I have always been frustrated with how my miniatures look in one environment to the next. Nothing is worse than looking at something you’ve just worked on, say in your basement under a light, then taking your work to show the world outside or somewhere in natural light and being shocked how different, and in my case worse, your finished product is. From LED and regular fluorescent, I have jam-packed as much light into my station as possible. Time and time again though it just doesn’t get the job done.
This made me question exactly why I couldn’t achieve the light I wanted. Then I realized that it was the quality of the light, not the quantity. I started to search and see what other people were using. Most were using just normal fixtures or somewhere where the light source was as best as possible. I didn’t find my discovery until Adepticon of this year.
At the convention, while I was looking around, I stumbled amongst a collection of what some could say were the best miniature painters in the game. There they were amongst themselves painting away at folding card tables. What was peculiar though were the lights they were using. These small, compact little rectangle boxes that had a foldable light. This was it! What I had been looking for. After asking a many of these painters about the lights they all said they were infatuated with them. The brand was called Ottlite. I pulled out my phone, opened my Amazon app and presto my very own lamp was on its way! I soon my light problems would be a thing of the past.
The product can be found from many online retailers. A simple google search of Ottlite found exactly what I saw at Adepticon. Most lamps from the company are priced at around $40 and come in different wattages.
Ottlite is a manufacturer out of Tampa, FL that strives to make lighting using their own Ottlite tech, which they refer to as natural daylight technology. Of course, lighting, in general, is a very, very in-depth topic, one of which I have researched ad nausea, so for now I’ll talk about why it’s good for us, miniature painters.
My first impression upon opening the box was how small it was. Not only that but how light! The whole fixture can be held easily in one’s hand and even held upon your pinky finger using the adjustable handle located at the top of the fixture.
The product comes ready to go right out of the box with the only requirement being the installation of the bulb which simply pushes into place and can be equipped with an optional 360-degree rotating base that snaps into place. I recommend adding this on as it gives more stability and you can simply rotate the arm of the lamp out of the way when you don’t need it.
The light itself is turned on and off by simply pushing the arm of the lamp up or down. There is no switch or dimming options on the unit. This can be a downside but I found it no trouble at all.
The light it produces is meant to reflect natural sunlight and has a very nice vibrant and white light. I found this to produce much better when showing the actual work of my minis rather than the softer, yellower lights produced by my fluorescent fixtures. Not to mention that when working with my hands directly under the bulb, I failed to feel any extreme heat being produced by the bulb itself, a huge plus to me.
I feel with this new fixture I have been able to increase my skills. It has allowed me to see what my work is actually producing rather than having it masked by a more artificial light. It gives me a real look at what my work is in natural light or what it would look like if I had taken a photo of my work. Not to mention the ease and portability to set up the fixture has allowed me to escape my basement dungeon and venture upstairs where I can simply plug the lamp in, lift the fixture’s arm up and know I am getting the best possible light source I can find.
I hope this review has allowed you to get a glimpse of the Ottlite. I am in love with this product and I ask myself why I didn’t find it further.