As a wargamer and scale miniatures modeller working my way through the latter half of my 40s, eyesight has become more of an issue for me. It’s a reality of just getting older (I like to think, more experienced) as I’ve aged through about 30 years in the hobby.
Recently, I picked up the magnifying visor from Sharper Image and it’s become a welcome addition to my modelling tool kit. Retailing for about $60 (and less expensive with an additional 10% off for new customers), the visor brings a number of great features which separates it from other magnifiers I’ve seen. The adjustable visor comes with four lenses at 1.5x, 2x, 2.5x and 3x strengths stored in a separate small plastic case. Each lens snaps into the visor and flips up and down easily with a flick of the wrist while painting. Most visors or magnifying eyeglasses used by hobbyists come with just one fixed lens strength, so being able to adjust the level of magnification depending on the project adds a lot of use to the Sharper Image’s visor.
Living in an a Brooklyn apartment, I do most of my modelling projects in natural light at the dining table flanked by a tall set of large windows. For a lot of other hobbyists relegated to painting in basements or small, darker rooms, lighting is often supplemented with workbench lights or a separate camping-style headlamp. For hobbyists like me without a permanent workspace, tabletop lights just aren’t practical and adding a headlamp is just one more thing to store. With these factors in mind, the added feature of a powerful LED light on the Sharper Image visor is also a welcome addition. The light adjusts easily to angles which can direct a beam of cool, white light directly to the area needed. Again, this kind of thing just isn’t found on lesser magnifiers.
I got the Sharper Image visor just as I started going to a smaller scale with 6mm World War II microscale models from GHQ. Whether painting or applying decals, the visor makes details pop on these tiniest of models. At this scale, I found the 2.5x lens to be the best option. The smallest bits of equipment and other features on models practically jump out at me when wearing the visor, and I feel I could practically apply paint with a house painting brush if I had to. I’ve got some other 15mm projects coming up in the coming months, and I’ll be using the visor at that scale for the first time, too.
Regardless of the scale and veteran status in the miniatures hobby, the outlay for the magnifying visor from Sharper Image is a solid investment. As I soon head into another decade in the hobby, I’m grateful to have this new tool to keep my future projects in focus.