Hi there, I’m Mike Cousins – the owner and currently sole painter at Epic Duck Studios. Thanks for your interest in my painting services!
I’ve been painting miniatures for others since 2007 – nearly as long as I’ve been painting them for myself. In the past, painting miniatures was actually my full-time job, and I painted full armies quite often. These days, I have a full-time job during the day, and I paint in my spare time. I’m still very happy to take on painting commissions, but it does mean I like to limit the jobs I take to smaller model counts which are easier to complete with my current schedule.
If you’re interested in hiring me or would just like to learn more, great! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no-obligation quote. Please keep the following in mind:
- Due to my limited painting time, I prefer smaller projects. If you really want me to paint an army, please be willing to break it down into smaller jobs of 10-15 models each.
- The prices I quote will be in Canadian Dollars. If I know your local currency, I’ll often provide estimated conversions as well, but ultimately I’m a Canadian Business that deals with Canadian Dollars. If you’re a fellow Canuck, I also have to charge HST.
- I will require a deposit to begin any work. This can vary by project, but is typically 50% of the cost of Labour (painting, assembly, etc) plus 100% of the cost of Goods (covering any Miniatures or Bits I may need to source).
- If you’re supplying your own miniatures, I prefer them unassembled and unbased. If I find a mini has been assembled poorly, I may elect to disassemble it and prep the mini before re-assembly. If a supplied model has already been painted, I will strip paint from it as best as possible for a nominal fee.
If that didn’t all scare you off, please feel free to email me for more information or a quote! Keep in mind that the more detail you can provide, the better!
- Miniatures: are you providing them, or should I source them locally?
- Be Specific: If you ask “how much will it cost to paint 10 minis”, I probably won’t have an answer for you. Please be as specific as possible as to what game system, army, and unit type the Miniatures are. Even when painting minis from the same range, there can be wild differences in how much detail miniatures gave, and thus how long they take to paint.
- Special Requests: Do you want everyone wearing digital camo or a flat colour? Should they have squad markings on their shoulders? Names across their backs? The more information you can give me about how you envision them looking, the more accurate I can be in my quote.
- Basing: Appropriate basing can help tie your miniatures together and tell a story. Is there a specific planet or battlefield they should appear on? Is there a certain season or natural element that your army is bound to?
- Existing Conversions: If you’re supplying your own minis, are there any existing conversions? Custom-sculpted details or kit-bashed miniatures may price differently from their “vanilla” counterparts. The more detail you can share about these customizations, the better – including photos, if you can take them!
- Desired Conversions: Do you want anything done to the miniatures aside from painting to help them stand out from the crowd? Special gear or weapons they don’t normally get, reposing, new details added, etc? Again, the more specific you can be here, the better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I get Work-in-Progress (WIP) photos?
A: Absolutely! …but with some caveats. I will always send WIP photos of your miniatures when I feel it’s appropriate, and especially when I would like your feedback on a particular detail before reproducing it on other miniatures. However, sometimes sending WIP photos is a hindrance to the painting process; a half-finished miniature may be significantly darker than the final product, or in some cases even entirely the wrong colours (it’s not uncommon to basecoat a red detail with brown, for example). Because of this, I often won’t send photos when a miniature is in its earliest stages, simply because any feedback at that stage wouldn’t be constructive, and it doesn’t indicate the quality of the final product.
Of course, you’ll receive photographs of the completed miniatures to make sure you’re satisfied before I ship them out! When painting a group of miniatures, I’ll also typically paint one miniature to completion to ensure you’re happy with the results before reproducing them on the rest of the group.
Q: Do you ship to <insert country here>?
A: More than likely! I’ve shipped miniatures all over Canada and the United States, as well as to Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and other parts of Europe. If I’ve never shipped to your country before, I’ll look into the shipping costs and be up-front about any possible issues.
Q: Will you mark the package as a Gift so I don’t have to pay Customs/Duty?
