I'm surprised by this hobby
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  1. #1
    Senior Member -Ice's Avatar
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    Default I'm surprised by this hobby

    I'm usually a computer nerd and prefer to spend my money on PC games and PC upgrades. My games of choice include racing games from the arcadey NFS series to the realistic rFactor and GTR. Up to a month ago, I was burying myself up to the neck with Falcon 4 Allied Force, a flight simulator centered around the F-16 Falcon. I got a Cougar HOTAS, rudder pedals, steering wheel...

    Then I decided I wanted something new. Something that involved people (and not just multiplayer over-the-internet type) and new experiences and fun. And I got about £150 to blow.

    I had always visited the local GW store as well as a local comic book shop, just browsing and nosing around. I used to play D&D and dabbled with BattleTech so I was curious about minis and RPGs. I've never tackled minis though because I knew that while I possessed the tactical mind to play the game, I doubted my skills at painting. I've had a few lessons from the kind folks at GW but it was nowhere near what I wanted... and I'm pretty OCD and as a guy who's hobbies include precision (racing sims, flight sims), I was scared that I'd only disappoint myself.

    My first forays into this hobby was a bit disappointing. My minis were dark and nowhere near what I wanted it to be. And it was messy. Then someone told me how to make it "neat." Aha! Now I can make cleaner minis by scraping the mold lines! Okay, so it tacks on about 10-15 minutes more per mini, but I was getting my OCD compulsion satisfied. So now I had clean minis, but I could not make it look how I wanted it to look. After a lot of reading and several hours of chatting with local players, I finished a mini... and it still isn't where I want it to be... but it was good. For a very critical guy, I'd have to admit to myself that my first attempt at a decent painted mini is actually good, at least better than I thought I could do. So there is hope after all.

    After some discussion with the kind folks at this forum, I've learned some new skills, which mainly involved un-learning what the GW folks taught me ("TTQ army painted on a weekend!"), watering down my paints, and doing a couple of coats over-and-over-and-over, another surprise hit me. I found it actually relaxing to be painting! So far, I've done one SM mini and about 6 guns, each taking about 5-6 coats of washed-down paint and taking about 4 hours total, but I come out of it relaxed and happy and excited. I've just learned that this is just the first step in making a nice-looking mini and I'm learning new things everyday and so far, I'm loving every minute of it.

    I've always suspected that this hobby is exceptionally expensive. I've just realized now that with what I've spent, I'm not even halfway to a 1,500 point army and while I can paint good reds with my paint selection, proper yellows or blues mean about another £20-30 more of paints. But I'm surprised at how the painting and the results are turning out.

    If you've made it this far, I just want to thank you guys for reading and thanks for sharing your experiences and advice. I know I may not reach 'Eavy Metal standards, but you can be sure I aim to be as close as possible! But none of that would be easy without the help of the fine folks here. Cheers!

  2. #2

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    Tis good to see your journey and know you're enjoying it. That satisfied glow you're feeling is well deserved. Most peoples first mini is nowhere as tidy. Dreadfull messes most of them.
    You've taken your first steps into a much larger world. Next comes building you own brush-sabre, you may get your hand cut off eventually but could find a long lost sister and meet some Ewoks.

    You'll find the law of diminishing returns will reduce the spendiness. It can seem costly setting up, but once you've got the tools and paints and bits, you'll have them to use over and over.
    The value for money can be a comforting ratio. Consider the price of a video game or a DvD spent instead on minis. Then think how many hours of pleasure could be gleamed from any of them. With the relaxing hours prepper and painting the minis, before even getting to use them in a game (if a person even plays, many don't), the mini' hobby doesn't do too badly compared to other ways of spending ones money.

    You might have got unlucky in whichever GW guy gave you some painting ed'. Though, in the GW guys defence that were probably cramming as much basic info into you as they could. Unless you could explain you needed something specific, that's a decent approach as a lot of the gamers just want the mini's painted fast and to hell with the quality. I know I had to do it a lot when I worked for 'em, sat at a painting table for years waiting for the rare person who actually wanted to paint properly. If a punter came in asking for something specific, or a Q&A suggesting something less generic would be more appropriate it'd be general advice mode.

