When I was new to wargaming, I kept hearing people talk about something called “Tabletop Quality.” This is when your miniatures are painted in a way that looks good from a distance, like they would be on a table at a tournament. If your miniatures don’t meet this standard, people might judge you for it.
Basic tabletop quality means that your model has been painted so it looks good from the side of the table. It has multiple colors that help distinguish the different areas of the model. The base of the model should also have something on it, like sand.
The three foot “rule”
When one’s gaze falls upon a three-dimensional model resting upon a flat surface, the customary distance between the observer and the object of scrutiny hovers around three feet. It is within this ambit that one is wont to obtain a preliminary inkling of the essence of the model.
In the quest for adherence to the accepted standards of painting, one’s oeuvre is not necessitated to be a paragon of beauty in close-up shots or when the model is subjected to a flip-over scrutiny by the audience.
Personally, I am disinclined to expend copious amounts of time on detailing minute features of my army, such as painting the casing and bullet with disparate hues or crafting eyes for each of my 100 foot soldiers.
Why would you want to paint to this standard instead of doing your best on each model
The complex and multifaceted world of miniature wargaming offers many challenges, and one of the most vexing is the perennial trade-off between the time required to paint models and the limited amount of leisure time available for the hobby. For those who seek to engage in the game with fully painted models, the demands can be daunting indeed.
One approach is to establish a minimum standard of quality for one’s army, ensuring that it looks good, but potentially sacrificing efficiency in the process. This can be a highly personal decision, varying greatly from person to person, with considerations ranging from the number of unpainted models one is willing to tolerate, to the degree of variation and complexity one seeks to achieve in the models.
In some games, a large number of models may be required, with little variation between them. For example, in the popular game Warhammer 40,000, one might be faced with the daunting task of painting a hundred identical Space Marines. While a basic tabletop quality may be achieved in a matter of weeks, a more painstaking and detailed approach could require months, or even years, depending on one’s painting speed and proficiency.
The question of how to allocate one’s time and energy between painting and playing is a challenging one, with different gamers adopting wildly divergent approaches. Some may prioritize playing over painting, and be content with a less visually impressive army. Others may place a greater emphasis on the aesthetics of the models, viewing painting as an integral part of the overall gaming experience.
One possible approach is to focus on painting one’s army quickly and simply, achieving an acceptable level of quality without getting bogged down in excessive detail. This approach allows for greater emphasis on playing, while still satisfying the aesthetic requirements of the game. However, one might also choose to devote extra effort to creating a few standout models, imbuing them with an extra level of detail and complexity that sets them apart from the rest of the army. The choice is ultimately a highly personal one, dependent on factors such as time, skill level, and individual preferences.
Use Blocking: different colors for different things
“Blocking”, as a technique employed in miniature painting, stands as the quintessence of color-coding diversity to distinguish different objects or surfaces within a model. For instance, one might allocate a single pigment to the skin of the miniature, a separate hue to metal objects, and diverse chromaticity for cloth and leather materials. This course of action ensures the clear-cut differentiation of objects and the applicability of an assembly-line painting procedure.
To expedite the painting process for miniatures, a prudent approach to take is to utilize an assembly-line method. Essentially, one must carry out the same painting steps on various models simultaneously. Considerably, this approach is efficient for an extensive range of miniatures, as it avails you the chance to layer all of them simultaneously, reducing the processing time.
In my personal experience, I find that initiating the painting process with light colors is optimal for precision and efficiency. This preference is rooted in the fact that it is easier to cover up a light spot with a darker pigment than vice versa. When dark paint covers up a lighter spot, remediation is tedious, and perfection is challenging to attain.
Model enhancing can be expeditiously achieved by incorporating washes in your modeling routine. The magic of washes lies in the darkness of the color you choose, which when applied to the entire model enhances the vividness and authenticity of the colors used.
There are different wash colors, each with its distinctive impact on various parts of the object you are modeling. For instance, sepia wash can be used to simulate grime or filth, while black washes create greater depth and shadows.
A light coat of colored wash can shift the color of an object, creating an effect of varying shades. Consider using a green wash to alter the color of a shirt to appear more aqua in tone.
Washes also allow you to quickly change the original colors of an object to create a contrast. If, for example, you paint a mini’s jacket and trousers the same tan color, applying washes will make them stand out more, creating a distinctive and eye-catching effect.
By utilizing washes, it’s possible to create the illusion of leather on one area of a wooden model by applying a slightly red wash, while using a brown wash on another part creates a darker appearance. However, exercise caution when applying these washes, as the effects will create noticeable differences between the two areas.
Choose a base style for all your army models. This will make them all look similar, even if they are different colors or styles. This will help them feel like they are all in the same place together.
Beyond the Basic Quality
Enhancing the quality of your tabletop models is a pursuit that requires a keen eye for detail and a steady hand. With skillful brushwork, you can imbue your creations with a depth and realism that will leave your opponents gasping in awe.
