Tysons, VA

Nightlife is zilch in Tysons at the moment due to the pandemic. After a brief hiatus, the “Tysons After Dark” series is back to highlight different online and at-home activities from local organizations and offerings from eateries that keep people busy once the sun goes down. 

A Falls Church comic book and game store is keeping people at home entertained with supplies for creating and customizing miniature figures.

Shoppers at Victory Comics can find paints, primers, brushes and a “wide variety” of miniatures, Gareth Hoskins, the store manager, said. Some of the store’s miniatures require assembly, while others need to get primed before they are painted. Others come pre-primed.

Before the pandemic, the store had “Paint and Take” events — painting classes capped at 12 people where participants would learn from Hoskins how to paint different miniatures.

When COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and the stay-at-home order happened in Virginia, Hoskins said that the store saw an upsurge in the number of people who hadn’t painted miniatures before.

So Hoskins created a Google Doc guide, which he said is constantly getting updated, as a “one-stop for any kind of miniature work.” The guide covers tools, brushes, glue, color theory, assembly, painting and techniques to create effects.

“We get a lot of people asking us, ‘Where do we even begin?’ and having something to point them towards seemed like a good idea,” he said. “We found ourselves answering the same questions over and over.”

For novices, basic supplies usually cost around $20-$25, Hoskins said.

“It’s a lot easier than most people think. A lot of people get worried about how a complex model will work,” Hoskins said. “There are easier techniques that will make details pop without doing a lot of work.”

For people starting off, Hoskins recommends that they get a handful of paint pods, one or two brushes and a miniature — some at the store are already pre-primed.

Hoskins said that he’s been painting miniatures — mostly Warhammer and D&D minis — for more than 10 years, noting that his Death army has lots of vampires and skeletons.

“I tend to like minis that have a lot of detail to them,” he said, adding that most of the miniatures on the market are large enough so that people won’t need a magnifying glass or specific brushes to paint tiny details.

While Hoskins said that people have been playing D&D virtually over Zoom and using websites like Roll20, “those only go so far for customization,” he said.

The great part about miniatures is that people can paint them exactly how they envision them, he said, adding that monster ones tend to be a popular choice.

The store’s offerings help entertain people who aren’t playing D&D in person at the moment and have extra time on their hands to customize miniatures for their game setups.

The store (586 S. Washington Street) is open until 6 p.m. every day and opens at 11 a.m. except for Saturdays, when it opens at 10 a.m., Hoskins said. Shoppers are required to wear masks inside the store.

The store also delivers within a 10-mile radius and offers curbside delivery and people can place orders by contacting the store via Facebook, email or phone.

Image via Victory Comics/Facebook

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