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Ask The Artist: Mike, from Flashing Badger Painting

Updated: Jan 15

It's certainly been a while since I've posted content on almost any platform. I have to admit, it's been a rather stressful and depressing year. A lot has happened, and the majority of it would be considered by most people to be challenging at best. This has led to me feeling unmotivated and wondering what the future holds for the channel, and for the hobby in general. It was looking looking pretty bleak... then I fell in love with Orks. The models, the lore, and the freedom that comes with these beastly, over-muscled and under-brained murder mushrooms helped rekindle an excitement to get back into it. It wasn't long after renewing my love for the hobby that I came across Mike, from Flashing Badger Painting.


His happy-go-lucky personality, easy to follow methods, and expert use of on-the-nose "dad jokes" made deciding to follow him an easy one. The first video I saw of his was an awesome chronicling of his Orks using a looted Primaris Implusor. I needed this video. It reminded me it was ok for my own lore, head canon, and (ultimately) enjoyment to be the primary focus of my hobby. Not long after watching this video, I joined the Discord, hopped into the chat channels, and began behaving like a hobby newbie. I wasn't focused on only posting things that would boost my social presence, or things for commissions. I shared work in progress ideas, rough kitbashes, and even some random nonsense projects I've been wanting to start. Sometimes you need a hard reset; a reminder about why you got into the hobby in the first place.

So, let's get to know Mike from Flashing Badger Painting, and hopefully you'll be able to see why my hobby spark has been reignited!


How long have you been involved in the hobby in general?

 

"I’m only a rookie in the hobby. A small group of friends and I entered the hobby when we were kids but as we entered our teens we were lured by the more exciting aspects of growing up and the minis disappeared".

 

"However, one of my favourite parts of this hobby is that so many of us appear to be lured back in as our lives settle down. Over the last 10 years my circle of friends began catching up for board games nights as a way of hanging out in a relaxed environment and being able to banter and entertain ourselves".

 

"Mini painting and table top wargaming has only been over the last 5 years for me but as you can no doubt see, when I commit to a hobby, I like to dive in".

 

What initially drew you to the miniature model hobby realm?

 

"I was enjoying board games however the jump to mini painting wasn’t actually as a result of this. The transition actually came about in unusual fashion which I hadn’t shared with many people".

 

"I’ll tip toe my way around some words here to be crafty but my employment 5 years ago meant that I would be interacting with some people that had experienced loss in traumatic circumstances".

 

"On one such occasion I came across a young male who had lost his father and when meeting the family I discovered that the boy collected 40k. I recognized it from when I was a kid and after a little light googling discovered that he collected the Death Guard.

I knew that I would remain in contact with the family for the next couple of years and decided that I wanted to leave him with a gift when we would eventually part ways".




 

"I hunted around and realised that Forgeworld dreadnoughts were impressive to look at and could be a special addition to a collection, only problem… they come unassembled and unpainted".

 

"With time on my side I set myself the challenge to learn to paint the model so that I could wrap it as a gift and make it that extra special".

 

"Whilst learning to paint the model I found myself falling in love with the hobby community and each aspect of what it could offer. The painting, the lore, the batreps, the people, all of it.

I had young boys myself and my job was creating an ever present layer of stress that whilst I was finding ways to survive, I didn’t have an effective long term way of managing this stress".

 

"Unexpectedly I discovered that the time I spent painting, which was usually an hour or 2 once we got the tiny demons to settle, was quiet time where I would relax and unwind.

I completed the model, presented the gift and without hesitation I decided that the hobby was healthy for me and I bought myself a box of minis and jumped straight back in".

 

What tabletop game would you say is your favorite? What particular faction within that game is your favorite and why?

 

"Oooof. I’m doing my best not to say Warhammer 40k here. I promise I collect, play and consume content about a whole host of other games but there’s something about the world of 40k that always has my attention now".

 




"I think Orks are my favourite. I have Orks, Death Guard and Tyranids so you can tell that I’m comfortable playing ‘the bad guy’ on the table top but Orks appeal to me and here’s why".

 

"In a grim dark setting where so many factions are motivated by hate… you have a group of lads that just want to have fun. They want to build a shiny red race car. Why? Not because it will summon some artifact that affords them access to an ancient world…it just goes faster than their mate’s race car. They want to fight because they are enjoying themselves, good on them".

 

"Playing the Orks means that I’m allowed to goof around and have fun and claim that I’m just leaning into ‘what the Orks would do’. I’ve played a few times competitively and would always take thematic and entertaining Ork lists so that my opponent would be off the back of a couple of serious tactical space marine battles and suddenly find themselves in front of an army and an opponent that was there to have fun and make them laugh".

 

"And I won’t shy away from the other reason that I love the Orks… because I’m not a great painter and this army is SO forgiving to paint and allows someone like me to hide behind plenty of ‘weathering’ and ‘battle damage’. Amiright?!"

 

What is more enjoyable for you personally: painting or playing the game?

 

"50 / 50 down the line for me. Sitting on the fence response but I’ll tell you why. Painting is my quiet time where I can escape OR now I can have quiet time with my tiny hormagaunts whilst they paint beside me. This is the introvert Mike enjoying himself".

