Former Warhammer TV presenter Chris ‘Peachy’ Peach announced on Thursday that he’s launching a new YouTube channel, full of advice on painting miniatures fast. It was the perfect opportunity for Wargamer to interview him about life as a miniature painting personality, and his career inside and outside Games Workshop.
Peachy worked in several roles at Games Workshop, including as the manager for the army painting team, responsible for painting miniatures at an eye-watering pace, then as a video presenter for Warhammer Community and Warhammer TV.
He left in September 2022, joining YouTube channel The Painting Phase as a co-host. He’s now striking out on his own with the new channel Peachy Tips.
“It’s all part of a ruse just to get more plastic”, he jokes. We’re chatting via video call, and his home office is packed with minis, unmade kits, and even a tower of new Lego sets. “It’s not my first choice getting into 2024, to just completely leave a channel that I was enjoying,” he says – the lack of a dedicated recording studio smarts.
He’s leaving The Painting Phase with some conflicted feelings. “It was a lifeline for me because I needed to get out [of Games Workshop], I wanted to get out”. He adds: “If I was to go back in the past I would do the same”. But it’s become apparent that it isn’t a long-term fit for him: “they have their angle they want to go down and I have my angle I want to go down”.
While he’s very careful in talking about The Painting Phase, he’s quite free in describing how and why he left Games Workshop. “Workshop was different – it was a big corporation”, he says, “I don’t care about throwing mud at managers in marketing because the managers in marketing were trash at times”.
He quickly clarifies: “There were some amazing people, there’s a reason why I spent 20 years [at GW]”. But “the last few years were just a bit trash”.
He describes a work culture that didn’t respect the expertise of creators. The launch of Contrast paints was a case in point. “Some managers got together and decided it was a whole way of painting models on their own for beginners”, he says, and tasked him and his co-presenters with producing videos.
The problem with this was that Contrast paints proved to be “great as a tool or an asset”, but not a complete painting system, and only beginner friendly for certain painting tasks – great for large areas, challenging for detail work, and time-consuming when it comes to tidying up mistakes.
Working on an early video proved the point to his satisfaction: painting a single Thousand Sons marine using purely Contrast paints took ten times as long as conventional methods, because brushwork mistakes were so hard to tidy up.
The presenting team took the concerns to management and asked to make videos that emphasised Contrast paints alongside conventional paints: “we were told to wind our neck in because we were being divas”.
Later, a Warhammer Community contributor made examples of mixed media approaches using Contrast and conventional paints for miniatures, just like the presenters had asked to do. To Peach’s frustration, “we got called into a meeting and asked ‘Why aren’t you guys doing this’?”
There were divas in the Warhammer TV team, according to Peach. “I’m not gonna throw names, but there were table flippers, storm off set divas”. There were recordings of “effing and blinding and storming off”. Peach says that the unnamed person “still works there now”.
It was another reason for Peach to leave: “It made a weird environment when that’s not being challenged or corrected… it’s just being allowed to continue”.
He characterises a workplace that was happy to accept unpaid work on the back of individuals’ enthusiasm, but wouldn’t extend flexibility to employees. Peach says that on some projects, he worked “two hours extra each day”. But on an occasion when he decided to leave at 3pm to recoup some time, he was “called into a meeting and bollocked”. He adds: “my friends still suffer from this now”.
Peach specifies that Wade Pryce was not the manager he took issue with, and that Louise Sugden was not the table-flipper, both public figures that fans will know he worked alongside.
Peach is hopeful that he will be able to create the kind of the content he’s always wanted to make with his new channel. His videos will be aimed at “the 80% of people that want to get stuff on the table top”.
He explains: “a lot of YouTubers paint things really nicely and they look amazing… but you can’t achieve that when you work full-time or you’re at college or at school or you’re a parent”.
We’ve reached out to Games Workshop to ask for its perspective on the topics covered in this interview, and will update you if we receive any statement.
If you’d like to read more about life inside Games Workshop and the Warhammer TV studio, check out our interviews with ex-Warhammer TV presenter Louise Sugden – her journey through Games Workshop, and the time she gave a goblin John Lennon’s butt.