Thursday, 18 August 2016

Painting figures -Can't Paint Won't paint.

Now of late there has been quite a lot of comment about how- for some the painting and modelling part of the hobby is either a chore or completely irrelevant.
 Honestly I find this a bit thick. My reasoning is as follows
 1/. If you are primarily a games player and don't actually LIKE the models/toys then why bother with them in the first place. There are plenty of ways to game without ever setting hands on a model  grenadier or a Hoplite- without even knowing what these actually are. Even if you know there is no need to use models/toys/miniatures at all. Some of these games may even be termed wargames,
 So why are there a considerable number of  chaps who claim to use said miniatures but  somehow  seem to hate them? Perverse or what? Perhaps even a sniff of fashionable  hypocrisy? The bit I really don't get  is why you would choose to use models and then not give a s""t about how they look.
2/. Even if you hate painting there are plenty of ways around it. Painting services are legion and some are very good indeed and by no means all require the sale of a kidney to fund a painted army(well not all at once anyway !).

40mm Napoleonic French Hussars. These cost me the largest per figure price I ever paid for a painting service at £25.00 each
 I still think it was worth it.. The lad who did them has packed it in. 
25mm Old Glry Normans. Painted by me around 20 years ago. They'll never win any prizes but at least they don't look as if they were painted by a man with a bag on his head. 

 As an aside one wonders if the current popularity of so called "warband games" has been in part influenced by the cost of some  painting services. After all some silly one-off steampunk gang for In Her Majesty's name or whatever  can still cost you the thick end of a ton for a decent paint job and with the figures knocking on the door(or even smashing it open) of a couple of quid each you don't end up with an awful lot for your money,. So you do wonder if part of the move to these small limited, narrow, games is driven by economics .....
However back to the plot.
 3/.You can buy stuff from Ebay or from Bring and Buys at shows- though this IS hit and miss and does take a little effort and with ebay beware the jargon . "Well painted" may only mean "covered in vaguely the right colours not necessarily in the right order" and photographs do not  always tell the whole story. I've had both very good and very bad via ebay so Caveat Emptor !

 Of course a lot will depend upon your personal standards of good and bad. for me "BAD" is when I need to repaint the bloody things-even though this is often easier than starting from scratch. "GOOD" is when only a little touching up is needed. "Very Good" is when only rebasing is needed- which it always does as the bases need to match existing forces. Sometimes -not often- but sometimes "VERY GOOD"  means "better than I can paint" always with the caveat "and I didn't pay painting service prices either !"

 Mind you there are also some truly awful painters out there masquerading as "services" as well as the odd one who is so far up himself that he has disappeared into the requisite orifice- When razzing one painter for his 6 weeks  delivery time turning into 6 months I was told- nose in the air "I paint for important people" Needless to say I told him to shove his brushes where the sun does not shine- I near as a toucher did it for him! Back in the 1990s we also had to pursue one painter through small claims court.

Nevertheless there are plenty of good painting services out there. My favourite is Shakespear Studios which offers good quality painting at a pretty reasonable price and most importantly efficient delivery. Jez has painted a fair few 15mm for me and is a dab hand at camo - amongst other things.
Fireforce Miniature Falklands War Brits. Painted by Jez of Shakespear Studios..
 He really is a dab hand at Camo. I couldn't get even close to this quality. 

Now speaking personally its no secret that I have poor eyesight- I can't for instance drive because of that. Over the year many other avenues have been closed to me because of this. The Army being only the most obvious.. Yet I've taught myself to become a competent figure painter. I even enjoy it. For me it is part of  being a "Compleat Wargamer" in the same way as studying the history, understanding the period, fiddling with the rules etc etc etc.

Jez also did these Blu Moon 15mm Austrian Hungarian Grenadiers- so it's not just camo he is a dab hand at. 
Boney on a camel- 25mm (or28 if you prefer) Old Glory Napoleon in Egypt range painted by me. 
Now I'm  not, never have been and never will be a professional painter. I don't paint for money. I simply don't have the mental make up for it. For me however painting and modelling IS a part of being a wargamer so whining about how hard life is does not solve the problem.... In the40 or so years I've been at this I've heard all the excuses  a xillion times over and they are only true if you choose to make them so.

A bit of pure self indulgeance. A version of this picture appeared on the front cover of Miniature Wargames a few years back. All the figures were painted by me. Not a professional in sight..
 If I can do it ..... 


  1. I like painting figures. It's a bit like therapy (and not that much cheaper considering my lead pile) where I can switch the real world off and relax. But we all have moments when it is a chore. A real drudge to get to the desk and be creative. But we get through it and carry on. I'm with you on this - painting toy soldiers is part of the hobby. whether you do themselves or buy them in is entirely your choice.

  2. Paul Agreed. Even after over 40 years as a wargamer and more than 25 in the trade I still like to paint and model. It has never been a chore on the whole, though there have been, still are and will be times when you get sick of the little lead gits!

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