Who are the “best” Civil War miniature painters?

In years of attending wargaming conventions in the Midwest when I was involved in HMGS-Great Lakes and more recently here in Pennsylvania and Maryland with HMGS-East, I have seen hundreds of painted armies – mostly average to very good, some poor, and a few spectacular. And, there has been the occasional unpainted or spray painted monochrome armies from gamers that had not yet had the time to finish their figures. I’ve seen guys (and the occasional girl) with carefully shadowed and highlighted paint job on their figures, and I came away impressed and challenged to bump up my own skills.

In browsing the flea markets and dealer halls, I have also¬†noted a wide variety of styles and qualities to their painted armies, even from “professional painters.” The same has been true of armies I have purchased from eBay or Bartertown. At times, I have been disappointed by these “pros” when I bought sight unseen from Internet sellers. Other times, the figures were much better than advertised.

A few years ago, after eye surgery (detached retina followed by a cataract), I basically retired from painting 15mm figures. I invested some money obtained from selling older armies I had bought through the Internet in some premium painted 15mm figures from West Virginia painter Larry Reber, owner of Gettysburgsoldiers.com. lee_pair.jpg I may be biased, but I have owned figures from dozens of painters, including some of the better known pros, and I think Larry’s work is simply the finest painted 15mm figures on the market today, especially his custom work. He’s terrific, and when I have his figures on the tabletop, folks take notice. My painting is OK; his is light years ahead.

Recently, I started admiring Andy MacDonald-Rice’s work on the Internet through his photo gallery, and I think he’s one of the most talented painters I have seen for larger scale figures. He is writing a series for the Charge! hard copy newsletter on how to improve your painting. Watch for it!

So, who do you consider to be the best commercial painters on the market today? Everyone has their favorite professional – who is yours and why?

Categories: Civil War wargaming | Tags: | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Who are the “best” Civil War miniature painters?

  1. The winner receiving the most votes will be named as Best Commercial Painter for 2007 by the Johnny Reb Gaming Society.

  2. Norris Darrall

    My vote goes to Larry Reber. He painted eight command figures for the first Johnny Con tournement game trophies. Figures were suberb and easily recognizable for the actual historic figures.

  3. Dave Marks

    Andy Mac gets my vote. One of the best painters around.

  4. Thomas Moore

    My vote goes for Doug Hamm in Vancouver B.C., Of Red Plume Painting. Fast and excellent paint work. He also writes, along with Eric Hotz, the Larry Leadhead comic.

  5. Andy Mac is terrific, but he’s technically not a commercial painter, as he paints for his own enjoyment to augment his collection.

    Some other names to consider. What about George Johnson (formerly of GAJO)? He was one of the pioneers in commerical painting. Some folks also like Fernando’s Painting in Sri Lanka – their showcase paint jobs are quite good, although the less expensive standard quality at times is average at best.

  6. Paul Whitehouse

    I am proud and pleased to say I have some of Andy Mac’s work in my collection. Believe me the photo’s of his work do not do them justice.

    There may be better painters of single figures out there, but I have seen Andy’s work on units (eg battalions, regiments etc) and it is extremely good. Want an individual or commander ?

    What you also need to appreciate with Andy is that he is fairly new to “mass” painting. His work is constantly improving and in big strides……that might be worth bearing in mind as well.

    And Andy if you come across these comments – as always thanks for painting for me.

  7. Many thanks to those who have mentioned me, but as Scott has pointed out I am not a commercial painter (Not Yet Anyway!), so I do not really count. But thank you anyway for your kind comments.

    Watch out for the next issue of Charge! where you will find part 2 of my painting article “Shade’s of Blue and Grey”.

    Andy Mac

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