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Ask the Artist: Barrie "Baz" Watkins (@Anphiarus)

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

Hey hey Ladies and Gentledudes! Today, I interviewed Baz Watkins, or, as I first came to know him, @Anphiarus! I first saw his work when he was sculpting a Crimson Fist Captain (shown below). I had never really explored much about this and here was a sculpting legend! (At this point, I had no idea he worked at GW for 5 years). Even after following him and chatting with him for several months, I still cannot believe how crisp and clean his lines are! Do yourself a favor and toss this man a like, follow, subscription....all the goodies! He even does quite a bit of work for the boys over at SN Battle Reports!

1. How long have you been involved in the hobby in general? "I've been in the hobby on and off for about 20 years now, I worked for GW for about 6 years between 2000-ish onwards and I've been back into mini's for about 5 years since concentrating on family stuff".

2. How long have you been actively promoting your content on social media? "I've been sharing my work since April 2017 on Instagram and other than the odd pic on a Guild ball forum I've not really been active online in any way to be honest". 3. What initially drew you to the miniature model hobby realm? "When I was about 10 years old, I remember an old friend of mine having some of the lead miniatures but to be honest I couldn't afford them, that's the first memory I have of miniatures. I studied art in secondary school and I picked Warhammer/40k as my subject which got me interested in the fantasy/40k universes again, this time around I could afford to join in the hobby".

4. What tabletop game would you say is your favorite? What particular faction within that game is your favorite and why? "This is a tough one to be honest, my favourite game would probably be Mordheim if I'm honest as it's the game that I have the fondest memories of, my Favourite Warband was the Undead. Out of the main systems I'd have to say it's the Horus Heresy, I just love that story and the game tends to draw narrative gamers which is how I prefer to play. My favourite faction for the Heresy is Space Wolves, who doesn't like Vikings in space?" 5. Your GreenStuff work is OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! What made you decide to give it a go? "First of all, thank you. It's been a pretty natural thing for me to be honest, I started like everyone else and filled some gaps here and there at first. I remember doing my first simple conversion with it which was changing a marine arm and having to sculpt in the webbing to complete the look, needless to say I was delighted at the time but I feel like it was much worse than I remember". 

6. What is more enjoyable for you personally: sculpting, painting or playing the game? "All of it to be honest, I think you can sicken yourself if you do any of these too long. I like to sculpt right now but I still get the urge to paint and it freshens things up to chop and change between the two. Gaming I do love (narrative is what I prefer) but there isn't the biggest gaming scene up here in the West of Scotland these days".

7. I see you tag SN battle reports frequently, and a lot of your custom work is for them. Are they a commissioned customer, a sponsor, or just a group of buddies you like making stuff for? "I started speaking to Pardo (Steven Pardo) over the sale of my Crimson Fists army back in late 2017, they were the older mini marines, once the Primaris Marines were released Pardo had asked if I could add to the army for him and he's commissioned me ever since then. I have to say that Pardo has been very helpful and kind ever since we first spoke and I now consider him a good friend, that in my opinion is the best thing about this great hobby, I've met all of my best mates through it". 8. If money or time weren’t a consideration, what single purchase/upgrade/expansion would you make to further your hobby enjoyment? "Quite simply I'd like a bigger hobby space (don't we all). I'm a father to three lovely daughters and all of my mates have kids of their own, I'd like a hobby room to act as a retreat/haven for me and the lads to retreat to when we can. Could you imagine being able to leave all of your stuff out and return the next day without wondering if it would still be there the next day? Or even stopping a game halfway through and not having to pack it all away. Failing that I would like to get a good quality airbrush and setup so I can finally come away from brush painting all my base-coats".

9. Where do you get the inspiration for your particular army theme or style? "Mathew Kane (broken_arrow_2000 on Instagram) and Dan Collister (fortunatesonofhorus on Instagram) are the two painters that really got me back into army painting. Both of these guys have done multiple stunning armies for the table top, once I'd seen their armies on the 30k Channel I knew I was hooked again. You could say my style is a kinda late 90's early 2000's Eavy Metal and that purely down to working in the GW stores around that time". 10. What tips or advice would you give someone just starting out in the hobby, especially in regards to dipping their toes into sculpting? "For those just starting out in the hobby I'd say it's never been a better time to join, fill your boots with the geeky goodness and paint/play what you enjoy the most. As far as sculpting is concerned, I think the key is to start small and tackle the "easier" jobs first. Filling gaps is a boring job that most people would rather not do, but it teaches you how the Greenstuff moves and reacts to the sculpting tools at different stages through the curing time, it also teaches you how to smooth Greenstuff out. Basic I know but it's still information that's important and relevant to the more complex sculpting projects. Once you feel comfortable you can move onto boils and some ragged cloth, this will give you an idea of the movement of both skin and cloth and how it can change the appearance/narrative of a piece. All the while you are still using the smoothing out techniques you learned when you were filling gaps etc. It's been quite a long learning process for me but don't skip on the basics, have a solid foundation of skills to build upon and you'll figure the rest out as you go, I know I am. Finally, I'd say do a lot of your practice on an old tile etc. Minis are pretty expensive in comparison to Greenstuff so don't experiment on them, use the old tile to practice your technique and get it right before moving onto the model itself".

11. What was the most rewarding experience you’ve had in the hobby? "I went to a double's tournament with a very good friend of mine quite a few years ago now, we've never been competitive and it certainly showed that day. We managed to come away with a 2 win 2 loss record but we did manage to scoop best painted for the day, we were both chuffed to bits with that. That for me has to be the most rewarding and if I'm not mistaken we still have the trophy somewhere". 12. If you could take the steps to make your hobby your sole source of income, would you do it? Why/why not? "If I could I probably would if I'm honest. I would love to attempt to do some sculpting classes at one point, I get a kick out of teaching others but I'm much better face to face teaching I feel. Needless to say, if I can get the right setup for some videos etc I would also like to try that out.  If that wasn't an option then I wouldn't mind doing bespoke characters and commission painting for the rest of my days. The fear is you'd end up falling out of love with the hobby of course but I'd still enjoy it much more than a regular old job that I didn't enjoy any part of".

And there he is folks. I have had an absolute blast following this guy around! His work is so clean and he makes sculpting look flawless. PLUS, he's an amazing painter to boot! Baz is an extremely humble and down-to-earth guy. Go check him out NOW!! You will not regret it!

Baz, Thank you for answering my questions, and I truly hope you get your awesome hobby retreat one day. The best thing I ever bought for my hobby room....

A door knob with a key lock!

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