    Can tell from the other threads you're feeling the learning curve keenly. All the terms and techniques we blithely bandy around, but you're doing the sensible thing in your "woah, explain that". Knowing you need to find your feet, walk before you can run, you're building up a framework of techniques that'll keep you moving onwards in painting skills.

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    Superfreak!!! Torn blue sky's Avatar
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    Yeah, if someone saunters up to you pertaining to be a princess chased by the evil galactic empire, resist the urge to try and get into her pants. They might not fit you anyway.

    It's good to hear you're absorbing all the info and tips people have slung your way! If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask the general community. There's a lot of people here that excel " 'Eavy Metal" quality, these people are generally at your disposal to pick their brains. Nice lot of people , very helpful. Eventually you;ll get to where you want to be, i've no doubt about that. Part of the fun is the learning and improving though.
    Meantime, don't worry too much about the fact people are better than you at painting, that's generally how it is for everyone, there's always going to be someone better!
    Glad you're actually having fun with it though! It is pretty relaxing to just sit and paint, and the creative prospect of a "blank Canvas" makes it fun
    As Wyrm said, most peoples first forays into miniature painting are fairly disastrous! You should be justly proud of your first go, keep on practicing the things you learn and you'll be flying.
    I have a cunning plan...So cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel...

  4. #4

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    Oh, you are soooo lucky to have this site at your disposal, so early in your hobby-ing <OLD CODGER VOICE> Back in the day, when I first started painting, I thought using Testor's enamels was totally the way to do miniatures, and every colour was shaded with some black lines and then drybrushed (when I did highlights at all). My sole source of technical info was the "Citadel Painting Guide", which I'm now convinced sandbagged everyone with bad advice (drybrush everything! yay!) to make their in-house painters seem even better than they already were. Hell, even my discovery of acrylic paints was an incredible breakthrough at the time.

    I've got more growth out of CMON than I could have possibly imagined back when this site was basically a spoof of "Hot or Not" for people who liked to look at painted miniatures.

  5. #5

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    Yeah it can be expensive, but it's really worth it. As your collection of mini related "stuff" grows you may awe yourself with the way that you've managed to transform an entire room or more of your place into a devoted hobby room full of every kind of mini, tool, paint, terrain supplies, lighting setups for photography etc... It just seems to grow and grow over time.

    Starts off with a starter army or force or what have you, maybe a couple of books and a few paints and brushes. Then you decide you need a dedicated table to paint at you set yourself up with a nice little tv tray or something at first. But then that's not big enough of course to lay out your vehicles on and prime your pieces with the airbrush you went and bought, so you get a bigger table...then of course, you don't want your dremel tools and your jeweler's saws and cans of primer to clutter up that painting space so you decide you need a shelving solution on the wall. That works out for awhile until your army grows and you get into making terrain projects for your games since, themed terrain is just the way to go, and now you've got to have a place for your sheets of insulation foam and buckets of plaster putty and epoxy, and the shelves aren't cutting it anymore so it's off to get a workbench.

    But where does the workbench go? Hrm, how about we just start rearranging furniture, do we really need this bed here when the couch is just as comfy? So out goes the bed and the workbench gets set up and you realize you have enough room now for a small card table for setting up your lights and tent on so you can photo all the stuff you've been working on and share it here with us.

    And then there's the paints. Those addicting paints to buy with all the pretty colors from all the different ranges and manufacturers, hundreds, thousands of beautiful little bottles! But you'll need room for those, fortunately you've recently taken out the couch and donated it to the thrift store to make room for a 6 by 4 foot gaming table in the living room, and you've got just enough room for a few paint carousels! Hoorah! But then there's the larger scale minis and you're going to need a little more room to paint them of course since...they're larger!

    And on and on it goes...

    But in all seriousness it's very rewarding to spend money and actually have stuff to show for it, in terms of collectibles, art supplies and the assorted books and bric a brac that go along with the hobby. There's so many ways to make your money disappear without anything to show for it that at least here we get to end up with alot of really cool stuff over time.
    Last edited by DarkStar; 11-11-2010 at 12:11 AM.

  6. #6

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    If your really into flight sim's and I assume the same will work for racing sim's, there's some relatively cheap VR goggles that give a real cool sense of being there. I bought a pair and have enjoyed them. http://www.vuzix.com/consumer/products_vr920.html

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    Superfreak!!! Torn blue sky's Avatar
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    Wooo that looks pretty cool!
    I have a cunning plan...So cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel...

