Building an inq54 collection is easy. If you faff about and are patient enough, eventually you’ll find the minis you are after. Once you have some minis, kitbashing them can also be a lot of fun. But for me, painting was a real stumbling block. I just couldn’t kickstart myself to start. But i kept on buying and converting minis until the unpainted pile was just too large to ignore..
So I did what I thought I never would do. I used a commission painter [Ed: well, three actually].
I found my first commission painter (Dragon’s Lair minis) via facebook. He was a hobbyist interested in improving his painting skills and had posted on facebook that he was looking to take on some commission work. I thought that inq would be perfect for him, and as i was being buried under a growing pile of unpainted metal, i sent him five inquisitor figs. We agreed on $20 a mini (this was in 2017). He lived far away so i posted five figures that i was willing to lose if he scammed me. Much to my relief he’s a good guy. He asked about paint schemes and basing preferences, and sent regular photo updates. All up it took five months before i got the minis back [Ed: so good and cheap, but not fast].
So a great result. When i got the minis back i asked if he wanted to paint some more. Alas, no. He wanted time to paint his own stuff, as he knew he wasn’t the quickest painter around. He suggested i contact him again in a few months.
So i looked for a second commission painter, and again on facebook, found a painter [Ed: can’t find any trace of him now though]. He did commission painting as a side business. But his communication skills were very bad, often not replying to messages. I could see on facebook that he had a new job and was travelling a lot. So i don’t think he was deliberately trying to screw me. He just didn’t have the time. In the end i demanded the figures back and he sent them back half painted. but he didn’t charge me, so no harm, no foul. But it was a good 4 or 5 months of him faffing about and screwing around.
I then looked for another commission painter. I got a few quotes (one said $60, another $50, another from $30 (basic layers) to $70 (their best work), another $40. All different prices at different levels of quality. But all i really wanted was to find a talented uni student or high school student with plenty of free time to paint them up cheap. They are not that easy to find though.
Eventually i found my third commission painter, Grey Scale Painting. Another aussie. He was very affordable at the time and had 2 grades – tabletop and high tabletop. I opted for high tabletop and paid $15 per mini. He is no heavy metal painter, but I liked his style. He was a bit slow at times, often swamped with other clients.
I sent him another 2 batches of minis (between 6 and 10 minis per batch) over a year. But after that he had to slow down his commission painting to focus on his uni studies.
Using commission painters has generally been a good experience. But now that i am painting again, i don’t think i will use them anymore. I’d rather save the money to buy more minis. But it was good to use them at the start, to reduce the large pile of unpainted lead, and to kickstart my collection.