HobbyZone paint station review

Recently I got hold of products of Polish company HobbyZone and I’ve been using them (HobbyZone paint station and paint stands) for over two weeks now. I must admit that despite my initial reservations based on my experience with the Games Workshop Paint Station, they allowed me to organize my paint station and made fitting it into my constanly shrinking miniature painting space much easier.

Catalogue photos:

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I mainly tested the paint station, but in addition to the HobbyZone paint station review I also managed to prepare a review of the two paint stands that I have. Now I can see all my paints! Previously I kept them in my drawer. I hoped they should remain in place on the Ikea antislip mat, but whenever I opened the drawer I found them in a completely changed order. Ikea can wipe their backs with their mats! 😛

After testing HobbyZone products I prepared a review of the HobbyZone accessories I had. You can read about my opinions below.

Paint stand

Much joy from a small thing!
According to the producer’s description, the paint stand is a perfect solution for keeping your painting place tidy while painting models. We’re assured that thanks to firm slots chances of spilling paint are really slim.

It looks like this:

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What do we get?

The stand measures 42,5 cm x 18 cm x 9,5 cm and is supplied in elements which need to be assembled. Assembly is childishly easy, doesn’t require and gluing and parts fit perfectly. Adding even a simplest manual (even on the company’s website) wouldn’t be a bad thing, as it could that shelves should be mounted in a zipper-like way (with slots shifted in relation to the previous shelf) – just like on my photos.

Parts to build the stand:

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Building is childishly simple:

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Of course it’s not necessary, but it would answer the only doubt one could have while assembling the stand.

Variants

Paint stands are available in 2 variants, the difference being in the size and number of paint bottle slots. It can be either 40 x 36mm slots or 54 x 28mm slots.

These smaller slots are suited for “dropper” bottles, for example Vallejo or Reaper MSP. The larger ones can hold even more “bulging” bottles – like Games Workshop‘s or P3, but also those of smaller diameter. Unfortunately it results in a disadvantage: when something is universal, it’s never perfectly suited to its purpose. It’s true also in this case – many of my paints fit pretty loosely to those 36mm slots. It doesn’t make them any less usable, but is not as “professional” and convenient as better fitting smaller slots, which hold paints (for example Vallejo) much better.

Vallejo and Reaper MSP series paints sit perfectly in 28mm slots:

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Unfortunately universal 36mm slots have their disadvantages:

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Inks and pigments don’t fit into slots:

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When placing an order one should choose the version of paint stand they want shipped. Moreover, the producers are very flexible and don’t even mind such sophisticated ideas like mixing different types of shelves within one stand – you just need to write what kind of shelves you want and it can surely be arranged with HobbyZone!

Comfort

I have one stand for my Vallejo and Reaper paints (smaller slots) and one for P3 and Citadel paints – the universal size (which means: larger slots).

As you surely know I have a complete mix of various paint bottles, but despite this the universal size didn’t suit my needs that fine, which I already described above. It is surely a personal thing, because a person relying more on Games Workshop paints would surely have a different opinion. I have few paints in such bottles and smaller bottles move loosely in those large slots.

As you can see on my photos, even GW jars sit there pretty loosely, just like P3 ones. The best fit I got was with Vallejo alcohol-based metallics:

Only alcohol-based Vallejo metallics sit firmly, while other paints sit rather loosely:

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I tried to fill unused slots with MIG pigments and Winsor & Newton inks, but they didn’t fit there. Fortunately I managed to find room for them on the HobbyZone paint station (which you will see below).

I can suggest that introducing additional types of shelves with different slots, better suited to other popular products, would make HobbyZone’s offer more attractive. Especially if people are going to order customized choices of shelves depending on their needs (for example 1 x pigments shelf, 1 x Citadel paints shelf, 1 x P3 paints shelf and 1 x Vallejo shelf).

Currently I am only missing one Vallejo stand and a benchtop organizer for complete happiness, but there’s always time to pick these up… 🙂

HobbyZone paint station

The paint stand I have is called a professional paint station by HobbyZone. Actually I prefer to call it a “tabletop”, but let’s use the name given by the producer. The difference between types of paint stations is in sizes and number of shelves. The professional one has three shelves and measures 60 cm x 40 cm x 8 cm.

