Thursday, June 2, 2011

[Interview] Dave Taylor - Yes, of Dave Taylor Miniatures.

MWC - How did you get started in the hobby?
Dave - I used to play D&D back in the 80s, and we used figures to represent our characters and occasionally the monsters we were facing (poor high school students and all that). I was in my first year at college when I found Citadel Miniatures, collected a bunch, and made a chess set out of them. After building two chess sets, I decided it was time to start wargaming for real.

MWC - What do you find most compelling about working with a new miniature or piece?
Dave - I think the most compelling part about starting a new piece is knowing that with a bit of work I can realize a vision I've had for the model. Being able to see the end point (or adjust it) as you work through a project is a great motivator, I find.

 Scratch Build Locust Fighter.... Look how pretty it is!

MWC - What are your greatest challenges when working with something new?
Dave - I typically use a fairly limited palette of colors. I have one way of doing red, one way of doing blue, one way of doing gold etc etc. I've worked that way for a long time in order to be able to paint armies quickly (it's easier to picture the finished army if you know what the colors are going to look like. Therefore, I guess, the greatest challene comes when I decide to step outside that comfort zone and try another approach.

MWC - Do you have a favorite piece, or piece that you consider your "seminal work"?
Dave - For me, a lot of the enjoyment comes from the journey, but I think I'd have to rate my Genswick 33rd Rifles Imperial Guard as the army that has received the most "visceral" reaction. I know that the reactions I got for that army have influenced all of my army projects since then.

MWC - A lot of painters and modelers I know look up to you as the "gold standard". Could you share who YOU admire most?
Dave - I'm certainly not the "gold standard" by any means. I'm simply a guy who loves to paint toy soldiers. As for painters I admire most, I don't really have a short list. I admire others who are as passionate about their hobby as I am. Check out the blog roll in the right nav of my own blog. I admire those guys, and many more.

MWC - Dave: How do people generally hear about your work, in your experience? Do you do any promotions or advertising?
Dave - I've painted a lot of armies over the last 20 years (50+ I think), and I've worked in the "toy soldier biz" since 1994, so there have been a lot of opportunities for me to show off my stuff. After that it's all been word of mouth. Friends tell their friends, etc etc.

Veteran Blood Pact in all their Chaos glory!

MWC - Now that you've been at it a while, would you share your favorite tools, tips and techniques with us?
Dave - Mmmm, I don't really have any favorites beyond a size 0 sable brush (good quality), a hobby knife, a generic sculpting tool, imagination, and patience. As for techniques, my favorite technique used when painting infantry and cavalry is certainly the "feathering" variant of highlighting. I use it all the time, blocking out a highlight, then lightly "feathering the paint to give a blended impression. It's certainly not wet-blending, it's something a little less precise, but much faster.

MWC - What do you consider yourself primarily? Painter, modeler, gamer, general purpose dork?
Dave - A painter and modeler, without a doubt.

MWC - What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Dave - African or European?

MWC - Which table top games do you play?
Dave - Chiefly Warhammer and 40K, but I have dabbled with a few others over the years.

MWC - Do you have any favorite board games?
Dave - I've never really been a board game guy. Perhaps that's because we only had Scrabble and Monopoly in my house when I was growing up.

MWC - Do you read any hobby related fiction such as Black Library books?
Dave - I've been reading the stuff from Black Library since it was first released. As time has gone by, and more books have been released, I've had to restrict myself to just reading the Horus Heresy and Gaunt's Ghosts series (plus that odd, one-off book). I've drawn a great deal of inspiration from the stories of the Warhammer world and 40K universe. I feel that as my modeling and painting progresses, I'll be attempting to tell more stories in my own hobby way.

MWC - What are you favorite races in the 40k and WFB universes? What other games do you enjoy as well?
Dave - I love the idea of "feeble" humanity struggling against the vast array of terrifying creatures that stalk the universe. Often it isn't size or skill that keeps man alive, it it his strength of will, his determination. As a pretty stubborn guy, I can't go past the Imperial Guard for 40K or the Empire for Warhammer (I currently have over 1100 painted Empire models, with more on the way).

MWC - You've won several awards for your painting expertise, but are there any pieces that you look back on and wish you would have done differently?
Dave - Not really. I've done almost all of my painting for armies, and my entries into competition have been pulled from those armies. I have no regrets about anything I've painted, and I'm looking forward to challenging my skills for future competitions.

MWC - What advice would you give to beginners starting out or those who don't enjoy painting *cough* to get them more involved or motivated in the activity?
Dave - One of the toughest things about starting out (I also find this to be the case with veteran gamers who don't like to paint too) is tat there are sooooo many options or possibilities when painting your armies. My advice is to start small. "Learn" a way to paint red, practice it, repeat it, get comfortable with it. "Learn" a way to paint blue, practice it, repeat it, get comfortable with it. Slowly build your palette of colors. Then move on to a bigger project where you can bring this palette together, and know in your heart what the army will look like. If you are psyched for it, then dive in. If you aren't, then re-evaluate you scheme, or learn a new way to paint a color, until you are psyched. It'll take time. Patience and enthusiasm are your friends.

MWC - What in your opinion is the most difficult painting technique to learn?
Dave - I'm going to have to pass on that. It's been a long time since I learned the ones I know, and I haven't yet taken the time to learn a few I know I should. If you approach everything with a true desire to learn, nothing should be too difficult.

MWC - Your HoA team is pretty big, how do you keep that many projects with various people organized?
Dave - That's a good question. I'm not really sure. Having the list on my blog helps. If I'm getting worried about how everyone is going I can always go through the list and email anyone I need to to check up on things. Everyone is doing an important part, but no-one should really be overwhelmed, fingers crossed.

MWC - Is there anything special about your part of the HoA project that you are particularly proud of?
Dave - I'm just glad that John and Mike invited me back. I've organized a lot of hobby-related projects (most of them as part of my jobs at either Games Workshop or, more recently, Wargames Illustrated) so I can have a few strong opinions from time to time. I'm proud that none of those opinions have caused me to be kicked off the team ; )

MWC - Are there any surprises in the works for the HoA project that the people don't yet know of?
Dave - Why yes, there are. I know of two BIG surprises for the Steel Legion army that I'm co-ordinating. And by BIG, I mean, SUPERHEAVY BIG! But you'll find out more very soon.

MWC - Whats your plan for the future?
Dave - Hobby plans? Keep on painting. At the moment I'm on track to paint around 500 models this year. They'll be a mix of GW, Battlefront, Grindhouse, Perrys, Warlord, Victrix, and a handful of others. Sounds like a pretty good year of hobbying! : )


  1. Great interview - Dave Taylor's work never fails to inspire and impress, and it's awesome to get a little insight into his thought process when it comes to the hobby. Keep 'em coming!

  2. Epic fotos, great interview. keep the exelent work