“___ON___”: Getting Into Miniature Gaming

“___ON___”: Getting Into Miniature Gaming

In this series we’ll be hearing from a new person each month, talking on a specific topic of their choosing – something they love, a hobby, an interest, a thread they’ve been feeling lately, or a new discovery.

Brendan Capello on Getting Into Miniature Gaming

“In an increasingly online world, I really needed something to help break me away from worsening my screen habits, and for me that was miniature gaming. Miniature gaming is to me a mixture of a hardcore board game and train modeling. Its extremely hands on and pulls me away from my bad screen for hours at a time. The only thing I’ve really struggled with was picking a game.

Picking a miniature game to play is really the hardest part of getting into the hobby. Theres games based off of almost every popular series or historical time period leaving you with hundreds of options. The two games systems I play are A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of thrones) and Warhammer 40k (one of the longest lived systems). These two games were more chosen for me by the nature that I had friends that were actively collecting and playing them when I decided to give it a go. Having an active group or community will really push you to keep playing, painting, and up to date. (The community part is a bit more difficult now due to the nature that the hobby require in person games, but online portions of most gaming groups have been flourishing during the pandemic.)

Once you pick a game its time to dive in! You need the models, the tools, and some paints. Most games now sell starter kits that include almost everything you need to play the game. For the games I play A Song of Ice and Fire does this really well by including all the tokens, terrain, and a rule book in each starter set. Warhammer 40k also sells start collecting boxes or patrol boxes that give you a great starting point to begin the hobby.

Warhammer minis come on the sprue, which means they are completely unassembled, meaning you’ll need a few tools before you can get started. The most important tool you’ll need to pick up is a set of plastic nippers to cut the pieces from the sprue. You can buy ones made specifically for plastic models, but these are usually more expensive, so you can make do with ones you get from a local hobby store.

Getting the pieces off of the sprue is the first step. Before gluing, you need to clean off all of the minor imperfections on the pieces, called mold lines. these are places where the plastic oozed between the pieces of the mold during manufacturing processing. To clean these you just need a hobby knife or if you want to avoid accidentally slicing your thumb numerous times you can buy a specific tool for around $17.50 from Gamesworkshop. I prefer to live dangerously, or mostly I don’t feel the need to buy more tools. Cleaning the mold lines is simple, you just scrape the blade over the imperfections until they’ve been shaved off. It is a time consuming process, but it makes all the difference in ease of assembly.

Finally you are on to gluing! With plastic models, the best bet to use is a plastic glue. It fuses the plastic together and doesn’t react to your skin, which avoids the difficulties of super glueing your fingers together on accident. Again this is something that can be picked up from almost any hobby store. The best bits of advice for assembly are: is a little goes a long way and be patient. Glue takes time to set, so you don’t want to rush it and have your minis start falling apart!

Once you have your minis assembled you can really start playing the game, but you don’t want to skip the best part of miniature gaming, the painting process! In the last year alone, I’ve spent probably close to 100 hours on just painting my minis. The small marine in the pictures took me roughly 6 hours from start to finish so it really is a large portion of the hobby. To get started all you need is some decent brushes, a spray on primer, and acrylic paints. My choice of paints right now are from the Army Painter, they sell a couple of good boxes with plenty of color options. Once you get started painting, the world really opens up, theres no real rules about color schemes, so you can go wild. Do you want to paint the hobbits from Lord of the Rings up as the Power Ranger colors? Go for it! The internet has a huge collection of videos on painting techniques and color combos to use, so it just comes down to practice and patience. I’ve painted hundreds of minis and each one is a study for me, I’m always learning and always pushing myself to become a bit better of a painter.

If you are comfortable going out and playing in person, Games Kastle has large space, plenty of tables, and they are very firm with their mask policy, Comic Kingdom also does allow play nights once a week by reservation only. My place of choice originally was The Glass Die, but because of statewide mandates they are unable to have interactive gaming. That shouldn’t stop you from going down and supporting one of the great local spots, they have an extensive game selection and some great staff. Shop local and have fun!”