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Interview : Michael Bartels (Painting Buddha / Masterminis)

Interview : Michael Bartels (Painting Buddha / Masterminis)

Blog - Le 23 septembre 2013

If you don’t heard about Painting Buddha and Masterminis.net, you should probably just arrived on earth or born.

This is an interview of Zaphod, aka Michael Bartels, “President” of Manabu/Painting Buddha and writer on Masterminis.net.
Thanks again Michael for taking the time to answered that questions, and for all the work you make with Ben and Mati !

And now… the interview :D !

Michael Bartels (on the right), with Ben Komets (left) and Mati Zander (center)

- Hello Michael, first can you present yourself ? Like the way you discover the hobby.

Hey Julien! Sure, I’ll try to be terse, although that is not one of my strong points ^^

First you need to know that I am a big fan of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’ve been using the alias Zaphod Beebleblebrox since the days when the Internet was still black-and-white and all text. I think it’s important to know, so everyone understands the importance of the number 42!

I got infected with the miniature virus when I lived in London back in 1991/92. At the tender age of 21 I entered the Games Workshop store on Oxford street and came out equipped with brushes, miniatures and colors (some of the minis are not painted to this day, a trend that should continue throughout my painter life :D ).

Because I was always very busy at work, I ended up collecting minis rather than using them for gaming or painting for many years. In 2005 I went to GD Germany and got hooked again. 2006 was my first professional workshop with Jeremie Bonamant Teboul – where I learned that you can actually dilute paint!

Since then I have visited dozens, if not hundred+ of events all over the world: Competitions, painting classes, nerd-camps and so on. I love miniatures. And I love the community!



- You are one of the creator of Painting Bhudda. You are also the writer behind Masterminis.net . Can you tell us a little bit more those project ? How many are you working on those medias ?

When I turned 28, I decided by the time I would turn 42 (which happened faster than I like to think about), I would leave my corporate job and start a miniature company. And so I did. Back then it was just an idea, no details.

Returning from a two years private stay in Japan (just to learn the language), I moved to Berlin, because I absolutely wanted Mati Zander (now our Art Director Body) and Ben Komets (now Art Director Soul) on my team. These two guys are not only awesome and fun people, but I consider them to be among the best in what they do. I was very happy that after I told them about my dream that they both left their previous lives behind and joined our company, which by the way is called “学・Manabu“, Japanese for ‚Learning‘.

About a year ago I started blogging at masterminis.net, and we started working on our first project “Season 1: Target Identified”.

Painting Buddha : Season 1: Target Identified


- How come the idea of creating Painting Bhudda, and what steps was necessary to build it ?

We soon found that masterminis.net is not really a good name for our ‘brand’. First, it’s hard to create a logo for it, secondly, the name did not display the values of our company. My life-changing experiences in Japan (culture, people, earthquake, Fukushima and my search for the Ultimate Question about Life, the Universe and Everything, to which we all know the answer is 42) and the ideas we put into our company goals reminded me of the “Happy Buddha” and thus the idea for the name was born. I told Mati about it and he created our awesome logo.


- How many people are following Masterminis ? It looks like the website has become one of the famoust blog on our microcosm in a very short time !

Haha, yeah. It’s fun! There are about 570 subscriber to the blog itself, but since Google shut down the Google Reader, there is really no big benefit in ‘subscribing’ to a blog anymore. Most people follow us on our Facebook page, which exploded from the mid 500s to now 1500 ‘likes’ since the launch of our first season.

On masterminis I just write about events, we have tons of giveaways of rare and nerdy stuff and I express my love-hate-relationship with Games Workshop.


Painting Buddha : Happy Monk

- Have you any idea about the number of post that were writen on Masterminis ? Are you happy, or surprise by the incredible success of your website ?

Of course we are happy! Like our Happy Monk! :D

In the first year we posted 342 articles which got a total of around 460000 views. This week we will break half a million.

To be honest, my goal was to reach 420,000 viewers in the first year – just because it’s a cool number. And I was surprised and humbled by the fact that we actually reached that goal.


- What is the future of Masterminis and Painting Buddha ?

We are working on our Painting Buddha website right now, which will turn into a big community site for painters all across the globe. I think we can say that it will not be your ‘typical’ website. We are considering to merge Masterminis.net and PaintingBuddha, but that is not 100% decided yet (mostly to guard us from GW’s Legal Inquisition).

We also plan on working with independent ‘brick-and-mortar’ retailers to further grow our hobby. Also we plan some events to attract new painters, but these are maybe for the 2nd half of 2014.

In the end, you know, we are Germans, we always have to ultimately go for world domination! But since no one tried that with miniatures yet, I consider it a most cunning plan! Nobody expects the Painting Buddha!

