Monday, 26 December 2011

Miniature Figure Painting Guides

This Christmas I was lucky enough to receive two miniature painting guides, the first How to Paint Fantasy Miniatures by Andreas Press was a gift from my Mother-in-Law and bought via e-bay while the second Eavy Metal Masterclass by Games Workshop was a gift from my Wife and bought from the local GW store in Worcester.

I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast the two in this quick review.  Firstly How to Paint Fantasy Miniatures by Andreas Press.

The 64 page guide was new to me, even though it was first published in 2006!  My immediate reaction was that it was a little 'lightweight' but beautifully produced, as you would expect from Andreas Press.  On closer examination I found the contents and tutorials to be a bit disappointing. I could go into great detail about why I felt this way, but rather than being too negative on what was a Christmas present, I would prefer to concentrate on more positive points.

The tutorials are well illustrated with numbered points relating to coloured images. The content is broken into Introduction, Basic Techniques, Advanced Techniques and Master Pieces with each of these chapters being stylishly illustrated.  The problem seems to be that the translated text has not been proof read and there are many terms and comments that are both confusing and difficult to follow.  In addition the text is a little to sparse and could easily have been expanded - after all, this is a painting guide and I prefer too much information and description rather than too little.  I also found the predominantly black pages and white text a little difficult to follow.  This point was further exasperated when looking through the Gallery pages - again black background and very small images.

Overall a painting guide that I wanted to like was let down by simple mistakes and 'corner cutting'. Could do better and I am finding it difficult to award the guide any better than 5 out of 10.  The guide is available in various languages and from Andreas Miniatures or retailers with prices ranging from £11 - £16.

The second Christmas Painting Guide was the new Eavy Metal Masterclass from Games Workshop.  Most modellers and figure painters will be very familiar with both Eavy Metal and the 'glossy style' of this 98 page guide as it follows the tried and proved Eavy Metal painting articles featured in every White Dwarf.

I found the book a lot easier to follow. This maybe because of the familiarity of the in-house White Dwarf/Games Workshop style. I also found the greater amount of text made the techniques easier to follow and also bring the painting 'to life'.

The contents were set out in 13 in-depth painting articles each featuring a different core figure and covering Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40K and Lord of the Rings. The techniques discussed were very similar to the Andreas Press guide but in every example the tutorial and comments in the GW guide was better illustrated and better explained. In addition there were many more colour images to illustrate these techniques.

As far as I am aware the tutorials are all new - in other words not just a re-hash of painting guides from White Dwarf (although - not being a religious follower of White Dwarf, I maybe mistaken). However once again I found the tutorials a little light weight.  Therefore I would award the guide no better than 8 out of 10.

For some years I have been thinking of getting rid of my White Dwarf magazines.  One of the main reasons that I have not, is that I enjoy these figure painting articles. I have even thought about cutting up my White Dwarf magazines and producing my own Painting Guide by re-binding the Eavy Metal tutorials. This book goes some way to doing exactly this and I have no hesitation in recommending this Guide to regular followers of White Dwarf as well as modellers and figure painters wishing to improve their painting skills.

The Masterclass Guide is available via Games Workshop for £18.00.

In the case of both painting guides I was ultimately disappoint with the content and as both were much appreciated gifts I feel a little uneasy in criticising either - I am never-the-less very concious that others will be wanting honest and detailed reviews.  I feel that the Kevin Dallimore's Painting Guide and Masterclass books are a much better read and directory of painting styles and techniques than either of these. Even so both are set to become regular reads and much-thumbed study books in my attempt to improve my painting skills.

Both images have been taken from the internet (without permission) and are only included in this Blog post to illustrate this review.



Lasgunpacker said...

Thanks for the reviews.

I belive that the 'eavy Metal book is mostly a reprint of the last three years of White Dwarf articles, with a few extras that did not make it to the magazine thrown in. That does not diminish its utility, but if you already have the magazines in question, it might reduce its value.

Tony said...

To Lasgunpacker,

Thank you for that.

I no longer subscribe or buy White Dwarf, preferring to browse it in Games Workshop stores (now that it is no longer available via WHSmiths) or pick them up second-hand and have missed all of these featured Eavy Metal tutorials.

Never-the-less I agree with you that they are worthwhile and worth checking out.

I just wish there were more!