Thursday, April 25, 2013

Paint your Stuff- For Prizes!!! No, Seriously!!! Yes, YOU!!!

     If you're like most hobbyists, nothing short of electric shock therapy can get you to finish your painting projects.  Well, rather than punishment, what if you had a chance to win free hobby swag just for painting a few models a month?  Impossible you say?  I thought so too.  Fortunately for us all, Phil Millar didn't.

     So, if you follow our little corner of the Internet, there's a good chance you're a very recent collector of Spinespur, or Warzone, or Walter's terrain, or Dungeon Tiles, or Tablescapes... or maybe just all of them.  If you've somehow not put forth money to any of these projects (and sorry for you if you missed them all!), you've probably got more than a handful of unpainted models.  It's the dirty little secret of the hobby- it's damned easier and damned faster to buy models than paint them, so the river gets dammed up with the loggerhead of unpainted plastic and resin soldierdolls.  

     Need an excuse to get your stuff painted?  How about this lovely terrain piece from Warmill, for free.  Or a copy of the Dropzone Commander Rulebook straight from Hawk Wargames, again for free? Maybe a starter set from Flames of War? More models to paint, courtesy of Otherworld Miniatures?  Weathering effects from Model Mates? One of a dozen blister packs of Infinity models?  How about a huge bag of bits, donated by a number of the members?  In fact, just about everything on this table is prize support.  (Not the placemats... but if you ask really nicely, I'm sure they could be added.)

    So, how does all this happen?  Well, much like the canal, it comes down to "A Man, A Plan." The man in this case is Phil Millar.  The plan is to cure Grey Soldier Syndrome three models at a time.  Phil has invented the Facebook group Painting Oaths to  help nudge us all into a grand new era of painted figures.  All it takes is joining the group, and taking an oath to complete a very short list of models- any scale, any system- between then and the end of the month.  For completing your vow, you gain points. Those points are tracked and allow you the opportunity to win all of that gamer swag.  

     One more time... slowly.  Let this sink in.  JOIN A FACEBOOK GROUP.  PAINT YOUR CRAP! HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN FREE STUFF! 

     Yeah. Like that. Seriously.  No gimmicks, no selling yourself to ad-lists... nothing.  Just paint your models like you should be doing anyway.  Any skill level, doesn't matter. Just paint your models.

     Okay, I know you're still looking for the catch.  Believe me, so did I, for like two weeks.  I finally found it- this man is our personal little Patron Saint of Painting.  He just wants us all to get more out of our hobby. No money in it for him, nothing... he just wants us all to play with painted models, and has found people willing to give us free stuff to paint our models.   

     Thanks to the radical advances of Cybertronic-spawned technology (Slot you, ya filthy Brotherhood Inquisitors!) I managed to sit down and have a conversation with Phil the other day about this project.

     Interspersed in the interview you will see a lot of model images.  These are all from the members of Painting Oath- and nearly all of them are oaths made this month.  As you can see, there is a wide range of styles and ability levels, and a wide range of model lines.  This isn't a Golden Demon or Crystal Brush contest- although some of these could seriously beg contention in those hallowed halls of hobby snobbery. This is hobbyists supporting each other in painting models, giving friendly advice when asked, and offering moral support to one another, because we've all been there.

  • 2CE:  So Phil, how long have you been in the hobby?
    PM:  I started when I was about 10 I think- yeah, 19 years ago scarily! I had what I like to call an "Age of Darkness" between 18 and 27 when I discovered that girls were more fun and slowed down on hobby stuff, only painting the odd model. Recently I realized that girls weren't actually more fun at all, so I'm back with a vengeance.

    2CE: What was your first tabletop game?
    PM: I think my first table top game that counts would be Hero Quest, that really stirred my imagination and got me hooked- after that, it was Games Workshop. In the 90s in the UK, GW was huge, all my friends were into it, it was exciting.

    2CE: How did you get into the hobby?
    PM: The first time, I was walking past the Games Workshop and they had a cardboard cut out of an Imperator Titan. I was stunned, my mind was blown. I had to know more. A box of Space Marines later and they had me for life.