A: Sorry, but no. I do operate a legitimate business registered with the Government of Canada, and as such I have to ship as a business rather than as an individual.
Q: I’d like these miniatures to match others I’ve already painted as closely as possible, can you do that?
A: I can certainly try! I can’t promise I’ll get a perfect colour match to someone else’s painting, even when I know exactly which paint colours they used, but I’ll do my best. If you can send along a single miniature to use as a reference, I’ll get the best result.
Q: Will you give me a discount if I order a lot of miniatures?
A: Sorry, but no. As noted above, my painting time is currently pretty limited, so with very few exceptions, I’m only accepting commissions for small groups of miniatures anyhow. Further, there’s an almost linear relationship between the number of miniatures, and how long it takes to paint them – some steps like basecoating can be made faster using a “assembly line” technique, but as a detail-oriented painter, that doesn’t shave very much time off the project total. When you’re paying me to paint your miniatures, you’re effectively buying a certain amount of my time – and painting more miniatures doesn’t ever take less like than painting fewer does.
Q: Will you give me a discount if I supply my own paint? (You won’t believe how often I’m asked this!)
A: Sorry, but no. Firstly, I already have several hundred different paints on-hand, so chances are whatever you’re sending, I’ve already got. Secondly, with the exception of basecoating, painting miniatures actually uses very little paint – I’m probably using at most a few dollars worth of paint on an entire project. Thirdly, I’m kind of picky about the condition of my paints – I like to make sure they’re of a certain consistency and thickness – and shipping paints, especially in winter, can have very negative effects on those qualities.
A bit of advice: don’t have Vallejo paints shipped in Winter. Buy them in the warmer months, or pick them out in person. The pigments really love to separate from their base resin in cold temperatures.
Q: Will you give me a discount if I assemble the miniatures myself?
A: Possibly? I bill for painting and assembly separately, so if assembly isn’t required, I obviously won’t bill for it. That said, if your pre-assembled miniatures show up with visible mold lines or flash, are assembled incorrectly, or are assembled in such a way that it makes painting more difficult, I reserve the right to disassemble or clean the models as needed and bill accordingly.
If the models are well-assembled but some minor damage or breakage occurs when you ship them to me, I’ll repair that free-of-charge.
Q: Will you give me a discount if I let you keep any extra bits?
A: We’ll talk. I’m kind of drowning in bits, but it really depends on how useful/valuable the leftovers are. If you only needed 6 miniatures from a 10-miniature sprue, I’ll more than likely buy the remaining 4 back from you if you like. Similarly, if I’m assembling a vehicle like a Necron Ghost Ark, and you’re willing to part with the Doomsday Cannon bit, that’s worth a few bucks to me!
Q: Will you give me a discount if I basecoat/prime the miniatures myself first?
A: You guys sure love asking about discounts! Sorry, but no. If priming or basecoating aren’t done well, smaller details on the miniatures can be lost completely. Further, if I need to repair the model or clean up any mold lines, it’s best if the miniature is in an entirely unpainted state.
Q: I bought these miniatures second-hand or painted them myself. Can you strip the old paint off?
A: Absolutely! I’ll happily strip the paint off of existing miniatures before repainting them. There’s a nominal fee for this (I bill for it by-the-hour, but it typically works out to around $3 CAD for a normal 25-32mm miniature) which we’ll discuss up-front, and I’ll be very clear if I have any difficulty or expect any delays in this step.
Q: Can I pay you to pick up the minis I need instead of shipping them to you?
A: Of course! I only have a few local gaming stores to choose from, so it’s possible that I’ll have to source some of them from either online retailers, or retailers outside my local area, but even then it’ll often save you some, if not all, of the shipping cost. For example, I’ll often order Malifaux and Infinity miniatures from MeepleMart in Toronto, and their shipping is usually around $8 CAD – which can be significantly cheaper than shipping those same miniatures across international borders, or even from the west coast of Canada.