- where we learn to be a better painter!

Monday, October 14, 2013

AK Interactive fires live ammo. Three long time friends critically wounded.

Greetings my peaceful painting pals!

Tons of updates incoming

Ben & I have just returned from our first ever Painting Buddha Workshop at the Wu-Dao in Hamburg. We all had an awesome time and the workshop went really well, if I may say so myself. Sleep was the one thing that missed from the weekend ;) We plan to put the workshop report online tomorrow - stay tuned!

Also, later today, we will post some very early information about Season 1.2 and Season 1.3 - our follow up of Season 1.1: Target Identified! Both DVDs are scheduled to be released in time for the Christmas and the Holiday season! 

And last but not least, there will be a very important status update on our Season 1.1 DVD Set!

A plan is the one scenario that never come to light. 

I intended to write about all that when I sat down at the PC this morning, but then breaking news changed my plans. Not for the first time - and most likely not for the last time. Who would have thunked that the miniature world would be so fast-paced and exciting.

In the grim present of the miniature industry there is only war. 

We all have seen it at happening tabletop gaming tables all over the world. Grown men pushing little plastic soldiers, rolling dice, arguing about rule interpretations going at each others throats. Taking themselves and the hobby to seriously. Chill out, dudes!

And more and more I wonder who runs this industry and who it is made for: Is it for the fans and hobbyists or is it to fill the pockets of some greedy corporations that take advantage of our incurable addiction to plastic, resin and white-metal? 

And today was another of these days. 

AK Interactive fires live ammunition 

Won't be wearing that shirt no more.
Most of you know Mig Jimenez. Together with Adam Wilder probably one of the most visible and most talented modelers of the western hemisphere. I would describe him as a super-star of the AFV modelling.

I always thought Mig was AK Interactive. For me, AK Interactive was Mig. I used both 'terms' synonymously. 

I always thought that AK Interactive is Mig's company - and I am pretty sure that most of you did the same. 

The breaking news today is that he is not. Not any more. Not ever. And that's a frakking shame. 

Please know that this post is not intended by any means to vilify AK Interactive. They make great products - the best! But like other companies that make cool stuff, some things seem a little questionable at the very least...

What happened?

Well, that's a good question, of course there are always at least two sides of every story. The main players, of course, are Mig Jimenez and his long time friend and now 'adversary' Fernando Vallejo Calleja, who describes himself as 'president, founder, and owner' of AK Interactive. Collateral damage has been dealt to Carlos Cuesta, Elizabeth Wiese, Iain Hamilton and Rick Lawer.

I don't know either of them at all, so like me, you will have to come up with your own interpretation of what happened. So let's start at the beginning - with the official statement from the AK Interactive website: 


Fernando Vallejo Calleja, President and owner at AK-INTERACTIVE S.L., has the duty to inform to all his suppliers, dealers, clients and public the following statement:
  • From the 9th October 2013 AK-INTERACTIVE S.L. has ended the collaboration that had with the modeler Miguel Jimenez, better known as MIG Jimenez.
This way AK-INTERACTIVE, at the date of 10th of October, has also ended his collaboration with Carlos Cuesta.
  • The reasons to dispense with the services of Mr. Jimenez and Mr. Cuesta are strictly professionals, due to certain behaviours committed they have caused an irretrievable loss of the essential trust needed to keep on with the collaboration maintained until now which has been so profitable for both sides and for all the modeling world.
  •  So as said, from now on neither Miguel MIG Jimenez, nor Carlos Cuesta have any relations with AK-INTERACTIVE S.L., and also they do not have the authorization from AK-INTERACTIVE S.L. to use any of the trademarks own by the company and also for the use of AK acronym in any way, with the only exception relative to "The weathering magazine" and its webpage associated.
This way make also clear that Elisabeth Wiese, girlfriend of Mr. Jimenez, has never had or has any kind of relation with AK-INTERACTIVE S.L., and that her appearances in the models shows of Mr. Jimenez, a her interventions in the Facebook pages and other media have been made a purely personal fact, due to the romantic relationship between them, and with the direct suggestion of Mr. Jimenez, and not from AK-INTERACTIVE S.L..

AK INTERACTIVE S.L. informs that with the agreements already signed with Mr. Jimenez, any of the rights concerning the magazine property of AK-INTERACTIVE S.L. "The wheathering magazine" and its associated webpage will be transferred to Mr. Jimenez.