Painting Buddha : Logo



- Can you describe your way of thinking, about the hobby and your personal approach of it.

That is actually easy. I always have lived by the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Douglas Adam’s particular, weird humour. I like doing things completely opposite to what a ‘normal’ person would do. You can’t imagine how successful that is, especially when you are sitting in a meeting with the ‘Big Business Guns’ in a corporate environment. For example: Does a company have to make profit? How about: “No!”

As far as miniature business is concerned, if you just learn from the best in the industry, Games Workshop – and then do the exact opposite of what they do, you’ll be fine.

Our motto is: SHARE & ENJOY. And we mean it. We don’t do this for profit, we do this for the community – and for fun. And we have a lot of fun!

Don't panic, just SHARE and ENJOY


- And to finish, what are you working on at the moment ?

At the moment, I am answering your interview questions. (^.^*)

LOL, no seriously, we are working on Season 2 which is scheduled to be available for order in December. And we have painters lined up, that I seriously consider to be irresistible.
We have an awesome scene from the Painting Buddha Diner – and our first painters is the incredibly talented Chris “Monkeyman7x” Octive from the UK.

Season 3 is half-done. “Teasing” : We are also working on a showcase vehicle which coincidentally is also ‘compatible’ with many armies of a futuristic game system by a big company somewhere in Nottingham, UK. We also have further plans for this particular project for later in 2014.

It’s safe to say that we will not only continue to work on the best miniature painting DVD sets we can make, but we have many more exiting projects in the pipeline. And with the support of the gaming and painting community, we will be able to turn our nerdiest dreams into reality.

A big shout-out to all of our supporters from all of us here at Painting Buddha!


Our motto is: SHARE & ENJOY. And we mean it. We don’t do this for profit, we do this for the community – and for fun. And we have a lot of fun!

The Last Light – Roman Lappat Slayer Sword

The Last Light – Roman Lappat Slayer Sword

Blog - Le 15 septembre 2013

UK : Hi everyone !
A quick post, for those who didn’t see it. Roman Lappat (Massive Voodoo, of course), just start to post a step by step of his Slayer Sword winning entry : The Last Light.

So if you don’t already read it : GO AHEAD !!!


- The Last Ligt, German Slayer Sword 2013, Roman Lappat : Step by step PART 1 –

FR : Salut tout le monde !
Un message rapide, pour les personnes qui n’auraient pas vu. Roman Lappat (Massive Voodoo), a récemment commencer à poster un pas à pas de son diorama, récompensé par la Slayer Sword allemande : The Last Light.

Si jamais vous ne l’avais pas déjà lu : ALLEZ-Y, FONCEZ !!!

- The Last Ligt, Slayer Sword allemande 2013, Roman Lappat : Pas à pas PART 1 –


Last Light - Roman Lappat

Best of the Month : August 2013

Best of the Month : August 2013

Blog - Le 13 septembre 2013

A bit late, this is the “Best of the Month” section for : August

I make a recall that for this section, I only chose between finished projects posted by their artists on the web.

And last month, it’s big… very big project wich attracted my attention : The Elf lord on dragon by Volomir aka Rafael Garcia Marin.

A huge step by step of this miniature can be found on that link. And I really suggest you to take a look on it !

Congrats Rafael for making such a big project, and finish it with such a hight quality !

Ps : Huge pics from Volomir’s blog. Can took few second to open.


Un peu en retard, voici le figurine du mois d’août.

Je rappel que pour cette section, mon choix ne se porte que sur des projets terminés, postés sur Internet, par leurs auteurs.

Et pour le mois dernier, c’est un gros, très gros projet que j’ai retenu : le seigneur elfe sur dragon par Rafael Garcia Marin, aka Volomir.

Un énorme pas à pas de cette figurine est visible en consultant ce lien. Et je vous suggère fortement d’aller y jeter un oeil !

Bravo à toi Rafael pour avoir réalisé un tel projet, et surtout l’avoir fini avec ce tel niveau de qualité !

Ps : les images suivant sont issus du site de Volomir. Et vu qu’elles sont gigantesques, cela peut prendre quelques secondes à s’afficher.

IMG_0548 IMG_0550 IMG_0551 IMG_0553 IMG_0556 IMG_0565 IMG_0568dragon_details_01 dragon_details_03 dragon_details_04

Galadriel, Gold GD UK 07 : SOLD :) !

Galadriel, Gold GD UK 07 : SOLD :) !

Blog - Le 4 septembre 2013

It’s done ! Galadriel will now leave to another happy place !

Thanks to the people who helps me with my “how damned this Ebay thing works” issue :D !

And now : return to my next commission of a Space Wolf Terminator. Picture of him before painting in just few days !


