Model Masterclass, a new monthly series

As a way of pushing myself as a hobbyist over the next year, I've decided to try a new thing.

Last year, I found that my modeling and painting improved most when I was given a project by someone and it wasn't exactly something I was used to doing.

A perfect example was the Warmachine model I painted for a friend of mine to help him finish his army and get it on the tabletop.

From that model and a few other sources of inspiration, I decided it would be cool to try my hand at something "new" each month designed to help me push my modeling and painting skills. With real life creeping closer and closer to hobby time, I want to make sure I get the most of the time I do have this year. I also thought it would be cool to enlist the help of a good friend to keep me motivated, provide support and challenge me.

Enter John from Santa Cruz Warhammer. Having met him a few years ago at Games Day for the Storm Wardens project, I knew he'd be the perfect fit. Fortuntately for me, he agreed to take part in my silly idea and you all get to see our work each month or at least until he gets tired of my games.

So how's it going to work?
Easy, each month John and I are going to come up with a cool project (nothing big, most likely single model) to work on and share our results. We're going to take turns coming up with ideas each month so we can both torture the other guy with crazy models to build and paint. It won't be limited to just 40k either... the idea is to come up with cool ideas that challenge you in painting or modeling in some way or another.

Something that you don't do often or maybe never at all.

The series will create two posts each month. Somewhere around the middle of the month we'll share the project idea along with our plans. At the end of the month you guys get to see our work and listen to us ramble on about what we tried to accomplish.

I asked John what he though about the whole thing and here's his take on the project:

Looking forward to participate in this with you Ron, lately I have found myself easily distracted from painting, and I seem to work much better with a challenge and some structure.
In my opinion, my best work has been done with a deadline or something out of my comfort zone. I think this is a great way to push yourself to try new colors, techniques, and products while improving yourself as a hobbyist.
It's a great feeling to look at a model when you finish it and think "Wow, I did that!" and I am looking forward to doing some challenging work off of my regular and well beaten path.
Bring it on!

So John's excited and I'm happy to be able to work on something smaller in scale each month that's not the normal stuff I've been doing. My hope is that you all enjoy the new series and can pick up a trick or two from our adventures.

Work has already begun for February. You guys can expect to see our project plans in a couple weeks around the middle of the month.

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your thoughts about the new series here in the comments below!


  1. Looking forward to this, the technical articles that you put out are always interesting!

  2. oooh thats a great idea. looking forward to it!

  3. This is a good plan Ron, and I'm looking forward to seeing the results - I find myself doing something similar as well - I paint a lot of Space Marine armies for people, literally almost exclusively so...and it gets a bit tedious.

    I've started painting random other models that I think are cool, and like you, pushing my skillset. I'm also looking outside the GW range and finding some great miniatures from other companies

  4. Fantastic! Can't wait to see what you two cook up and show off to make the rest of us look bad (I kid, I kid!)

  5. Nice initiative, a challenge is indeed the best way to both improve and keep a fresh approach to hobbying.

    I've been participating in something similar with some forum members where we pretty much paint a miniature for each other (based both on their preference and stuff we have available) and then give it a special place in our display cabinets.

    One of them wanted a fourth company Ultramarine, an experience I learned a lot from both on dealing with that shade of blue and general colour use and contrast:

    And it is always fun to try out something new or paint of that extra mini that has been staring out you from the work bench for somebody who will enjoy it.

  6. Lloyd I sympathise with you there on the space marine front, it's all I ever seem to do!
    I think that John and Ron will enjoy this as I too feel pushing new boundaries is good for your hobby mojo!

  7. oink: Thanks! I try and explain what I'm doing no matter how simple or complex it is. This should be a fun departure from the daily grind.

    Matt Farr: Me too since I have no idea what
    John is going to pick on his months.

    Lloyd: I've found that to be one of the best ways to improve your painting... by trying something your are not used to working on everyday.

    Krisken: I don't know about making folks look bad. We're looking at this as more of a challenge for each other to push ourselves outside of what we normally do. Hopefully it gives others some motivqation to try new things too.

    Hephesto: Projects change when you are doing something for someone else. Especially if it's not somethign you normally do. Commission work is one thing, but I'm hoping this is more of a motivator since we have free run to interpret the projects to our own likings.

    Munky: this will definitely push boundaries for me. I'm sure John will come up with some things that are way out of my comfort zone.

  8. I love this idea. Enough that I looked up your friend's blog and followed it, so I can keep up to date on the beautiful miniatures.

  9. What a great idea.. more so also to chronicle the adventure along the way. Agree on the comment concerning commissions being different. Cause this is one that you can be more free in what you see it to be like, and how to go about it. Looking forward to the results.

  10. waiting for your post. Think it will be very interesting and we can learn a lot of it.

  11. great idea, can we suggest figures and ideas?

  12. Great idea Ron, something you may be able to do is after you have presented the idea/chalenge you could post links to sites from others who "participate" in the challenge.

    Not an official public challenge as such. It would be more for FTW readers to play along.

  13. This sounds a lovely idea. I look forward to the first fruits with eagerness.

  14. If I may suggest, you should look into the Infinity range of minis. IMHO they have perhaps the best scifi sculpts out there. Their proportions and details and dynamic poses are incredible.

  15. Great idea. I agree about pushing boundaries to improve and learn. I am really looking forward to seeing your techniques applied to non-power armoured models! GW or otherwise.

  16. What I mean is, I'm always impressed by the stuff you and John create. It gives me a goal to strive for someday in my own painting.

  17. GundamFanForever: It should be lots of fun.

    Mr. Lee: Exactly. We are going to have the freedom here to interpret the model how we want without having any outside rules so to say.

    Cylde: The WIP post should be up on Feb 10th if all goes according to plan.

    Ph0n1k: Sure, I don't see why not. Might make things really interesting for both of us.

    keith: That's a cool idea. Other readers would have less time, but if someone wants to share something similar or if they've tackled the project themselves, I'd love to see it and we can certainly include links here to their posts too.

    Cyphus: It's all fair game with this series. Honestly, I don't suspect we'll be staying in one model range at all. I figure we'll be jumping all around the place for variety.

    Krisken: Ahhhh. Well keith mentioned others jumping in on the project as well... so if it looks like something you want to tackle along with us, please do.

  18. oooh sounds good! im looking forward to this!

  19. Definitely looking forward to this!
    I love your tutorials and you have definitely inspired me to try different techniques and to begin project I avoided for the longest time.

  20. Fuzzbucket: It should be a fun series to do. I'm really looking forward to March since John will be picking it and I have no idea what he's going to do.

    Kevin: Glad to hear you get some inspiration from the site. I try to cover a variety of skills with my tutorials for lots of different folks.

  21. In C:SM 4th ed. there is a picture of the Ultramarines all lined up and ready for war, with us getting a side view of this B&W drawing. There is a Chaplain passing through the ranks, do Chaplainy stuff no doubt.

    The Chaplain has a cool staff. I don't know if this is a 'stretch Crozius' or quite what, but he looks cool and in the same vein as the Chaplain you made a few months ago, would make an excellent custom mini.

    .... just sayin'


  22. Marshal: Yes, I know the picture. That would make for a very interesting conversion wouldn't it? That will have to go on the list of "to do" models then.

  23. I can't wait to see how this series works out! It's an excellent Idea.

  24. Falconator: Two weeks... we post the first challenge WIPS then.


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