This week's Better Know A Blogger features Scott from the Brush Wizard.
I first became aware of Scott's blog after he joined Nick's 40000 bloggers Facebook group. This is a great resource for those that have a 40k blog and those that enjoy reading 40k blogs, so check it out.
The Brush Wizard features some fantastic miniature painting on display. It's not only 40k models, but a range of models for other gaming systems or just really nice models on their own (no harm in that!).
Not only do you get great showcases of the completed models, you will also find a whole host of WIP posts showing you the depth of work that is being carried out. Scott also has a great selection of painting tutorials for you to check out. These have highly detailed discussions on the colour, as well as step by step instructions with nice photos to illustrate them.
Recently, Scott has been doing great work on his Admech force, showcasing some great models in the range. I really liked the basing on his Vanguard and how he added the red dust effects to the lower half of the models. It really helps the models look like they are inhabitants of the universe, rather than just models on a base.
1. What age did you get into gaming and what started it off?
My gaming addiction didn’t actually start with tabletop games, it all started with the Nintendo Entertainment System waaaay back in the 80s. My older brothers had an Atari 2600 when I was small, but it wasn’t until the NES came around that I was actually hooked on games. This was early, probably 1st grade age, so like, 1988-89? Which would put me around 6? I think that’s right.
Tabletop games didn’t start until later. My cousins and I would play board games like HeroQuest or DragonStrike, which had that fantasy D&D vibe, and eventually we got started on RPGs like AD&D and RuneQuest thanks to my uncle. This lead to learning about miniatures and eventually discovering my greatest hobby love, painting them.
2. What was the first model you ever bought/painted?
I had started with some old Star Wars kits, I had an X-Wing fighter, which I didn’t actually paint fully. Mostly just the metal bits and R2-D2. I also had a Snowspeeder, which included pilots and was my first introduction into painting human figures.
For the most part, that phase died off and I didn’t get into much painting/modeling hobby for a bit.
The first time I painted a miniature was around 1993. It was a gargoyle from the HeroQuest board game. My cousins and I got the wise idea that it would be fun to paint them and some of the other minis we had on hand. A lot of them were even lead, and not pewter too.
I brought over my Testors paints and thinner and we painted with the crappy Testors brushes too. We thought we did great, but looking back on it now it was so horrible. I now keep him on my desk alongside another early miniature as a reminder to myself that we all start somewhere.
3. What is your favourite aspect of gaming?
That depends on the gaming that is taking part.
For miniatures games, its totally the painting. That is my first love, always has, always will be. Even when we are playing D&D or some other RPG. The first thing I do is find a mini for my character and paint it up, usually with some conversion work too.
For board games, its competition. I love trying to come up with interesting combos and outsmarting my opponents or having someone outthink me in a surprising way. I’m not a huge fan of completely decimating someone though, I’d rather have a close match that was fun and we had some laughs, than a complete shutout where one of us is being trampled on.
For RPGs, it’s kind of a mix. Creating a story with my fellow players is great fun, though we don’t get heavy on the actual Roleplaying (we don’t do any acting at the table, for example), seeing the narrative develop and the wonder of what could happen next, is always a great time. Plus I get to convert and paint miniatures for the characters in our parties. I also like coming up with a character concept and then finding ways to combo skills/abilities together to make it work without being completely cheesy.
4. Fondest memory in gaming?
There are way too many to count. But one of my best gaming memories came from a D&D 3.5 campaign, which lasted somewhere around 3 years. We had started at level 1 and worked ourselves up to epic levels, reaching as far as level 27.
I was playing a Paladin who had become a champion of his deity, he built his own cathedral to said deity and I even drew up maps and sketches of what it looked like. I still have those drawings and one day hope to build a scale model of it!
5. What are you working on right now?
The Warhammer 40,000 bug has taken hold of me thanks to 8th edition and I am finally building and painting my Adeptus Mechanicus army (which I purchased when they released during 7th edition). I will be taking them to Adepticon in March for the Friendly event. I also help found a new 40k community at my local game shop, which meets up on Saturdays.
Other than this, I have multiple other projects going on, such as working through my backlog of Super Dungeon Explore chibi figures and a multitude of other display piece ideas. Display pieces are my favorite thing to do and I’m always trying to improve in that aspect.
The Admech army is the focus for now though. I have to paint up quite a bit of models yet, along with some conversion work and I need to build the display board. Once that is all finished, I can try to knock out a piece or two for the Crystal Brush at Adepticon as well.
6. When you are not conquering the tabletop, what do you do?
I am the manager of my family’s business, we sell cargo and utility trailers, parts and do repair work. Up until last year, I rarely took time off to hit up conventions and the like. But in 2017 I managed to hit up Adepticon and GenCon. In 2018, I’m hoping to get to Origins as well.
Other hobbies include: Playing video games, doing graphic design work for my own personal projects, listening to music and playing bass guitar. I’ve often said that I have too many hobbies. But it keeps me busy.
7. What would you say about your blog to someone who has never read it to draw them in?
I downplay what I do a lot more than I should. Usually I will point someone to a tutorial that I’ve done, or show them a piece that I had painted and a write up about it. Generally, I don’t feel like I’m a “big deal” and I’m not great at self-promotion, because I don’t want to sound like I’m full of myself or cocky.
8. What is your favourite article that you have written?
My favorite article was the one about Gemstone Paints. I did extensive tests with them and a nice review/write up on how they work. It was so much fun, and since it was within a week of them being released, it got a lot of action in the Twitter community.
