Sunday, August 2, 2009

Beginner Basics - Before You Start

This one is for the new painters who may or may not be reading my blog.

I fully intend to write articles on most (if not all) aspects of the painting process aimed at the beginner. But before I go onto miniature assembly, cleaning, priming and the like...

Lets talk about money.

Table top wargaming is expensive. Anyone who's made it as far as buying the first components of an army knows that. Almost 60 bux retail for some of the larger GW kits, 35 bux for a box of marines, 20 bux for a single metal character and so forth. People expect to pay 350+ dollars for an army. But the gaming and the list building is only roughly half of the hobby (as many define it - your own personal pie chart will vary).

What many people (especially those new to the hobby) don't expect is that the modeling and painting half also costs money. The general idea belies the actual cost of painting. If you wan't to paint your Land Raider blue, its a bit more involved than a single pot of blue paint and a paint brush. GW's 15 bux a can primer doesn't help with that - but that's another rage induced black out altogether.

So expect to spend some money if you're looking to get started on painting your boring plastic models. Expect to spend more if you end up getting really serious about painting.

The expense comes from two areas:
- There are a lot of specialized tools and supplies you need to get going. I use the term specialized in a general sense since most people don't have fine sable kolinsky fiber paint brushes laying around.
- Most of the stuff you use for painting is categorized under 'expendable'. You use up paints and glue, brushes get beat up over time and knife blades dull.

Luckily, once you get established, the expense rapidly drops off.

But, before you decide to pick up miniature painting, ask your self if you're prepared to drop money on the things you need to get started:

- Paintbrushes
- Paint
- Spray Primer
- a hobby mat
- hobby knives
- hobby files
- proper lighting
- spray varnish
- basing materials
- a pin vise

By no means an exhaustive list, this is a pretty good indication of all the stuff you'll need to get going. Admittedly, there are shortcuts to be taken, but I advocate doing things right and using best practice. Your own personal mileage will vary.

To sum up and restate: if you're new to the whole painting thing, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock.

[Bonus Content!] Deep Thoughts With John Laubersheimer
I personally don't have too much of a problem with people who play unpainted armies. I certainly like to see painted armies on the table, but all I really demand is complete assembly. Especially if there's no intention of painting in the first place. As much as I personally value the art in a well painted army, once you drop guys on the table, the game is the thing.

I think there are three main reasons people don't paint there armies:
  • People who have no interest in painting (people for who the hobby begins and ends at the gaming).
  • People who don't have the resources - time and money being primary.
  • People who are intimidated by painting - there's a learning curve and a potentially self esteem crushing comparison factor.

My Personal goal is to tackle the lack of confidence aspect. Skills can be learned and skin can be grown thicker. If someone doesn't have time or interest, there's no amount of information I can provide that will magically solve those issues.

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