Ross Graham – Fauxhammer – Ask the Artist

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Ross Graham - FauxHammer Ask the Artist - Featured

Ladies and Gentlemen, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the Ask the Artist series has a new home! I wanted to take a moment to thank you, the reader, for your support. It has been truly humbling to see the amount of support and interest in the series. Next, I’d like to thank FauxHammer for seeing the potential of the series and wanting to help boost the outreach.

Table of Contents show

I’m thankful beyond words to have found not only another person, but an entire team that shares my hobby passion. Thank you all for making me feel like a welcomed member of this hobby realm.

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support FauxHammer.com – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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If this is your first time reading an Ask the Artist Series interview, I think it’s important for you to understand the focus and intent of these articles…

My mission when conducting these interviews is to get to know the individual behind the brand. It’s helpful to remember that all of our Hobby Heroes are people. People that were once new to the hobby, they made mistakes, experienced triumphs and pushed themselves to learn and get better. I think if we focus on similar experiences, it can help to demystify the perceived experience gap and bolster us to try new things.

Ross Graham – FauxHammer – Ask the Artist

For my first official FauxHammer hosted interview, I thought, “what better way to transition the series than to interview the man behind Fauxhammer, Ross Graham?” So, I asked, and he answered!

Ask the Artist - Ross Graham - Warhammer World

For those of you that don’t know what FauxHammer is, allow me to enlighten you. Essentially, when boiled down to basics, this site was established because Ross was tired of running around trying to find information about the hobby. He wished there was one place where he could learn about a product or could ask a hobby question, without feeling like he was being sold on a brand solely because of the writer’s endorsement contract.

After spending countless hours compiling and comparing, Ross had an idea to create one site, not tied down by geographical location or beholden to one particular brand or product.

Ross wanted a site where people could come and be sure the information they’re reading is fair and unbiased. Thus, FauxHammer was forged. (extremely oversimplified, but keep reading and you’ll hear from the man himself)

Who are you / What is your place in the hobby?

I’m a miniature painter who runs a website (this website) dedicated to researching the best tools and techniques for miniature painters.

I waste a lot of time practising and mucking around with stuff so that you don’t have to. Hopefully thanks to these efforts, you can save a lot of your money too.

How long have you been in the hobby in general?

About 9 years, I started miniature painting at the age of 10. When I was around 14/15, my hormones kicked in and I was distracted by a new hobby. Girls!

16 years later (about 5 years ago) my wife (who I’ve been with since the age of 15) and I had our first child and I fell back into the hobby.

Around this time I actually had an interview for a job at Warhammer World, in prep for that interview I nipped in to see what had changed in the decade and a half I was absent.

Thanks to James in the Warhammer World store – I walked out with £200 less in my bank account, a couple of new boxed games and paints.

(I didn’t get the job).

What initially drew you into the hobby?

This model. One day at school, one of my friends, Alan, brought in some of his older brother’s Games Workshop figures. I had built some air-fix models with my dad and I just fell in love with the style of this – it was like ED-209 but I could own it!

For years I never knew what this model was until I recently searched and found this was the original Space Crusade Dreadnought.

A few weeks later, my parents took me to a Games Workshop (as all Warhammer stores were previously known) in Sheffield’s Meadowhall [a shopping mall]. We came back with my first painting set.

Not only that. My mum (after speaking with the store manager) actually found out that the Games Workshop‘s head office was located in Hill Top, Eastwood (it was back then, before moving to Warhammer World). This was only 1.1 miles from our house (I now drive past that site daily on my way home from work).

The following week my mum drove us up there, we walked into reception and asked if we could buy models directly from them? They said “they had never done this before” but agreed they could take the cash off us on the door. So we walked out with my first Set of Space Marines. We were the first customers ever to have bought Games Workshop models directly from the place they were made!

Now, I’m not saying that Warhammer World was my mum’s idea, but…

What do you enjoy most about the hobby?

Painting, first and foremost, without a shadow of a doubt. I have always been a very anxious person and the serenity I get from painting a model and focusing on nothing but the task at hand is so calming. To me, it’s a form active meditation I’d genuinely say that finding this zone has saved my life.

