Monday, 26 October 2009

How can you work there?

Everyone needs somewhere to paint toy soldiers (if you blanche at this and inwardly go "Humph, model soldiers, please" then I suggest you go to another blog, because you may find other things to upset you as we go on).

The first advantage of wargaming when you're a grown up is you have much more control over where you can work, and what you can work with. If this isn't the case then you are not making the most of being a Grown Up. Most people reckon the two constraints on wargames productivity are money and time. When you're at school you have enough time, but not enough cash. When you start a job it tends to be the other way round. However, the third thing to think about is what other resources do you have, - eg access to space, the ability to leave stuff out to dry overnight, a garage to do spraying, power tools and whatever else is in your DIY box. Grown Ups have access to way more stuff to use than kids.

So, being a Grown Up you should be able to select a conducive area to work in. When I first started work and got married I had to be tidy, alas. My painting trays and equipment all fitted into a neat box and I had a portable work surface which I could use on the dinig room table. Adequate, but not ideal. Now, as I have Grown Up more I have a study with a workdesk in it. A picture follows, and it isn't a pretty site, except maybe to me.

My work area consists of a much loved old desk, with a set of zamba shelves standing on it.

The desk was mine from when I was about 11. It has followed me round and before it performed this function it was in one of my children's bedroms, - hence the "Old Bear" stickers on the drawers. I know I should replace them, but I was quite proud of how it all looked when the children were small.

I leave you all to take in the awesome majesty of it all, but would draw your attention to a number of items.

1) Creeping in top left is an anglepoise handcraft lamp that combines a light and magnifying lens. You can find them in places like Hobbycraft, and they are horribly expensive. I acquired mine when my wife gave up doing counted cross stitch.
2) On the left hand side there's a hot melt glue gun, - perfect for sticking things quickly. More of that in later posts.
3) Next to the glue gun you'll see a pot of sticks. Absolutley essential to my painting technique.
4) Behind the sticks a pot of cheap ready-mix wall filler
5) Behind the working area you'll see a lot of pots of Dulux colour mix tester pots. These are the ones you have mixed to your own specification. I have black, white, blue (for water), green (for European bases), and light brown (for sandy bases). My wargames tables are painted with these colours.
6) Paints: Apart from Dulux I use Tamiya & Games Workshop. Why? Because I can buy them locally if I run out. Damned if I'm going to wait for a postal delivery to finish some figures.
7) At eye level a shelf with figures to be painted and pre-cut bases.

Other items include a tray of sand, stanley knife and (bottom right) a drop-forged table vice I got in a pound store, nail clippers (brilliant for snipping off bits of figures you don't want), plus scissors, brushes etc.

Yes, it looks a mess but everything I want to use is within easy reach, and tends towards solid, reusable, grown up items.

Next Blog will be phase 1 of how to paint like a grown up.

And that doesn't mean like that over-blown steroid induced nonesense you see in all the comics.


  1. A bit like mine. I suppose that form ever follows function (Mies van de Rohe), so it should come as no surprise then. I look forward to seeing the next article that you have promised.

  2. Yes. I let you down with the next posting as it wasn't on painting. That one is still there to be written, - at least I've taken the step-by-step photos.

  3. I have a fair few first drafts of things I want to post, but time is fleeting and each moment passes before I get the chance to finish what I've started.