Wednesday, 15 June 2011

From the creative minds of Studio McVey

The name Mike McVey will be familiar to those of us of a certain age and indeed a certain gaming persuasion. He has been responsible for so many Iconic paint jobs for Games Workshop that were I to try and list them all I'd probably be here all day. He's also spent time working at some of the biggest names in the industry including Wizards of the Coast and Privateer Press, so he's been around the block and probably has multiple 'the T-shirts'. However for me he did paint the miniature that made me want to get better at painting, the Bretonnian Green Knight. I'd always loved painting but never really thought too much about what I was doing, the Green Knight made me want to learn as much as I could about figure painting... and I've still not learned anywhere near enough to be an even half competent painter!!!

However Mike and his also insanely talented wife Ali decided to turn their hands to producing their own fantastic range of one off miniatures for painters and collectors alike. Thank the miniature Gods that they did because honestly they're producing some of the best models around right now. I make no bones about it, I love pretty much every single miniature they've produced and even those that don't necessarily appeal to my particular aesthetic tastes I can see and appreciate for the gloriously detailed individual sculpts that they all are. I have hammered my bank card recently ordering far too much resin from Studio McVey... but its probably worth not eating for a week or two... although I think the other half disagrees with me on that one, but not as vehemently as some of you might think after I showed her Ar-Fiach!!! What can I say she's a girl, and girls like faeries... now if they did a faery on a Unicorn!!!
Recently its companies like Studio McVey that have reminded me that actually the thing I used to love about the hobby was painting gorgeous single pieces, at some point I seem to have forgotten that very simple fact. I'd started to hate my hobby as painting loads and loads of rank and file had taken the joy out of the painting for me. Yeah its cool to play the games and I'd be lying if I said that playing the games wasn't important to me, but painting was 'my hobby'. So what were the miniatures that rekindled that spark in me? Well I've listed them below in links directly to Studio McVeys website, I urge you to follow those links... and after you've picked your jaw up off of the floor, mopped up all that drool and maybe spent a little bit too much money on those credit cards head on back:

Not too shabby hey? Mike told me he started his own studio with his wife so that they'd have the creative freedom to do what they wanted... having seen what Studio McVey are putting out there it begs the question why in the name of all that is holy has nobody ever given them such creative freedom before?

I'll be doing a very small review of each miniature I've brought, but as a standard the casting, moulding and resin used are all top notch. I think its fair to say that the resin copies from the masters sculpted by the likes of Yannick Hennebo  and Jacques-Alexandre Gillois are as close to the original as you're ever going to get! Also having seen the original concept sketches from Sam Wood for Ruby, Ali McVey for Isabella and Stephen Tappin for Ar-Fiach those sculptors have got as close as is possible to the original concepts... without being in 2D. What I'm trying to say is it's clear that at every stage of the process for Studio McVey the highest levels of care and attention are paid to their miniatures from conceptualisation through to casting and every stage in between. In short what you're buying is very much a top of the line premium product that is worth every penny and so much more. They have built up a strong reputation in a very short space of time that there small bespoke company produces only the very best products from some of the best artists and designers in the industry.

So when I also asked Mike what he was most proud of so far? His response was very understandable 'That we are still releasing miniatures! Seriously, that's no easy task'... and he's right! Just a quick glance across the statistics for new business start ups will confirm that for you; here in the UK the British Chamber of Commerce estimates some 35,000 new businesses start up every year and some 20,000 fail in the first year alone, that's just over half. Of the remaining 15,000 a further 5,000 are expected to fail in year two! What if you make it into year 3 and are still looking healthy? Well according to all the research and statistics, you're home free and an established company baby, yeah!!! So its hard to keep a business going and possibly doubly hard given the current economic climate, so Mike and Ali should be rightly proud that they launched their first miniature the Raven Priest a little over two years ago... that's right they've made it into that elusive year 3, and I for one hope they are established now.

So what does the future hold for Studio McVey? Well they've got two lines of miniatures currently, the Limited Edition resin pieces, which I've shown you links too and will be reviewing throughout the week. Well they'll still be aiming to put out gorgeous new Limited Edition miniatures at roughly the rate of one per month, so those of you who like painting should check back on a regular basis I'm guessing to ensure you don't miss out! The second I haven't really touched on yet and its the Studio's metal range of miniatures called Sedition Wars. Well turns out Sedition Wars is there own sci-fi IP and that 32mm metal range of miniatures they're releasing will soon have a game to go along with them. They'll be releasing a beta version of the rules this summer and previewing a new race as well.

Yeah I can just here my bank manager now... 'you've started ANOTHER fecking wargame'... what can I say I'm a sucker for toy soldiers, and when they look this good I hardly think my own personal OCHD (Obsessive Compulsive Hoarding Disorder) can be blamed, can it? I mean look at the shiny toys!!! They're really, REALLY shiny. Its just a shame I'm going to have to ruin them with my horrible paint jobs. Any way if you're like me and the hobby has always been more about the modelling and painting side of things then I urge you to consider getting yourselves something from Studio McVey as a reward for painting your hundredth clan rat or whatever for slogging your way through yet another massed infantry unit... it'll help focus the mind and hopefully keep your hobby fresh. Peace out!


  1. Quite a few people have moaned at me for loving them, but I ADORE his Sedition Wars miniatures.

  2. Sedition Wars is an interesting project I'll keep my eyes on. There's always room for one more board / skirmish game. While I don't think all of the Sedition War mini's are my cup of tea they do have some utterly brilliant sculpts in that range.I love the Male and Female drones and the conscripts as well. Put it this way I don't think they've put out a bad miniature yet, like with any artistic endeavour though there'll be certain things that won't appeal to people when they appeal to others. However the quality of the pieces they're putting out isn't in question... or it shouldn't be!!!

  3. Very very nice miniatures. Their artists obviously have a good sense of style and creativity. IMPRESSIVE.

  4. @Jordan, I wholeheartedly agree. I love everything they've done pretty much, and are responsible rekindling the love I have for my hobby. I'm going to be reviewing the Studio McVey models I've got and so far I only have really nice things to say. If there is something you like on their website give it a try because the quality is good and the sculpts are something special.

  5. I actually never liked McVey's work at GW. Sure, he was technically a very talented painter, but his artistic choices were somewhat off. He was more or less responsible for the whole GW "skull" thing; everything he painted would be covered in skulls, whether it was a 40k or fantasy model, a good or evil model, or whatnot.

    I'm glad to see his business venture is succeeding though, he's come a long way since the GW days I think.

  6. @Laffe that's fair enough, everyone's is allowed an opinion. I'd counter with this though, the very fact that the GW continues to lump more and more skulls on things means it might not have been a Mike McVey decision. I don't think anybody at the GW has had full artistic control for a very long time, they've turned the process into a machine that ticks boxes and lots of skulls seems to be one of them. I also think the work Mike did helping set up the artistic direction for the likes of Privateer Press shows he has a good eye and can help create unique styles.

    However back onto Studio McVey and I think it'd be fair to say that its the first time that either Mike or Ali have had full artistic control over what they want to do... because they're now the bosses. Have a look at their range of miniatures and I'll think you'll find there aren't too many skulls!!! lol. The work of their studio stands for itself and after a little bit of a rough patch for me personally I'm hopefully going to be able to get back up to speed again and will be able to start posting some reviews and articles again, starting with reviewing the Studio McVey mini's.

  7. If there was a game with chicks on dinosaurs, I'd be suddenly so outta money.

    Their whole offer is really tempting. Very beautiful minis.

  8. @Ankhe that just made me PMSL... but I know what you mean. Ruby is a fantastic miniature as well. She's worth every penny.