I Need a Hobby Desk! No, Wait. I So Don't!
So while I've got you completely flummoxed and wondering why you even clicked the link to get you here in the first place, let me explain. Or at least try to....!
I've had one of those awkward hobby moments when you actually learn something valuable. The valuable lesson I've learned is simply this: having lots of space to lay out your hobby is definitely not a good thing for me. This, you'll understand, is not the same for everyone. Not is it the general consensus.
I don't have much of an online presence, but my YouTwitFace feeds are often filled with the kind of gratuitous snaps of hobby desks captioned with 'look at my layout' or 'Ooh, look! I tidied it up!' that you kinda feel left like you're pressing your face against the pane of glass of some proverbial shop window, desperate to have one of your own. Rows upon rows of neatly organised paint pots. Paint brushes, clean and pristine lying out on a rack that looks like it was designed for mini Katanas in a Shogun's house. Heck, even the ones that have a shed load of models all higgledy-piggledy, some attached to corks, others to ice lolly sticks, still have that appeal. It's an intoxicating blend of order and chaos, of space mixed with eclecticism.
But it won't work for me. Not at all.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have one. In an ideal world. But it's not for me in the real world. Doesn't stop me longing for one, well, actually, no. No I don't.
I really don't.
Painting miniatures is something I've always enjoyed. Most of the time, at least. But I don't have a space to put a desk and rack up my paints. I've been happy to keep all my paints in a toolbox. Heck, I only invested in an MDF paint station a few years ago. Before then, I simply laid out my paint and tools on one of those lap trays. I did of course cover it with a carefully folded GW plastic bag to protect it from spills.
But in recent weeks, I've been resting my paint station on one of those folding TV dinner tables. You can see how it looked over the last weekend in the photo at the top of this post. And to be honest, for a while it has been great. It's almost been a mini version of those great sprawling expanses of desk and work surface that keep popping up in my social media feeds. And as the weeks went by, the models on it became rather eclectic. Each new addition competing for space with everything else I'd put there. By now, I've had to expand my paint storage into a 4L Really Useful Box. Thanks to 40K Conquest, I now have a fair number of Citadel paints to supplement my Vallejo collection.
And for a while it was good.
Until it wasn't.
Why? Well, because I can easily be distracted. And I have to be honest. I like all the models I have. But I can't paint them all at once. It's just not possible. So whilst the pick and mix is a nice option, it's not getting anything completed. In fact, all I've been doing is hopping from one thing to the next. And back again. That table has been out for weeks. And whilst this is a testament to the support and endless patience of my wife, it has stood as a testimony to my messiness. It's one thing to have a mind that wanders from one project to the next. But seeing that mess take over a table is actually worrying.
So today I packed it all away. I had no choice. Not because my wife's patience ran out. No. It was because I couldn't put up with it any more.
I need to concentrate on one project at a time. Yes, I do now write down the colours I use to paint a model. This is a very helpful thing. Especially if you flit from one project to another, only to return to the previous one and have no idea whatsoever how you painted the cloaks or boots or whatever.
So in an attempt to let my mind focus on one project, I packed it all away. Did this make me feel better? Well if it did at first, it didn't feel like it a minute or so later. It's so easy to leave stuff out because you know you'll return to it tomorrow. Even though you know tomorrow never comes, and all you're left with is a bunch of models gathering much more dust than paint.
But you know what? When I'd done, I felt good. It was as if a weight had lifted off me. And as I put the paint station back in the utility room in the space it used to occupy, things became clear. I knew what I wanted to paint, clear as day. (Even if with the end of British Summer Time it was pretty much pitch black at the time).
If only I had done it sooner, I'd have been able to take it out again and do some painting. As it stands now, I'm too tired.
But I remain clear as to what I'm going to work on. And when it's done, I'll move onto the next project with impunity. And I'll match that impunity with the knowledge that I can totally dedicate myself to doing the best I can with the project. No false starts. No juddering to a halt and wondering how and why I started something.
So in the long term, not having a dedicated hobby desk / station / whatever looks like being a good thing, for me at least!