14 November 2014

Maybe a little controversial but !

I will come right out and state that I mean no offence to anyone regardless of their skill set with this post, it is just an opinion that I have been discussing with my good friend Kevin and wondered if we were alone in this train of thought.

The whole debate centers around E Bay, yes that in itself is like Marmite for a lot of people, but I use it and am happy to continue to do so. You see being a wargamer and full time figure painter, there are great world wide opportunities to add figures to our collections using the mechanics of E Bay. Of course you need to avoid the Chinese / Hong Kong sellers who cast their own fake figures denying the real manufacturer of his income unless you have no issue regarding copyrights, slave labour, etc (but that is another debate entirely).

During our conversation, we discussed the PRO Painted tag you see slapped on pretty much everything. This made the debate much livelier as we shared the same sort of theory on this. You see what does pro painted actually mean. To me it is nothing, it means the person is trying to cash in using a tag to highlight the auction, it carries no guarantee of skill or quality. All it means is the person is either trying to paint full time to earn an income, or part time to earn extra cash and nothing more.

Now I may have this perception because I do paint for a living and find it hard to make a purchase of figures that I find wanting in many ways. That is possibly the perfectionist in me or is it the fact the word Pro which as we all know means professional or a bit of both. For me its a bit of both you see I can paint to a reasonable standard and if I am painting something to sell then I try to make it look the best I can, after all I do it to earn a living. So why do I see sellers using the Pro painted tag differently, well one scout through Ebay and it becomes obvious, battalions of 28mm figures all with distinctly Marty Feldman eyes, Horses that look as if they have just had an unexpected enema due to having human eyes painted on. Badly block painted figures that have clearly been shown a 4 inch decorators brush and based with a pile of flourescent green sawdust need I go on!!

What this actually does is make the task of sorting the wheat from the chaff much harder as there are many genuine hard working full time painters, whose work is lumped in with the I think I can paint auctions. Obviously there is no quick fix to this issue and I am merely venting a thought here. But why paint eyes if you cant do them, it only negates the figure and devalues it in my opinion. If you are proud of your work and it is of a good standard why no decent pictures, using the hubble telescope to take a picture from 30 feet away on a 15mm mini is not going to get me buying. I want to see the figures.

I have never used the tag Pro Painted in anything I have sold, simply because of the aforementioned issues and fortunately I sell most of my figures offered up for sale and they go world wide, so do people in general avoid anything that is Pro painted or are they like me and Kevin who spend a lot of time sorting good from acceptable to down right bad when they use E Bay.

Of course you could also argue that our standards are to high and we view it with an artists eye, rather than a gamers eye. This is highly possible I know I am a bit of a perfectionist, and living with a twisted head it could possibly be an issue that relates solely to me. Now in closing I dont mind people using the tag at all and could not stop people anyway. I just thought it would create some healthy debate on here.

Now because every post needs a little bit of eye candy here is my latest Napoleonic unit that is currently on E Bay.

Well now I have stirred up a hornets nest I will leave you all in peace

Loki

37 comments:

  1. I can't disagree with any of what you said. Every one uses the term Pro-painted... Well I guess if some one pays you to do it something it make a pro... but there is a difference between a guy playing baseball for an independent league club and a the one playing for major league team. Both are playing baseball professionally but they are not equivalent. Sorry the base ball analogy may be lost on you folks across the pond (feel free to confuse me with a "football" analogy).

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  2. The term 'Pro painted' means nothing, that professional painter might be a terrible (I've seen a few). Likewise someone who paints occasionally might paint to the highest standard and sell the results online.

    Even the terms 'painted to wargaming standard' or 'collectors standard' are open to interpretation. Best take close up photos and let people judge for themselves.

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    1. I have to agree fully with the last part Matt

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  3. I base my opinion on what I see. If the shot is distant then they are hiding something in my mind.

    Got to agree with all you said

    Ian

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    1. Ahh so I am not the only one that thinks poor pictures are hiding something thats a relief

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  4. Your work is fantastic and an art. I just think that people need to learn to follow the artist, buy from the artist, and not just the tag 'pro-painted'.

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  5. I agree with everything that's been said (to date) and I don't think it's particularly controversial. I'm afraid that in many cases eBay is the last refuge of scoundrels and should be treated warily. However, painted figures are a very subjective commodity. One man's meat and all that. I've seen very well painted figures which just aren't to my taste. It's like art and music: it may be 'classical' or in a gallery, but it doesn't mean I have to like it or even think it's particularly good.

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    1. A good analogy Gary though I hope I am not in the rogue and scoundrel section too far :)

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    2. Certainly not. You're a gentleman of the first water and I wouldn't sully your reputation for honesty and integrity.

      And that was the best ten quid you ever spent . . . .

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  6. "Pro-painted" is a meaningless term. Often, I translated the phrase to "I paid for someone else to paint my figures." As in most cases, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Tastes differ.

    Oh, your French infantry look marvelous. Some of the posing and anatomy appears a bit off to my eye. Of course, it might just be the camera perspective. Who makes these figures?

    Hardly a controversial topic!

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    1. Jonathan it is very likely a camera angle thing, the unit is a mix of Foundry metal and Perry Plastics.

      I agree it may not be too controversial but these days people take offence to the smallest statement of truth and before you know it you become some devil

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  7. yep - i tend to fall off my chair laughing at the "pro painted" descibed figures very very few approach "gifted amateur" status... i think the pro involved will probably be starving very quickly.. provide good pictures ans let your buyers decide.. simples

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    1. Yes I see me more in the good amateur rankings myself and I often have fits of laughter at some of the offerings labelled pro painted.