What do we get

The paint station is made of a base and three shelves with slots for paints, brushes and tools, and two additional side shelves (that I call “ears”). My table came assembled and glued, and only the “ears” (side shelves) required putting into prepared slots, but it was very easy.

Paint station in parts:

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It’s very easy to add side shelves:

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Completely assembled HobbyZone paint station:

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Wide choice of different tool slots:

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The side shelves are stabilized by additional supports, which prevents them from bending and makes them stable

Moreover, the paint station is very functional even without these additional shelves and some may even prefer it this way as it takes less space. I was told one can also order it unassembled, but I didn’t make use of this option as it has no impact on pricing.

Holders on sides of the paint station make it very portable, which solves my current organization problems. Additionally I can have all the useful things really close at hand, and paints selected for painting 4 models simultaneously fit into their slots just fine. 😀

Variants

Just like paint stands, paint stations are also offered in 2 versions: with larger and smaller slots, and the choice is made when placing the order. Moreover, you can use the without changing the price and creating a freely selected choice of shelves customized to your needs.

As I already mentioned it, since the producers were really flexible regarding customization of their products, I could choose the kind of slots I wanted for my paint station. As far as I know they wouldn’t mind similar requests from other customers too. 😉

My paint station has slots for large and small paint bottles:

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Surface of the Paint station

I remember I used to have a Games Workshop paint station, but it became really worn and ugly with time – I didn’t mind glue and paint stains but I felt that instead of washing the thing I was rubbing dirt into it. (Hehe, I must sound like a frustrated housewife, but hey, you must be cleaning your desks before major holidays, too ;)) I like to have my workplace clean because working in a mess makes me tired fast. That’s also one of the reasons why I didn’t decide to get the HobbyZone paint station before.

Then I was convinced by laminated suface of the paint station. I think it will make the table more resistant to damage and wearing, and will allow it to look neat for a longer time. And it has to look this way because it sits in my dining room, which is also my workshop. So far cleaning is easy and I haven’t experienced any problems, so keeping the paint station tidy and in good order didn’t cause any problems, but I’ve been using it only for like two weeks.

Convenience

Now a few words about the base of the paint station – the tabletop. The first thing is that HobbyZone offers paint stations in a few sizes, and I decided to get the biggest one (which is called “professional”, so how could I resist! ;)) The width is comfortable – moving from a large table onto it was no problem for me and I didn’t feel it’s too small for my needs. Of course I can’t tell if a broad-shouldered man would say the same, but for me the size is OK. I only find the depth of the tabletop a bit too short, so I keep it pushed like 10cm back onto the table, which increases the depth of the paint station and my workspace. But would I decide to order a deeper one? Not really, because I would be unable to keep it on my wardrobe. So in my case the size is just fine 🙂 I think I don’t really find the difference in levels of both tabletops a problem, because the base of the paint station is pretty thin.

This reminds me of a problem I had with the Games Workshop paint station, which had a thicker base and it made my forearms hurt after working for a longer time. You know, the difference of levels and sharp edge of the paint station made my arms go numb and painful. Bear in mind that I often happen to sit and paint for longer periods of time, so such problems can discourage to use this kind of equipment. That was one of the reasons why I was unsure if I would like the HobbyZone table. Fortunately its thickness is just right – it assures stability of the whole thing, while not making it painful for the painter’s arms. I have to admit that while carrying the loaded paint station around I felt as if the base was pretty flexible due to its low thickness, but I hope it won’t end up in the same way as the Games Workshop paint station, which soon became warped… But whatever I would call the GW thing, I wouldn’t call it “flexible”.

The base is thin enough so it doesn’t cause any pain even during long painting sessions:

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Workmanship

Quality of the paint station caused no objections on my end, and the HobbyZone logo doesn’t jump at you, and is a nice visual touch instead. You know that for me such little things can mean a lot 🙂

Of course, like a typical woman I had a crazy idea to repaint the paint station to a color more harmonized with my apartment, but I quickly realized that the white color of the paint station has a big advantage – it doesn’t create any color cast, which would alter the way painted models look. White also reflects more light, which makes your workspace brighter and better lit (without blinding you ;)). I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but even if it was just accidental – it must have been a lucky accident.

