Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The End of the (NMM) Affair

Recently Darkwynn posted over on BoLS about retiring his "Leafblower" Imperial Guard list.  I've recently come to a similar point:

The End of the (NMM) Affair

Right before the recent con I was excited about getting a chance to see all my old friends such as Mongo, Cowboy from the Village People, Chico, Tito, Groucho and many others. I had no idea what I was walking into...

What I wasn’t expecting was to have people come up to me and give me a big high five and go "Thanks man, you ruined it for us!" At first I was genuinely confused. Then someone took the time to take guide me around the hall and point to all these tables. What did I see? NMM 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, okay I stopped counting after 5 but was still a lot. This didn't even take into account the heavily blended paint jobs out there. I thought to myself okay, this could have just been one of my friends who said this and it will be out of the norm. Nope, six other people came up and wanted to say either “thank you” or “you ruined it for us”. So it got me thinking and over the weekend and the long drive back home I decided to write this article.

 I am sorry for having helped to popularize NMM.

Now some people are going to ask “what the heck is NMM?” and some others are going to scream bloody murder on this article but this has to be said. The paintjob I designed was meant to blend everything to the fullest extent and exploit the color palette for what it could do. Silver, gold, copper…they all got the treatment.

The problem with this paintjob is no other technique could truly compete with it in the minds of some painting judges.  From lighting effects to highlighting nothing could stand against it. It had a psychological effect on a lot of painters by crushing them so completely that many just put their brushes down. In the sense painting with NMM opens the thought of "why am I not just using metallic paints?"

Therein lay the problem.

Remember the first time you truly got into this hobby? Did you get in it just to say to yourself “awesome I can take six hours to use nine different colors to paint a simple blue?” Was it instead because you thought a certain premixed paint was so cool? I have heard hundreds of stories of people thinking that Shining Gold was one of the best metallic paints they’d ever seen.  When it came to paint judging they often left disappointed.

My point is you picked this hobby to paint things using appropriate colors.  No one likes to hear that their silver, using actual silver paint, is a worse silver than some guy who used six different grays and whites.  I totally felt like a douche in some painting competitions. I met Pablo in a recent one - he was one the nicest guys I have ever met and just a great person all around.   Now, when I crushed his paintjob I felt bad the whole time. He had such a pretty army with such normal looking metals it made me feel bad to let them get shafted on painting scores. He couldn’t even get past the first cut because of the blending in my paintjob. Once you take the fun of using the actual appropriate colors from other painters how much fun is left for you to enjoy the hobby?

Now some people are going to say, “Well, it’s a competition - who cares? You’re there to win!” Okay fine, if you want to bring it to the Golden Daemon sure, but doesn’t it make you a better painter if you win with a metallic paints?  Hyper-blended paintjobs detract from the hobby in my view. Sorry I said it, might be taboo for the week, or month but sorry it’s true. Players are moving away from the fun of the paint range into blending escalations of I need to take 100 steps to paint this stupid chain mail.


Why not - people who feel that they need to win or compete will do it. Blood Angels are out and what question did a lot of people in the community flock to? How can we do NMM all over those Sanguinary Guard in time for the next event?  Even our group started to talk about it and missed the point of painting. What happened to let’s have fun painting toy soldiers?

In our local area we have painting competitions which some people have a hard time understanding the point of it. I know one person who tries to paint his swords with metals and fails every time coming back with yet another "no hold bars version 2.0 paintjob". Competitions also have a responsibility to bring people into the hobby and offer even new painters something fulfilling for their entry fee. It’s great to see events where painters beaming with pride show off figures with real heart and soul.

When an outsider or newcomer looks in and sees two grown men yelling over two figures source lighting and how someone will get owned in this xyz painting competition, how does that help bring in new people? I had a friend who I have been trying to get into the hobby for awhile and he said point blank, “Why? I don’t want to get my butt kicked in for months at another hobby especially when I can’t use the actual color on the label to paint that color.  What’s the point?”

Where is this going?