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    Senior Member -Ice's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback, Wyrmpops. To be fair, that isn't my first mini, it's my first "completely painted" mini. I got about a dozen "test subjects" that were sacrificed to various paint "recipes," for instance, some of them were primed black and painted, then I primed some white and decided white primer gives me the brighter reds, some of the white-primed ones were then tested with a base of mechrite red vs a base of blood red... much experimenting has gone on and I'm looking at at least £25 worth of minis sacrificed to testing. Ouch!

    I do understand where you're coming from in terms of spendiness though. In my case, it was £1,000 PC, £200 HOTAS, £300 extras (TrackIR, rudders, etc.) just to play a sim that I got in the bargain bin for £4.99 However, once I got this setup ready, my only future purchases would be whatever games come out --- the setup is good for at least 2 years! I very much suspect that's the same with this hobby, once I get my paint set and my brushes and my technique, all my purchases would just be minis.

    I do understand the GW-side of "teach 'em how to paint quick and get 'em playing ASAP" philosophy but I tend to approach things in an OCD sort of way so the quick-and-dirty technique they keep pushing wasn't right for me.

    With regards to the jargon, while I do understand the "concept," I have little to no idea how to do it. For instance, it is easy to say "basecoat your mini with blood red" but what comes to MY mind is "how do you basecoat a mini?" I used to do it with 1-2 coats of straight-from-the-pot paint using a round drybrush, all the time I'm scared of wasting too much paint and scared of putting on too much on the mini. With the help I'm getting here, only then did I realize that I can basecoat a mini with lots and lots of coats of very watered-down paint. Now if I were to experiment on it by my own, after the first 2 "barely covers the white primer" coats of paint, I would've slapped on more paint impatiently but again with the help I got, now I know that "more paint" isn't necessarily the answer but "more coats" is a good alternative!

    So please, keep the advice and help and input coming, I greatly appreciate them! I do apologize if I come on with the "total n00b" front and ask for more details --- I assure you I'm not stupid, I just want to be sure we're all on the same page.



    Torn, is that a joke pertaining to Star Wars? If so, I may have a hard time not making a move. I dunno about you guys but I used to have such a huge crush on the princess and I was rooting for a Luke-Leila romance, only to get a very "yech!" response later on.

    Thanks again for the complements though. I do realize a lot of people here are better than me and while it may seem bold of me to say I'm aiming for a 'Eavy Metal quality mini, at least it shows people my goal and that I'm not the "meh! that's good enough for the local GW table" type of guy. I'm very happy that the people on this site are very helpful and quite patient on a learner like myself, it is much appreciated.



    No Such, I do have the Citadel books on painting... and I must say they are crap. Okay, the color wheel is fine and some bits are helpful and the pictures are pretty, but for an out-of-nowhere newbie, it's just confusing. Okay, it explains some of the jargon, but still not enough for a new painter to know the pros and cons of one over the other and develop his style. I appreciate the more basic, idiot's-guide, hand-holding-and-spoon-feeding approach --- it is important to get the basics right first before unleashing the hobby painter and letting him/her explore alone.



    DarkStar, I know exactly what you're saying. I'm getting that right now for my flight sim hobby, I've been itching to build a home-cockpit for "better immersion," at least this foray into WH40K puts that aside until I am actually renting my own place (just renting a room at the moment). When that happens, WATCH OUT!!



    Shawn, while I try to avoid VR glasses, I do use TrackIR which is basically a head tracker so you can turn your head to follow the road/track a bogey which is very good... and quite cheap too!

  9. #9

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    Oh, you are soooo lucky to have this site at your disposal, so early in your hobby-ing <OLD CODGER VOICE> Back in the day, when I first started painting, I thought using Testor's enamels was totally the way to do miniatures, and every colour was shaded with some black lines and then drybrushed (when I did highlights at all). My sole source of technical info was the "Citadel Painting Guide", which I'm now convinced sandbagged everyone with bad advice (drybrush everything! yay!) to make their in-house painters seem even better than they already were. Hell, even my discovery of acrylic paints was an incredible breakthrough at the time.
    My god, It's like looking into a mirror. A mirror with a much cooler avatar and a higher post count. Seriously though, I was amazed to find how relaxing miniatures painting is as well. I love sitting down after work for an hour or two of converting/painting to relieve the stress of the daily grind (provided wife and baby are in the mood to allow it). In short, enjoy the community, Ice. The best way to improve is actively seeking advice from the wealth of talent spread around here.