Elements of the HobbyZone paint station are glued solidly and neatly, and edges are finished in a clean way so it seems there’s no risk of tearing or chipping. Of course I am judging after like two weeks of usage, so I can’t tell what it’s going to look like after a year or two.

Gluing is neat, workmanship is flawless:

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Possible improvements:

I did a little improvement to the table, which allows me to carry it more securely (and it’s very important to me). I fixed the miniatures and elements I was working on to the paint station with Blu-tack or Patafix. This keeps them secured to their places and I don’t have to fear the possibility of anything dropping from the table when I am transporting it.

My problem was that I couldn’t find suitable water glasses to fit in the slots prepared in the paint station. They could become another product from HobbyZone, but on our miniature painting forum I was told to use disposable plastic cups, and they fit perfectly, so this problem was already solved. Not that I wouldn’t prefer something more durable…

On the photos you can see that for now I prefer to use the slots originally planned for water cups to keep my sculpting tools and a coaster on which I keep spare little bits, and I carry my water glasses on the tabletop:

I keep my water cups on the base, as I don’t have suitable glasses to fit in the slots:

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Final verdict

As you can surely see, I am very satisfied with the improvements and reorganization I managed to achieve thanks to the paint station and paint stands. I would rate the quality of these products as very good, they’re easy to keep clean and much room for paints, toold and miniatures I am painting allows me to keep most of the things I might need while working on miniatures (and surely also other models) close at hand. I hope these products are durable enough so I don’t have to replace them with new ones (and remember they’re getting some rough time from me – painting every day and being carried around a few times a day).

If there’s anything I don’t quite like, it’s the larger-sized paint slots. I can’t say they’re bad, but they simply don’t suit my needs all that well. Although supposed to be universal slots, they aren’t well suited to some of more frequently used products. And if they’re supposed to be a good fit for a particular kind of bottles, then they could be fitting more accurately. It may be a matter of taste though. I dealt with it by moving some of my supplies onto the paint station, but this means I have some of my rarely used products there where I don’t really need them so much. They could rest on paint stands, but I hope such paint stands are still to be produced. 🙂

I think that HobbyZone started well with a line of products for us, painters. Now they should open their minds to suggestions coming from the hobby community and react to market situation. There are some suggestions from me in this very review. 😉

Prices of their products are not high in my opinion. People who spend a few hours daily painting, should be able to spend some money on equipping and reorganizing their workspaces.

Would I recommend these products to other painters? Yes, with completely clear conscience. Just remember that it’s not any kind of a magic solution which will tidy up and reorganize your workshops. In my case it worked well because I always wanted to have easy access to tools, paints and models that I am working on, and to be able to carry my painting equipment easily – and both the paint station and paint stands allow for easy portability. I got what I expected.

Ideas and suggestions

First thing is what I already mentioned: shelves with different shapes and sizes of slots. It would allow to customize paint stands for the kind of products one actually uses. Especially that HobbyZone is pretty flexible as far as customizations go.

Another idea I have is to make similar shelves, but instead of paint bottle slots, they would have little drawers for fine modeling supplies, like glue, flock, sand, static grass, etc. If they keep the same size as paint stands, one could build a whole wall of such shelves.

Alternatively they could also split benchtop organizers into smaller modules (let’s say in 3 variants: empty, shelves and drawers), which could be combined depending on your needs and preferences.

The last idea I would like to remind about was to provide those unfortunate water cups, which would fit the slots in paint stations. I would most likely buy them for my paint station.

And let’s not forget the display cabinets section on HobbyZone website, which is still empty. I really wonder when we will see anything there and what will they look like.

And what would you like to suggest to HobbyZone? Maybe you have used their products and would like to share your own opinion? I am curious what you have to say on this subject and sure that the HobbyZone crew will check this review and comments here.

— Ańa

Between the Lines – Episode 7

I’ve been told that I should pay more attention to issues important for painters, as Chest of Colors is the site for painters.