 

"Then playing is where I can be social and share my hobby with those close to me. My mates are excited to show off what they’ve been painting, I’m excited to show off what I’ve been painting and then we can destroy those particular models in turn 1 before they ever get to do anything. Ahh yes, traditions".




 

If money or time weren’t a consideration, what single purchase/upgrade/expansion would you make to further your hobby enjoyment?

 

"Haha now we are talking. Well, I am fortunate that I have more than enough minis in my collection and in my pile of shame to keep me busy so I think I’d love to have some really interactive and grand table to play on".

 

"I’m talking LED lighting effects in ruined buildings, flowing water, destructible terrain, sound effects, smoke machines. I can picture it all now. Then I’d need some elaborate way to hide it all with the flick of a switch so that my wife and her friends never discover what lengths of nerdiness I have transitioned into. Like the table drops beneath the floor in an instance. It’s foolproof".

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your particular army theme or painting style? (shout-outs are encouraged here!)

 

"Let me limber up because there’s a lot".

 

Miniac and Ninjon on Youtube. I love their approach to the hobby and their creativity.

 

"I’m in awe of diorama creators and the way they can tell a story and paint such an evocative scene. MTSpeed_Crafts, Boylei Hobby Time and Bobby Fingers come to mind immediately. Bobby fingers can put together a 30 minute video on building and painting a diorama and you’ll find yourself laughing the whole way through.

 

"Goobertown Hobbies. 2 minutes into seeing the first video that popped up with Brent and I was thinking “I would get along so well with this guy in real life.” A calming presence, a way of encouraging you from the other side of the globe and fitting of the title of a modern day Bob Ross".

 




"I also draw a lot of inspiration from outside the hobby with the other content I like to consume whilst I paint".

 

"Secret Galaxy, EmpLemon and Mark Rober have taught me that it’s ok to be an adult and just lean into the things that you enjoyed as a kid and there will be people out there in the same boat".

 

"Instagram and TikTok, check out Errant Roll Model and B1acksword. Two gents that have returned to the hobby and are documenting their journey. Relatable, stunning minis and great ambassadors for the hobby".

 

 

What tips or advice would you give someone just starting out in the hobby?

 

"Have fun. Sounds simple but this is also my approach to just about everything outside the hobby as well. It’s a hobby and it’s there for you to enjoy. Find ways to make it fun for you and you’ll enjoy the hurdles along the way regardless".

 

"If ‘fun’ means to involve yourself with a small community of mates or strangers to share your progress and ideas, go for it! Don’t be ashamed for thinking it’s cool. There’s an insane amount of us from all different backgrounds that think it’s cool and we’re primed to tell you that your minis look ace".

 

What is something you know now that you wish you knew at the beginning of your hobby journey?

 

"I touch on this a few times throughout my answers but I wish I knew that I didn’t need to spend so much energy hiding my love of mini painting from anyone. Hey Mike from 5 years ago, it’s me, future Mike. Lean into the hobby and nerd out, you’ll have more fun".

 





How long have you been actively promoting your content on social media?

"A year and a half. So I know what you are thinking, wow this guy is O.G in the mini painting game, a real pioneer trail blazing for the aspiring talent to come. So yep, I’m new here.

 My mini painting Instagram has been going since 2018 however it wasn’t until Youtube that I dared show my face and identify myself as an actual human and not in fact, a Badger".

 

What was the moment you decided to share your hobby with the world?

 

"I really enjoyed the clandestine nature of my hobby. I knew about it. Some friends that I could count on one hand knew about it and everyone else was in the dark. My models were kept in the basement and there were zero ties between me and my secret hobby.

 Absolutely a large part of this was that I thought I would be embarrassed if others discovered that I painted tiny plastic soldiers. The best thing that happened in the hobby was that I bumped into another couple of people I knew in the local game shops, at tournaments, at conventions etc. I discovered that there were plenty of us operating under the cover of darkness and the more we chatted, the more people would ask me for some assistance with their painting.





"I found myself trying to explain things or hosting small painting sessions and realised it would be easier if I made a couple of basic videos for them to follow along. I discovered that I enjoyed making the videos and this encouraged me to paint something other than just models I would use in my own games. I could step outside my comfort zone and experience more of the hobby".

 

"So I created the Youtube channel and here we are. Now if only I could become a decent painter, there could be something in this endeavor!"

 

What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome on your path to becoming a painting content creator?

 

"Accepting that if I clicked ‘upload’ then the cat was out of the bag. It would go from my 4 closest friends knowing, to suddenly my work mates, my wider family, associates, the other parents at school pickup…everyone around me would know that I paint action dollies in my basement AND I make videos with dad jokes".

 

"I had spent years hand crafting a perception that I was into only manly activities such as hunting, driving fast cars and exploring the world with a pack on my back. I was about to pull the rug out from under myself".

 

"Which leads to…."

 

What has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had since starting your YouTube journey?