So as said, and from this date on, any matter relative to "the Weathering Magazine" should be treated directly with Miguel MIG Jimenez.
Reiterate that from this date on, NO MATTER RELATIVE TO AK-INTERACTIVE S.L. MUST BE MADE thorugh MIGUEL MIG JIMENEZ, nor CARLOS CUESTA, nor ELISABETH WIESSE, now that that they dont have any relation with the company.
  • AK-INTERACTIVE S.L., and its President, founder and owner Mr. FERNANDO VALLEJO CALLEJA, they will go on with its activity as always, although without Mr. Jimenezs collaboration, investigating, innovating and developing products and publications for all modeling branches, joining forces with the best modelers in the world, and of course keeping contact with all modeling lovers through our webpage, e-mails, facebook and our forums; all this to achieve that our customers, the modelers, can get to make real all their dreamed projects and get better everyday in their passion for scale models, which is what AK-INTERACTIVE S.L. and all of his team stand for.
Many thanks to all.
President, founder and owner.

So what do we learn from this

F.A.Q. 1 - back to the basics?
Mig, if you build it, we will buy!
First of all, one of the best publications of the last years, "The Weathering Magazine" belongs to Mig. That's great news, as this magazine is a must have for all of us weathering fans - there is nothing better on the market. 

However, like the F.A.Q. 2 - the best modelling book you can buy - The Weathering Magazine features AK Interactive products: Paints, resins, pigments and the like. So the future will have to show us how Mig will respond to this. 

I doubt that Mig will continue to feature AK products. As far as I am concerned, that is fine with me. Don't get me wrong - the AK Interactive products are awesome. Really good. But I personally preferred the original F.A.Q. 1 style, where we were introduced to modelling with the 'standard' tools: Acrylics, Enemals, Oil paints and the like. I don't think it would hurt Mig at all to go back to this style. And we would not 'need' to buy specialized products. 

We also learn that Elizabeth Wiese, whose photos we all enjoyed in the Weathering Magazine is - as we assumed for the longest time - Mig's girlfriend and he is now an officially even 'bader' bad-ass. 

It proves my point that miniature and modelling nerds are the best boyfriends and husbands, something I eluded to in past articles. F.A.Q.? Q.E.D. :D

And Elizabeth has supported Mig/AK tirelessly for the longest time now - how awesome is that?

Let's have a look at how Mig responded to this on his personal Facebook page


Mr. Mig Jimenez, Mr. Carlos Cuesta, Miss Elizabeth Wiese, Mr. Iain Hamilton and Mr. Rick Lawer want to inform all of their friends and associates who have been with us all these three years of “AK Interactive” the following:  
- Mr. Mig Jimenez was the creator of “AK Interactive” along with Mr. Fernando Vallejo 3 years ago. From the very first moment Mr. Mig Jimenez and Mr. Fernando Vallejo agreed that the company “AK Interactive” belonged to both of them. Mr. Mig Jimenez just put his trust in his friend, Mr. Fernando Vallejo, since Mr. Mig Jimenez never came to be included in the legal documents and records of the company.

-Mr. Mig Jimenez was the creator of the entire image, logos, products, marketing and image of said company; however until last day October 9th , 2013, when Mr. Mig Jimenez was returning from a trip to Mexico for the promotion of the trademark, Mr. Mig Jimenez and Mr. Carlos Cuesta were fired without previous notice. Hence, Mr. Rick Lawler and Mr. Iain Hamilton left the company voluntarily at that moment in solidarity with Mr. Mig Jimenez and Mr. Carlos Cuesta.

- All quality control, development of ideas, books, DVDs and many others, were created by Mr. Mig Jimenez, as indicated in most products, such as the Book “FAQ 2”, leaving the distribution to his partner Mr. Fernando Vallejo. The relationship between Mr. Mig Jimenez and Mr. Fernando Vallejo has ended due to the breakage of the verbal covenant they both had from the beginning, resulting in the dismissal of Mr. Mig Jimenez in the face of an overall imbalanced situation.

- Only a week before the dismissal of Mr. Mig Jimenez, he, along with Mr. Fernando Vallejo wrote a contract in which it read that the magazine “The Weathering Magazine” was intellectual property of Mr. Mig Jimenez and that said magazine would become Mr. Mig Jimenez’s full property in case of his dismissal . To date, Mr. Fernando Vallejo hasn’t hand in any files, logo, web domains or servers relating to this magazine to Mr. Mig Jimenez, breaching said contract. Therefore, Mr. Mig Jimenez currently does not have any control or responsibility over the magazine nor over the subscribers or advertisers who, in any case, have paid their fees to “AK Interactive” not to Mr. Mig Jimenez.

- There are many other issues of legality that Mr. Mig Jimenez and Mr. Fernando Vallejo must solve. At the same time, Mr. Mig Jimenez is free to create or do anything he sees fit to continue his professional modeling career outside AK Interactive; creating new books, paintings , accessories or any other idea under the brand he wishes to, always respecting the existing contract; which he can make available to employees, suppliers or customers request.

