Peter Bell – UK Salute Qualifier Winner


March 12th, 2012


The Road to the Crystal Brush continues…

Always interested in how the miniature painters and converters that have already scored Best in Show at various conventions around the world feel about how they got to their victories, we at Cool Mini or Not have been tracking down the qualifying winners and asking them for information they’d like to share with you…the fans!

Today we are talking to Peter Bell, the Crystal Brush Qualifier who won Best in Show out at Salute in the UK, asking for his thoughts and opinions about his part of the Crystal Brush experience so you might be able to join him on the winners’ stage someday!


Cool Mini or Not: Hello Peter! Congrats on your big win out at Salute. How did you feel when they announced the victory?

Peter Bell: There were some brilliant entries at the competition last year so I think the first thing that hit me was dis-belief! It wasn’t until people started pushing me back up on stage that I realised that it was actually my name being called. Then it was sheer elation – I have been entering the competition at Salute for a good few years and it felt great to bag the ‘big one’ (especially this year with the Cool Mini or Not sponsorship!). I look completely dazed and a little bit hysterical in most of the photos of me collecting the prize… not a good look!

CMoN: Victory looks good on you, Peter; even if you were dazed by it! What was your winning Templecon entry? Why did that particular miniature rise to the top of your list?

PB: My winning entry was Wolf the Barbarian by Hasslefree Miniatures. I really love barbarians and seem to come back to the subject matter over again. I also love the sculpting of Kev White at Hasslefree, and the combination of the two was a real draw. This particular model represents an older and more experienced version of a character that Hasslefree released a few years back, which I also painted (and thoroughly enjoyed) so really the model choice was inevitable.

CMoN: We always love models that tell a story, and you have captured it fabulously. Do you have any other pieces of your work that you’d like to share with us? Anything that you are particularly proud of?

PB: I have quite a diverse taste in minis so wanted to share a few different models I am most proud of. As I mentioned him earlier, the first is Hasslefree Miniatures Wolf. This was the beginning of a run of barbarians that I painted, and led me to paint his older self. I also still a have a soft spot for my zombie-hunter diorama as it is the most models I’ve ever squeezed onto a 50mm base! There are models from Hasslefree, Heresy, Spyglass (Steve Buddle’s old company) and Black Scorpion Miniatures on the base, and getting the different styles to gel was quite a challenge. I’ve included the bust, ‘Rabus the Corrupt’ by MDC, because I was very pleased with the freehand and finally a Duel where I tried forced perspective with a 6mm scale base topped by a 28mm fight between an Ork and a Space Marine. Whilst its not the best painted model in my collection, I would love to revisit the concept!

CMoN: Perhaps you should! That would be a really cool update to your portfolio, to be sure. How long have you been painting miniatures, competitively or otherwise?

PB: I have been painting miniatures for 22 years now, man and boy. A lot of that was for wargaming in the early years, cutting my teeth on the Games Workshop side of the industry. Gradually the gaming died out and I started painting more and more for the joy of it rather than the need to slap paint on a model to game with. I started painting more competitively around the same sort of time that I discovered Cool Mini, which is about ten years ago now. I started entering online competitions and the Golden Demons (although a trophy still eludes me), but now the big competition I enter regularly is the Salute painting competition.

CMoN: Keep things up like Wolf here and a trophy will be sure to come! Do you have a particular methodology to how you paint a show model, or anything else for that matter?

PB: I am a bit of a tortured artíste when it comes to painting – I really need to be passionate about the model and how it is progressing or I tend to lose enthusiasm so my starting point is always to make sure the model I select is something that really grabs me. Then I have to put it ‘into an environment’ rather than ‘on a base’ – I love the build of the scene and want to take the viewer into another world. I draw lots of sketches to try and refine my ideas and only then do I pick up the tools and start work. I also like to try to push myself on show models and try new techniques (which may sound crazy) but I think that added pressure can really allow you to go the extra mile.

CMoN: Wow, that is a really neat way to look at things. What is your favorite model you have ever painted, and for what reason?

PB: Favourite model… now that is a tough one! One of my favourites is a recent (top secret) mini bust which is coming out to Chicago with me. This is because I think it is probably the best technically painted model in my collection. Other than that, I am really pleased with the way Wolf MkII came out, I think as a complete piece, he fulfils my methodology most closely. Its a subject matter I love, I sculpted the base entirely myself, and tried some new ideas such as the body hair and the use of tea leaves for the forest floor. The win at Salute just the icing on the cake!

CMoN: Well, Wolf is something truly fantastic. You ought to be proud. I can’t wait to see this new project, if you believe it is better! How excited are you to be headed out to Chicago in April for the Crystal Brush?

PB: “Excited” would be an understatement! This will be the furthest I have travelled for miniature related business, and being a long-term member at Cool Mini or Not means that there are a lot of people whom I have known online for years that I will finally get to meet in person! The competition is daunting, but I am sure the experience is going to be outstanding!

CMoN: I for one, will be happy to shake your hand in April, sir. You mentioned a mystery bust, is there any foreshadowing that you can give us about it, or anything else you are entering for the Crystal Brush finals at Adepticon?

PB: Weeeeeell…. I have a handful of entries on the go, and hopefully three categories entered – This will be a first for me as I am such a slow painter that normally I will get just a single piece done specifically for a competition. Two are 95% complete and my final one (which is my absolute favourite) is likely to be finished just before I fly out. The last one fulfils my painting ethos like Wolf did, so hopefully you guys like it as much as I do!

CMoN: I’m sure it will knock my socks off, Peter! Can’t wait to see it and meet you in April! Have a safe flight and see you next month!