Wednesday, February 12, 2014

REVIEW: Figure Painter Magazine

I stumbled upon a new magazine today completely by chance (thanks Google Now app!). Figure Painter Magazine. As far as I know it is digital only, but it is entirely dedicated to the hobby of miniatures and painting. Could this be the answer to White Dwarf's annoying habit of monetizing every bit of useful content out of their magazines?  Let's find out.

Now, this being the first time reviewing someone else's IP like this, I'm not quite sure where to draw the line as far as posting their content, so I'm going to play it safe and not post too any screen shots.  You'll have to take my word for it. I'm also going to do this section by section, so forgive me if it turns in to a novel. I'm writing as I read, so you'll discover it with me.

The issue reviewed here is issue #9, which means the magazine has been out for a good chunk of time, and I'm quite possibly very late to this party.  Regardless, here's my thoughts:

The website is nice enough, clean if a little sparse, but I had some issues registering, paying, and downloading on my iPad and had to switch over to the PC to complete the transaction. It's probably just the iPad.  Has issues with all kinds of web sites.  Stupid Apple and their failure to move past 2006. The magazine is a bargain price of 1GBP or ~$1.65 USD.  Not too shabby for 86 pages!  Let's see how the content is.

Quick letter from the editor- this magazine is now read on all continents excepting Antarctica. Impressive, and I'm indeed late to the party. Overall, the magazine is nicely laid out and designed for a semi pro mag, especially for the price. There are definitely a few ads throughout but it's not intrusive. I'll be curious to review earlier issues to see how that has expanded.

Reviews- detailed and informative.  There are several reviews throughout, and they're really well done. Two full pages (with pics) for a mini bust.  4 pages for the walking dead board game.  Like I said, detailed, but not overly so. There are more, but I won't belabor the point.

Insight- Sean Fulton does an interview with Aaron Lovejoy, renowned miniature painter. I'm admittedly pretty new to this hobby, but even I recognized his name and a few of his minis were featured in the first issue of Warhammer Visions. Interesting article about the life of a professional painter. He's very excited about Reaper Con. I can't remember if I went to that one back in my game design days, but it sounds like there's a lot of painting and sculpting classes. May have to check it out.

Malifaux- an article on scratch building a game board. Could be really cool.  I really miss this kind of article from the old WD mags. Not sure if the quality here is legit or not, they're still roughing it out, but I'm dubious on some aspects. Still a lot of fun to watch it come together. Bonus: the authors provide their email address so you can ask questions. Service!

Electronics Top Tips- Right in the middle of that last article, like it was accidentally placed in the wrong spot.  This is a short bit on converting DC power for your models. Basic electronics stuff. Weird placement, but potentially cool content. Is it part of that article?  Feels totally out of left field.

Another couple of lengthy reviews on steampunk minis. Pretty cool.  Nice pics. Why 2 separate articles?

Paint & Putty- showcase of some nice minis- historical bust, WWII, fantasy. So far nothing GW other than Aaron's pics and I'm OK with that.

Interesting inspiration article on founding a gaming club in Croatia. This really is an international mag, but it's surprisingly well written.

New Releases- 6 pages of releases from small mini companies. Great stuff.

Shane Rozzell writes an interesting article on basics of airbrush gear for someone thinking about taking the plunge. Basic stuff, and more encyclopedia style information than advice.

Charlie Kirkpatrick does a step by step tutorial on painting a mech. Good technique but the photos weren't always super helpful. A little broad, but nice.

Questions- this might be my favorite section so far. Tim Fitch interviews miniature sculpting legend Sandra Garrity. If you're reading this blog, you've almost certainly seen her work in a gaming store at some point.  Just a nice lighthearted interview with a fantastically talented artist.

Exhibition- this is their own painting awards section.  8 pages.  Most of the minis are fantastic, and I love that there's no GW restrictions. Convert away!

Ok, that rounds out the whole 86 pages. I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised and really happy with the purchase. This magazine isn't the pinnacle of publishing quality, but it's pretty darn good. For 1/6 the price of a new White Dwarf and with considerably more content, including proper tutorials, scenery builds, conversions, and even stuff from outside GW...I'm in. I'm definitely going to pick up a few more issues. Check it out. It's well worth the tiny price tag. Be sure to let me know what you think in e comments.

In previous reviews, I instituted a pass/fail scale, but that's just so limiting I'm going to abandon it. 10 point scale is universal. I give this, my first issue, a 9/10 based on price/quality ratio. Really, it could be a 10, but I want to give it some room to grow.


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