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    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    -ice, look at the toutorials and articles here and at ReaperMini.com as well as at a few other sites (reapermini.com, etc.)

    Colored primer is basically spray painting your minis the base coat of color to save you a lot of time in doing an army.

    Base coating after white, gray or black priming should take you 2-3 layers to get coverage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Such Agency View Post
    Oh, you are soooo lucky to have this site at your disposal, so early in your hobby-ing <OLD CODGER VOICE> Back in the day, when I first started painting, I thought using Testor's enamels was totally the way to do miniatures, and every colour was shaded with some black lines and then drybrushed (when I did highlights at all). My sole source of technical info was the "Citadel Painting Guide", which I'm now convinced sandbagged everyone with bad advice (drybrush everything! yay!) to make their in-house painters seem even better than they already were. Hell, even my discovery of acrylic paints was an incredible breakthrough at the time.

    I've got more growth out of CMON than I could have possibly imagined back when this site was basically a spoof of "Hot or Not" for people who liked to look at painted miniatures.
    This was just ripped from my brain, NSA! I've written about this before (in old codger voice) and mirror this exact same sentiment - including the Testors reference.
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    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    I like pactra military flat enamels better.
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    Superfreak!!! Torn blue sky's Avatar
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    Twas indeed a Star Wars joke, rolling off the back of Wyrms post! I think everyone rooted for Luke until they found out it was all a bit redneck...

    Try and ignore the old 'uns! Remember to switch off when they start off with the "When I were young, and all this were enamel. I had to walk 5 miles up a hill, both ways to buy a tiny tin of 'umbrol for tuppence! That were 'alf me wages from t'mines! Oh t'mines..."
    I have a cunning plan...So cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel...

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    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    I like Humbrol. Great to run through an airbrush.

    It was the jars of Dio-Sol that ate up my lunch money. And my brain cells. No brush licking then.
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    Senior Member -Ice's Avatar
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    airhead, unfortunately, I work full time during the week (I just got lots of free time now due to some diagnostic exams) so I can't really comb the intarwebz as much as I want to. If you could recommend me some tutorials, it would be awesome. The funny thing about primer is that even though I understand what you mean about it saving time, I have yet to master the art of priming minis "just right." I usually prime too little, then get impatient and end up priming too much. The fact that my landlady doesn't like me spraying inside the house doesn't help. And no, I do not prime outside, what with the crazy british weather we're currently having (wind blowing like mad!)

    Oh, and just my 2 cents --- my local GW guy primes like crap.

    Torn, glad I got the joke then. To be honest though, I'm surprised these "old 'uns" are managing fine with the "new electronic typewriters" in front of them

  16. #16

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    once set up, the hobby isn't too expensive (necessarily). it's getting all the clippers, knives, glues paints etc. once you got that, you can spend as much or as little as you want. a few hours painting one £7 mini is still cheaper than the cinema
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/freak-in-a-cage/freakinacage-1.jpg

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    Superfreak!!! Torn blue sky's Avatar
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    He's right, I bought Tim for a fiver!
    I have a cunning plan...So cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel...

  18. #18

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    Zen and the Art of Miniature Painting... Coming soon.

  19. #19

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    I do realize a lot of people here are better than me and while it may seem bold of me to say I'm aiming for a 'Eavy Metal quality mini, at least it shows people my goal and that I'm not the "meh! that's good enough for the local GW table" type of guy.
    Well, it might not be that bold after all. I have wittnessed incredible fast progress in some people around here. A good example is Tagamoga. her first mini submitted on 08.06.2009 got a 5.9 and now, not even 1,5 Years later she is at 9,6 and has just won her first demon! So go for ´Eavy Metal and beyond if you feel like it ;-) (though they DO have some of the best painters in their ranks (Brokenblade anyone?)
    When I was your age, Yuggoth was a planet.

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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by -Ice View Post
    I do not prime outside, what with the crazy british weather we're currently having (wind blowing like mad!)
    Haha I hear ya, many times come back inside with more spray on my face than a mini

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