Well…

OK, if that’s what you ask for…

The first ever Between the Lines tutorial. I’ll deal with one very important issue. Beware though, it may turn upside down everything you knew about painting so far.

Colour Theory

Between the Lines: Colour Theory

Many thanks to Camelson, superb painter and friendly chap who let me use one of his minis as an example for my tutorial.

Titan Forge review

Titan Forge is a fairly new company based in Poland.We have recently received some of their miniatures, which allowed us to prepare this Titan Forge review. Let’s not waste your time then and tell you few words about them.

About Titan Forge

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Titan Forge’s target group are without any doubts GW gamers, playing both WFB and 40K. Their products (miniatures, bits and bases) are clearly sculpted to supplement your GW army. Is it good or bad? I’ll leave this question for you to reply. It needs to be stressed though that there usually is a twist to them – we can see some pirate ogres or undead orcs. Anyway, why don’t you follow the above link and check Titan Forge ranges by yourself.

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Sculpts

Sculpting is not bad. Speaking honestly, these are not the best sculpts on the market and their quality varies between individual pieces. Nevertheless, it seems that new miniatures are received better by viewers. You can check some opinions on our forum. I hope that this progress will continue and next miniatures will be even better. There are some miniatures I do like already.

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Titan Forge products are packed in blisters or cardboard boxes filled with some chips. I haven’t found any sign of damages after transport, so I guess that they protected properly.

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Casting

Quality of the casts is satisfactory. I’ve seen better resin casts for sure, but Titan Forge has nothing to be ashamed of. On the next few pics you will see some of the standard issues that you can encounter when working with resin: mould lines, excessive flesh, air bubbles etc. These are not as significant problems as with Finecast products, but the faults are there and need to be mentioned.

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Titan Forge guys put a lot of attention to make assembly easier. Check these triple pegs or even metal pin!

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Unfortunately, there still are some gaps to be filled after assembly.

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Nice surprise

While we speak of assembling – you will be spoiled with choices! Titan Forge packs a lot of additional bits. In case of ogres there were at least two heads for each ogre. Very nice from them. You can choose bits you like the best and there will still be more waiting to be used in the future.

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Another thing I liked a lot about Titan Forge miniatures is that most of them came with ready bases suiting the sculpts perfectly – sea theme for pirates, graveyard for the undead… I suppose this will be appreciated especially by gamers who will get interesting bases for their minis without any effort. By the way, these bases are also available separately.

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Prices… well, I find it hard to decide if these products are reasonably priced. They are not the cheapest miniatures around, but you get additional bits and ready bases… Decide for yourself if you want to pay or not.

Summary of Titan Forge review

Generally speaking, my feelings about this company are quite ambivalent. Yes, they clearly base their product on GW games, yet they try to introduce some variety by playing with GW ideas and concepts. Sculpts and casts are not perfect, but it seems they are constantly improving. There are better prices on the market, but this is balanced to some extent with all add-ons

I think I’ll just keep my eyes opened and wait for further Titan Forge releases. I can recommend some of their miniatures already and I’m sure I’ll paint few by myself with pleasure. I suggest you do the same, especially if you are a gamer.

How to make lava splashes – Tutorial

While working on my latest commission, I had to find out how to make lava for the model’s base.

Introduction

I already did several lava bases. So in order to avoid boredom I had to come up with a new idea or end up with boring and uninspired results.

So I returned to browsing the internet for photos of lava:

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Now this is something I haven’t done before! 😀

What we need to make lava

How to make lava that is boiling and splashing? We will need:

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  • sheet of plastic (I used a thick plastic sleeve)
  • scissors
  • source of heat (I used a candle)
  • filler putty (I used a modeling putty for plastic models)
  • Vallejo Water Effect
  • hygroscopic balls (you will find them in a new wallet or handbag, where they’re supposed to absorb moisture)
  • Maskol
  • foam
  • airbrush (you can do without it, but I used mine)
  • paintbrush
  • paints: white, black, Vallejo MC 952 Lemon Yellow, Vallejo Ink Skin Wash, Winsor & Newton Orange Ink, Vallejo MA Mahogany, Reaper Red Brick 09001, and saturated red of your choice.
  • retarder (because regular Vallejo paints tend to clog my airbrush)

So how to make lava like that?

