Spring 2023 Battletech Releases are available in IWM storeJuly 18, 2023
Alternate Stars two new 28mm Star RangersJuly 20, 2023
view on the new book “How to paint miniatures for War Games” from Ammo by MIG
hobby, one where it all started for me and whenever life gets busier (family,
work…) this is the field I return to, when I feel like I need a place where I
can feel safe and some measure of success is ensured. There is a certain Zen-level attached to cranking out minis,
grinding through a heap of work and I can reach a deep feeling of satisfaction,
when an army comes together on a table (or my showcase) painted for the first time.
that, there is not that much literature on this specific area out there (apart
from the books by the big British elephant in the room) and so I was really
pleased when I was given the opportunity to take a look at this book.
and did not buy it with my own money.
down to business:
and production values which have become the standard for books by Ammo. It
consists of 168 full color pages, is unsurprisingly richly illustrated and
clocks in at a recommended resales prices of 34.95€. Its available in English,
French and Spanish and my review is based on the English language version. It is an ensemble product, with content provided by several authors, all of
them accomplished painters and hobbyists in their own right. Main editing
credits go to Rubén Torregros, who also wrote the general part.
book is broken up into two major parts: A more general section providing an
introduction, a section on tools and preparation, a number of painting
techniques and section on how to create bases for the miniatures. This part
takes up just a bit more than a third of the overall volume. The second part, entitled as
“Masterclasses”, then uses the remaining 100 pages to go through seven example
projects, where specific artists basically employ and combine the various
techniques from the first part of the book to create very nice looking armies.
After reading a book cover to cover, I usually like to break up my reviews
into three parts: Talking about the good, the bad and my ugly opinion about the
product as a whole. So let’s dive in:
miniatures for war games – this sounds a bit silly, but I think it’s very
important to stress the point, that this book fills a niche usually reserved for
the products of a large British company. The book
addresses all the basics: From the tools, to types of paints, brushes and the
preparation of the models, every important basic topic for miniature painters is
covered. Obviously, the example tools and paints in the illustrations are the
Ammo variety as far as available. The preparation ends of course – with priming the assembled miniatures.
There are some really valuable tips in there, but don’t expect it to go into all
that much depth. It then spends a page on brush handling and care, a page on
thinning and consistency of paint and finally dives into basic painting
techniques, like color blocking, dry brushing, washing, wet blending and
better entry point for a beginner, without swamping the reader with details.
After the basic techniques we get an introduction into basic weathering
techniques, a good way to make up for inconsistencies during the actual
bases for the models.
basic and mostly easy techniques, as well as the consideration of and examples
for simplifications – abandoning realism and detail for effect at times.
Sometimes good enough is just good enough. Rubén also goes into some details
about the effects of scale on the viewers perception. Overall, I would have
loved to have the impact of playing with the audiences perception playing a
bigger role and being covered in more detail.
Masterclass here means: We get an in depth, step-by-step overview
of a specific project painted by an experienced painter. This is in my opinion
the part where the book begins to shine and where it starts to really deliver.
The different projects all use and refer different techniques presented in the
first section of the book – but now they are placed into a context. The authors
do not only convey the “how” of the painting process, (something for which I
personally consider videos oftentimes more helpful than books – but that’s a
different discussion) but they explain the “why” of the decision for or against
a specific technique. Be it the quite quick and high contrast painting of 15mm
DAK Artillery, or my personal favorite, the Droid Infantry project by Omar
Olabi. Omar employs techniques like Enamel washes in a really simple and
effective way to create a great looking Star Wars Droid Army with just a handful
of steps. Other masterclasses, like the Spanish Tercios in 15 mm are a bit more
off-course for my taste, as the elaborate techniques presented here will likely
lead to much longer painting times, increasing the chances for frustration in
the novice painter.
generally preferred it to spend a bit more time on the basics of
preparation up to priming. While the book does a good job addressing all the basic
points, it really falls short when it comes to pitfalls and mistakes to avoid.
To illustrate this, I’d wish the authors would have spent a paragraph or two on
the challenges of priming. At least a few words on preferable
temperature/humidity conditions for can priming could have been really helpful
for the beginner.
topics such as overall visual composition of an army on the table, or the fact that
the sheer number of models and viewing distance often makes painting armies more
I decide what quality I want to paint? How do I factor my available time in or what my expectations are, when the project is to be finished and so on.
Admittedly, these are topics rarely, if ever, touched by books about miniature
painting, but that would have been a chance for this book to stand out. Even
though, it is a good alternative to the increasingly hard to get books on the
topics from said big company.
army painter. It touches all the basic topics required to tackle, when someone
wants to get a miniature army ready for the battle field. It gives a good
introduction in and overview of techniques and methods commonly employed for
painting gaming miniatures and provides practical examples and ideas what to
employ when and why. For the experienced painter, the section with the
masterclasses will be far more interesting and helpful. And while I think it’s a
good book, I am a bit saddened due to the missed opportunities in this case. – Maybe thats something worth writing about in a blog post for the future.