Painting Wargaming Figures by Javier Gomez, Should you Buy it?
Finally, a guide to Painting Wargaming Figures that doesn’t flog a specific brand of paint and doesn’t assume the reader has aspirations to win a figure painting competition at a big gaming convention. There are plenty of websites like coolminiornot.com if you want to see single miniature works of art that’ll take you two weeks to paint and you’d never let your nephew touch, much less play a game with. Javier Gomez’s book, published by Pen & Sword, is about getting a uniform quality set of playable minis on the table in a reasonable amount of time with techniques that everyone can understand and employ.
As a painting manual it excels and sits quite comfortably on the bookshelf beside glossier less frequently opened books, alphabetically closer to substance than style.
What Does This Book Offer?
You can, of course, source all the tips, techniques, and paint schemes contained in the book from the web somewhere or other. For the 20 bucks or so this book will cost from a reseller it’ll pay for itself many times over through saved time and giving consistent recipes for painting successfully. Just buy it! Here are the key things the book has to offer.
A Balanced Approach to Fundamentals. Although Vallejo paint codes are used throughout the book doesn’t peddle the brand. All types and brands of paint get airtime. Vallejo is referenced in all the paint schemes and recipes because the Model Color line of paints performs reliably, has stable product codes, is available worldwide, and makes for easy shorthand when referencing a particular shade or colour. From paint and brush choice through priming and layering highlights, all the fundamentals are covered.
The author Javier Gomez is up front about balancing time in with results out. To paraphrase from the intro:
First of all, we are not painting figures to be placed in a display cabinet. These are wargame figures to play with so the goal is to get the best quality and time investment ratio possible. These are figures to be seen on a wargame table at a certain distance.
You shouldn’t assume, however, that an expedient and workmanlike approach means low standard results. The pictures in the book speak for themselves and there is high praise on the back cover from the first brotherhood of wargaming themselves, the Perrys.
“Javier is a true genius with a brush, with a great sense of colour that turns figures into masterpieces” – Michael and Alan Perry, Perry Miniatures
The book also offers A Guide to Painting Specific Colours. Mini painters – no matter the era or size of mini – will repeatedly paint versions of the same core palette: black, white, blue, red, brown, grey, green, and metal. Gomez takes a workmanlike approach to reliably painting these colours well. With specific reference to Vallejo paint names and codes, each colour is broken down into three steps: base coat, first highlight, and second highlight. With the recommended tools in hand it is remarkably easy to learn to paint the key colours reliably and efficiently. By providing the method behind a proven process the end result is elevated into something approximating art. You might not win a Golden Daemon Award but your figures will look damn good from two feet away!
A Guide to Painting Repetitive and Difficult Themes. Painting flesh, faces, horses, shields, flags, and camouflage – and basing and varnishing figures – can ruin an otherwise well painted mini in the final stages. Conversely, doing these things consistently well can elevate the look of an army, increase satisfaction with the result, and drastically cut down on work time. Again, the author breaks down these common but often daunting painting tasks into the same simple three steps used for the specific colours: base coat and two highlights.
Perhaps of most value, implicit throughout the text, is Permission to Paint to a Level You Are Happy With. The smorgasbord of photoshopped ‘perfection’ offered up on the web puts unrealistic expectations on everyone, figure painters and otherwise. The book makes it clear that your own version of remarkable vistas of painted figures and scenery are possible with a forthright and pedantic approach and, more importantly, that this approach yields results that are both satisfying to the eye of the painter and within reasonable grasp of everyone. Perhaps that’s the key lesson here.
There are a few points that detract from the book but in light of the mandate they are forgivable. The text is strictly functional; the photos are on point, illustrative, and clear but apart from a few diorama shots are not artful; and the colour charts and tables deliver paint codes and colours in a consistent, concise, and clear but monotone format. This is not, then, a slick or overly polished production and it makes no pretence in that direction. As a painting manual, however, it excels and sits quite comfortably on the bookshelf beside glossier less frequently opened books, alphabetically closer to substance than style.