Playing tabletop wargames is by no means a whimsical hobby to be lightly flirted with. While hobbies as a whole require time and dedication there are those hobbies out there which require the hobbyist to go above and beyond, not only in the wallet department, but in the time management department too.
A couple of days ago, I read an interesting article on the House of Paincakes, highlighting some articles from Rathstar’s Ramblings Blog concerning motivation to getting miniatures painted. It prompted me to write an entry for WCF.
Ours is a tough road, this ‘ere hobby. Beset on both sides by manufacturers waving their new factions or chapters under our noses, or the sweet promises of those new, updated codexes and subsequent miniatures. I’m sure we all know people, or are guilty ourselves of buying up armfuls of miniatures, eager to assemble them and get them on the table to test their mettle.
See, that’s the easy part. Assembling the little blighters is, for me anyway, a quick fix. I can have a unit assembled in an evening. Painting them however is a different story. Painting armies can be quite a daunting, and sometimes even off-putting prospect. A problem I have is that I am a perfectionist when it comes to painting, so my squads get done painfully slowly, although I have been making a considerable effort to step away from this when painting my forces, particularly the rank and file.
Some of us are just not that fond of the painting side of the hobby, whereas others have the same crushing problem I do. Not enough time. Being at work 40 hours of the week, and also a father of a 3 year old, it doesn’t leave me much in the way of time to get my loyal (and patient) forces painted up. I’ve tried a number of different approaches to tackling this, but met with little success.
It’s a mindset you have to get used to. You have to be realistic about what you want to achieve and the timeframe you want to achieve it in. I’ve become happy in the knowledge now that I’m not going to be able to paint every night. If I can paint two or three nights a week, then I am doing well. I can usually average about two or two and a half hours. Seven hours of paint time a week is not to be sniffed at especially when you have to keep LadyBoss happy and also be a responsible dad.
One way I have found to help me is planning. The night before I know I’m going to paint, I figure out what it is I’m going to tackle. I’ll get the items together I’m going to need, put them on my painting tray (one of the most invaluable items GW has ever made, IMO) and have it ready to grab for the following evening. Maybe I want to do some more Black Templars, or even work some more on a competition entry, or even those Lizardmen, or the Stegadon that’s been eyeballing me every time I walk into my nerd closet*
It ‘s quite surprising just how much of your time is lost with set up and break down, if you’re like me and don’t have a permanent area for painting, and have to get everything out every time you want to paint.
The key is definitely in the planning, but also hand in hand is variety! Surely, is it not the spice of life? Change things up a little. Three straight painting sessions of painting just Black Templar armor is enough to make anyone want to take up stamp collecting instead, so, if you have other armies you play (admit it, you do, don’t you?) then paint something from them. Suddenly you’ll start seeing more minis and units coming together without really realizing it.
It’s important, most of all that you have fun and enjoy your hobby. This shouldn’t become something you dread to even think of. If you get to that point, it has become a chore, and possibly the time to sell up and move on.
Here is a sneak peek at what I have been working on bit by bit, using my procedure above. It’s almost ready to be posted up here in full glory.