Eh voilà ! Galadriel s’en va désormais vers un meilleur lieu !

Merci à ceux m’ayant aidé avec mon petit problème du : “mais comment ça fonctionne Ebay déjà ?” :D !

Allez hop, je m’en retourne à la dernière commande sur le feu  : un Terminator Space Wolf. Des photos de ce dernier (avant sous-couche) seront postées dans les jours qui viennent !

Galadriel, Gold GD UK 2007, by Julien Casses

Galadriel : Gold GD UK 07′ on Ebay !

Galadriel : Gold GD UK 07′ on Ebay !

Blog - Le 28 août 2013

Galadriel : Gold GD UK 2007 on Ebay !

UK :



Hi everyone ! I decided to took my Galadriel on Ebay. It’ll permit maybe to one of you to obtain her at a cheaper price, and it’ll be the occasion for me to make some place in my cabinet :D !

(For information, the Ebay auction start at 200$, when I’m asking on this website about 330$ for her. So it’s a kind of opportunity to have her at a good discount !)

It’s not an easy decision for me, but with time I really come to the decision that she will be more “happy” in a collector display cabinet than in mine.

I hope this Ebay test will have an happy conclusion. And if it’s note the case… well… she will stay some time more with her friends !


FR :



Salut à tous ! J’ai décidé de mettre en vente Galadriel sur Ebay. Cela permettra peut-être à l’un d’entre-vous de l’obtenir à un prix réduit, et ce sera pour moi l’occasion de faire de la place dans ma vitrine :D !

(Pour info, la vente Ebay comporte un prix de départ de 150Euros. Hors, via la “boutique” du site, j’en demande 250. Il s’agit donc d’une belle opportunité pour l’obtenir à prix réduit !)

Ce n’est pas une décision facile non plus, mais avec le temps, j’en suis venu à la conclusion qu’il vaut mieux la savoir chez un collectionneur plutôt que dans ma vitrine là où je ne la regarde plus.

J’espère que ce test Ebay aura une belle fin. Et si ce n’est pas la cas… eh bien… elle restera à la maison avec ses copains un peu plus longtemps !

Gigantesques miniatures : Reportage

Gigantesques miniatures : Reportage

Blog - Le 14 août 2013

Un très sympathique reportage de Laura Orosemane. Il aborde, sous un regard bien plus neutre que beaucoup de précédents reportages sur le sujet, les expériences d’une partie des joueurs et collectionneurs de figurines.

Voici d’ailleurs le synopsis, disponible sur Viméo :

“Ils s’appellent Throst, l’Esprit de la Ruche ou encore Jehan de la Tour. Dans leur catégorie ce sont des champions.
Dans le petit monde du jeu de figurines, un jeu de stratégie arrivé en France à la fin des années 70. On y joue sur un plateau, avec de petites statuettes qui s’apparentent aux soldats de plomb.
Avec plus de 500 000 joueurs en France, c’est un jeu qui a su résister à l’arrivée du numérique. Un marché de niche.
A plus de 20 ans, ses adeptes consacrent une grande partie de leur vie à ces jeux de stratégie. Portrait d’une communauté de joueurs d’un autre genre.”

Et la vidéo :

Gigantesques miniatures par Laura Orosemane

La vidéo n’étant disponible que via Viméo, vous pouvez voir le reportage en cliquant ici : Gigantesques Miniatures

Best of the Month : July 2013

Best of the Month : July 2013

Blog - Le 9 août 2013

A very calm month of july !
Holidays are I’m sure, the most logical reason. But Internet still continues to works, and allows us to see this beautiful diorama made by Rusto.
Congrats to him for this amazing amount of work, and for the painting of the horses. A wonderfull scenery !


Un mois de juillet très calme !Il est logique de penser que les vacances en sont la raison. Mais pendant ce temps Internet continue à fonctionner, et nous permet de tomber sur ce magnifique diorama réalisé par Rusto.
Bravo à lui pour cet impressionnant amas de travail, et pour la peinture des chevaux. Une très belle scénette !

Celtic Chieftain Chariot

Best of the Month : June 2013

Best of the Month : June 2013

Blog - Le 4 juillet 2013

Hey everyone !

I know the last weeks have been less active than before. I was pretty busy ^^. But as I have recently decide to refocus a little bit a part of my professional carrier on the Hobby, the website should take again a new breath and have more articles !

I’ll have the occasion to speak more precisely about somes interesting news in a near future :) .

But for the moment, it’s the best of june that matter.

Congrats to mister Angel Giraldez, for his painting of “Aphice Loacier Barker” (from Sedition Wars/Studio Mcvey).

