Old Mini Monday 08 – SciFi-03

Old Mini Monday 08 – SciFi-03


While visiting my brother, he rounded up all his old painted minis and let me borrow the box of them to share on the blog.



From left to right: 20-941 Battletech Liao Ground Trooper?, 20-008 KGB Agent, 20-011c Paramilitary Operative 3




Ral Partha, 1985.

The guy on the left looks like he matches one of the figures in a Battletech miniatures blister. Though I couldn’t find an image online of the mini by itself for verification.

The miniature in the middle threw me for a loop. My brother painted it like a Shadowrun character, so I looked through all of those. Nope, stumbled upon it while trying to find another mini.

The guy on the right is clearly a member of the Paramilitary Operative miniatures blister, and I’m guessing my brother had picked up that blister because we saw Paramilitary Operative #2 in my last post: Old Mini Mondays – SciFi-02

Yay, for tracking down all three this time. Thanks again to Mark A. Morin and his nod to:




Mostly generic characters here. The guy in the middle looks a little shady, and not just because of the shades. The other two work well for your generic military, guards, rebels, etc. I don’t have any specific memories tied to this lot.


Tangent – Originality

There was a thread running through ‘The Comments’ regarding the impact of the internet on the hobby. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit while painting my Necromunda Goliaths up. This gang has essentially been a Paint by Numbers bit, derived from a Warhammer TV YouTube video. I leaned heavily on this video, because I’m very unfamiliar with Citadel paints and the game of Necromunda. I’m really happy that I had that resource to help me make things easier….but at the same time there is a little voice nagging me about relying on the video so heavily and just how ‘artistic’ it is to follow it. Sure, a lot of people learn how to draw by tracing over images, and that forms the basic skills to make your own drawings later. I also don’t always feel the need to create my own color schemes every time I see a new unit to paint. If I see something I like, that’s usually what I’ll go for, maybe with some variation.

But pre-internet days, things were definitely different. Not necessarily better, as the overall quality of painting I remember seeing in those days was not at today’s levels. But quite possibly more original. I didn’t have any guides to tell me how to paint a specific mini or color or effect. Sometimes there might not be any reference, maybe a black and white picture at best. Color choices were largely my own. If I happened to find that someone else painted the exact same mini, you could pretty much guarantee the two would look nothing alike.

When Blood Bowl resurfaced in 2016, I remember looking at pictures of people’s painted minis. I wasn’t crazy about the blue/gold color in GW’s pics and opted for red/gold. I’d keep looking at other people’s pics, but it was kind of weird to me that over 90% of the pics of painted teams used the same color scheme and even the mini parts were painted the same. The Human teams especially seemed to be pure copies. Granted, some of this might be new painters or people learning how to use Citadel paints, etc. I’ve also not been exposed to the world of Warhammer much, so painting one’s armies exactly the same as GW, might just be a thing.

Ultimately it seems a trade-off, better quality painting as the Pros share their tips, but more cloning overall. Not everyone paints their stuff exactly the same, and I’ve been a really big fan of the posts on CaffeineForge where a group of hobbyists all paint an identical mini in their own way. It makes me want to try something like that at some point. But I’d have to find a group, get the same mini, probably paint faster than I do, and get it on everyone’s ‘mini-to-do-list’. Not an easy feat at all.

Thoughts regarding online tutorials and the originality of miniatures or just general creativity?

16 thoughts on “Old Mini Monday 08 – SciFi-03

  1. An interesting question. I think if you are looking for tips on how to improve then I think the video’s are a must. I do think the individual needs to be honest about their ability though. I don’t think I paint to badly but beginner video’s have helped me a great deal. I tend to avoid pro video’s, they’re to advanced for me in the sense that I dont even know what they are going on about at times! As for colour schemes, be it on box art or otherwise, it’s difficult not to be influenced by what the pro’s chose to do and thus restrict personal creativity. I think it would be a good idea to not look for painted images, just paint the figure(s) as you see it and keep the creative juices flowing. If you can come up with a figure we could all do then I’d be up for it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks TIM. Yea, I had thought about the fact that GW and other mini manufacturers employ painters to get their minis looking the best and choosing really nice color schemes. Painting minis isn’t my full time job, so they definitely have more experience than I do. Good point about trying to avoid pics online, if you want to create something more original. I started this article last week (hurray for scheduled posts!), and had some time to think it over a bit more since then. I think what has been really nagging at me is a need to identify with the minis I’m painting. A number of bloggers (like IRO and Wudugast) are doing some cool conversions with GW minis, and they feel like they are making them their own. Being a bit too worried about deviating too much on these, I think I played it too safe. I’ve got some ideas on the next gang, so we’ll see.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. People have always wanted their figures painted in colours like the ones “on the box”. It’s usually because they see the great looking models and would like theirs to look the same. I know from my own hobby experiences as well as those around me and the people I did commissions for back as far as the Rogue trader days that this has been the case. And I doubt it started with me.😐
    Going back further if you think about it, the wargamers that preceded us fantasy-sci-fi guys were historical gamers, who come from a longstanding tradition of trying to match the specific uniforms used by various historical forces.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh yea, great point on the historical minis! I also wouldn’t think those wargamers were less artistic because they matched a specific costume. Hadn’t even thought about that, because I didn’t start with those.

