Model Builder – Build, paint and sell figures, but don’t play with them! – Big boss battle (B3)
Great. Now my stack of unpainted minis also includes unpainted digital minis. Thanks, Model builder.
Ah, simulation games. They’re everywhere these days, and while Model builder does not include this particular naming convention, it is absolutely a simulation game. You can apparently fake everything in video games these days, from building PCs to fix mechsand even steal things if you want. It doesn’t surprise me hugely that one of my favorite hobby of building and painting miniatures is now its own simulation game, and I was more than happy to try it out and see if it’s as nice as the real thing.
You begin by taking over your grandfather’s model business, inheriting his workshop and tools, with the goal of continuing his success and discovering the historical figures he made. You’ll buy miniatures to build and sell for profit, take commissions, and expand your line of gear as you discover what your grandfather did throughout his career. Who knows, maybe you’ll even reach the same status as him.
Model builder closely resembles PC building simulator, you have a workshop with a small workspace, a computer for communication and purchases, and some storage space. You’ll receive emails with jobs to complete and contests to enter, then head to your workbench to build and paint according to that part’s instructions as well as any additional customer orders. Completing an order at a decent level will earn you more money and upgrade you, allowing you to access more products in the online store.
The meat of the game is the actual building and painting, and it’s actually pretty straightforward for the most part. Each model has instructions that tell you what parts to use and what colors to paint them. You’ll use clippers to cut out pieces of the carrot, drag and drop them into place, then click the appropriate colors on each piece. There’s potentially a lot of depth here, because Model builder mimics actual painting techniques, including airbrushing, washing, and drybrushing, among others. It’s nice that there are so many options for painting, because it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of the hobby.
That said, the actual act of painting in the game isn’t fantastic. It’s certainly nice enough with the fill tool that lets you make a model look pretty pretty quickly, but using brushes and airbrushes proved to be very imprecise with a mouse. Maybe it’s just my ability with a mouse, but the lack of feel behind a model and a brush made it difficult to get a decent result. Luckily, the stars and payouts you get are pretty generous, even if your personal opinion of the paint job isn’t that high. If you’re so inclined, you can even get through most of the work by doing a pretty sloppy job and just applying paint to the places the game asks you to, although that would miss the point somewhat.
It’s not that Model builder doesn’t provide an array of tools to help you, it’s just that there are so many available in the store, and it’s not always clear what each one does. I understand that a dry brush is used to highlight raised surfaces, but what is the difference between the 12 and 15 dry brush tip? There really isn’t enough explanation given here, and without spending a plot long experimenting with each, you’re unlikely to ever tell the difference.
On the plus side, there are plenty of models to buy, build and paint, either through a commission, to sell at auction, or just because you want to put them in your storefront. There are plenty of WWII vehicles to choose from, fantasy warriors, mechs, and a number of other options, with the promise that more will be added in later content updates. Each has its own instructions as well as a choice of suggested paint schemes if you don’t feel like experimenting on your own. It’s quite satisfying to put together a piece for the first time and see all the little details. I particularly liked the addition of a few pieces of frostpunk. It can be a little monotonous if you need to build the same part for multiple orders, but the process has something of a zen quality about it, and I’d find myself spending a lot of time building and painting simple models just to cause of relaxation.
The models themselves look great, which is pretty essential considering the theme, with lots of little details, and the paint jobs you can get on them are certainly nice if you know what you’re doing. The amount of detail doesn’t weigh too much on your system, which is definitely a good thing when trying to paint or maneuver the model. — I’m still a little puzzled by the slow panning speed. The sounds are superficial if I’m being honest, with a simple cut off sound for clippers or airbrush spray, and the music was a weird array of different genres. I would have liked a radio option like in PC building simulatorbut it is not too difficult to activate a Spotify playlist.
Model builder is a very relaxing game about miniature building and painting. A game of this type is not likely to have a huge following due to its niche topic, but the developers have created something that could be enjoyed quite easily by someone who is not at all interested in Pastime. Although it won’t teach you much about painting and building, it will give you a fairly enjoyable experience, with a range of models to play with without risking sticking your fingers or breaking the bank on addiction to the plastic. I’ll be checking back periodically to see what’s been added, and I look forward to seeing some really cool pieces.
Model builder is now available on PC.