Another one would be a write up on Rhinox Hide and how versatile a color it is. It came about because I jokingly said that I could possibly write up an entire post on the merits of it, and ended up writing it as a challenge to myself.
9. Which rule would you like to see changed or removed entirely?
I’m still learning about 40k, so I don’t really know the rules well enough to like or dislike any of the rules so far.
10. Which of your armies is your favourite?
My only army is my Adeptus Mechanicus army, so that would be my default favorite. As soon as I saw them when they were first announced, I knew I needed to have them. There’s just some many cool units in that army.
If I may switch this question up to be “My Favorite Piece”. While I have many favorite pieces, the most favoite would have to be my custom Deathwing Terminator Captain (http://www.thebrushwizard.com/2017/05/crystal-brush-17-entry-deathwing.html). I took this fella to Adepticon for the Crystal Brush and spent every hobby hour I could working on him in the lead up to it.
I poured easily 150 hours into him and his base. His face is the best face I’d ever done up to that point and the first time I ever managed to put color in the eyes of a model of that size. I love the way his armor came out and the contrast in all of the colors. I customized his left hand and made him hold his terminator helmet and had to sculpt the fingers for it too.
While the model is really cool and all, the best part of the piece is the painting in the background. For it, I recreated a picture of Lion El’Jonson that I found online and redrew it and painted it on bristol board. I then framed it with dollhouse trim.
That was a super fun challenge and really set the piece off. But the best part, I actually got him in White Dwarf for the Warhammer 40,000 30th anniversary issue! That was a huge check mark.
11. Secret wargamer or loud and proud?
While I never really held back that I was a gamer. I would withhold information when it came to playing D&D or painting the minis. But, as I’ve gotten older I realize that I do some pretty awesome stuff and who cares what others think about me for doing my hobby. Plus, I see what I do as a craft and if folks can show off their carpentry, metalworking, cosplay, etc, I can show off what I do too.
It also helps that in recent years nerdy stuff like D&D and gaming has gotten a bit more mainstream and folks seem more interested and open about geekdom. Also, with social media, you can surround yourself with like minded folks a lot easier, a lot of whom are super supportive of the hobby community. It’s a great time to be a hobbyist!
12. Any hobby tips or cheats to share?
If you look at your painting and get down on yourself because you’re not as good as someone else, don’t. I always tell folks this:
Never compare yourself to others, always compare your current work to your past work. We all travel our own hobby journey and we each learn in our own way. Just because you’re not where someone else’s skill level is doesn’t mean anything. Always look at each new project as a way to improve over your last project. Crafting is a constant learning process. Have fun with it, experiment with different techniques. Look up tutorials, and then take what you’ve learned and make it work for your style.
We each have our own style of painting. Don’t force yourself to paint like others, or copy what you see in magazines or online. You’ll be happier discovering your style rather than looking at box art or magazine pictures and saying “mine doesn’t look like that, this is crap”.
Look at others work as inspiration, but never look at it as a gauge of your own progress. I keep a wizard miniature on my desk as an example of where I started and where I'm at now. Sure it looks horrible now, but back then it was damn cool.
13. Tournament or Casual?
Completely casual. I have no interest in being a top tier gamer, playing with “only the best” units, or coming up with power lists that, while strong, aren’t fun to play. Even in my board gaming group, I’m playing to have fun. I like to try odd combos or build lists that are themed. I’d build Magic decks that were based on making combos of cards, just to see if I could. Sometimes I’d win, sometimes I’d lose. I like winning, but I’m not going to put that over having a fun time.
14. Nintendo or Sega?
I grew up as a Nintendo kid. The NES was the first real game system I spent any time with and I own every console of their up through the Wii. The N64 was the first console that I bought with my own money, that wasn’t a Gameboy handheld.
I also have a Genesis and Saturn and the Saturn was one of my favorite consoles of its generation.
15. Xbox or Playstation?
Currently I am a Playstation guy. I have every Playstation console and bought a PS4 at launch. I have a massive collection of PS2 games (which is my favorite console of all time), and fairly decent collections of PS1 and PS3 games.
I was a huge fan of the Xbox 360 too and jumped ship to the 360 over the PS3. I can’t even tell you hour many hours/days/weeks of game time I’ve sank into that console. It was a great system, which I still have hooked up in my living room and it gets played fairly often.
Overall, Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft. I used to take sides in the console wars, but eventually I realized that each system has their own strengths and gives me their own experiences. I still prefer console gaming to PC gaming though. Mostly because as long as the hardware works, my games are playable. I don’t have to worry about an operating system update ruining the ability to play an old game.
16. McDonalds or Burger King?
Over the last few years I’ve been trying to keep in shape better and watch what I eat. But out of the two, I like the flavor of Burger King’s burgers and their fries a lot more than McDonalds. Also, after I eat McDonalds, I always feel like garbage.
17. Coke or Pepsi?
For the most part, I don’t drink a lot of soft drinks anymore. I’ll get a pop when if I go out to dinner or am at a party. But in general, I’ve been trying to drink more water or tea.
That said, I’ve always been a Coke guy. I’ll take a Coke over a Pepsi any day of the week.
Thanks to Scott for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find him on twitter (@brushwizard) or on his blog, the Brush Wizard.
If you have a gaming blog and would like to take part in Better Know a Blogger, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org