Miniature painting, like most forms of art, requires precision. Emulating the creases and folds of clothing, the right shade and combinations of color and knowing where to throw shadows are all part of the package when it comes to recreating the vibrancy and dynamism of our favorite fictional characters, such that they look ready to spring to life at any moment. And while different artists and hobbyists find different techniques work best for them, the one condition everyone inevitably needs to ensure the results are as close to the real thing as possible is the right lighting. Specifically, we mean daylight. This does not mean you’re only restricted to painting in the day, though. Daylight refers to a specific color temperature or color characteristic range of light, at about 5,000 degrees Kelvin and above – lamps or task lights fitted with bulbs of this color temperature range recreate natural light, compared to red or yellow-hued lights, giving artists a better and more accurate idea of how the colors show up on their work.
A focused glow of light, sans glares and reflections giving you eye fatigue and headaches, also makes working with vision-intensive projects more comfortable and precise – you get to see precisely where shadows would normally be thrown on your miniature, whether the coats of paint are standing out just right, whether you’ve filled in every little nook and cranny with the level of detail a hyper-realistic miniature would have. For this list, we’ve looked into desktop, clamp-on lamps for your workspace, saving space and giving you the best degree of daylight task lighting to work with when it comes to painting miniatures.
Brightech Light View PRO LED Magnifying Lamp
This is the ultimate lamp for hobbyists and handymen, artists and designers alike. We can confirm that the hype around this lamp is real, and its features easily slot it into the first-place spot of our list.
As the name indicates, this unit is not just a lamp – it’s a magnifying one, with a five-inch diameter lens of magnification level 2.25X. This is an incredibly handy feature to have on-board when you need to get a closer look at your miniature, to make sure you get the tricky details, like eyes and facial expressions, or the intricate designs of videogame characters’ signature costumes, vehicles, weapons or gear, just right.
But this is only part of the package. 56 mini LED lightbulbs make this an energy-saving lamp that nonetheless packs brightness of 650 Lumens, embedded around the lens to throw a focused sphere of light where you need it and minimizing eye-straining glares and the need to squint to see what you’re doing. With a 9-watt power requirement, the lamp does not overheat, so you won’t find yourself sweating or boiling up as you pore over your project for hours on end.
Best of all, though, is the level of flexibility this lamp gives you. A 2.5-inch clamp opening lets you secure the lamp to the edge of your desk or workstation, while a triple-jointed 38-inch arm with an internal 360-degree swivel cantilever gives you enormous scope for moving around and repositioning the lamp where you need it. Smooth and precise in movement, the lamp can singlehandedly cover an entire work surface, meaning you won’t be limited to a single, fixed halo of light under which you’ll need to work. Meanwhile, thanks to the clamp system rather than a tabletop base, it doesn’t clutter up your workspace either. The plug-in lamp comes with a 60-inch, concealable cord.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
TROND Halo 9W-C Dimmable Daylight LED Clamp Light
Another clamp-system light with a long, flexible and adjustable gooseneck arm of nearly 20 inches, this light is designed, first and foremost, to be friendly to the eyes. With a color temperature range between 5800-6000K, emulating daylight, the lamp is anti-glare and flicker-free, programmed with 3 brightness modes operable by touch-sensitive dimmer control to let you choose the degree of light you’re comfortable with. A top-grade diffusion film enhances the lamp’s brightness as well as projects the light to illuminate a larger area, so you have more room to work with, illuminated just as thoroughly. The sturdy aluminum clamp with 1.65-inch width attaches the lamp securely to the edge of your desk or table, working just as well with shelves, bed posts and other accessible edges, the flexible gooseneck arm giving you better maneuverability and control by allowing you to direct the light where you need it, and comes with a detachable 6 feet power adapter.
TROND Eye-Care LED Clamp Table Light
Get the perfect light angle you need to paint your miniatures with the 16.1-inch, flexible gooseneck arm allowing you to position the lamp wherever you need it, programmed with 5 lighting modes and 5 dimmer options so you can choose the color temperature (anywhere between 3000-6200K) and brightness level you need. The anti-glare, flicker-free LED lamp is programmed with a 30-minute power-off timer option, as well as a USB charger port you can use to charge up your handheld devices. A plug-in lamp with a 6 feet power adapter, the lamp fixes to the edge of your desk – or other surfaces – with a 1.38-inch wide clamp, freeing up space on your work surface.
Brightech – Litespan LED Desk Lamp Edition
If you have a small workspace and are banking more on a great daylight task lamp than a highly flexible option, this is a great practical but heavy-duty option to pick. Lightweight and compact enough to be perfect for carrying around so you can work away wherever you want, the lamp features an impressive range of brightness and color temperature ranges adjustable via a press-button dimmer, maxing out at 6000K. A flexible and sturdy gooseneck arm lets you adjust the light angle and direct it to where you need it. The lamp measures about 2 feet with the neck fully extended. The 200 Lumens LED lamp eliminates problems of glares, ghosting and overheating, giving you the most comfortable lighting for precision painting without straining your eyes, plugged in via a 5 feet power cable.
- How to Paint Miniatures: http://www.how-to-paint-miniatures.com/miniature_painting_necessary_equipment.html
- Holy Crap It’s Late!: http://www.holycrapitslate.com/hobby-quick-tip-daylight-bulbs-miniature-model-painting/
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Task_lighting