I pulled, stretched and bent stripes of plastic over fire:

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I made a test application of the lava surface on a sheet of metal. The consistence of my putty made it a suitable material to imitate lava:

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I ruffled the fresh putty with a toothpick and added the splashes I formed from plastic:

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When the putty was dry, I finished the rest of my lava base with Vallejo Water Effect. Its thickness is similar to that of mayonaise, so it feels perfect for the task. If you want to make finer splashes of lava than mine, you can apply some water effect on a piece of thin wire:

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Painting lava

I left the base to dry overnight and in the morning I started with priming the base. Then I used my airbrush to apply several layers of paint to build up colors of lava:

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I checked if it fits to the scenic base:

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I could see I was going in the right direction. Now I only needed more contrast, so I returned to painting.

I highlighted the hottest parts once more with Vallejo MC 952 Lemon Yellow. Once more I applied Winsor&Newton Orange to increase saturation. I glazed some parts with my red. And then with the side of a paintbrush I painted cooled cracks with Reaper Red Brick 09001 and black:

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Finished lava base

Finishing touches were done later, when the model for which the base was made was ready. Now you should know how to make lava splashes for your minis and see the finished thing here:

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I hope this tutorial was helpful to you. If you have any hints or tips, feel free to let me know about them or discuss this technique in the comments below.

— Ańa

Miniature of the month: March 2012

Hello again! March was very productive at the Chest of Colors forum. This month you can see some great entries in the Miniature of the Month March 2012 gallery. The pictures I collected come from various sections of the forum.

Two of those places are the members’ own threads in Polish and English sections of the forum. The third source of photos is the Tale of Gamers thread.

Have fun, enjoy watching the miniatures and remember that you can always give feedback to the authors at the forum!

Authors say

Here are some comments from the authors of this month’s entries:

I finished this paintjob a few weeks ago. It’s meant to take part in the Lowlands competition at Games Workshop. And therefore, I tried painting it Eavy Metal style. All metallics are painted NMM. The gems are painted with a gloss varnish after I took the pictures.
If you have any feedback and suggestions for my next mini, please share them

— MaGie

Time for a new mini. I have been working on this for a while. halfway through this mini i suddenly got my layering/gradient to work so this mini is painted with a mix of technics but I am happy about the final result. it is also my first attempt with OSL. This is a great mini to paint had a lot of fun but in my opinion the eye are Honorable to paint as they are sculpted as two small “spots”. I am looking forward to your comments.

— Little Jimbo

Hi – for some years I’ve been collecting some models to make an army of dark elves. I don’t like the games workshop flashy clean , fair skined – pissed off – overspiky dark elves so I gathered verious models from past date confrontation, Hordes and my own convertions of Games workshop and confrontation models. Here are some things I’ve already done and I hope to post new stuff as it goes but still I don’t have a proper skill or camaera to make better photos. I will try to push some discipline as there are some other big projects comming an the current games workshop rulespack does not motivate me to play so I’m making an army with 7th edition in mind and hoping for better future.

— Rzymek

Miniatures of the month March

Rules and voting

Everybody can vote for 3 miniatures of their choice. There will be one Miniature of the Month (the winner) and up to two honorable mentions. The number of honorable mentions will be reduced if two miniatures tie for the title of the Miniature of the Month, so the maximum number of awarded entries is 3.

OK, so now you should be ready to vote:

Voting has ended

The poll is open until the end of April. The results will be posted after the poll is closed and the winner will receive a honorary badge to display in his profile on our miniature painting forum. In case of a tie, the badge will be awarded to the winners. Up to two models will also receive honorary mentions.

Feel free to comment on this month’s entries, explain why you voted the way you did, or even discuss votes of other users – we’ll be happy to read what you have to say. So don’t be shy and share your opinion with us. Thank you!

Results

UPDATE: The winner of this month’s poll is C’Tan, with honorable mentions going to Irkuck and Le6n. Congratulations!