To achieve this elevated level of artistry, one must delve into the realm of minutiae. It is the meticulous rendering of individual features, such as eyes, rivets, and other diminutive elements, that can truly elevate a miniature to a work of art. By imbuing even the smallest aspects with a painstaking level of detail, one can create a verisimilitude that is truly breathtaking.
But it is not only in the microcosm that one can achieve greatness. A true master of the craft must also excel in the realm of color. The subtle interplay of hues can make or break a model, and it is here that a true artist can shine. By deftly blending shades and making gradual transitions between them, one can create an effect that is both lifelike and aesthetically pleasing.
Of course, to truly achieve greatness, one must also master the art of highlighting. By carefully accentuating the brightest areas of a model, one can create the illusion of a directional light source, adding an extra layer of verisimilitude to an already stunning creation. It is this level of artistry that truly sets the great painters apart from the merely skilled.
And let us not forget the purpose of this labor. For it is not enough to create a masterpiece that will languish in obscurity. No, the true test of a painter’s skill is to create a miniature that will be admired by all who behold it. It is the model that draws the eye, the model that commands attention, that truly makes a painter’s heart sing. So go forth, and create works of art that will stand the test of time, and bring joy to all who behold them.
Competition painting is a more advanced level of painting. At this level, you spend more time on the models and make them look as good as possible. This is usually only done if there is an upcoming competition or if you want to be able to compete in competitions.
There are different levels of competition. In some cases, people may vote on the best painted unit or model. These competitions are usually less important than the main tournament, and they are just for people who didn’t win.
There are contests at stores. My local game store has a monthly contest where people bring in their unpainted models. The store takes a picture of the model, and then the people have to paint it up for the competition. The customers vote on their favorite, and the winner gets a gift certificate.
These local competitions are fun. People compete to see who is the best painter. This is usually for bragging rights more than anything else. These competitions are something that most of us will enter at some point.
There are many prestigious painting competitions at large gaming conventions, such as Adepticon, Gencon, and Lock and Load. If you are interested in these competitions, you need to be a great painter of miniatures.
You will be very careful when painting your model. You will usually plan out the color scheme long before you start painting. Different colors are used to shade areas in a room. This is done to create different effects with directional lighting. Highlights are gradually built up to create a smooth transition between colors.
Some painters spend many months on a single model that they plan to enter into a high-level painting competition. If you tried to do the same with all of the models in your army, you would never finish your army. You would have some of the best-looking models around, but most of your army would be unpainted.
When it comes to applying paint schemes to your model, the possibilities are practically endless. You can take a monochromatic approach, utilizing a singular color, or take a more multifaceted approach by incorporating multiple hues. By implementing washes, you can introduce a profusion of different shades and highlights that will give your model an extra dose of pizzazz. You can even opt to apply a mélange of colors to the same model to create a more intricate and fascinating scheme that is sure to grab attention.
Before you dive into painting your models, it’s essential to develop a meticulous plan. Knowing exactly which colors you want to use, as well as precisely how you intend to apply them, can help you avoid a variety of missteps and blunders. By taking the time to establish a comprehensive strategy, you’ll make the painting process significantly smoother and more efficient.
Once you’ve nailed down a plan, you’re ready to get started with the actual painting. Begin by applying the base color to the model. From there, you can incorporate washes to produce a plethora of distinct shades and tones. Finally, it’s time to add highlights to truly make the colors pop and create a vivid and eye-catching finished product.
What is tabletop quality?
Tabletop quality is a term used in the printing and publishing industries to describe the level of detail and sharpness that can be seen when an image is printed at its actual size. Images that are considered “tabletop quality” will have enough resolution to be used in catalogs and other print media without appearing pixelated or blurry.
How can I tell if a product is tabletop quality?
To determine if a product is tabletop quality, you can print out a test image at 100% of the product’s actual size and view it from a distance. If the image appears sharp and without any noticeable pixelation, then the product meets the standard for tabletop quality.
What are the benefits of using tabletop quality products?
Using tabletop quality products can give your print media a more professional look, as the images and text will be sharper and less likely to blur or pixelate when printed. This can be especially important for catalogs and other marketing materials that are meant to represent your business in a positive light. In addition, using tabletop quality products can help you save time and money by preventing the need to reprint flawed materials.
Are all tabletop quality products created equal?
No, not all tabletop quality products are created equal. In order to meet the standard for tabletop quality, an image must have a certain resolution that allows it to be printed at its actual size without appearing pixelated or blurry. There are many products on the market that claim to be “tabletop quality,” but only a select few actually meet the standard. When choosing a product to use in your print media, be sure to ask about its resolution and compare it to other products available. If the resolution is not high enough, the image may appear distorted or blurry when printed.
How can I be sure that I’m getting the best tabletop quality products for my business?
When choosing a product to use in your print media, be sure to ask about its resolution and compare it to other products available. If the resolution is not high enough, the image may appear distorted or blurry when printed. In order to ensure that you’re getting the best tabletop quality products for your business, ask the supplier about the product’s resolution and compare it to other products available. If the resolution is not high enough, the image may appear distorted or blurry when printed.