Around the same time last year I wrote a great post called Top 10 of 2009. I listed some of my favorite things of the year that came to be, together with some crappy things as well. This year I want to do the same, but I'm lacking a bit of inspiration to come up with 10 good things. I also think it's extremely difficult to put a ranking on them as well.
So here's my list, in alphabetical order.
The times when I was in the top 10 posters of the forum are (alas) long gone, but the site itself is
still one of my favorite resources. Even the best painters around the globe take time to submit their latest works to the gallery. It's lovely to see how the website is turning into a real
enterprise to suit miniature painters. The shop has grown considerably, their booth at Adepticon was downright amazing, and both the 2008 annual (read the review here) and the painting secrets dvd have a very profession feel to them.
In April I started the Corvus' Miniatures Facebook page. Apart from notifying the fans of the page on new blog updates, I think it's a great platform to share interesting links, such as articles and exceptional paintjobs. Currently the page has 85 fans (thank you all folks), but if you have a Facebook account why not join as well?
The following manufacturers have caught my attention in the past year: Bederken Miniatures, Red Box Games and Imbrian Arts. I got some Bederken figures two weeks ago, there will be a review soon. Red Box Games you already know, I reviewed this company back in August. Of Imbrian Arts I yet have to buy some figures, but the resemblance with Rackham is so striking I will probably get some very soon.
A fellow blogger once told me about Massive Voodoo "this is the blog which puts all of us to shame", on which I can completely agree. In 2010 the blog has attracted the best German painters, resulting in a huge amount of incredibly qualitative content. Founder Jarhead really puts his soul into the blog, like he does with all the miniatures he paints. Really a blog that is a joy to read and follow.
My new painting table
2010 was an important year for me personally, since my family and I moved into a new house. Work in the house, moving and getting settled deprived me of a lot of time which I would normally spend painting, but in the end there was a great reward: a new room for my painting desk! I still have to blog about this I know, but might have already seen a small teaser in my new year post earlier this week. I went for an extensive two desk layout (one for assembly, one for painting), a dedicated photo studio and a display cabinet. I spent a couple of nights there painting and it's a real joy.
This community has been in existence for a while, but in 2010 it really boomed, with some big painting competitions sponsored by manufacturers such as Red Box Games and Kingdom Death.
I spent some time on the forums last summer. There are a lot of familiar people there, a very nice community all in all, but I heard some of the regulars complaining that the forum is getting too big and is losing the friendly atmosphere it once had.
Winsor & Newton
In last year's top 10 I put Rosemary & Co on number 6. At that time I really liked the brushes which I bought to replace my worn out Winsor & Newton Series 7 #1. Shortly after I ordered another batch of R&C brushes, but I wasn't that happy about them when I started using them. One of them had a split point, and the others weren't holding their tips as well as the first one I ever used. Last summer the Ken Bromley Art Supplies online store was running a discount on their W&N brushes, so I decided to order a batch and start using these again. And I'm happy with them, won't ever change brand again :)
Also in my last year's top 10, I'm still following his works with great awe. To make things better, Angel started to blog about which colors he uses on his figures and also writes for the Vallejo blog.
The bottom list
In 2010 this once great company went bankrupt. The news didn't really come as a surprise, we all knew they were screwing it up for a long while now. For me the company already died when they announced their first line of pre-painted plastics.
Just like Rackham this was also listed in last year's bottom list. For those who don't know, Crisis is a big wargaming/miniature event in Antwerp, with a very tough painting competition hosted there. In 2009 they really messed up the organization of the competition, but last year they did even worse: they cancelled it! I decided not to visit the event, just like a handful of other people I know. Those who decided to go anyway were disappointed: less fantasy-related stuff than usual, too crowded, etc. Apparently the event has lost a lot of its magic it used to have roughly five years ago.
I've never been a great fan of Privateer Press, although I painted some of their figures. They surely have quite a few good sculpts, but 2010 was filled with crappy releases. Bulky sculpts, silly poses, bad paintjobs... I've seen them do a lot better in the past.
MiniArtCon 2009 was one of the greatest miniature painting events I've ever visited. Friendly, cosy, good traders and display painters, rock hard painting competition, you name it, it was there (well except for decent food then :). I was really looking forward to a 2010 edition, but it was canceled... Freebooter Miniatures, the main organizer behind the event, decided to put all their resources into the development of their game "Freebooter's Fate"... can't blame them for making that decision though. So fingers crossed for a 2011 edition, but it's still painfully quiet on the MiniArtCon website...
As a member of the "old gang" we used to have on CMON and the long-gone Headblast forums, her comeback was really a surprise. Too bad it didn't last long. Her blog is silent and the forum on her website is broken. I know she has some private reasons that keep her from painting, but I sincerely hope she will be back some day.
It seems that 2010 had less highlights than the year before, but it could be subjective since I haven't been following the industry as closely as usual for a couple of months. I wasn't able to spend as much time with my hobby as I wanted, but of course moving to a new house is more important than painting toy soldiers :)
The thing I definitely liked the most is that some companies are really developing themselves, filling up the gaps where others seem to fail to keep me interested. I sure these rising stars will get to shine very brightly in 2011 and beyond. I'm curious about what the new year will bring to our hobby!