The best army painter at Adepticon gives you his tips

Remember the Scallywaggin chaos marines i featured in Tentacle Thursday a few weeks back? Of course you do – they’re only five posts down!

Guess what? They won both Best Army Appearance and Players’ Choice at Adepticon. I got in touch with Brandon Palmer at GMM Studios, and asked a few questions about how he painted them.

For the record, state your name and how long you have been into the miniature hobby.
My name is Brandon Palmer and I have been off and on in the hobby for 10 years, then started painting heavily/professionally in 2007.

Using Tentakel’s psychographs, what type of wargamer are you?
I am a hardcore Paul that, locally, is surrounded by angry Ringo’s, so my Paul hibernates most of the year and lets his John out to run free. Does that make sense? 😀 I am a very competitive player but I only really put my competitive hat when playing in a tournament or talking with club mates. When I talk with clients it’s usually about fluff as well, although there are at times I wake Paul up when they need advice in that area 🙂

Pirates and tentacles are all over today’s popular culture. Yet your Scallywaggin marines stand out from the cliché. How did you develop the theme?
Well, I make an army each year for Adepticon, and I just let it stew from the end of the last con (April) to around the new year, then I start doing all the model design and building, then I normally take the week or two off right before the con and paint it (otherwise I wouldnt get anything done out of excitement). So it’s mainly just a lot of ideas blended smoothly over time into one. It has a bit of Pirate, a bit of Undead, a bit of Steampunk, and some Orcish humor, all of which people tend to love. I tried to not represent any one aspect of Pirate literature and film TOO much, and then helped smooth it all over as well. Of course I did have to put a Davy Jones in there along with a couple references to my favorite Flying Dutchman crew 🙂

Where did you get the cute little octopuses that are crawling all over?
Those actually aren’t figures I bought, I commissioned a guy named Hortwerth on Warseer to add those. Most of the sea life is 100% green stuff, including the big one 🙂 Look him up by the way he does great work.

Are you planning on adding any models to the army?
No. My armies for Adepticon are one shot, one list armies. I want them to display as a full army as they did at the con all year round. I will admit it often crosses my mind, but I would rather just make another army.

Your models look very “painterly”, if you excuse the expression. Do you have any formal art schooling?
Yes, I went to graphic design school. My website was actually a final project. I knew at that point this is what I wanted to do so I put the classes to good use.

How much time do you generally spend on a miniature for an army? What steps do you follow when painting?
Other than taking characters out and doing detail on them on their own at the end, when I paint I do 100% of the army at the same time. I assemble, prime, basecoat, flock, etc etc all at once. This works best as a commission painter because I paint armies weekly. It speeds things up. But also it makes the army cohesive. Every space marine army I do has exactly matching armor colors.

Looking through the galleries, turquoise seems to be a signature color of yours. How come?
I would agree, but in my opinion this is only in my own personal armies. I paint “codex” armies all year long, so when I do an army of my own I like to make it a bit wonky. The edge I have when competing for best painted is, not only do people stop and say “wow” but they also tend to say “what the hell?” I like that. If you spend much time on Warhammer forums you know the term “Troll”. Well I like to do that with my armies, in unoffensive ways of course. I have a weird sense of humor. Even on my Krieg, which I let my “Ringo” run wild on, writing fluff, I made their helmets and turrets an off color because I dont want them to blend in with other armies.
The reason its all blue is that I have yet to find a good way to use a bright pink or green in a fitting way. However next year might either have an angelic or a rock and roll theme depending on what the Dark Eldar look like, so I might find some room for them yet 🙂

I know you’re a professional, running a business. But what top tip do you have that you can share with our readers?
Oh I dont mind giving tips. One thing I see people struggling with is speed. Speed comes with time, and practice. You will get to the point where, and I know this is cliche in a way, but the brush becomes an extension of yourself and you can do eyes and stripes with a flick of your brush and not make mistakes. As with anything in life it comes with a LOT of practice. So just keep at it.

One other tip is, I hear so many people talking about taking forever to paint, but then they go on to explain they have to set up each time. The best thing you can do is have a permanent spot to paint at, so you dont have to get anything out. Thats hard to do though if you have kids or no room, and I understand, but the faster you can make the setup process the more time you can spend painting.

Thanks for having me on here, David!

It’s my pleasure! Be sure to check Brandon’s galleries out, as well as his new blog – there are hundreds of great miniatures there. And remember that he paints for a living, so you can order an army from him!


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