Painting Buddha / Master Minis DVD review.

IMG_0011MasterMinis has been a site growing in popularity for the last year. I guess theres a word to describe the diligence of creator Michael Bartels (henceforth referred to by his screen name Zaphod.) That word is quirky. I haven’t met the man, but am looking forward to hunting him down at Games Day UK, where Corehammer will be repping in force. But if I’ve not met him, then how can I sum him up in one word? It’s a fair question, but the reason I feel I can do this is because Zaphod injects so much of himself in to this blog. While this makes for some confusing reading sometimes, this is more than made up for by the quality of content, the unique take on the hobby that the blog brings, and the sense of humour Zaphod addsinflatable marquees. Recently, Zaphod decided to make a massive life move. He stepped away from the daily grind, and decided to push to make a living from the things he loves the most, which luckily for us, is ‘the hobby’. Here, we take our initial look at the initial release from his company, Painting Buddha.

No matter what happens in life, the dishes always need doing. This is my outlook. This is why I as a man, will never ever have the balls to step away from the life trap to do something I love. Thats ok though, there are plenty of people out there with balls bigger than mine for me to admire/hate, and that keeps me ticking over. Painting Buddha claims to be a whole new way to approach the production, and selling of hobby based tutorials, and maybe even miniatures in general. While I would suggest that at this point it’s still to early too tell, there are definitely some interesting concepts that have come from this project, and more importantly, some very interesting products. I decided to take a punt and have a crack at some of the initial releases. This will be a multi-part review. While I always intended to review the DVD/miniatures, I wanted to dedicate some time to the package as a whole first, because as you will see, it is absolutely worthy of note.

We’re all familiar with the vulture ethic of ‘a premium price for a premium product’. Painting Buddha’s outlook is ‘a premium product for as low a price as we can get it to you’. And these products, make no mistake, are premium. The first thing I went for was the pledge that got me that beautiful Monk miniature, cast in white metal, sculpted by Ernst Weingart . This package is considered a donation, with the monk being offered as a thank you. For 42 Euro you get the Monk, seven buttons, a fridge magnet, your name listed in the credits of the next DVD set they release and the title of “True Hitchhiker” in some sort of mystery website that is soon to be unveiled. I have to confess, that while I was happy to ‘donate’, it was the miniature I wanted. The package is great, although I didn’t get my buttons or fridge magnet, but I’m a survivor, and I’ll get through the pain. The key here is the miniature.

IMG_0002It’s a wonderful sculpt and has been cast really well. Some of the flash is in pretty obvious places but its nothing that a scalpel, and perhaps a little green stuff won’t fix. The extra bits, the branch and the blossom are both wonderful, and when I’m ready, I feel like I’ll enjoy painting this jolly little guy.

You also get this with the package. It’s a letter from the Painting Buddha guys thanking you for the purchase. Considering how many of the DVD’s have been sold thus far, I’m amazed at how many times these three guys must have written their names.

Next up we have the DVD package, the real meat of the project, and what I think Painting Buddha will become known for, if they maintain the same level of quality that they have pulled out of the bag here. This is 42 Euro’s. And for that, you get THIS:


Let me run down what is included here for you.

  • TWO 54mm miniatures, Brad and Yanette, The Assassins.
  • All the accessories needed to make them up
  • Packed in a really cool protective metal box
  • Three DVD’s of tutorials by Ben Komets, who my mate is obsessed with, showing you how he paints Brad, Yanette and the extra parts such as the base.
  • Three DVD’s of tutorials by Rafael Garcia Marin showing his own take on the same three subjects.
  • A certificate signed by all involved.

The whole package is beautiful, and the fact that its about £35.00 blows my mind completely. The miniatures are wonderful. Slender minis aren’t usually my cup of tea and maybe it’s the heightened scale that makes them appeal but I’m exited to use them in the paint along. I’ve given some viewing to the DVD, but these are absolutely worthy of their own reviews which will come in time. here are some more images of them in all their glory:IMG_0006 IMG_0010 IMG_0008 IMG_0009I made a reference earlier to the concept of a ‘premium’ product. Make no mistake lads, this is a premium product. The metal boxes, the extra booklets, sure, they’re peripheral, but they show an attention to detail and a love for what they are doing that makes this a package, not just a dvd thrown in a box and shipped out to those dumb enough to pay for it. This DOES matter. Some people earn a shit tonne of money, I don’t. I like to know where my wedge is going. I’m no crusader, but it feels good to support enterprises that do appreciate it. The DVD is well packaged, beautifully presented, and clearly has been worked very hard upon. It looks better than my X-Files box sets man, (but not quite as cool as my Band Of Brothers one).