I don’t remember who said it but I love the statement that painting is a journey where you can both find yourself and lose yourself at the same time. This is so true

Ask the Artist - Ross Graham - Lumineth Realm Lords

Doing what I do in running this site I also love sharing, I love writing content that people find helpful. To get that one piece of feedback saying thanks or seeing a share from one person to another to say – this is super helpful. There’s been no feeling in the world that compares.

As I said above I have always been quite an anxious person and I read a few self help books in my time. Many give advice about how to soothe the soul. There’s plenty of suggestions around the science of giving. Nowadays, I wake up earlier, I go to bed later, I’m more tired and stressed all because of running this site alongside my own job and family. But I am happier than I have ever been because of that feeling of helping people in some way.

How did you refine your skills?

I wish I had more time, I review so much stuff that I feel like I’m stuck at a constant beginner level. The things which have accelerated my skill the most have been the painting classes I have been to with Siege Studios, Lead Belt Studios and a course with David Soper.

I recently had the honour of meeting up with Byron from Artis Opus, and it was great to finally unlock the full potential of my Series D Brushes.

YouTube videos are great for inspiration, but nothing beats live tuition.

What types of models most interest you?

Space Marines mostly – I’ve been painting the same type of model for years and each one is just a minor iteration of the last. But if something isn’t broke, don’t fix it – and they just keep making them better.

The move to 32mm with the launch of Primaris was a smart move and I enjoy these models so much.

That being said, I have dabbled with other factions which you’ll see on my Instagram, I’ve tried busts too but I always come back to the Space Marines.

I’m a big fan of the style of the Infinity miniatures series, Bushido too, they look cool. But I’m just so used to the scale & detail of Games Workshop’s miniatures that those smaller models don’t grab me enough to actually buy them.

What is your favorite tabletop game?

I don’t play any of the games, I don’t have time (or Friends). I used to play Space Hulk. Love that game. They need to bring it back!

What advice would you give someone interested in starting the hobby?

If you are in a country that sells it, get a subscription to something like Warhammer Conquest or Mortal Realms Magazine. That will take you through the basics of building, painting and playing with the models. If that’s too expensive (I’ve got news for you about the rest of the hobby!) you could split it with a friend.

But whilst you are getting on with whatever your first models and paints are, read some advice online and join some Facebook Groups.

One thing that those magazines don’t tell you is to use a primer. And whilst Primer in general is not a “necessary” product. It bloody helps when you are starting out.

Ask the Artist - Ross Graham - Dark Angels Assault Intercessor

Above all else, have fun, this is a hobby, if you aren’t enjoying it, why are you doing it?

What advice would you give someone struggling to find motivation to finish a project?

I’m not the best person to ask, my approach is to move on to something else.

See my Instagram page, you will see numerous WIP models and only a few completed ones. Most of the time I will go back and do some finishing up.

Ask the Artist - Ross Graham - Stormcast

I’m trying to finish 3 large Squads at the moment so I can move on to some new big paint reviews.

What resources would you recommend for inspiration?

Beginner, if you are into Warhammer, watch the Warhammer TV Painting Guides, but take them with a pinch of salt. 2 thin coats is really a simplified suggestion, not a rule. Sometimes it’s 3, sometimes it’s 10 thinner coats, learn your paints.

Honestly, keep an eye on here, with the series of these Ask the Artist (and some companies) we’ll be talking to a lot of the biggest names in the industry.

Please remember, as you paint, your style will evolve. Watch multiple sources of painter, variety is key, you will find some people you really identify with and they can help steer you so you can find your own style rather than you be the next one of “that person”.

What is your greatest achievement in the hobby?

I have 2.

  1. Getting my models published in White Dwarf, I wanted to have that since I was 11 years old and now at the age of 36, it’s finally happened.
  2. Someone recognized me at a Warhammer Open Day and came up and asked “are you FauxHammer?” and then offered so much praise. I was stunned for days, I was on top of the world and felt like a celebrity! I know this is self-indulgent pomposity. But I have 0 Fu.. cares. It just felt so good!

