9 Feb 2013

Paint Station Review

The Paint Station+ - Available around Christmas every year.
Hey guys, JT here to talk about the Games Workshop Paint Station and to offer a review for those of you thinking of picking one up from your FLGS or local GW store. I had the luck to receive the PS+ from my wonderful parents as a Christmas gift - they're aware of my love of painting, and are also acutely aware of the lack of space I have in my apartment - my desk being consumed by computer peripherals and work - related stuff. The PS+ is only available around Christmas, and it seems to be a regular thing with GW - annual re-releases of the same product with different colours for the holiday season; in the mean time you can always pick up the plain grey regular Paint Station - which is essentially the same product - minus the cutting mat, palettes and water pots that come with the PS+. For the purposes of this review I will be using the PS+, but will include a point on pricing if you had to purchase all the elements seperately.

Quality - The Paint Station is made of light, durable plastic that feels fairly sturdy and is hard to bend or crack (I've tried) and features a support structure underneath the main surface to help keep it rigid. Over time, extended use has shown that the plastic can be chipped and scratched quite easily, which apart from being unsightly - makes the station hard to clean properly. It is strongly recommended that you grab yourself a cutting mat of some sort to protect the board if you intend on constructing/converting with any sharp tools. The station includes slots for varyingly sized brushes along each side and has spaces for 17 paints along the back, with a further 2 slots for the water pots.
   The cutting mat that you can purchase specifically for the PS from GW is serviceable, it protects the board and provides a nice even surface for painting and modelling to your hearts content - however the price is...questionable; if you're using your paint station purely for painting I would not consider this a necessary purchase with your PS.
Old v.s New
   The palettes are excellent, and an improvement over the previous boxy palettes. These new palettes come in packs of two and are far easier to clean compared to the old ones, due to them having no deep holes and unnecessary divides between sections; however, the loss of the small bowls in the palette means any paint you mix will dry faster then it would have on the previous palette. The palettes are designed to fit snug onto the PS and are reversible, meaning you can simply flip them over if you can't be bothered cleaning your palettes.
   The water pots are good, but not great for the price. They are handy and have nice little holes for holding your brushes so they wont touch the bottom of the pot; but they are small and are basically glorified plastic cups - which you can pick up for $1 at almost supermarket or discount retailer; like most GW goods, you pay extra for convenience. You may wonder why having two water pots would be helpful - its quite simple really - one pot for metallics, one for non-metallics; this is important, as it will prevent the metallic fragments floating in the water from mixing with the paint on your brush and leaving metallic 'spots' on your miniature in undesirable locations.

Utility - The paint station's usefulness to a prospective buyer depends largely on your own circumstances; such as the availability of space, how much you paint, where and when you choose to paint and how frequently you need to move you set-up. The PS is designed for convenience, however it will not replace a fully featured and permanent painting area - if you're lucky enough to have the space for that.
   One of the Paint Station's primary features is its curved underside, enabling you to place the station on your lap and work on a miniature whilst watching television on the couch; personally, I find this practically useless as given my back problems I find it terribly uncomfortable to work like this - also, for anyone who is tall in stature, it simply may be too far away to be effective. It is, overall, a nice feature if you're so inclined to use it this way - in which case you should definitely purchase the PS and be happy that it suits you so well.
   As a movable painting space, I find the PS come's into its own - especially when coupled with appropriate water pots and palettes. There are some issues however; if you're like me, you tend to use  a lot of different paints, and the 17 available spaces is not enough - you can place paints on the painting area, however they start to get in the way if you're using too many. If you operate with long periods of painting, it might be prudent to buy some plastic desk draws to accompany your PS in order to keep your paints close at hand and organized. This is all due to compromise, the station is obviously designed to be small and light enough to be easily moved and repositioned if need be, which is excellent if you have no permanent painting areas or space is at a premium; as of time of writing I have my PS sitting next to me on my coffee table, but i can easily move it to the dining table if I need the additional height or don't wish to be distracted by the television.
   Unfortunately, I can't provide a real definitive answer as to whether this product will suit your needs; for some it will be a god-send, for others a pointless waste of money - I'm sure after some thought you would know the answer.

Price - After some research on competing products, i've determined one thing - these things are expensive. (Please note all prices are in AUD) The GW PS retails for $60, which sounds like a lot to the uninitiated until you consider the competition such as this:
If you combine the Paint rack with the tool rack to produce a similar product, it is slightly cheaper. However, these racks are not a self - contained unit, are harder to move- and like most other products, are designed for a more permanent set-up. If, by any chance you're looking for something to augment a permanent area dedicated to your hobby pursuits, then the GW Paint Station is simply not for you.
Please note; the PS+ is $105 - and is actually $1 more expensive then purchasing the items seperately; apart from the pretty colour of the PS+ compared to the regular one - you will be better off getting the regular paint station; the cutting mat is basically a waste of money if all you want to do is paint, and its hard to fathom why the PS+ would be more expensive?

Summary- The Games Workshop Paint Station is an excellent product for those who are out of space, who don't have a permanent hobby area and aren't likely to have one in the near future, or simply like to paint in front of the television. If you already have a permanent set-up, or a dedicated space you can utilize for your hobby escapades, then this product is outclassed by other products on the market by a fair margin and will simply be a waste of money.
   As long as you realize the intent behind the product, you can't go wrong. I hope this review has been helpful, feel free to leave your responses, critiques and experiences with the PS in the comment section below.

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