mfxposé #2: Nicolaas Smit

Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Our featured artist this week is Nicolaas Smit. He's a 21 year old Sydney-based digital artist who spent most of his younger years, in the late 90's through to the early 21st century, painting Warhammer and "... creating terrains to entice my young imagination". He's ventured through a variety of sets including Orcs, Chaos, Ultramarines and LotR.


Daniel: What was your inspiration to start painting miniatures?

Nicolaas: I was always a keen artist, sketching, painting on canvas, cardboard and sticky tape was my best friend as a young kid attempting to pry open every corner of my imagination to create anything I liked at the time. I remember seeing my first Warhammer battlefield at a family friends house, the artist/owner was not home at the time and I had strict rules as to not dare touch. I remember a layout of Tyranids and Space Wolves, so tempting it was to reach out for a closer look. Back home I began creating my own "Warhammer" from cardboard, foil, bluetack was great. It wasn't till months later my parents decided to invest in my first set of Warhammer. I remember choosing a set of Ork Boyz, that's when my Warhammer days began.

Daniel: Which artist in your field do you admire most and why?

Nicolaas: As a young kid I looked up to the adults and older teens of the industry. I only purchased my sets from the Warhammer store that was located in Miranda Fair NSW so I knew the staff well and would regularly stare in awe while they painted their models within the store. I was also inspired by the many talented artists that regularly painted there.


Daniel: What was your favourite miniatures project to work on?

Nicolaas: In my later years of Warhammer I worked on a few LotR sets, I had made a few terrains in theme with the movie, my favourite being a replica of the stairs from the Moria Mines. It was my largest project created and I think spent $50 alone on expanding foam to create rock like forms. Two people were needed to lift the creation in its completed form.


Daniel: What was your hardest project to complete?

Nicolaas: I think my hardest projects to complete have been anything that has yet to be completed. Unfortunately there are a number of uncompleted projects. Mostly some overworked single sets. I also have a number of sets that became very monotonous and especially when you have 50 Orcs to paint that are almost identical across the range. Grrr!

Daniel: What are your favourite miniature sets to paint?

Nicolaas: I've always enjoyed painting my LotR sets, in particular the Rohan horseman. I enjoyed the fact that I could put so much variation with colour scheme and details for the horses themselves but also with the armour and flags the riders wore.

Daniel: What miniature sets or genres would you like to paint in the future?

Nicolaas: Something different that's not available, I'd love to see a miniature Star Wars set or something awesome like that.

Daniel: Where do you source your materials and tools from?

Nicolaas: Although I bought most of my paints and brushes from the Warhammer store I equally loved purchasing from Vaggs Hobbyshop which is still located outside of Miranda Fair, NSW. I'd occasional buy materials there but nothing beats a visit to the beach for some sand, dirts and rocks for terrains, catch some surf while you're there.

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Daniel: Do you have any custom-made or special equipment for painting, sculpting and modifying your miniatures?

Nicolaas: I used to regularly use a foam cutter which I made from scratch using a coat hanger wire, batteries and some thin wire, and lots of my favourite sticky tape. [Damn, that's cool, I'll have to mock one up and give it a try, thanks for the tip - Daniel]

Daniel: What tips and tricks can you offer our readers?

Nicolaas: My favourite trick which I always shared with my mates back in the day was a technique I regularly used to create blood and gore. It involves a few drops of super glue which then you drip some watered down blood coloured red paint onto the wet super glue. The glue and paint form some chemical bond and instantly dry into some goopy looking mess. I often used it on dead Orc carcases on terrains I made, the results were never the same and occasionally you'd get some decent intestine designs and the like, oh those were the days.


NEXT: Terrain basics, more materials and finally, Ibigawa rocks...


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