Welcome to the fifth rewrite of an article that I wanted to produce six months ago, after listening to an episode of “The Painting Phase”.

Let me begin with a story. Most of you will know this one, but I like telling it, and it's my blog.

When I was little, I wanted an Ultramarine army. Big fan of the blue and yellow. Blue was, far and away, my favourite colour. I wanted everything blue. Royal blue. Dad painted up several beautiful Ultramarine models for me to enjoy.

But one day I realised that Dad shouldn't be forced to paint my models, AND his. That wasn't reasonable. Around this time, Codex: Armageddon was released. And in there, was my future.

It took a little while, I wasn't immediately taken with the green men from Nocturne just yet. But when it came time to paint my own army, it was time to move on from the loyal sons of Macragge.

So I picked the green machine. (Not the Raiders, that wouldn't be for a while yet.)

Initially, things went ok. I finished my first miniature, and though he didn't look the best, I was proud of him. Then I painted a few more, and then I decided I wanted to take on a Rhino.

Then, I came unstuck. The thick green paint looked hideous, showing my brush strokes all over the hull. I was devastated. It didn't take long for me to sell my lads, and were it not for picking up Dark Eldar for the rest of 5th edition, I would've given the game away.

I bought a huge stash of Space Marines from Maelstrom Games before the embargo hit, and angrily told myself that I would start painting Salamanders again when I had proved to myself, that I deserved them, and could treat them with respect.

That was in 2006.

It took me twelve years, and three editions, before I finally told myself I was good enough.

This is the fifth or sixth time I've told this story, so what's the point? What am I trying to argue?

Well, simply put, I think Games Workshop is to blame for generations of hobbyists feeling inadequate, and not providing them with the mechanisms for which they can improve their skills.

It's no secret that I stumbled onto one of the original Duncan Rhodes videos (when he still worked for Games Workshop) and thought to myself, "I could do that."

Yes, I will post it again, because you SHOULD watch it.

This video was released in 2015. It is one of the earliest how to paint videos Games Workshop has released.

And whilst the model isn't exactly the same standard as the one on the box shot, it's pretty bloody close.

I have followed this method to paint miniatures countless times, and whilst they aren't 'Eavy Metal standard, they're streets ahead of the paint jobs I dished up when I was 12.

But this is my point - if I had access to these kinds of tutorials when I was 12, There's not a snowball's chance in hell I would've ruined the green paint on my Rhinos. I would've known to use a palette, thin my paints, recess shade, and highlight.

But I didn't, I compared my work to the glossy box shot produced by miniature painters who knew all the tricks of the trade, and felt disheartened. Just like so many before, and after, me.

But the angriest I have ever felt about the hobby, and Games Workshop, has to be during this painting phase interview:

I really encourage you to listen to this entire broadcast. It is very informative, and also, completely infuriating.

Have you ever wondered why Games Workshop never encouraged you to use a wet palette? (Spoiler alert, you bloody well should)

Did you really think Games Workshop painted all those miniatures in their studio without an airbrush? (Spoiler alert, they had a Badger, a high-end airbrush brand.)

And yet, they allowed me, and countless others like me, to be completely ignorant. To wander the metaphorical wilderness of bad painting results, because telling hobbyists to use a wet palette, or buy an airbrush, or consider using paints without fucked up lids.

But I didn't want this article to be wholly about negativity. Because in my (most recent) weight loss journey, I have discovered that getting angry about your circumstances doesn't help. You need someone to pat you on the back and tell you that everything is going to be ok, and that you're doing a good job.

So I'm here, to tell you, metaphorical hobbyist.

Yes, You Can.

Yes, you can absolutely get top shelf results with Games Workshop paints. It is entirely within your power to recess shade, and highlight.

Absolutely, it's not a skill you develop overnight, and yes, it'll take practice, and probably a few swims in dettol. But I'm here to tell you that you can do it. I believe in you, because you just need the support.

And, sure, there are absolutely complicated, hefty painting techniques (wet blending, is that you) that take a longer time learn and master. I will happily admit that I am very much still learning little tricks to optimise and improve my painted miniatures, but the important thing to understand is that I know that I can do better.

And, more importantly, that I know where to look, in order to learn how to improve.

Because whilst Games Workshop doesn't want to share it's proper painting tutorials with you unless you paint them (which is disgraceful) there are plenty of excellent places to learn.

Like Duncan Rhodes' painting academy (who would've thought?) or the Apathetic Fish, or (maybe) Squidmar Miniatures.

Believe in yourself, and just remember - you're not bad at painting, you weren't taught properly by the company that sold you your little toy soldiers.

Catch you next time,

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