LIMA — Hobbies, they’re what we do to bring pleasure into our lives after spending 40 or more hours a week having pleasure sucked out of us working.
Justin Hertel, 34, of Lima, manager at The Deck Factory at 1759 N. Union St., began his hobby of painting miniature war game figures seven months ago on a whim, never expecting he would make any money doing it.
Miniature war games are games played on a game board with three dimensional terrain and game pieces constructed and painted by the players. The rules are as intricate as the hard plastic miniatures used to play the game. Imagine if the game pieces in Monopoly were extremely detailed models of elves, marines, giant monsters such as Godzilla, or machines like Transformers.
Hertel said his friend and owner of The Deck Factory, Joe Rodmaker, approached him one day and asked if he could watch the store for him. He told Rodmaker he would do it but not for free, Hertel said.
“He asked what I wanted and I said, ‘Give me that base paint set,’” he said.
The set came with a few miniatures and some basic paints and supplies. It was a slow night at the store so he opened the box and started putting the miniatures together, he said.
“I grabbed a piece of cardboard that was lying around and set it up on the trash can out front and started basing them.”
The first time Hertel was paid for painting war game miniatures was when Rodmaker told a mutual friend, Ryan Herner, about Hertel’s painting and how good of a job he was doing at it. Hertel said, Herner approached him with a box miniatures to paint and offered him a commission for the job.
“The first time he saw them he said, ‘Are those the figures? I didn’t think they would look so good,’” Hertel said.
Rickey Terrel, a representative from Games Workshop, a company that manufactures and produces miniature war games, has been trying to convince Hertel to submit his work to the company.
“When your looking at minis on their website they [customers] could see pictures of my work and look me up to commission me,” Hertel said.
“It’s kind of weird having people want to pay me money to paint their minis,” Hertel said. “It feels weird getting monetary compensation for doing it but I have to buy my paints and brushes. It’s a strange feeling. It’s a good feeling.”
As good as it is to get paid for painting board game miniatures, he also enjoys the feeling of doing something constructive with his time, Hertel said. Rodmaker has suggested Hertel consider giving a painting class at The Deck Factory. He said he is considering it.
“My roommate looked at me and said, ‘Why don’t you do something constructive and hop on Diablo [a video game],’ a while ago,” he said, adding he just looked at him waiting to see if he caught the irony in the statement.
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