Well, I guess I can keep this one rather short – first, because I am quite tired today, but secondly and foremost because it’s always less fun reviewing the tools of the trade than reviewing the nice miniatures you paint and adapt and convert with them – unless you are some kind of tool-fetishist, of course (but then you surely spend more time in the Hardware Store than here on my blog).
If you follow my blog, you know that I have a hobby corner of my own, but that it’s right in the living room. And even though my wife is a hobbyists’ dream, she will not allow me to have half-painted miniatures, tools and paint lying around while I’m not at it… and in fact I don’t want that either, with my child around and stuff… so I always had and have to resort to some trays and makeshift paint stations. Actually I am still proud of my self-made working/paint station, made of a wooden tray and a cutting board. But I have to agree it looks a bit shabby by now, and quite colorful, too.
Anyway, to my great surprise my wife gave me a sparkling new Paint Station + from Games Workshop as a christmas gift. Really didn’t expect that. Possibly she didn’t like my old one…
So let’s take a look.
The Paint Station + comes in a sturdy cardboard box which tells us that this one was made in China, not in UK. With miniatures, that’s a sure sign for blurry details (I’m thinking of you, Witchfate Tor), but with a Paint Station, that’s ok, I guess.
Of course, the “+” is there to discern it from the normal Paint Station, which only comes with no extras.
And here is the Paint Station itself, cast from sturdy black plastic, the same as Games Workshop’s miniatures employ. As you can see it offers places for two water pots, 17 pots of paint and ten brushes.
The Station comes in five parts, actually – the huge plastic tray and four miniscule rubber pieces that are put in the downside corners and ensure a firm stand on the table. Sorry, I forgot to photograph those…
The measurements are 420mm x 280mm – which actually turned out to be bigger than my current station.
And here it is from the underside. As you can see, there are enough cross beams to ensure firmness when cutting on the tray.
The Paint Station comes with some curious little features – there are cut-in handles on each side (with actually somewhat sharp edges, they are ok, but not too comfortable) as well as round cavities for putting the Station on your lap and knees. I tried that several times, actually, and it went pretty comfortable. Still I dislike sitting hunched over my Paint Station, so I prefer putting this on on the table…
Separately packed you get the “+” in the Paint Station + – a Cutting Mat, two Water Pots and two palettes. The palettes are exclusive to the Paint Station +, they are fairly different from the ones Games Workshop usually sells.
Actually, this is a sad fact. The smooth plastic of the palettes is somewhat colour-repellent, which means that with warm water and a sponge, you can clean them quite well (this doesn’t apply to the raised edges of the palettes, which are slightly coarse and thus take on colour very well). Still they start to look quite used after those two months and I guess in some years I would love to buy some new ones – lest I could. Unlike the Cutting Mat or the Water Pots, you can’t buy those special palettes separately. It certainly would have been nice if you could… well, perhaps we will see it in the future – at least the palettes came packed separately with a nice sticker on them, you could also just put them on some rack in your shop, if you wanted (and could).
Having worked with this Paint Station for two month, I am very pleased with it. The fixed, firm places for the paints and water are something you don’t miss until you have them, the tray itself is firm and stable; the Cutting Mat is fine (though neither better nor worse than other products of its kind) and I even grew fond of those water pots – the topping with the funny cavities are quite fine for forming your brush tips after cleaning.
Possibly the best part of the set are the two palettes. They are as fine as professional palettes, yet smaller and more handy. They are also definitely better than the official “Coat-of-Arms” palettes Citadel produces.
The only part I don’t really like are the slots for the brushes – they are either not deep enough or not narrow enough, either way they are not good at holding your brushes firm, at least they don’t work well for me. I prefer thus keeping my brush flat on the tray…
All in all the Paint Station + is not a must-have. There are many ways to have your very own Paint Station (like making it by yourself or buying it from Warlord or other companies) and none of them is the best. Whatever works best for you is the best. Period.
But I do think that this Citadel Paint Station is a good choice for me and it might be a good choice for you, too. Mind you, I still don’t think I would buy it by myself, but it is a better gift than you might think. It’s clearly a luxury item, but as with all luxuries, once you have them, you won’t like to miss them…