 Finally, it is our duty to notify that the Facebook account “AK INTERACTIVE FACEBOOK” was created exclusively by Miss Elizabeth Wiese who worked on it for three years selflessly with the sole aim of helping Mr. Fernando Vallejo and Mr. Mig Jimenez. As we all know, Miss Elizabeth Wiese used an “AK Interactive” account ( authorized by Mr. Fernando Vallejo for all promotional work, helping countless times in sales care work, stands, as well as helping in promotion and customer service . As you all can see in the many photographs of “AK Interactive” albums on Facebook and the thousands of private messages she exchanged with many modelers.

-“AK Interactive”, since October 9th, 2013, has misappropriated of what Miss Elisabeth Wiese created from her own will and without any financial remuneration, which she rejected, for the sole interest in helping said company, grow .

All of us expose that “AK Interactive” under the direction of Mr. Fernando Vallejo, has acted in an improper way breaking all verbal agreements it had with Mr. Mig Jimenez just when the company “AK Interactive” had been consolidated internationally. This has led to a breakage in the trust, essential to continue with the existing collaboration to date.

It’s only up to you to judge what “AK Interactive” has done with Mr. Mig Jimenez. Thank you all for your friendship over the years and we ask you not measure up people’s success for how high up they get to reach, but by how high they bounce when they hit bottom .

Full on double rainbow all the way accross the sky. But WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

First of all, my hero nerds of the day are Iain Hamilton and Rick Lawer. They left AK Interactive in solidarity to what happened to Mig. I tip my silly hat to you, sirs!

Without of course knowing all the details, I would call this at the very least an indication, that Mig might have not been treated fairly. 

So what do we have here? Again, please make up your own mind! I will, however, give you my personal interpretation of the situation: 
  • Mig is the heart and soul behind AK Interactive and all the products such as F.A.Q. and The Weathering Magazine. 
  • Like many nerds, he worked for the hobby and let the 'contractual work' to a good friend. 
  • Money, unfortunately, is where many friendships end. 
I personally think Mig got robbed of the financial success of many years of work. Again, please come up with your own conclusion. 

What now?

I wonder how AK Interactive will continue without Mig. If you rip the heart out of a company, it might not survive it - unless you find a suitable transplant. Great products are one thing, but you need the inspiration behind everything to make them work. I, for one, will follow this closely. 

Mig will bounce back higher than this Kangaroo!
I am convinced that Mig will continue to be successful. He has been burnt once - and he won't be burnt twice. He will set up his own company, together with good friends and fellow nerds. Pretty much like we at Manabu / paintingbuddha did

And because he seems to be a really hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is, he will bounce back highWe at masterminis/paintingbuddha will try do everything we can to help him back on his feet. 

If you would like to follow the next developments and also would like to support a fellow hero nerd, follow Mig on his Facebook page. Let him know that there is a nerd army standing behind him.

Let us know in the comments what you think of the whole situation - what is your view?

For the greater good - the one thing you definitely SHOULD do to support Mig is to:



  1. This is exactly why one should always draw a distinct line between privat and professional issues. Trust is good, control is best...It is a pity that great collaborations often have to end up like this. Maybe they will find together again one day.
    Best regards , Skyle

    1. Yeah, I totally agree. Even though we have a friendship relationship going on here at Manabu/Paintingbuddha, the roles are very clearly defined and all business matters are held 100% transparent to my guys. Working with friends is the best, but one has to work on making it work.

  2. Mag mir das einer in deutsch kurz zusammenfassen? Mein Englisch gibt da auf.....

    1. Mig ist der Kopf und das Herz hinter AK Interactive. Mr. Vallejo hat aber wohl die Verträge so gestaltet, dass ihm alles gehört. Und dann hat er aus Gründen, die wir nicht kennen, Mig gefeuert.

  3. A sad example of why you should always make business agreements in writing :-( Perhaps not of the Vogonic, signed in triplicate and buried in peat moss variety, but it can sometimes avoid the sort of brain explosions money can cause.

  4. We are only hearing part of the story from both individuals. This is what happens when huge ego's come together to form a business. Unfortunately, this is not the first or last we will see in our hobby. As far as Mig's sweetie is concerned and her involvement on Facebook...come on...Facebook? Anyone can do Facebook, it is not rocket science. I seriously doubt Mig chose her to do this based on her "Facebook Skills" especially looking at the spike heels and thong panties on the Rail track....

    Mig should have known better to collaborate without a "contract" and to "trust" a friend as he said. Everyone knows there is NO TRUST with friends (sometimes family) when it comes to making money.

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