      Also, the first minis I saw were LotR. It would have been weird if the guy had painted Gandolph with a red beard and pink cloak.

      Good point!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Originality.. or lack thereof is the main reason why I have not even started to paint my Stormcast. I really like their “standard” gold-and-blue scheme, and the two variants I also like a lot and would run alongside are replacing the blue with gloss enamel-looking red, anx silver with red (aka Iron Man’s “Silver Centurion” look.)
        Of course, none of those are particularly original, so I’ve instead painted none of my Stormcast…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Well hopefully it will come to you someday. I’ve been reading through Wudu’s last post on AoS (taking me forever). The first thought that spring to my mind, is that the Stormcast could really benefit from some variant heads or faces. Probably tough conversion work, but if I was into AoS, that’s likely where I would start. Or I’d just play Khorne, haha!

          Liked by 2 people

      2. I think eventually, I’ll just paint them in the blue and gold (and the red and gold, and the silver and red – “originality” be damned as they’ll be hitting the much more important “aesthetically pleasing” notes instead.

        With Space Marines (and other 40k armies to greater and lesser extents), I think a lot of people also find the existing fluff or backgrounds appealing, as well as their aesthetics. All of the different Marine chapters I’m working on are ones I chose because both their visual aesthetics as well as the backgrounds of their forces appeal to me.

        My Blood Bowl teams are all (I think?) somewhat original colour schemes (well, I don’t think any are copied from the BB manuals of the times when I started painting them), and all have unique names, but I doubt those particular colour combinations are especially unique. My Orcs have predominantly red armour – not exactly a stretch, right? But then again, there are colour combinations that just work well and get used and reused. I’ve been going on about Blue and Gold Stormcast.. but my Khemri team is decked out in blue and gold. Because Tutankhamun, of course – so still not particularly original….

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Have you seen any Silver and Blue Stormcast? Just curious.

          Some of my Blood Bowl teams had their own colors, probably “inspired” from pics of other people’s teams. I’ve also tried mimicking classic American football uniforms, but it doesn’t always translate well.


  3. I don’t know if it was stubbornness, arrogance, stupidity or all of the above haha but I didn’t really watch tutorials until about 12 months ago. I think I do “ok” with painting and I feel I’m slowly, very slowly getting better and I owe this to the blog and all the talented people who comment and on line tutorials.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yea, I don’t think I would be at the level I’m at without online tutorials and fellow bloggers. It’s interesting, because I feel like I’ve hit “Level 2”, where I’m picking up stuff that I didn’t notice before. Still a long ways to go till level 20 though! 😜

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like tutorial videos when I’m trying to add a new skill to my armamentarium or use a new product for the first time. Most times I use those as foundational ideas and add my own creativity for better or worse.

    My problem (well one) with GW is that they have created too much conformity in some ways. I can see that historicals need to be true to history, but sci-stuff? Hell, you paid for them, do what you want and what makes ya happy!

    Nice post and humbled by the shout out – always helps get me some traffic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mark. Your site should be like a L.A. midday freeway jam-a-thon! Go people, go now! 😃

      I hear ya on the GW conformity.

      Part of it is also the idea of resell. If I find out I really, really hate Necromunda later, then making things too different might make it harder to EBay them off later. Just another small factor.

      I figure I’m going to stretch my wings a bit more with the next gang though. Part of me still likes some of the color schemes that GW used, but I’m thinking of some slight variations too. Maybe more radical ones later.

      Liked by 1 person

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