Thursday, May 13, 2010
My first review of a model painting company.
Buying painted models and armies on ebay can be a risky proposition and that is why I will be running a multiple part series reviewing the work and business practices of some of these companies.
Now buying pre-painted armies and units is a controversial subject with many people taking hard lines on whether or not it should be allowed (in a tournament setting). Let me explain why. Many argue that if I buy a tremendously painted and converted army from someone else I should not be eligible to a painting score or awards at that tournament since it is not my hobby being scored. For this reason, some tournaments run penalties for players who do not use their own painted models. To be fair I think there is something to this argument, I believe that you should not be awarded a “best painted” trophy for something that you did not do. On the other hand I do believe that you should be entitled to the painting score your army deserves. While I have “bought” quite a few armies over the years I have done extensive work on almost all of them to get them to what I consider my regular standard.
Now if I can paint and convert fairly well (in most tournaments I get max painting or close to max painting scores) why would I buy someone else’s work? Well the answer is fairly simple. I paint incredibly slowly and I have ADD (literally) that manifests itself in a constant need to play different armies. While I have a job that gives me 12 weeks of vacation a year to paint and hobby the rest of the time I am fairly busy and don’t have much opportunity to hobby. Thus I sometimes have to get my new hobby fix from buying someone else’s work.
This leads back to the original discussion of painting companies. There are a surprising number of people you could pay to paint your models for you. Some of these people are incredibly talented and expensive and conversely there are some people that are incredibly cheap but… lets just say you get what you pay for. Does this mean we straight to the top and expect to mortgage our house for a squad of ten marines? Well it could but I am not that guy. I am my Mother’s son and will always look for a good deal on quality workmanship. Essentially I will be looking at companies that paint above the table-top level. (Upper middle of the pack so to speak)
Our first vict..errrr.. I mean company to review is called PPSBay. They regularly have items up for sale on ebay which is how I found them. I bought all the foot troops needed for a Space Wolves Army between them and another company that shall be mentioned later (after their products arrive). I bought a unit of 5 wolf scouts and 5 wolf guard terminators. The prices were quite reasonable considering the quality that arrived. I was shocked by how quickly I had miniatures in hand. Even with my wonky local post office I got my box of goodies within 6 days of payment (including a weekend). PPSBay is located in China so I was pleased that my package arrived so quickly. A big tick in the timely box.
Now my camera is in the shop so we will rely on the pictures from their ebay sale. I would not normally do so but the photos really did reflect the actual miniatures that arrived. This is not always the case with all ebay sales. I really like the reliability that you can actually trust that the pictures of the models reflect the models being sold. Another big tick on the positive side of the board.
My models showed up in a tough cardboard box with reinforced taping on the edges. The models themselves were inside resting neatly in custom cut foam trays. Nothing was broken and packed like that I would have been surprised if they were. Of all the things I have bought over the years these models were packed the best. A+ from me! Additionally I didn’t realise that the bases came magnetized so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box. It will make life easier when I go to make my display board later.
Down to the nitty gritty: the quality of the paint jobs. As mentioned above the pictures do an excellent job of showing exactly what arrived in my post box. The painting is generally clear and crisp. The highlights are extreme in a good way, that really make the models “pop” on the table top. Details are carefully rendered and none of the details are drowned out by over thick paint jobs. The flesh on the scouts is perfect while the flesh on the terminators will require a tad of tiny touching up especially around the problematic eye area. That being said that is me being really picky. The flesh is well done. Speaking of the problematic eye area, the eyes are very well done which is usually my first gripes with commission work. All in all I am very happy with the miniatures appearance.
No gripes? Really? Ok, I do have one. I have to say that for all of my happiness with the models I do think that the yellow is really average. The basic coat is very minutely blotchy which is ok but the highlighting is really not up to par with the rest of the models. Additionally the unit emblems are transfers. I despise transfers. I really do. I always have. I have always thought that they make your models look cheap and poorly done. Now, this is a good thing and a bad thing for PPSBay. I knew that the models had transfers when I bought them and I expected to have some trouble filing and cutting them off before I could go back and repaint over them. What worked brilliantly for me is that PPSBay did not seal the transfers at all. Now for me that is a real boon. I was able to get most of the transfers off with light rubbing by my fingernail. BONUS! If you like transfers though I see that as a major problem. Usually I buy painted models expecting them to be done. Had I expected that I would have been annoyed but once again that is just me. Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of the work done by PPSBay.
As mentioned before I only bought prepainted models and did not have them complete any commission work. I am pleased with their work and plan to try them out on further commission work in the future. I would give my overall experience an 8 out of 10 paintbrushes. I hope this review has been helpful. Until next time…