For the second time this year, it’s a studio paintjob that i chose to post (after Mathieu Rouèche pixie’s).

June have been pretty quiet, but i found this painting very attractive, clear, and efficient. As always with Angel in fact… :D

Again… congrats to him !

And yes… i’ll post somes news of my own painting soon :D !… Really soon in fact I hope !


Bonjour à tous !

Je sais que les dernières semaines ont été moins actives. J’ai été vraiment pas mal occupé ^^. Cependant, ayant décidé récemment de recentrer une partie de ma carrière pro sur le Hobby, le site devrait retrouver son souffle et avoir plein de nouveaux articles incessamment sous peu !

J’aurai de toute manière l’occasion de parler de certains de ces détails dans un futur proche :) .

Mais pour le moment, ce qui importe, c’est le gagnant de juin !

Bravo à Angel Giraldez, Pour sa peinture du “Aphice Loacier Barker” (de Sedition Wars/Studio Mcvey).

Pour la seconde fois cette année, je choisi une peinture issue du commerce (après le lutin de Mathieu Rouèche).

Juin a été assez calme, mais j’ai trouvé cette peinture très attractive, clair, et efficace. Comme toujours avec Angel en fait… :D

Alors encore une fois… bravo à lui !

Eh oui… Je posterai des photos de mes propres derniers travaux sous peu :D !… Vraiment sous peu j’espère !

Aphice Loacier Barker par Angel Giraldez (1) Aphice Loacier Barker par Angel Giraldez (2) Aphice Loacier Barker par Angel Giraldez (3) Aphice Loacier Barker par Angel Giraldez (4) Aphice Loacier Barker par Angel Giraldez (5) Aphice Loacier Barker par Angel Giraldez (6) Aphice Loacier Barker par Angel Giraldez (7) Aphice Loacier Barker par Angel Giraldez (8)

Best of the Month : May 2013

Best of the Month : May 2013

Blog - Le 6 juin 2013

This month, it’s a studio painting that take my whole attention !

It’s pretty rare for me to chose a commercial painting for this section, but there’s no doubts about this painting. It’s just a wonderfull and incredible one.

Congrats to Mathieu Rouèche (also know as “blabla” on Internet), for the painting of this pixie (sculpt by Valentin Zak for Blacksmith Miniatures).


Ce mois-ci, c’est une peinture studio qui a retenue toute mon attention.

C’est assez rare qu’une version commerciale finisse dans cette section, mais ici il n’y a aucun doute. C’est très beau, voire même merveilleux !.

Bravo à Mathieu Rouèche (aka “blabla” sur Internet), pour la peinture de ce lutin (sculpture de Valentin Zak pour Blacksmith Miniatures).

Lutin bucheron - Blacksmith Miniatures, by Mathieu Rouèche (1)

Lutin bucheron - Blacksmith Miniatures, by Mathieu Rouèche (2)

Lutin bucheron - Blacksmith Miniatures, by Mathieu Rouèche (3)

Lutin bucheron - Blacksmith Miniatures, by Mathieu Rouèche (4)

Lutin bucheron - Blacksmith Miniatures, by Mathieu Rouèche (5)

Lutin bucheron - Blacksmith Miniatures, by Mathieu Rouèche (6)

Lutin bucheron - Blacksmith Miniatures, by Mathieu Rouèche (7)

Impressive is Roman Lappat !

Impressive is Roman Lappat !

Blog - Le 22 mai 2013

Massive Voodoo...

They always have the style to surprise the community.

When it’s not Raffa, it’s Roman… or another of the team ! But this time… damned ! Roman just killed me :D !

On a Romain Van Den Bogaert’s bust, he makes a so surprising painting… so creative and with an incredible and  terrible effect of “under skin lava effect”.

A whole tutorial of this stunning bust is visible on the MV website, please check this link to see : “Mephisto” !

Roman… thanks for this masterpiece !


Massive Voodoo...

Ils ont toujours le chic pour surprendre la communauté.

Quand ce n’est pas Raffa, c’est Roman… ou un autre de l’équipe ! Mais cette fois… Roman m’a juste tué :D !

Sur un buste de Romain Van Den Bogaert, il a réalisé un effet si surprenant… et si créatif d’ailleurs,  de “lave en fusion sous la peau”.

Tout un tutoriel à propos de ce magnifique buste est consultable sur le site de MV, je vous encourage à cliquer sur ce lien pour voir : “Mephisto” !

Roman… merci pour cette superbe pièce !

Mephisto, by Roman Lappat (1)

Mephisto, by Roman Lappat (2)

Mephisto, by Roman Lappat (3)

Mephisto, by Roman Lappat (5)

Mephisto, by Roman Lappat (4)

Mephisto, by Roman Lappat (6)

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