    2CE: So, then is your favorite game 40K?
    PM: Not really. I hardly play any games at all. I love the 40K universe but for games, I much prefer a smaller scale- less models. Necromunda is probably my favourite game, my concentration is too bad for the massed battles of 40k above 1000 points.
  • 2CE: If you had to choose just one way to describe yourself, are you a "Hobbyist," a "Gamer," or a "Painter"? 
    PM: I think of myself as an idiot who spends far too much money on plastic toys! So, hobbyist I guess? I have gotten back into the hobby through a love of painting though and I spend a lot more of my time doing that.

    2CE: Do you remember the first model you ever painted?

    PM: Oh yeah, still have it. Well, the body. The gun had popped off sadly. It was one of the lead Devastator Space Marines, at the time I thought it looked amazing. The paint is so thick on it, it's a disaster. I like it though, reminds me how far I've come.

    2CE: What model are you most proud of?
    PM:  That's a hard one. I really like my Ork Warboss, that was the first model after I came back from my absence that I finished to a high standard. I think I could do better now, I have a bad attention span though... I flit on to something else before I'm finished. I'm halfway through a Nurgle chaos lord that's going nicely but i haven't touched it in months- that's why I need this group!

    2CE: Can you tell me how you came up with the idea of Painting Oath?
    PM: The idea of Painting Oaths has existed in a few forums online for a while now. I didn't mean to get this many people involved! I just liked the format and wanted to put something together to encourage my friends to get painting. It's spiraled from there really, and the more people that got involved, the better the prizes have gotten, which means more people get involved- it's a vicious cycle.

  • 2CE: It certainly is! Tell me, how have you gotten so much prize support? It seems like every other day you're posting about something else you have available?
    PM: I've asked! I've been sending out emails to companies I know have an interest in the area and letting then know what I'm doing and that I'm looking for sponsorship, most have been only too happy to offer stuff, I've chosen the best companies out there, that I know of anyway. Every one who has sponsored the competition is a great company that I use myself. I'm amazed at the generosity and support they've offered though!

    2CE: Can you explain your format for your "points system for our readers? 
    PM: Well, basically, every month, people post a picture of the models they're going to paint, they can only have primer on at the most. There are minimum amounts that people can paint for it to count as an Oath. Then, by the end of that month, they have to show a picture of the finished model. You get 2 points for making an oath, 5 points for finishing it and 1 point for doing the base. 

         Every month there is also a "secret ingredient", a little something extra to add to a model. This month its Battle Damage.  You don't have to do this, but you'll get 2 points if you do. At the end of the year, the people with the most points get to pick prizes from the main prize poll, I've also now got enough prizes to offer a Monthly prize- but I'm still working out the details for that!
    2CE: Where do you think this thing will go? Is there a "Painting Oaths" forum or website in the works?

    PM: Hopefully we'll last the year, get people to paint a ton of models and we'll all be happy. If it works then next year, I think a forum might be a good idea. I used Facebook because most people have Facebook so it's easy to get people involved- but it's not the perfect format for this sort of thing though!

  • 2CE: One of the things I really find interesting is that for your painting oaths, you don't actually have a "painting score:" It's simply done/not done. Can you explain why you went this way?
    PM: I wanted to make sure the competition was open to anyone, from golden daemon winners to people who have just picked up a brush, I think the best way to improve your skills is to keep on painting and have a community of supportive hobbyists to help you out with tips and techniques and encouragement, that's what I wanted to create with the group, a place were you're encouraged to keep painting and getting better!
    2CE: In much the same vein, it's also not "more models= more points." How did you come up with your requirements?

    PM: Most of the ideas came from the previous forums that did similar things.  Again, I didn't want to discourage anyone, so the barrier for entry is pretty low. If you're only able to spend a few hours a week painting, you're still in with the same chance as a person who paints 10 hours a day every day. It's open to everyone this way.  Over the year, there will be monthly prizes for the best painted entry and probably one for the most models painted.

    2CE:You have people allowed to paint multiple scales. Does this make judging 
    any more difficult- for example, 10mm armor/mecha is only 28mm model sized, or less, but generally doesn't have a base?