If I have one criticism of the Painting Buddha experience, it is this. The ordering process is clunky, and somewhat difficult. I’m no ignorant Englishman. The guys are German, and I dig that it’s mostly in German (at least the ordering form) but the form itself is too small to accept a full English address including post code. If worldwide shipping is something these lads want to push then they need to produce a form that can accept global addresses. That’s the melting pot that we all strive for. The fridge magnet thing I’m over. It hurt at first but every day gets a little easier, and when I challenge Zaphod to single combat on a mountain outside Games Day, I’ll be able to just get on with my life. With the guys who run the operation being so approachable it only took a quick email to them to get the address issue sorted. But I know a guy who was put off ordering completely as a result of the form so I’d suggest that it is worth them looking into. Although the site does seem to indicate that there is a new version in the pipeline so fingers crossed it’ll be sorted for Season Two

In short, Zaphod, Ben, and the guys from Masterminis have entered a brave new world. And even though I’m sat here without a fridge magnet, I can confirm that from Liverpool England, the project, concept and execution all seem to be working. My fridge wanted me to write him a bad review, but I didn’t agree. I recommend MasterMinis as an excellent source of gaming and painting news. Don’t sleep on these guys, they are making waves in the most positive way possible. Keep an eye out for my review of the DVD’s over the next few weeks.

Rant: Maybe it’s naive to think that the building of communities, and striving to deliver a quality product with a strong sense of customer satisfaction can offer a challenge to the current system, but let me remind you of this. That’s how GW started. Let me also remind you of the fact that every day dudes are starting to rise up and sculpt their own minis, start their own firms, and do more than just moan about it on forums. Mantic get better and better with every new release, and the painting aspect of the hobby is completely covered by other companies. GW can’t keep falling back on an intellectual property that had it’s foundations laid by other people who have long since moved on. People are starting to pick up the torch. It’s exciting, and as someone who comes from a DIY punk background, this is heartening to see, especially when it is done so, so right. Keep an eye on these guys, you’ll be seeing a LOT more of them. Here is an awesome song.


5 thoughts on “Painting Buddha / Master Minis DVD review.

  1. Hey Kev!

    Awesome review, I really enjoyed reading it! We are working very hard on promoting our wonderful hobby and it is quite amazing what you can do when profit is not what you are going after. We are already closing in on breaking even for the project, something we had hoped to achieve by December – thanks to you and the many others that supported our cause!

    I agree with you that the web-shop currently does not live up to our own expectation of ‘high quality’. Something like the ZIP code, which should be an easy fix, proves to be a nightmare from the programming side. So we decided to write off our investment in the store and are already in the process of creating a new one. It will be a few weeks, though.

    Since this is about to be a multi-part review, I will now sit back and wait for the DVD part. I am excited to hear what you have to say 🙂

    Oh, and last but not least: After packing dozens of Happy Monks we had two bags of buttons left over – it seems we did not miscount but in fact forgot to send you some – expect to pick em up on Games Day UK 😀

    Michael “Zaphod” Bartels

    • Thanks for the review Kev, I ordered my supporter edition yesterday and cant wait to see what it contains in the flesh.

      Can I just say that after many weeks of research into the painting buddha and viewing many reviews such as this on many blogs across this great world wide web, the thing that inspired me to lay out my hard earned dollars on this pack is that fact that Zaphod has taken the time to comment on the majority of reviews and thank so many people for their reviews and thoughts on their DVDs and other items. This is what the hobby is all about. The community of gamers, collectors, painters and other assorted “ers” is what got me into the hobby 20 years ago. Its great to see a group of guys who take the time to support this hobby and I really hope they succeed in their goals.

      Also I do agree about the order form. Entering an Australian address was a little sketchy…

      • Guys thanks for your kind words.

        Brad is very close to being finished and I will have some photos of him, along with the review of the “Brad” DVD’s from both Rafa and Ben up in the next week, definitely before Games day, so watch this space and the wait will soon be over!

        Kev – Corehammer Crew

  2. Fantastic review. I’ve been through several tutorial videos and whilst I don’t consider myself an expert (though I do think I can hold my own) I always find something I can walk away with and use myself.

    I’m also a sucker for collector items so I’ve got my eye on the big set on their site (though I will wait until their site relaunch).

    Can’t wait for the DVD review!

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