In this occasion I´m going to write a review about a recently launched online miniature gallery, Putty&Paint. I had long been thinking that miniature painters and sculptors need a new gallery, a gallery which join the best of the best, with a fair judging system, without commercial interests and without fanboys more focused in the background of your last Space Marine that in your painting skills. This review has some extracts of the Putty&Paint´s FAQ.

On Putty&Paint it’s all about you and your projects. A place for artists to show their latest works and a great source to get inspiration. No forum, no figure shop, no news. There are plenty of other great sites for that. Putty&Paint is for talented figure painters, sculpters and scale modelers. There is no focus of style, genre or scale. However there is a focus of quality – Putty&Paint is for the best you got. The projects you are proud of and want to share with the world.

At this point it´s normal to compare with CoolMiniOrNot. I think that one of the biggest mistakes of CMON is the unfair voting system. You can vote anonymously and some people use this factor to vote dishonestly. Yes, maybe the problem is about people and not about the voting system. It´s sad. Your artist´s score is an average within your 5 best scores, but many painters usually submit the same miniature in different entries, so if you get a good score it will be multiplied by two or three, and thus is altering the voting system. To give you an idea, in the top 50 there are only 28 painters with five different projects in their top five scores. In Putty&Paint you can´t vote anonymously. There are some conditions if you want to vote:

- You must be a registered member.
- You must have uploaded at least 2 projects yourself.
- You can only vote once!

A perfect decision for my taste.

Also, and this is one of the best things, some artists who were not registered in CMON and another missing artists are uploading their figures in Putty&Paint. As a recent website, I miss some big artists as Sang Eon Lee, José Palomares, Sebastian Archer, Ben Komets, Joaquín Palacios, etc., but I´m sure they will be part of Putty&Paint in the future.

Your artist info and gallery

In Putty&Paint you have medals. Yes, you have a score too, but your vote is a medal, not a number. And what do the medals stand for? It’s just like the rating on a competition. Imagine you are a judge, be fair and judge by the work itself not by your personal taste. If you think a project is good enough then award it with a medal. Just an average project if you think a project is just average and not that good, then do not award it with a medal.

- Bronze Good Job.
- Silver Awesome Work
- Gold Top Notch Work – Impressive in every way.

Voting interface

As you can read in Putty&Paint website, before you vote keep a few things in mind:

- Do not compare projects. Vote for the project itself.
- Do not just judge the painting level of a figure.
- Consider mood, story, effort, conversion, too.
- Pay attention what the focus of the work is. Sculpting, painting or basing?
- And of course be fair. This is no war, this is about fun. No need to envy or vote the “sake of justice”.

Each vote will count a certain amount of points. Bronze average, silver more and gold a lot of points. All votes’ points will be calculated to determine a final score from 0 to 100pts. If you score enough points you will receive a medal.

- From 35pts – Bronze
- From 65pts – Silver
- From 90pts – Gold

The rating for a project will be displayed, when the project has been voted a least 10 times.

Also, Putty&Paint has a blog where you can read interesting interviews and some reviews, and of course is present in the social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

I´m very happy with this project and I hope that Putty&Paint will be the reference miniature gallery in a near future. Congratulations for your work Phil!

2013 Chicago Crystal Brush Awards

I´ve come back so happy to have lived a new experience in that wonderful city that is Chicago. How could it be otherwise in the Windy City, the flight to Chicago was not as quiet I wished. The last 40 minutes were horrific into a storm. I looked out the window and the only things that I saw were big black clouds and lightning...things were falling inside the plane and of course I had to use the barf bag...things did not start well.

After two days of museums, skyscrapers and thousands of photos we met the rest of the Spanish expedition, Marc and Iago. We decided to rent a car, because the Westin Hotel was at 28 miles from Chicago...traffic jam of course. Once there the first thing I noticed was the impressive buffet of Mediterranean diet that welcomed to all the visitors, hamburgers, pasta, pizza and all kind of refried things. It reminded me the Simpsons episode when Moe purchase an industrial fryer for his new family many things on this trip I have reminded the Simpsons!

The contest area is located in the hotel lobby, so everyone who walk around has access to it, which makes that there is always people watching the glass cabinets. Around it were a few huge conference rooms with a lot of gaming tables. There was also a shopping area in another room. And when I speak about conference rooms I mean that each room would have the same surface of a Spanish Games Day, stunning.