What has been your most memorable obstacle?

Internet Trolls, I have had a couple of people now literally attack every single article I share.

It was so frustrating as they simply hated FauxHammer.com without giving any examples as to what was wrong with the content.

But every post I shared was met with immediate hate. Like I was being followed by these people and they enjoyed being the first to comment with something horribly negative.

I’m trying to help people, if it’s not for you, just ignore it and move on. But after engaging with these guys and talking to them to find out what the actual issues were. I completely agreed with their feedback.

Now one of them is on my Facebook friends list and we exchange comments weekly.

The other has at the very least engaged me positively since and all but apologised.

What is something you feel you need to improve on?

Glazing/Layering.

Whatever you call it, the process of slowly fading from one colour to the next after applying 20/30+ thin layers. It’s not the technique itself which bothers me, I’ve got that down. It’s just the patience to do it.

It takes so long and I simply do not enjoy it.

What tools do you use & why?

Unfortunately, all of them, anything I can get my hands on. Start here and I’ll see you in a month or two when you have finished reading.

Right now I use Artis Opus Series S for Layering, Series M for detail work. Series D for Drybrushing. I use an Infinity CR plus for Airbrushing with an Evolution as a workhorse, then whatever cheap £15 airbrush I can get on eBay for Enamel Paints and oils.

What paints do you use & why?

I’m reviewing paints so I use them all, I’m literally 2 brands (Vallejo & Scale 75) away from reviewing all of the main paint brands targeted at miniature painters. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Personally I tend to flock to My Pro-Acryl or Reaper Master Series for base colours. But I can’t think of a single thing I have painted (for me not for review) that hasn’t had some Citadel paint in it. I use mainly normal Oil paints along with Abteilung and AK interactive for washes and effects.

If you had to pick one paint range, what would be the all-around best choice?

For me, Pro Acryl, is the most consistent range with excellent coverage whilst staying so smooth. (it’s also matte and I love matte paints) I want quick (one coat where possible) coverage and that is what these do. But their range is a bit small at the mo and they aren’t available worldwide very easily (though this will change soon).

A close second is Reaper Master Series. Very similar in performance and consistency, but they have the opposite problem. The range is huge and quite disorganized on their site.

Ask the Artist - Ross Graham - Deadpool

I have a full collection of Citadel Paints and buy every new one release along with updating any I run out of. I’ve been working on that collection since I started back in the Hobby 5 years ago so I think it’s become more of an obsession than actually needing them. Other than transferring them to dropper bottles there’s still a good 50% I’ve never used.

But, Gotta catch ‘em all.

What do you consider when choosing your paints?

How can I get this color on that model as fast as possible.

I’ve started to recently make more consideration about colours per form (surface) I‘m now experimenting with different colours combinations thanks to some tuition from Lead Belt Studio. E.g if I am painting Red Armour. I’m no longer painting Dark Red through to Light Red. I’m often going from Purple, through Red to Orange. Or maybe I put some green in red shadows to add both hue and tone contrast

My colour wheel is never far from my desk and I have been referring to this very often lately when picking schemes.

Do you have a secret weapon, Tool or Technique?

I am working on my own style of quick but impactful painting. I call the process “Jeet Kune Faux” – FauxHammer’s art of painting without painting.

Once I have this nailed I will share it with the world. But It is essentially a way to get great results on models purely with technique rather than using much skill.

Watch this Space.

How long have you been promoting your brand?

About 3-4 years. I previously had a Blogger blog where I’d write about random things. From meditation guides to my excitement about new Videogames.

When I wrote a guide on transferring citadel paints to dropper bottles the blog exploded! Off the back of that, I spent a few months writing other guides and in June 2018 I bought and launched FauxHammer.com.

FYI – few people know that FauxHammer is a cheeky reference to Glamdring; Gandalf’s Sword. Referred to as the Foe-hammer. (nothing to do with Faux-Warhammer)

Now you know…

What are your social media channels?

What was the moment you realized this was something you wanted to pursue as more than a hobby?

Once I had such a buzz after I posted a guide on transferring paints to dropper bottles.

