Wednesday, January 18, 2017


The Meanderer in his his imagination.
The Meanderer's "studio"...the reality.
Every now and then on the interwebs, on sites like The Miniatures Page or on someone's blog, there will be a thread or discussion of painting areas.  I have always been intrigued by these, so I thought I'd reveal mine here.  If there are bloggists out there reading this, I'd encourage you to post a similar item and drop a reply here to bring us to your virtual studio. 

As can be seen in the above, I do my painting in the basement.  It's not that I've been banished  there. Far from it. I used to actually paint in the "main" part of the house (sort of) in my "war room" (you've seen a few snippets of that in my game posts).  However, I found that I was unable to keep a dedicated place for painting there: I take up too much room when I paint. When looking at other hobbyists painting spaces, I'm often impressed at how compact they are.  That just doesn't work for me. I found myself always packing up a painting project in order to configure the room for gaming, and then putting it all back.  Extremely disruptive, to say the least.  There was also the potential mess--paint and whatnot escaping from the table and getting on other things (like the wall or carpet...). So I just decided to move my painting operation to the basement, where I could leave it all set up long term. And in the end, there is just something right about being in the basement doing the stuff for the crafty end of the hobby. In the end, it is a return to where I used to do all of my gaming activities, painting in particular (like many others). As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX in the below.
View from the chair
As I said, I tend to sprawl. Being over 6 feet tall and no longer a youth (let's just say that I ain't 60 yet, but I'm closer to that exit than the entrance ramp from 50), holding a cramped painting position winds up causing shoulder pain that lingers for days. So, I give myself plenty of room. I like to also have room for and access to my brushes, paints in-use, and figures in-progress. Thus, I've taken an old kitchen table, an IKEA special, and extended the wings permanently and put a couple of small shelves on it to expand immediate storage.

Speaking of paints, I still use enamels (left above), my go-to choices being Humbrol, and Testors (both their Model Master and old school small bottles for selected colors).   Enamels are messy and can be troublesome (the stirring and whatnot), and I am no fan of the Humbrol tinlets, but they're what I'm used to and know how to use.  For bases and flocking, however, I have joined mainstream of the miniatures hobby and use acrylics (above right).
On the right side of the painting area I keep my brushes, tools, and the ready pile of paints in-use (a gaggle of tins and bottles that keeps growing as the project continues). I keep a small screwdriver handy just to pry open the Humbrol tins and also a small vice grips to twist off the caps of the Model Masters bottles, which can become quite stubborn once the bottle is in use. Off on the edge of the picture, you can see the all important Dremel sitting in its charging cradle.  Speaking of all-important, I also use an optivisor (right, above).  To think, I once painted without one (and 6mm figures, no less!).  
To the left of my chair I have several small sets of drawers containing my paints, washes, glues, less frequently used tools, and other craft stuff and gizmos.  To the right, I have some old shelves where my lead mountain lives (I shudder to think of how many figures there are).  Sort of a cockpit configuration (only it doesn't go anywhere and there's nothing to operate...okay, not at all like a cockpit).  In a box on the floor I keep my flocking operation (when it's time to do bases, out it comes). 
My IPAD: The Constant Companion
In the "old days" I used to listen to the radio while painting (mostly classical if I could find a good station). I still have a Grundig Yacht Boy on the painting table for that. However, I only rarely listen to it. Instead, I find myself streaming music and other content on my IPAD. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences, and I'm sure that the idea of streaming audio (of whatever kind) over the internet is hardly novel any longer. However, at the risk of exasperating my readers...

BBC 4 Podcasts I'm in the US, and I forget how exactly I became aware of these, but I am forever grateful that I have. The options are many and varied. Just click through the pages and browse until you find what interests you. If you need a place to get started, I would recommend Voices of the First World War, In Our Time (pick your topic), Desert Island Discs (I find myself returning to the interview with George MacDonald Frasier, author of Flashman, in the 2000-2005 archive).
Old Radio Shows: You can stream these directly (there is a player in the upper right hand corner). Although I have listened to many, here are a few of my favorites:

Information Please An acquired taste, perhaps. This is a quiz program from the 30's and 40's where a panel of erudite celebrities and experts (publishers, artists, news and sport reporters, and a few guest panelists) field questions on literally just about anything from the nationwide audience. Not to be missed are the programs where Oscar Levant is among the panelists.

The Lives of Harry Lime Orson Wells portrays the immortal scoundrel in his various and sundry international adventures and intrigures.

Duffy's Tavern
A now-forgotten mainstay of popular culture. The musical interludes (in lieu of commercials) on the AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) broadcasts are a particularly nice bonus.

X Minus One From the Internet Archive Description: "The stories for the show came from two of the most popular science fiction magazines at the time; Astounding and Galaxy...The writers of the magazine stories were not well known then but now are the giants of today. These stories came from the minds of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Poul Anderson to name a few." These aside, a good mix of episodes are comic and particularly entertaining. 

For more, see the Master List of Old Time Radio Programs in the Internet Archive

And Finally...
 WRJQ I include this one just for fun (and since I hail originally from Wisconsin, it has resonance with me as a guilty pleasure). Go ahead...try it.    

At this point, it occurs to me that I'm no longer talking about painting (or am I?), and the hour is getting late. Therefore, dear readers, I thank you for indulging me in this meander. 



  1. Ed, your work table looks quite organized and tidy to me. What is the light you are using to paint by? It is small and seems to produce a bright light. I primarily listen to NPR, podcasts, or lectures when painting.

    1. I took the shot after tidying up. In the midst of a project, especially a larger one, things are a bit more chaotic and cluttered (to say the least).

      As far as the lamp, it's a TROND Halo 11W-C LED Clamp Light Desk Lamp with USB Charging Port. I picked it up through Amazon: very compact and bright with a nice flexible neck.

  2. Sounds interesting. I will look up your shows for inspiration.

    1. Just hit the links and you'll be there...enjoy!

  3. My room:

  4. Interesting, I don't have a painting room but I have a cardtable mostly permanently set up in the living room facing the big screen TV. I like to multitask I guess because I can't just paint - I either am watching sports or CSPAN or one of the very few TV shows I still do watch to keep me occupied whilst painting. Or listen to my IPOD music - it has a few classical pieces on my list but mostly rock and alternative anything from Fleetwood Mac of the good old days to modern stuff I've taken a fancy too, I have eclectic tastes in music. Oh, no polkas though.

    Another source of entertainment is to go to youtube and look for military history lectures by professors or top writers of such, there is a lot out there. Since they are just talks you don't even need to watch, just listen while you focus on the figs.

    1. It's okay. Polka will be there for you...when you're ready.

  5. My favorite old time radio show is "Pat Novak for Hire" starring Jack Web, yes, the Dragnet guy. The writing coupled with Jack Web's delivery is great. Lines like, "Yeah she was pretty once but, now her face would make a train take a dirt road."
    I also recommend the following podcasts:Homecoming


    The Message


    1. Oh, yes! Jack Web on the radio is a whole different experience (you really don't get Dragnet the TV show, I think, unless you've heard that delivery on the radio). I'll have to check out Pat Novak for another side of Web. He once actually hosted a comedy show on radio (if you can believe it).


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