lot of time to reach that high standard. His armies and warbands make for amazing set-pieces on our tables, and are definitely a highlight whenever he finds time to come out.
He had quite a lot to say on the subject: “My painting style is high-level table-top. I like things to look good but I’m not looking to win dedicated painting competitions so I focus on overall army/unit quality. I really enjoy doing weathering which adds so much character to models. My painting goals right now are to evoke a mood and narrative tone with my models.”
While his modesty is admirable, achieving such a high standard and doing so consistently is worthy of praise. He does set a goal for the rest of us to achieve, and is always quite willing to share how he did certain things on his models. Thanks Nathan!
We sure have a varied group of painters at the clubhouse! I imagine every gaming group has these archetypes of painters within their hallowed halls, and at the end of the day, we all share one thing; we all enjoy the hobby.
So my advice to you, dear reader, is this. Go and paint something. Anything! Most of us have quite a backlog. And in my experience, if you want to enjoy the hobby in this way, having painted models, then any decent person will appreciate the effort when you go to game. Anyone else isn’t worth your time anyways! That being said, it isn’t a bad thing to strive to get better, or to take inspiration from someone else’s brush-work. And as a final note, don’t be discouraged because your models don’t look as “good” as someone else’s; if anything, take inspiration! And if you’ve hit your painting plateau for the moment, then fear not, it is still worth the effort.
Motivating yourself to paint can be difficult, and I hope I’ve helped you along! Do you fit one of these painting styles? Have a totally different method? Think we are all crazy and stick with bare-plastic and undercoated models? Let us know in the comments! I look forward to any opinions here! Also if you are really proud of some painting you did, feel free to show it off! We would love to see it!
But while in the meantime, Happy War-gaming wherever you might be, and get to painting!