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  8. I agree mate. Well said. Now I would call your Napoleonics unit in those two pictures "Pro Painted" (is that maple leaf I see on the tan trousers of that one chap? :) ) because of the quality and because of what you do for a living. However, unless I knew the vendor or the vendors hired painter by reputation, I would never believe the PP label. I consider myself a decent amateur painter, and I am content to be such. Were I to sell a figure(s) online, I would never call them Pro Painted.

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    1. Now that made me go and take a real close look and that was more by luck than design my good man. Thank you for the kind comments

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  9. I am an artist... my work is on canvas. The only miniature anything I've ever done was a Christmas village... occasionally I add another piece but it has to fit in with the old world theme. The buildings and people are tiny... it all fits on the fireplace mantle. I might find a piece already painted and repaint it myself. This is my only experience with which I can relate to your gaming and painting skill. Not to offend you with this simple hobby I have.
    I look at your work and am amazed at the expressions on the faces... each face different from the other. That takes a lot of planning and execution of brush work! If I ever became a gamer and chose the eras you provide - you would certainly be my choice to purchase figures from. My thinking is - why bother if it's shoddy work?
    Just as there's a Christmas shop I love to visit to see the new stuff every year. I can go cheap or make it worth time. I'd rather buy one decent figure than a bunch of junk. And when they offer the figure in an unpainted version, I'd rather opt for that - I know what colors, etc., I want added to my collection.
    Pro or not - I have to like what I see. If there are no visual closeups, forget the purchase. Simple as that for me. (Forgive the long post but I did want to qualify my answer by explaining my little village experience.) End result - I do understand your complaint. Thanks Loki.

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    1. You have summed that up perfectly a great analogy Dixie, thank you for your comment

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  10. Don't stir the hornets nest up KICK IT TILL IT FALLs APART!
    I never buy painted figures simply because I like to paint my own. |I am by no way the best or even near the best.) And buying figures another has painted means that I have an odd looking unit on the field of play. It's all personal choice of course. But I have never bought a painted figure from someone unless to repaint it to fit my own.

    So on eBay I would avoid anything ladled as painted. But that's just me!

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  11. The joy of ebay is that you see something you like you bid on it and if you're lucky you win. For me the term pro painted is just an excuse to allow the seller to hike up the starting price, but as a result they never seem to shift anything.

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    1. Have to agree Michael I see the same figures time and time again.

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  12. I quite often buy painted figures on eBay but ignore any "pro-painted" tag - if there's 2 or 3 good quality photos, I don't bother risking it. I regularly 3 or 4 sellers who I know produce excellent work. Secondary gripe - can all you "Pro-Painters" out there paint something other than Perry plastics!

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    1. Thank you Jeremy. In reply to the last part for me personally I paint whatever the customer asks me to paint metal or plastic regardless of manufacturer, (except Baker Company) the surge in plastics is a double edged sword it is cheaper for the new entrant to the hobby to amass figures in bulk for a reasonable cost, however they seem to have the opposite appeal for the long standing gamers in the community. I dont always have the luxury of what I paint to sell as it is driven by demand very often and if plastics out sell metal then I have to go down that road as I have to pay the bills. For me that is the bottom line as I have no other income source to provide for my family.

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  13. I thought "Pro Painted" meant that each figure was priced $2/each more than I am willing to pay.

    Good luck with your Ebay sales; it's a great place for bargains, and scoundrels, sort of like the world in general.

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  14. Great post there Loki! I have never bought painted figures, except to re-paint, and would totally ignore the "Pro-Painted" bit! Your Napoleonic unit is stunning!

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  15. Like many above, I agree with what you have written.

    The term Pro-Painted means nothing as it has been kidnapped by sellers who believe that it will A - help sell their models, B - a sales ploy.

    Both are worthless.

    The true aspect of buying models from e-bay is that I re-paint them in MY STYLE.

    Regards and thanks for a great Blog.

    Tony

    PS.

    Your painted regiment looks great. Is it Pro-Painted:)

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  16. Like so many areas in life, the best judge of someone's ability is not in what they say about it but what others say. Also how do they present themselves and their product overall? I'll happily buy "pro-painted" or any other description if the seller is reputable, provides good quality images of the actual item for sale and is open and responsive when questioned. If a seller can't meet these criteria then they haven't earned my custom. Having said all the mate you and Kev both do all of these things in spades.

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  17. Gotta agree with everything already said, I tend to ignore most of the writing on ebay, I look at the pics first, then the price then move on......

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    1. Thanks Ray.
      me too
      i tend to scrutinise the pics first before i even look at any text

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  18. Heartily agree with Ray. Picture worth a 1000 words and all that. Still, sometimes the photography of the subjects is as poor as the actual artistry. Yes, indeed, look at the pics and then the price. If the collars and cuffs don't match up, move on...

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  19. Its always a tricky subject as art is in the 'eye' of the beholder. Let your work sell themselves. Tat will always be tat.

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  20. I totally agree with you there Andrew as I see the likes of Kevin Dallimore, Steve Dean and Andrew Taylor as pro painters and their standard is sometime to be achieved. The tag of Pro Painted is general is nothing to do with the quality of the painting but now a selling tag. Now saying that but yours and Kev's works painting at Brigantes Studios are up there with the best and with labels or Pro or not should sell like hot cakes as the quality of the painting speaks for itself

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    1. Thanks Pete.
      we try to be consistent in what we do.
      no matter what the standard we paint to.

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    2. Thats why your painted stuff stands out for the crowd

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  21. Big thanks for all the comments everyone.
    Andy likes to open the odd debate every now and then.
    I love ebay myself.
    once can see past the crap, it's a great tool.
    Good pictures are the key

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