 

"Discovering that everyone is a nerd. When people uncovered my hobby, they would laugh, then they would tell me their hobby that they hide from the world. The reception I feared ended up being enjoyable experiences with people and we had more to chat about than just the regular mundane".

 

"Outside of this some other rewarding moments I’ve really enjoyed is when members of the community would reach out to me and show me their models that they’ve painted having followed my painting guides or having been inspired in some way by my models. Realising that there were actually people on the other end of my videos that experienced benefit from my D grade production is really cool. If you’ve ever considered sending me one of your photos of a painted model and you hesitated, find that photo and tag me in!"

 

"Oh and I’m still stunned by the fact that I was able to have a model I painted for Josh at MiniWarGaming feature in his batreps. Wild! Keep your eyes peeled for Constantine Valdor stomping enemies of the Imperium courtesy of Flashing Badger".

 


 

If you could do anything to expand your company/studio/hobby footprint, what would it be?

 

"The goal that immediately comes to mind would be to put in place whatever I need in order to create videos more often. I have a list of ideas now that’s easily over 50 videos deep but at best I can create 1 per fortnight".

 

"Give me an endless budget and I’d love to have a team of us working together and having fun creating videos. I’m in a fortunate position that I’m able to work full time to fund my hobby but the other side of the coin is that I can’t allocate more time to creating my ideas".

 

"Who knows, maybe one day the channel will be financially viable and the 2 lines on the chart will hit a point and cross over and I could reduce the hours I put into my full time job and transfer them across into the hobby. It’s bold, but I like to aim big".

 

 

What (if any) product line do you endorse, and what about their products do you feel sets them above their competitors?

 

"I didn’t expect to be on any companies radar this early on and with such a smaller following when compared to all the creators that spring to our minds in this hobby. What this means though is that the companies, big and small, that have reached out and teamed up with me are really special to me because they’ve seen something in the channel and been prepared to roll the dice. Which I greatly appreciate".




 

"I made a rule on day 1 that if ever the opportunities presented, I wouldn’t team up with any company or product that I didn’t genuinely use myself or that I wouldn’t think could benefit my viewers. So the ones that immediately come to mind for me;

 

"The Army Painter – Are you kidding me? A huge company. When they were in contact with me I triple checked to make sure I wasn’t being scammed by some phishing emails. I use so many different painting products and Army Painter hadn’t been top of my list and I began to fall in love with their relationship with the community. The Army Painter spent the last couple of years actively listening to the community then redesigning their products in partnership with painters to create ranges like Speedpaint 2.0 and now their Fanatic Paints so that their paints were to the same standard as the competition. All the while they have spoilt me by sending out some products to play around with and asking nothing in return (which I have discovered is very rare!) and their team touch base every now and then to let me know which videos of mine they have been watching and what they have enjoyed. Yes, I pinch myself each time".

 

"Warlord Games – On par with The Army Painter in terms of a team of people that are genuine about their love of the hobby and wanting the community to have positive experiences. I played around with painting Bolt Action tanks and Warlord Games let me know that they enjoyed the video, enjoyed the channel and wanted to surprise me. This is how the Judge Dredd painting and play through videos came about on the channel and a cheeky piece of intel for your readers is that Warlord Games and I have more excitement on the way as I’m planning some elaborate dioramas with their Judge Dredd and Bolt Action range".

 

"Rosemary & Co Brushes. If I was already using particular products then I wanted any affiliation to be with them because if people ask me ‘What brushes do you use?’ then my answer is going to be truthful. I discovered their brushes a couple of years ago off a recommendation from a friend and I’ve never looked back. I’m not a pro painter and I can’t justify wild spending on brushes and Rosemary & Co is the perfect balance for me. The brushes are affordable, last a long time and I feel accurate and smooth with them".

 

"Outside of these I look for other small Australian businesses that are in a similar position and try to shine a spotlight on what they offer our community".

 

"The Tray Tinker make incredible custom high quality wooden trays for when you want to treat youself. Proxy Wargaming 3D offer the best resin printing I’ve come across in the hobby, and Mperor have unbeatable prices on GW products in Australia".




 

If you could earn a sponsorship or endorsement from your dream company, who would it be and why?

 

"Great question. My mind immediately steps outside of the hobby itself. I feel that if I partnered with a giant in the hobby, like the one we are all thinking of, then that might dictate the direction of the videos I create and could exclude promoting the small businesses.

What if, it was outside our hobby and brought even more positive eyes to help us grow?

Partnering with Mark Rober and we work towards getting some painted Ad Mech on Mars. Fool proof. Partnering with Danny Ricciardo and have him drive some laps of a racetrack with me seated beside him trying my best to paint a space marine.

Or if I can’t have those. Being sponsored by a company that make delicious sugary treats and they pay me in chocolate. My kids would love it".


Message to the Artist:


Mike, thank you so much for helping me rediscover my personal love for the hobby. I throughly enjoyed binging your content as I prepared for this. Your enjoyment of the hobby is easy to see, and infectious. I'm excited to see your communities grow, and I hope to be as much a help as possible. I hope one day soon we can plan a MPP/FBP collaboration!






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