The contest, as everyone knows, is not characterized by the average painting level as that usually seen in European contests. I think that most of the American painters must be change their painting concept to jump from very well painted gaming miniatures to showcase works that could access to one of the big prizes. The good thing is that I think (and wish) that they are on the right way. Try to organize a big panting community is a work of a few years but is the only way. Also, US need more contests in its territory like this. Please, keep the Crystal Brush in the US.

From my point of view, and is something that everyone there agreed, only 5 or 6 works were eligible for the first 3 prizes. For me, It was clear that 2 works was the first and second prize, and the rest would compete for the third prize. With a little change in the order of the winners is what happened. Of course, the online vote is very important (50%), so I think if you don´t follow a strategy from the beginning you are making a big mistake. I am referring to subject, composition, technique, base and main views for the photographs among other things. The online vote agreed with Roman´s judgement (the other 50%) as to the top 3, but not in the same order. The sum of Roman´s judgement and the online vote lead to the final result: 1- Jeremie Bonamant. 2- Me. 3- Raffaele Picca.

Jeremie Bonamant´s figure and my diorama "the walking dead"

Raffaele Picca´s figure and Marc´s figure

Nakatan´s figure and his impressive freehands

I don´t have photos of the diorama "so high" (Marc Masclans and Diego Esteban), one of the best miniatures in the contest and I don´t find good pics in internet. You can see the miniature in the Crystal Brush winners webpage.

Probably the only criticism I would like to express is about the photographs. It can improve, and although I understand that lot of figures wait to be photographed, it would be desirable that at least the photographs don´t ruin the color and atmosphere work.

The awards ceremony was simply the best I've ever attended. Finally a good speaker, a lively public that knows when to be quiet and be respectful and when to cheer, clap and scream... you feel that contestants are really enjoying when they are rewarded. Sincere congratulations from people, contrary to suspicion, resentment, pouting, empty criticism and envy that are usually seen around here. I come very surprised and happy in that way. We have much to learn in that sense. From here I would like to congratulate to all the CMON staff for their friendliness and professionalism.

I want to congratulate to all the winners, and although my english level is too basic, I'm glad to exchanged a few words with Roman and Raffa of Massive Voodoo, and have shared good times with Marc, Iago and Jeremie, and of course Jara, without her this trip would not have been possible. Also I would like to send a big hug to Lola and Nacho, the Chicago connection. I hope to see you soon again! and once again thanks to all the contributors of the indiegogo campaign for their invaluable help. Soon you will see the tutorials and the other stuff!

Of course, next year I will be back to Chicago!

Tercio Creativo

Let´s start with reviews! I´ve written a short analysis of a Spanish brand that in the next days will celebrate its first anniversary. Tercio Creativo, with its flagship project, the game 1650, a Capa y espada. I have to start saying I'm not a wargames player, so I'll talk about painter's point of view, analyzing only their figures. Also, I´m lucky because I´m working with them to paint some box arts, so I speak from experience. As it is normal to make an introduction to the game, the staff of Tercio creativo sent me a small review of the background:

1650 is a skirmish game set in an ucronia of Spain (Iberia) in the Seventeenth Century. The king died, the Gauls have taken most of the North and East of the peninsula and the Lusitanians have done the same with the West. All possessions of the empire in Europe have been lost and the tercios return home to try to keep their enemies away from Andalucia (The Purgatory). In this field, two Factions have been created: The New Order and the Old Regime, who fight each other in the streets of Seville (Ysbilia) for the right to direct the recapture.

As you see, this is a game whose background is different the typical fantasy miniatures based on classic characters like elfs, orcs or dwarfs, and that blends historical and imaginary elements. The miniature´s design is near to cartoon style.

The figures are 30 Mm scale, although there are some larger, up to 40 Mm. and are made of resin. I have to say that the copies I've had in my hands have been a very good quality, with no bubbles and mold lines. From the point of view of the painting, the truth is that you get complicate everything you want, but if you just play with them is easy to achieve good results with relatively little work.

The figures also have many details, so the painter can simulate different kind of materials such as leather, fabrics or metals. The metal objects such as weapons or armor are perfect to be painted using the NMM technic. Faces are simples but have great quality, which is appreciated at this scale. I consider that too much texture and detail interfere the work of the painter. Miniatures are complemented by terrain elements which have prominence in the game.