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Artist-in-residence - Anthony Nardi

By day, Anthony Nardi is a member of our acclaimed front-line support team. He is a left-brain, analytical, logical problem solver. By night, he channels his love of order and methodology into his right brain hobby, Tabletop Wargaming and Miniatures Painting. The intricate detail and unexpected complexity of painting these Miniatures is where this story begins.

For a lot of us, the last, and likely only, interaction we had with hobby painting was model airplanes when we were kids. Snap a few pieces together, maybe slap on a coat of paint, marvel over how cool it was, then move on to the next toy. These Miniatures, that are at the center of Anthony’s hobby, are an order of magnitude more complex, involved and nuanced than that long-ago toy.

Anthony began painting Miniatures in Spring 2017 with enthusiasm tempered with concern that he simply lacked the artistry required: He said, “I knew I could capably build and strip a computer but I’m not a painter”. With that said, however, he was enthralled with the stories that form the basis for these models. So, he broke out of his comfort zone and gave painting a try. We don’t have the space here to talk about the specific stories behind the paintings ... but for the curious, you can read more here - BattleTech and Warhammer 40,000.

Tabletop Wargaming consists of, effectively, two arenas: First, creating and painting your army and second, moving on to actually playing the game in a social setting. The creative process has been Anthony’s focus for the last two years. For him, the painting began as a therapeutic diversion, a challenge and an opportunity to regain a misplaced sense of accomplishment. Anthony says he quickly began to acquire skills, but, like most "overnight success stories", the reality is that he works 1-2 hours most nights and 3-4 hours on Saturday and Sunday. When he is off work it isn’t uncommon for him to spend an entire day painting: From beginning steps to the final piece you see in these images, a single complicated model can take 20-30 hours to complete.

The painting is a largely solitary pursuit that finds Anthony closeted in his 12x12’ workroom listening to sermons, homilies and classic rock while committed to making each model better than the last. Through the aid of YouTube tutorials, the guidance of fellow enthusiasts and the hard work of trial and error, Anthony has been able to create the truly extraordinary collection of more than 100 models that you see in the photos.

For each model, Anthony carefully reviews an image of a sample finished product determining how he wants to customize and personalize his own. How the model is eventually painted represents both the model's position in the faction’s army and how Anthony has chosen to visually tell that character’s story.

Once Anthony has his vision and inspiration, he considers the component elements of the model while still on the sprue (frame holding the 3 dimensional pieces). This period is when he determines the light and shading required for each piece of each model; the armour, helmet, collar, cape …: You get the picture – a vast number of unique things to consider. A complex model might be comprised of 75 unique, 3D pieces. Each piece of the model must be primed in such a way as to best achieve the colour palette that Anthony envisions for the finished product.

Then there is a curing phase and decisions on paint colours and textures. Then deciding on hand brush or air brush application and exactly where to apply the paint. The light should hit the model at 45°-0°, so he has to plan colour transitions and gradients to achieve the effect of light hitting elements (a sleeve, a helmet, a weapon) on the figure. There are engineering skills required as Anthony determines where and how to hide tiny magnets (as small as 1mm x 1mm) used to customize the model.

The end results are tributes to Anthony’s creativity and objects of beauty … and of function. The second arena for Tabletop Wargaming is social – where Anthony takes these Miniatures out into the world and engages with other enthusiasts. They play games, meet at pubs, other local venues and international conventions to make friends and share the journey.

From all of the rest of us at Integral Group, thanks, Anthony, for sharing your story. Let us know if you have enjoyed this opportunity to get a glimpse inside this fascinating hobby.

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