A few weekends ago Gamers Sanctuary invited Mr. Justin of Secret Weapon Miniatures to Flint to teach workshops on basing, weathering, airbrushing, and general painting one-on-one. If you're not familiar with SWM, check out the site. They have amazing bases and hobby accessories.
Full disclosure: I've used SWM stuff since early 2011 when I first heard about them on the Independent Characters podcast. Many many many of my models are based on SWM bases and I've used their washes for a while. After Adepticon where I learned how to use the pigments I started using those quite a bit as well. I Kickstarted the new Tablescapes project by SWM. I guess you could say I'm a fanboy - they're a great company and Mr. Justin knows how to engage his customers and listen well.
I would be remiss if I didn't say one thing to start out: Gamers Sanctuary sponsored this and paid for Mr. Justin to come out and teach us what he knows. I can't thank GS enough. This kind of pro-hobby learning is what gamers need and want. This is value that we can't get anywhere except the major cons that cost quite a bit to attend with travel and hotels figured in.
Again I have to thank GS for doing this. Hobbyists who didn't attend missed out on something they probably won't get to do again unless they attend a major convention. I've said for a while that I'm jealous of the Magic crowd because when they have a large event they have artists or other cool guests come in and that just isn't something we've been able to do with wargaming. Chad did this on his own and it shows he and his staff care about the hobbyists in the area.
I'm not going to go through every class in in-depth, but I will say Mr. Justin is a great, enthusiastic, funny teacher who knows how to talk to people. The first class I took was on airbrushing. I've done airbrushing in the past but looking back I really think I was spraying paint - not airbrushing. He showed us a ton of different things to do to make your models look great. Forced focus and airbrush highlighting are two things I'll definitely be doing.
I'll also be doing the hairspray weathering technique he showed us. This was a very interesting technique because it is easy to do and can make some really awesome looking effects. Check it out on this Necron Tesseract Justin painted for the store:
I tried it on my Caskuda but I realized that the under-color I used for chips really didn't work as it was too close to my normal color. I eventually chose to do the sponge weathering technique (using blister foam). I also airbrushed this guy as basically my first airbrushed model ever. I used a SWM base with pigments to 'sheen' and rust the metal - it looks really cool.
Again, thanks so much to GS for bringing Justin in for this premier Michigan hobby event, thanks to Justin for coming all the way from Cali and thanks to the hobbyists who showed up!