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  • WAMP Review: The Complete Guide to Miniature Painting

    When it comes to teaching painting techniques, written descriptions and pictures can only take you so far and are a poor substitute for actually watching someone at work. Unless youíre lucky enough to be friends with a world class painter whoís willing to sit down and teach you for a couple of hours, then video tutorials are the next best thing. A number of different companies have tried video tutorials in the past, but most suffer from poor quality and are only a minute or two long. Thatís where the Miniature Mentor teamís Complete Guide to Miniature Painting comes in- their goal was to create a comprehensive and high quality set of video tutorials that would benefit beginners and veterans alike.
    The guide provides over four hours of training from Laurent Exposito Mas as he shows us how he painted his Golden Demon winning Wolfen Prowler. Itís a very comprehensive work that covers the basics of cleaning and prepping your mini, proper priming for display pieces, and painting. The painting portions of the tutorial, which consist of the vast majority of the diskís content, covers:

    • Smooth base coats without losing detail
    • Colored shadows
    • Proper highlights
    • Painting smooth layers
    • Non-metallic metal
    • Rendering good flesh tones


    The overall teaching style of this video is very organic. They donít edit out any of the small mistakes that Laurent makes, but instead use them as opportunities to show us how to deal with something like getting the wrong color of paint on a finished area of the mini.

    The video quality is excellent. Thereís no guessing about what Laurent is doing because you have a very close-up and clear view of the mini. At the beginning of the guide youíre given a short tour of Laurentís studio where you can see the importance of good lighting and how he normally works. Another great benefit is that they take the time to show you Laurentís palette when heís mixing colors, which allows you to see the consistency he uses to achieve different results and the exact color heís using.

    English is not Laurentís first language, but he is fluent and can get his point across, especially with the help of a member of the Miniature Mentor team whose name I donít know. This team member will often interject comments or explanations on what Laurent is doing and some of the most educational parts of the video are during conversations between them while the painting takes place. They also both do a great job of repeating important pieces of information, like the importance of using your brush to push pigments in the proper direction. Sometimes popup text will also appear to reinforce a vital point.

    The guide is divided up into chapters that deal with specific parts of the mini, like the cloth, skin, eyes, and sword. Each section shows you the techniques for that part from beginning to end. Because of this youíll notice a few places where the mini Laurent is working on looks different between steps. For example, you may notice that the hair is unpainted at the beginning of a section, but when you see it a few minutes later itís completely highlighted. This is because of the editing process of breaking up the overall painting experience into specific sections. It caught my attention the first time I saw it, but it wasnít a distraction.

    Iím the kind of person who learns best when I can follow along, so I feel lucky that I have a copy of Rackhamís Wolfen Prowler, the miniature Laurent paints, and I plan to watch the guide again when I paint him. This mini has been out of print for a while and is very hard to find, so if you want to work along with Laurent you may be forced to do so with a different mini. Most of the time they tell you what colors are being used, but there are a couple of occasions when they forget, so exactly matching Laurentís colors could come down to some guesswork.

    The Breakdown:

    Product: 9.5 / 10
    * The physical DVD copy comes in a handsome 2 disk case with cover art.
    * Digital download is cheaper but the files are very large.

    Content: 9.7 / 10
    * Laurent does a fantastic job of teaching both basic and advanced concepts in a way that everyone can benefit from.
    * Conversations between Laurent and the Miniature Mentor team member lead to interesting lessons.
    * Repetition helps drive the lessons home.
    * Contains some of the best and easiest to understand lessons on non-metallic metal.

    Value: 9 / 10
    * Physical copies are significantly more expensive than digital.
    * Clocking in at over 4 hours, you definitely get what you pay for.
    * The subscription service is a tremendous value if you are interested in all of Miniature Mentorís videos, but if there are only 2 videos youíre interested in you would save more money by purchasing digital versions.
    *Subscription service available at $70 to start, $8 per month thereafter.

    Overall: 9.5 / 10
    The cinematography is very good. You can easily and clearly see everything Laurent is doing and I am impressed that they took the time to show the palette work as well.

    In Summary
    The value of what you learn from this DVD guide goes far beyond what you pay for it. The material is presented in such a way that you understand it and the most complex techniques, like achieving smooth blending, are so well taught that you believe that you can achieve the same results with a bit of practice. Anyone who is serious about improving their painting, regardless of whether youíre new to the hobby or a veteran, should pick up a copy of this guide.

    Comments 7 Comments
    1. ScottRadom's Avatar
      ScottRadom -
      I have the downloadable version and this along with the JBT video are must haves I think. I also rate the miniature mentor "Sigmar Giant" by Juliene Casses (I think) as a must watch too!
    1. TaleSpinner's Avatar
      TaleSpinner -
      Thanks for the review. I've been thinking of getting these and you have pushed me over the edge from thinking to buying.

    1. Ulfgrimr's Avatar
      Ulfgrimr -
      Good review Cregan, totally agree with everything you've said. Also agree with Scott about the JBT video and the JC Giant video, both excellent tutorials and I would recommend all three of these to anyone regardless of their skill level.
    1. Boris's Avatar
      Boris -
      Good call on this, I'm really glad I got a copy myself. Should probably watch it again sometime.
    1. MaGie's Avatar
      MaGie -
      Great review Cregan Tur. I absolutely agree with you. This video tutorial has definitely helped improve my painting. Everything is well explained and even as a beginner I understood everything. Now I can finally blend :)
      BTW most of their videos are really helpful. I especially liked the masterclass by Jennifer Haley.
    1. Spectral Dragon's Avatar
      Spectral Dragon -
      I am definitely pushed into buying this tutorial now! Thank you for the wonderful review.
    1. weareblind's Avatar
      weareblind -
      Quote Originally Posted by Spectral Dragon View Post
      I am definitely pushed into buying this tutorial now! Thank you for the wonderful review.
      Me too!