    PM: The scale thing is a bit of an annoyance, yeah, but I try and just play it by ear. I have some rules for what the minimum is but they're flexible. In the end, it's my competition and I can make a judgement call! But yeah, sometimes it's hard to judge if 3 15mm tanks is the same as 3 28mm orks or whatever.

  • 2CE: I have to admit, it's been interesting even just this week for me watching people posting and commenting on each other's color choices and techniques. Everything has been very positive, and you've managed to so far *knock on wood* have all the trolls involved be painted ones. How do you feel about the community you're creating?

    PM: That's the part I'm proudest of so far, I think I've been really lucky and somehow managed to attract some really great people. Originally I made it for my local group who are all really positive and enthusiastic and love the hobby. The people who have joined since have all been of a similar mindset I think, and it's been great to see.
    2CE: If there was one thing about Painting Oaths that you could wave a magic wand right now and change, what would it be?

    PM: Oh that's a tough one... more people making their Oaths I think. There are a lot of people watching and not getting involved with painting- they should all get stuck in or they won't get any of the prizes!
    2CE: Did you think you would see so many different entries from so many varied game systems when you came up with Painting Oath?

    PM:  I had planned in trying a few things myself, I am trying to paint from different systems and stuff but its great to see the variety. It reminds everyone that there is a whole world of awesome models beyond the ubiquitous Games Workshop. I am a massive GW fan though, both times that I've gotten hooked now its because of the passion and enthusiasm of the staff at my local store. Maybe I'm just lucky in having the Liverpool store, but the current staff got me back in just by being cool guys who love the hobby.
  • 2CE:  I know for myself as a blogger, one of the most interesting things is the fact that this medium we're using is global and never sleeps. I love seeing hits from all over Europe and Asian and Australia at all odd hours of the night. Were you prepared for the "global effect" in Painting Oaths, and does it surprise you sometimes where your new fans and subscribers are coming from?
    PM: It's odd when one pops up and gets added to the group with seemingly no connection to me from halfway across the world but I love it. I didn't expect it at all though and I'm dreading the shipping costs if they do win prizes!
  • 2CE: Oh wow.... I hadn't even thought of that.... could that be a problem with some of your larger prizes? 
    PM: Ill have to cross that bridge when I come to it! Hopefully it won't be too bad, I am sure it won't be too expensive though. Either way, it's worth it. 

  • 2CE: Anything else you wanted to add to make sure it gets in the article, Phil?

    PM: Just to say thanks to everyone who has taken part so far and a massive shout out to all of the sponsors who've donated prizes, they've made it possible really, so thanks again to them!

     So there you have it, ladies and gents- a man who wants us all to enjoy our hobby more.  I gotta tell you, he's a man after my own heart, and I take my hat off to him.  

     If you're in this hobby, and you've got models to paint (and who the hell doesn't!), you owe it to yourself to go join this facebook group. Tell Phil that the Second Class Elitist sent ya... then go pick up your brush and win something.

     See you on the other side of the table.

The Second Class Elitist. 


  1. Shame I deleted my FB account a while back... Plus, I'm a member of one the 'online forums' he mentions, so I might just enter theirs (as the rules are exactly the same).

    Still, it's never a bad thing to get people painting.

  2. Agreed, Cap! Don't you worry, if/when they set up a non-FB forum, we know a few things are gonna happen:

    1) I'm gonna tell everybody.
    2) You're gonna read it. :-)

    We'll paint toy soldiers together like grown men should sometime next year, my friend. Until then, get to work on your Spinespurians already!!!

    1. I'm working, I'm working... Okay, not really. Spring has shown up and brought the hot weather with it. The month started with highs in the 40's and will end with highs in 80's.

      But, I shall continue and prevail... As soon as I hook up the AC. ;)

  3. its a shame I already painted some spinespurs or else I could have submitted those... Oh well I got plenty more to submit with over half of 40k to paint and Spinespur and now deadzone in the future... plenty to paint.

  4. This Phil Millar sounds like a cool dude.