Welcome to Wargamer Secret Origins. We’re going to discover the origins of our hobby’s greatest heroes and villains. Which is which? That’s for you to decide …
I would like to begin with saying “Thank You” Adam for the invitation to write for your blog. I am happy to share my experiences and observations and it is my honour to do so.
What age did you get into painting and what started it off?
If you want to talk strictly about painting miniatures, then it all started with Warhammer 4th Edition in the last years of the previous century.
However, prior to that I really enjoyed assembling models of planes and warships from WWII. It was not the same in terms of type of paints you would use and it was very basic anyway. However, I think it did contribute in a way and made me realize I like this type of hobby long time before I moved to fantasy world and started painting miniatures for wargames.
What was the first model you ever bought/painted?
I obviously started with High Elf Archer from the starter set. It was obvious for me simply because the box was split between my brother’s collection and that of his friend who chose Goblins. At the beginning I wanted to help my brother with painting but I quickly got hooked myself and after some time we split our interest in between different armies.
I remember I tried every single paint we had on that one model. It was first learning experience with acrylic paints and I was amazed how quickly you can add new layers. Then I decided to follow the colour scheme on the photos in the Army Book.
In time I started painting models from other ranges, mainly Eldar, so that also required learning about different colour schemes and techniques. I also tried painting different scale models when I collected an army for Warmaster.
What is your favourite aspect of painting?
I think I don’t necessarily have the favourite aspect of painting. I know that at each stage I need to do my best because that affects the overall effect. But if I had to pick something I would say it is pushing myself to try something that would improve my skills as a painter. For example, I started by following the colour schemes I found in the books. But then I got further inspiration and moved to different colours. That in itself required learning how to combine them well.
Pic 3. Reavers in new colour scheme, moving away from silver-white-blue to gold-blue.
Then I was really impressed by Non-Metallic Metal techniques that produce a bit of cartoon like effects. I really liked it and while I would not say I reached the level of painting realistic NMM, I learned more about layering technique and how to achieve smoother transition between the colours.
Pic 4. Dragon Princes painted without metallic colours.
I really enjoyed learning process and the effects I am achieving but I also noticed I am not getting the depth in the frame of one colour. What I noticed is that some areas, despite highlighting, still look flat. This is where it paid off asking questions to people who paint much better than me. I received very good advice about using warm and cold colours to create better contrast.
Pic5. Swordmasters/Palace Guard with added warm/cold colours for better contrast.
That approach allowed me to continue learning but also building from the prior experiences and skills I have acquired so far.
What are you working on right now?
In terms of fantasy models I still have unfinished War Chariots for my Kings of War army. It is a really nice project because bigger base allows me to show the textured pattern much better. It is where I need to paint bigger surfaces too and it seems I may need to play with a bit of sculpting/modelling missing pieces too.
Pic 6. War Chariots – Work in Progress
I have recently started painting different scale models again, this time 15mm ones for a historical system called Mortem et Gloriam. It also requires learning new skills where I don’t paint the same level of details but want the miniatures look good anyway. Hence my return to the use of metallic paints.
Pic 7. An example of two units of Seleucid Phalangites from around 218 BCE
When you are not conquering the tabletop, what do you do?
I enjoy different aspects of the hobby so when I paint, I mainly paint models for the armies I want to use in games. Playing games is a good motivator to get more units done in terms of painting. Then I also like writing battle reports about my battles.
I also like reading, especially about ancient history, which nicely combines with my most recent hobby direction. So that I can try to get a bit more accurate in painting and get some inspiration for the future table top battles.
Which of your armies is your favourite?
It seems I have always been focused on a single faction, regardless of the game system, the Elves. I started with them in Warhammer, collected them for Warmaster, even for a short period of time (in comparison) I painted Eldar, i.e. Space Elves.
Only now I am starting to divide the attention between the fantasy army and that from a historical system.
Any hobby tips or cheats to share?
I found that while one can try to improve the skills and learn the new techniques, the basics are still very important. I keep reminding myself to do things well on that fundamental level. It sound obvious but you do want to make sure that when you put that first layer it is done in a neat way and that you do not go for “I will correct that later” approach.
I also noted that it is extremely important to take care of your tools and paints. Make sure they are always cleaned after painting session, that your wet palette is always freshly prepared, that the paints have right consistency etc. It seems like another basic and obvious thing to do but I quickly learned the consequences of being lenient on that part.
Last but not least, as I have already mentioned that before, keep challenging yourself but adding new elements to your skills. Do it by observing and asking others but also by trying to come up with your own ideas. This is how your creativity can flourish.
How do you Work?
I consider painting and modelling more as a craft than art. Hence I try to develop certain methodology to how I paint. This way I can repeat the effect on the next model, get better at using the technique and further improve the efficiency. My goal is to reach that perfect balance between the quality and quantity, because I paint models as parts of armies. That is always a bigger project than a single model, where one can focus more on the details.
In fact, I think that doing it this way for number of models helped me to get more proficient with particular technique so that I can potentially paint a single model as a centre-piece of the army to even higher standards.
However, I am still painting one model at a time for fantasy armies while those at 15mm can be painted in groups.
I also noted I like to work on particular element before moving to another. For example, after putting all basic colours on the model, I focus on one type of armour. I started doing that when I was learning new techniques so that the same element looks consistent for the same model. It also allows me to use paints a bit more efficiently. Once done, I move to another element.
Last but not least I prefer to paint area with the darkest colour as main/first layer and then gradually build up to lighter colour.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Keep painting! Practice makes perfect after all
Get in contact with Pawel
Who’s the next super hero or villain that the #Spruegrey Nation should talk to? Let me know by email (email@example.com) or in the comments below.