Ask the Artist: Rob Knipe aka Brush and Boltgun
Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Ladies and Gentledudes! This is an interview I have been super excited about! I first saw Rob's Channel, Brush and Boltgun when I was looking for some Space Wolf inspiration. After the Space Wolf video, I was hooked! He was the first painter I watched that gave me the confidence to start painting my wolves. His style is so clean, yet impactful, and his videos take the viewer along his journey in a way that is clear and easy to follow. So, strap in folks...Drop Pods Away!
1. About how long have you been a part of this hobby? And how long have you taken a more serious/business approach to it? "I started painting miniatures mainly because my brother did when we were younger. He started playing Warhammer with some of his pals (using the Ravening Hordes book) and used to pick up some miniatures, and I got hooked in by that. With B&B it started as fun, like a tale of four gamers kind of thing with Adam, Dave, Mike and me and it's just grown from that. As time goes out the amount of time anyone could put into the blog changes, so sometimes there's more or less from each of us. Video wise I really enjoy making them and it's nice to know that they help people along the way".
2. What initially drew you to the miniature model hobby realm?
"My brother, he used to play Warhammer (Ravening Hordes army book) and he'd get miniatures for that. I used to buy the odd pack (saved up pocket money) so I could paint with him".
3. What tabletop game would you say is your favorite? What particular faction within that game is your favorite and why?
"Necromunda or Blood Bowl. I used to play Orlocks because I didn't like the old Goliath models, but this edition I'm playing Goliaths. They remind me of the villains in the second Mad Max film, and I love Mad Max. :-) For Blood Bowl I always go humans but for the newest version I went Goblins, because when they work it's amazing, but they usually get smashed! haha".
4. What do you enjoy more, painting or playing?
I like both, I don't play enough because life tends to be pretty busy, but we try and hang out and get a few games in when we can. We play a lot of different games, some board games, 40k less due to the time commitment (we like to get a few games in or have a massive game), but games like Necromunda or Blood Bowl are ideal. I really enjoy Age of Sigmar too. Too many games, not enough time. I love painting though, and to keep a social aspect we chat on discord/skype to keep it sociable if we can't get together.
5. Where do you get the inspiration for your theme or style?
"I think that a lot of the time GW miniatures are painted very clean (I get that they can't gore up the Nurgles on their site) so I wanted to make my Death Guard a little more like they are in the books and images, so gore and filth leaking out of them. It means they've taken an age to paint (I started them when 8th came out and still not finished...) but they look great when done. :-) In terms of other painters and people on here, I think that anyone who is into the hobby inspires me. Seeing their take on miniatures and scenery often makes me think of other ideas. I saw someone had done Orks with big shields (tagged in the ork shield wall post), and this plus Last Kingdom have inspired an Ork shield wall, and currently a 30k Ultramarines testudo. There's too many to list, but imajica87 does the same style of Death Guard which are stunning. All the hobbyists we follow (and heaps we don't!) add something to the pot, so worth checking them all out".
6. What tips and tricks would you offer to someone trying to find balance between family and hobby time? "Hobby is a good way to destress for me. I tend to manage a couple of evenings a week to paint, and occasionally get a full day painting every few months. It means I'm busy working on stuff for the channel and blog when painting so I don't get a whole lot of army painting done, but it means I get time with my family and time to game with friends. Or at least we gamed pre-lockdown. It's a delicate balance. I painted up pretty much an entire Sons of Horus army when my daughter was tiny, as she slept a lot, so I'd sit in the same room as her and paint. It's all about trying to find time to paint, and making the most of it when you get it".
7. What were some important steps you took in the transition from casual gamer/hobby painter to painting for money? "To be honest, I'm not really painting for money at the moment. The only commission I've ever done was the gaming pieces for the Labyrinth board game for one of my pals (George from Geeks Destroy and Conquer podcast (https://www.facebook.com/gdandcpodcast/)- REALLY nice guy). I took ages to do them (sorry, George!) and it made me realize that if I took a commission it could take years for me to finish. I think - I've never had a plan on what to do and can't afford the time or money to paint up every nice miniature released (there's so many!) so it's still a fun hobby painting for the blog and channel".
8. What would you say was the most difficult hurdle to overcome when you decided to make this a full time thing? "I'm not painting full time at the moment, I work 4 days and spend the rest of the days with my family, then paint 2-3 evenings a week for the channel. I tend to paint the bulk of my army stuff while watching TV an evening or two a week which is slow going, but it saves me missing videos and missing out on TV time. I've thought about working on this full time but the main reason I haven't is the money. I'd need to make sure bills could be paid otherwise it wouldn't just affect me, it'd affect my family too. If it got to a point where I could afford to do this full time I'd definitely do it".
9. What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement in the hobby?
"My most rewarding thing would be hearing people that say they've improved from watching the videos or reading the posts. It's the motivation that keeps me making them".
10. If money weren't an object, what is something you would love to get for your hobby/blog/channel?
"Ooooh, - if money wasn't an object... it wouldn't be a purchase, it'd be me leaving work and painting all day! haha I really like the titans, but I struggle with the motivation for larger models and have had two part painted Knights for years. I think just more scenery for 40k, the new stuff looks stunning".
11. Finally, what is the most important thing to you when it comes to considering a project or commission?
"The most important thing is, is it fun? I really enjoy painting, and my whole thing is trying not to get bogged down or hung up on one project. I have a Death Guard army that still isn't finished. I love the miniatures, but the amount of detail on them is unbelievable, and it's every miniature. I got tired of painting them for a while, but I've recently started painting some Age of Sigmar Maggotkin again and really enjoying the hideousness of them, so will be back on the Death Guard soon. If I'm not enjoying something I tend to take a break from it, then go back when I feel the urge. You can tell that by the way the Youtube channel content rotates from army to army".
And there it is! Rob, thank you so much for being willing to chat with me, and I can personally say your were a huge help when deciding to start up my Space Wolves. I don't know how many times I watched you paint the Reiver and Intercessor!