Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Mengel Miniatures Turns 5!

This day five years ago is when I first started treating Mengel Miniatures like a real website, with regular content every week! It's hard to believe it's really been that long, but here we are. I thought it would be fun to celebrate this milestone with a bit of a look back at the site over those years.

Mengel Miniatures has actually been around since 2011, but up until five years ago I really treated it more as a personal blog in the traditional sense. I would post something every now and then, but there was no structure to it and no sense of purpose. I would just finish painting something, post up some pictures with a bit of what went into painting them, and then it could be two months before you would see anything else. I also used it as a hub for my commission painting business at the time. You can still read all of these older posts on here too, including my first post ever. I like to think I've become a better writer over time too.

The Original Logo

This is all when I lived down in Austin, Texas, where I just happened to go to the same gaming store as Larry, the creator and owner of Bell of Lost Souls. I was teaching bi-weekly painting classes at The Dragon's Lair, the local store, and so I had a selection of my models in the cabinets as a sort of advertisement. I was approached by Larry, who had also seen my site, and he asked me if I would be interested in providing content for Bell of Lost Souls. This seemed like a great opportunity to get out in front of a larger audience, so I jumped at the chance. If I remember correctly I provided them with a new article every week and it was posted every Sunday. I would then re-post this content on my own site, since time was limited. I learned a lot during this period, such as how to best structure a post in an engaging manner and how a professionally run website worked. Getting to see a lot of stuff on the backend of the website when I would write my articles was really informative.

Around 2014 my wife and I moved back to Michigan and I was between jobs for a few months. It was during this time that I decided I wanted to take Mengel Miniatures more seriously. The first thing I did was give myself a crash course on HTML and building websites. I spent a lot of time rebuilding the look of my website to be just how I wanted it to be. Let me tell you, HTML can be a bit hard if you don't know what you're doing. Once I had the layout of the website how I wanted it I took the plunge into more regular content. July 10, 2014 I posted up an article showing off the Angron I had just finished, and from then on I kept up the regular content, including the very first Mini of the Week the very next day on the 11th. My original schedule was posting a new article five days a week and I would plan what I was going to do for a few weeks at a time. Needless to say, once I was employed again this changed. With less time to work on the site I switched to three times a week, which included the Mini of the Week every Friday.

I remember that first year fondly, and I had quite a bit of coverage of the End Times books and lots of speculation about the future of Warhammer. This was also around the time where I started switching from a more 40k heavy interest to the realms of Fantasy. It was some time after the release of Age of Sigmar where I was put in touch with Games Workshop and was lucky enough to start receiving review copies from them. As a lifelong GW fan it was super cool to be interacting with them in this way.

After a few years I was invited to contribute articles to the then budding Warhammer Community site and such was From the Mind of Mengel created. It was at this time that I also decided to cut back from three articles a week to two since I was also now writing stuff directly for GW. It's been close to two years now since I started contributing to the Community Site, with the Hallowed Knights painting guide as the very first tutorial. As a side note, I didn't know what they were going to call my articles and I was really thrilled when I saw the title and logo for them. It's so cool looking.

Around this same time I was invited to join the play testing team for Age of Sigmar and I also got to participate in the super awesome Painter's Weekend for the new Contrast Paints in Nottingham. It's been a crazy awesome five years. I'm not going to lie and say that it's not a lot of work keeping this site going. There are definitely times where it can get a bit overwhelming, especially when a new week is looming and I don't have a good idea for an article, but in the end I know it's worth while to push ahead and not give up.

Another big milestone for this site was the creation of the Unofficial Tomb Kings Battletome, and my little spinoff site, The Endless Deserts. This was my largest fan content creation ever to try and give the Tomb Kings a home. It was a huge collaborative project between me and a bunch of other people passionate enough to contribute their time and effort.

I love Mengel Miniatures and I love the community that supports me. I know it's a bit of a cliche, but without you guys this site would just be me talking to the void. I remember when it first started out and I had maybe 60 views a month. Watching that numbers grow has been tremendous and seeing my painting tutorials used out in the larger community is one of the coolest things to me! I hope to bring you another five years of reviews, tutorials, interviews, random thoughts, and of course, Minis of the Week. I've put together a fun little infographic above of some of the truly humbling stats that this site has accumulated in the last half a decade(!).

To cap it off, in no particular order, here's a big thank you to some of the people who were/are instrumental in Mengel Miniatures' history; so, thank you to Larry, Eddie, John, Sarah, Kenneth, all of the people who have contributed guest articles over the years, anyone else I may have left off by accident, my very patient, supportive, and awesome wife, Nikki, and most of all, you, the reader. Thank you for checking out what I have to say on this awesome hobby of ours on a weekly basis!

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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