I wasn’t the first to do it, but I had to follow 3 other guides and do some trial and error to find what I felt was the best way to do it. After that work, I just shared my steps and results.

How to Transfer GW Paints into Dropper Bottles - Featured

I wanted something which was globally agnostic so everyone could benefit rather than someone from the US reading a UK article and realizing it wasn’t relevant to them. After that, I just kept repeating the steps and trying to find the best ways or things and sharing what I found.

I’m genuinely shocked and humbled by the volume of followers the site now has.

What do you feel is the next step/goal for your brand?

I have so many lofty ideas.

I have a few ideas to build separate websites which act as tool and resource sites for miniature painters but there’s a way to go before that happens.

I’ll be pushing the YouTube channel more over the next year. I love doing video content but I hate the editing side. It’s not as therapeutic to me as writing, and this makes this whole thing seem more like a job than something I love.

But that’s just another “problem” and all problems have some form of solution.

Ask the Artist - Ross Graham - Space Wolf

Right now I’m just focusing on keeping the plates spinning as we get all the new writers on-board and get caught up on reviews.

I’d really like to get some kind of arrangement with Games Workshop where they will send us products to review.

Maybe if people emailed them and asked them to support FauxHammer.com because they love the format of our reviews?

(told you, lofty ideas)

What is the first thing you consider before starting a project?

How can I use the majority of the products available in this review on one project?

How do you keep your project(s) organized?

I don’t and it’s the biggest issue I have.

I have several projects on the go right now and about 50 more half-finished projects in my display case.

Have you ever walked away from a project?

Yep, if anyone remembers my Pimp-Daddy Fabulous Bile with Dabbing Acolyte I posted on Instagram. I’ve walked away from that after I ruined it.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made?

So far, the model mentioned above was a huge failure. I tried to do a warm and cool shading effect using Oil paints over a gloss coat. I painted on thinned blue oil paint in the deepest shadows and brown in the outer shadows. The plan was to wipe this back with mineral spirit and have both warm and cool shadows for some expressive contrast. The blue pigment was so strong it has dyed the entire model and ruined the nice colours I already had.

Ask the Artist - Ross Graham - Pimp Daddy Bile

I’ve tried to recover it with some weathering effects but it looks trash now. I may go back to it and try some other form of recovery, but I’m just too busy.

Has the business mentality ever robbed you of your joy for the hobby?

Oh yeah, all the time. I need to paint models to review products but that pulls me away from the products I’m comfortable with. It slows me down in becoming a better painter because I’m always doing something I have never tried before. But on the other hand, forcing myself to do this has given me a much broader range view of the different products available and what their functions are.

It’s a luxury most can’t afford which is why I am so grateful to the brands who have supported us and I now know which paint I would use for a particular task. Thinner paints for blending and more opaque paints for base layers. I know which metallics I’d pick first and why. I hope that I’ve managed to convey the functional uses to everyone so they can make better buying choices for their own projects and skillset.

Ross Graham – FauxHammer – Closing Comments

And there you have it, folks! Ross, thank you for laying the groundwork for the Fauxhammer team. I have been a longtime fan of the unbiased, non-salesman feel of your site. Honestly, it’s because of this I was excited beyond belief when you called!

I am honored to be a part of the team, and I can’t wait to see how far we go!

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support FauxHammer.com – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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Author

  • I'm a proud Papa to 3 little kiddos. I'm a Marine Corps Veteran, served 2010 to 2018. I've been in the hobby for nearly two years, but I've found an awesome little niche and I absolutely love painting commissions and getting to know all of the amazing people in the hobby!

About Trevor Lang 11 Articles
I'm a proud Papa to 3 little kiddos. I'm a Marine Corps Veteran, served 2010 to 2018. I've been in the hobby for nearly two years, but I've found an awesome little niche and I absolutely love painting commissions and getting to know all of the amazing people in the hobby!

2 Comments

    • Thanks! It’s been awesome getting to know him, as well as everyone else on our team. Keep coming back as we do our best to provide timely and accurate reviews on products as well as these cool fun pieces! Thanks for your support!

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