This is my call to action to people out there who read this, as I am doing it myself. Paint figures you’re taking to a painting competitions, paint them around the love you have for the paint ranges available and be proud of it. I am starting up my Beefeaters again and creating it around the Iron Warriors. I am going to do a paintjob that I have fun with and paint to have a good time. If I come out on top, awesome, if I don’t oh well no big deal.

Now, if you still want to take that NMM paintjob to Games Day to super inflate your ego sure go ahead, but promise me this when you take it to the game store for the weekend you don’t show that figure to the new guy or random people. Because when you overblend and they didn’t even get a chance to move to highlighting or washes, it’s not good for you, it's not good for them, and its not good for the hobby. Instead, even if only for one day, paint with the most appropriately labeled colors you can think of, and paint for the love of the figure, background, and the hobby.

~I will be painting with NMM one last time for the Nobel Prize in Miniatures Painting this summer in Oslo.   I was invited after having two high scores from Clash of the Titans and the Championship at Chaka Khan.  Afterwards I will be retiring NMM  - never to be painted again.


  1. I can't stop laughing - I think I'm about to die...

  2. LMAO!!

    "I will be painting with NMM one last time for the Nobel Prize"

    You had me laughing th entire time, but after reading this line the tears would not cease.

  3. Yes! I smirked. Alot.
    Funny stuff.

    Its the Nobel line...

  4. the talk of people beign blown off the table by your painjobs kills me.

    you Sir, made me laugh.

  5. Oh, nonmetal metallics- why? WHY?

  6. Ha!


    Crap, I think I blew snot on my keyboard...

  7. Superb!

    Vote Pablo!

  8. Hysterical.

    "Players are moving away from the fun of the paint range into blending escalations of I need to take 100 steps to paint this stupid chain mail."

    My co-workers asked me what I was reading. :)

  9. Ahhh, the tyranny of multiblending has felled many a man. Thank you for ending the carnage of NMM. One can only hope the hobby will someday rebuild.

    With Metallics.

    Maybe some primary colors.

  10. Two words for resolving this:
    Painting Composition

    It seems most American tournaments have dropped this from their marking and the results are now clear. It was but a matter of time before the painting scene devolved into a handful of super powerful color combinations painted in the same styles trying to beat each other.

    Over here in Australia, the NMM style of painting can't realistically place in most contests because of it's low color composition score. People should stop focusing on "Color Theory" and dare I say it, focus on "Actual Brush Technique"!

    I'm not saying that Pablo is a bad painter, because it still takes skill to paint a model that cleanly, but color theory reduces the level of effort required to win, and that is not what a painting competition should be about.

    (Lifted and modified from an actual BoLS comment.)

  11. Thanks for all the comments everyone! It was fun to (re)write, glad you had fun reading it.

    Maybe someday people will stop cruising the web for top painting techniques and come up with their own paint styles. "Netbrushing" ruins too many competitions.

  12. Ah, what a brilliant piece of satire! Thank you, I have has some small bit of faith in the internets restored...

  13. and Sonsoftaurus sticks the landing . . .

    legitimately funny stuff, very well done!

  14. If only you had stopped sooner; BRP has started the whole NMM thing and now I'm stuck with a ridiculous escalation of the painting wars. How am I supposed to compete with his 50 different brushes and microscopic blending and highlights?

    Great article; finely crafted and deliciously dry, with just the right blend of absurdity.

  15. I laughed just as much reading it again now!

  16. This is an excellent post, because it looks at a problem in the hobby - it's not just about NMM, but about people seeing a new style and going overboard on it's use, until everyone's doing it.

    I go into some detail on this in my Bringing a New Style to the Hobby post.

    Basically, too many people try to emulate others rather than paint from the heart or try their own styles.

  17. I'm at a loss here. I didn't seem to get the same out of the article as many of the responders did, so what is it I'm missing? I see some comedy--particularly at the end, but is the entire post a satiric jab, or is it partially truthful?

    Sorry for being a dolt...

  18. It's a parody of the post in the link at the top. If you haven't read that first, it doesn't make much sense.

  19. Ah, I should've known to click the link. Silly me...


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