Late to the party again
Posted by Martin on September 9, 2010
Last night I did something in bed that I’ve been looking forward to for ages. Pause for comedic effect…
You guessed it, I listened to my first ever episode of the Meeples and Miniatures podcast. The inconvenient truth, however, is that while it was my first episode, it’s their 65th episode! What have I been doing for the last 64 episodes and why have I never got round to listening before? No idea, especially since I’m an avid podcast listener in “real life”. I suspect I may have blissfully continued not to listen if it weren’t for noticing almost at random that the latest instalment was about the topic of figure painting and was billed as a discussion of “paint, brushes, glue tools and undercoat”. Yep, that’s sure to pique my interest.
So last night I downloaded it to my trusty iPod Nano and retired to the bed early so that I could listen in comfort. Now, I listen to a lot of podcasts – right through from professional BBC ones to amateur homebrew role playing games ones (plus I did a degree-threatening amount of student radio when I was an undergraduate) so I reckon I have a good idea of what makes for quality audio listening. The M&M sound quality isn’t top notch but, given that it’s all spoken voice, you do get used to it pretty quickly and there’s no nasty background noise, feedback or other unwanted audio distraction.
What is especially impressive from a recording and editing point of view is that there’s hardly any umm-ing and ahh-ing. The host, Paul, and his guest, Steve, do remarkably well on this front throughout an episode of an hour and three-quarters duration and they keep up an cheerful tone that feels like you’re just listening to some like-minded mates chatting about wargaming in the pub. I wonder if they managed this in one long live take or if there were lots of breaks, re-records and edits. It hardly matters which because the end result is so authentic, enthusiastic and warm.
But what about the subject matter? Well, yes, it does cover the billed topics albeit in a way that twists and turns and goes down interesting sidetracks. This isn’t meant as a criticism – I only mention it so you know the style of what to expect if you choose to listen to it. Also, as it turns out, they don’t get all the way through the material they intended. All that means is that we get to look forward to another painting discussion in the next episode.
The journey includes musing on topics like preparing figures, the best glues and fillers to use (including diversions about the ones with the best odours), techniques for assembling multi-part figures (including the art of pinning), the various brands of paints, brushes and basecost (primers) on the market. Given the time constraints, each topic is covered only in moderate detail, so it won’t tell advanced modellers and painters much new but it’s a great checklist of tips and ideas for beginners and there are some gems along the way like a reminder that a blunt knife is more dangerous than a sharp one, the new Games Workshop pin vice (more a proper drill really) has a nice rubber grip handle (I’ll have to check out that item) and that the best way to learn to paint is actually by getting stuck in and, well, painting!
Unsurprisingly, given ther breadth of coverage, the whole is a curate’s egg. I found myself nodding in agreement to some parts, smiling in wry empathy at some of the anecdotes and disagreeing with a few of the ideas and methods. Again, that’s not a criticism. Just because I might do things differently, prefer different brands of paint, use a different method for pinning or even pronounce Vallejo differently doesn’t mean that what Paul and Steve put forward is wrong. It’s just different. And their different ways of doing things might suit you just fine. Either way, they’re worth a try to see if you like them.
Ultimately, the proof of the pudding is that I enjoyed this amiable pair’s amble down the byways and highways of painting so much that I’ll definitely be plumping up my pillows to listen to the next episode when it comes along.