Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sorcerer's Apprenticeship

Those tedious aspects of painting minis: Filing off the flash, pinning the feet for a special base. Priming. The drag work. The boring parts.

If you could have a studio apprentice do one thing for you in your miniature modeling and painting practice, what would it be? This is completely fantastical, use your imagination.

For me, it would definitely be a person dedicated solely to mixing the small balls of Green Stuff I use to sculpt. I would have a far more efficient sculpting experience every time if that activity were done by someone else. Wish they had a machine to do it.

But you know what they say (or as Ian McShane as Lovejoy once said): you want something doing you do it yourself.


  1. I admit having an apprentice is a recurring daydream I have, but there's no way I'm going to limit his job to a single task, not even in theory. Cleaning mold lines a big one, and assembly/pinning, rebasing old integral-base figs where the original base is woefully inadequate, embedding magnets in the bases... and while I'm at it, why not someone to do the basecoats. I mark little Xs in the color I want that part of the fig. Basecoating is actually something I enjoy (and something that requires more skill than most realize, so I'd be apprehensive outsourcing it) but this one is the most practical to wish for, because it's the most likely to give me a chance of finishing my collection before I die. ;) The sad truth is, though, that I'm so particular I'd probably inadvertently scare off any would be apprentice within a day or two.

  2. btw, if you use a lot of greenstuff over the course of the day... have you tried mixing a large batch, putting it in the freezer and going back to pull of bits? Just make a ribbon of it rather than a ball, because it cures much faster as a ball. Can easy last 10-15 hours that way.

  3. I've tried the freeze, it does work but I have a preference for the freshly mixed and warmed material. Unfortunately I don't use enough to merit mixing up large batches.

    I too find the base-coating to be a satisfying task, although somewhat mindless and tedious at times, especially when you've got a batch of figs going as opposed to one or two. Magnets: that's a good one, don't really want to do any of that (have the apprentice do it!). This kind of grows into the question of what a dream work-space or studio would be.

  4. For me it'd be priming and base-coating. I enjoy prepping, basing, and doing detail work, highlights, etc., but getting the first coat of paint is just tedious for me. (I also enjoy touching up figures painted by other people too -- BITD my brother, our friends, etc. used to paint a little and I would surreptitiously 'fix' them up, whether or not they wanted me to. They were my minis after all.

    Recently I got another friend who is a really good painter to just paint some of my backlog by giving him an equal number of other minis I didn't want. Win-win!

    But I'd love to have an apprentice who I could just tell "base coat all of these" ... it would be really boring though and they'd probably quit pretty fast. Doesn't help that I'm not a 'master' painter and would have only rudimentary tips to teach them!