Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: Let's Paint Black Templars

  Call me crazy, if you like, but I like painting tutorial videos.  I seem to be able to pick up something from every one I watch, no matter how bad they might be.  This 2 DVD set from AGProductions is not bad, in fact it's the best I have seen to date, save for the GW "How to Paint..." DVD.

  The DVD I bought was, oddly enough, Let's Paint Black Templars.  I wondered when I clicked "buy it now" how the producer could possible spend 4 hours (2 DVDs) on BTs.  I mean, really, slap on the black, pick out some white and metallics and bammo, you're done.

  Not so fast.  Christopher Davidson starts off with the very basics, how to build the marine in a way that makes it crazy easier to paint.  I had always left the bolter off the fig, but Christopher has a way better take on how to do things, and the one Marine I have painted so far shows the effect of this improvement.  (No, I'm not going to divulge all his tips in the review, buy one of his videos for that :)

  Christopher then goes on to talk about all the normal stuff, but he uses an approach you don't normally see on youtube vids, and I think it works darn well.  Especially his take on edging, which I have never seen done anywhere before and is great for someone like me (old, with brush control issues :).

  Just for those alone, the $15 price tag is justified, but wait... there's more.  Seriously, at $15 these are some of the least expensive DVDs I have seen and you get 4-ish hours of instruction.  The production value of the DVDs is great.  The steps he uses are clear and in focus, most of the time.  Every now and then he may drift the area being painted out of the camera, but he corrects it right away.  You're not going to find yourself annoyed by this, but it happens once or twice.  He has a very moderated voice that does not grate on your nerves over the duration of the video.  His words are well thought out and it does not seem scripted at all.

  And best of all??  There is NO FREAKING BACKGROUND MUSIC.  DVD producers take note, background music SUX!  I don't care how much you really love that loop from your favorite (crappy) band, hearing it loop 500 times while you tell me how to paint is FREAKING LAME.  STOP IT.  For the love of god, at least turn it down.  Some videos I own (see this review, not mentioning names) have music so annoyingly loud that you cannot hear the speaker, and it's not like it's good music either.  It's crappy loops, you see them on YouTube all the time.  Why people?  WHY????

  If the DVD has any weak spots, it's the menu/navigation again.  I know what a pain it is to author DVDs with menus that work in every machine and computer, so I don't harp on this too much.  I have 6 computers here and 2 different DVD players that I use frequently, and as usual, the menus work great with the mouse and keyboards on the computers, but less so on the dedicated DVD players.

  All in all, this video gets an A grade, or 90 out of 100 on the DVD coolness scale.  It is not for general use painting, it is very Black Templar specific, but the techniques are usable anywhere.  Production and sound quality are GREAT.  Content is top-notch.  Alongside the Hot Lead DVD's and the GW How To Paint Citadel Miniatures, this video stands up very well.  Kudos to the author!!

Ciao for now...