The five hobbies I’ve been doing since my early teens are watching movies, reading books, using computers, playing games and painting miniatures. Books have changed the least, although I suspect we’re on the cusp of something in that area. Computers have changed beyond recognition and now take part in every aspect of my day-to-day life.
But I’m surprised by how much has changed in the world of miniatures. When I was collecting and painting miniatures in the 80’s, they were pretty cool, almost all metal and made by a range of companies. They were sold in Beatties and various model shops as well as early hobby stores. The model detail was ok, but they weren’t always very crisp. Multi-part pieces didn’t really fit together that well and you had to spend a lot of time filing and filling. As the 80’s progressed the miniatures got better and at some point, Games Workshop flooded the market with collectable miniature games. Soon, all you could easily get hold of were GW mini’s, and they were plastic! Cheaply moulded, not always very clean and very similar in design. Time moved on again and their mini’s got more complex and more interesting, and now I find, after not painting for quite a while, that in the UK there are a few small family run mini businesses making very high quality figures in a range of genres.
What has also changed, in my eyes, is the quality of painting. Sure the guys painting for White Dwarf in the early days were good, but these days the quality seems to be on another level all together.
It’s interesting to me because I tend to paint for a while, and then take a long break, and when I come back there’s usually been a major change in the world of miniatures. This time I have a real desire to keep at it, to continue painting for long stretch in the hope that it gives me something to do and that I can actually improve my skill past the point I’m at. I feel that I’m no further forward now than I was in the early 90’s at university because of the long breaks I always take.
If I can paint more often, keep my hand in, as it were, hopefully I’ll be able to improve my skills, and now that I’ve found some amazing mini’s for sale in the UK there’s a wealth of figures I’d just to have a go at.
I’ll try and dig out some of the mini’s I first bought and compare those with the detail on mini’s you can get now.