No Short Cuts!

So, I spent a rare couple of hours Sunday night painting.  Absolute disaster.  The most epic of epic fails.  I'd been trying a shortcut to get some figures ready for a game.  No one had given me a deadline.  I had given it to me by myself.  And boy was it a learning curve.
Admittedly, I didn't get frustrated or angry.  This in itself is a major achievement, you understand.  I didn't feel like giving in and taking up spoon whittling instead.  What I did find comfort in was the knowledge that I know what standard I want to paint to, and I clearly wasn't achieving it.
And when I mean standard, I'm not talking about the loose guidelines you hear people talking about.  You know, minimum three colours and a wash, tabletop standard and so on.  No, I mean the only standard that really should matter.

Your own standard.

We each have to decide for ourselves what standard we both want to achieve, and match that with our ability to paint.  No point aiming for something we can't achieve.  That'll make us give up on our hobby entirely.  And no point for settling for something less. That'll make us hate taking the models out of the box to play with them.
How did I get myself int his pickle?  Well, if you're sitting comfortably, I'll begin...

Once upon a time there was a boy who made airfix models.  He loved it, but was always looking for something to do with them when they were finished.  He spend=t his childhood making and painting Spitfires, Hurricanes, Me109's and Me110's.  If his family hadn't moved house so often, which seemed to be the reason so many of these aircraft disappeared in transit, he'd have been able to refight the Battle of Britain in 1:1.  And then one day this boy discovered Fighting Fantasy.  Which led to miniatures.  Which led to Games Workshop.  Which led to the World Wargames Championships.  Which basically led him into the world of wargaming.
Which was great.  But expensive.  The boy wanted to play historical as well as 1st Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  But as with all things, cost was prohibitive.

So the boy did what many teenage geeks did in the 80's.  That's right.  He got into RPG's.  And that meant using some miniatures.  And because you only need a few of them to play, this was a wonderful discovery.  In the months and years that followed, the boy developed his own painting style.  It was his standard and he was very happy with it.  Incidentally, he only recently learned it was called wet blending.  To the boy, it was just about applying some shading without gawking great big black lines between parts of the miniature as it was back n the day.
Then uni got in the way and RPG's and miniatures went out of the window.

Afterwards, he got back into wargaming with the encouragement of his wife.  Not only is she lovely like this, but she was also fed up of the fact that he never had anything to help him relax.  So all things Games Workshop returned.  By now the boy had clearly become a man, and he was working.  It was rewarding work, work that people told him was helping others.  But the pay was pants.  Brown, saggy pants with a cream frill.  And as GW set themselves on a path of constant new releases, new rules editions and 'You-Can't-Use-That-Old-Model-Here!' Syndrome, the lack of funds began to show.  His collection of second hand models (most that sat for days in dettol in the shed waiting for their previous owners' paint jobs to peel off) was small and unable to fit the requirements of most codexes.

And the day came when he'd had enough.  So Confrontation began.  All the cash he could save went on them.  He collected bits of everything his FLGS could get in stock. And then they became unavailable, because Rackham went out of business.  So now he had a load of minis from many factions, but not lots of each. he was delighted to have them, bu didn't know what to do, because once again, there weren't exactly many viable skirmish groups...

The boy still gazed longingly at historical miniatures.  But the fact they were metal were making them as hard to purchase as everything else.  Of course, when Perry Miniatures started to release plastics, well, the world changed.
And not long afterwards, his career went into nosedive.  The small income got progressively smaller over a few years until finally he was made redundant.  And although he found other work, the pay was even less.  So he did three jobs to provide for his family.  They kept the roof over his family's heads and food on their table. Just.  But time and opportunity for hobby went out the window.  A box of miniatures was a luxury for Birthday.  It certainly wasn't the norm.  Three books from The Works for £5 spread over 2 Birthdays and a Christmas became the norm.

But things got better after a few years.  Not in terms of time, but in funds.  The three jobs became two, and the main one of those really began to take off.  Yay!

But then the realisation dawned.  For you see, by now he had bits of many periods.  Not enough to game with, but the start of numerous projects. And as to painted armies ready to game?  Well, only a handful of figures for small scale skirmish games were ready. So much needed organising and dedicating time to get them to a point where they could be used in actual games.
But now Pandora's Box was opened.  He had a bit of time to paint and some cash to purchase what was needed to begin to plug the gaps.  Well, he went mad.  He ordered bits of stuff every now and again.  Slowly some projects began to look like they might actually happen.  Wars of the Roses for Lion Rampant.  Napoleonics for Sharp Practice.  North Africa for Chain of Command.   But because he was taking a pick and mix approach, bits of things were happening, but nothing was actually getting done.

This, you'll understand became oppressive.  So he tried a couple of shortcuts with his painting.

And they didn't work.  Sure, some would be happy with the result.  But he wasn't.  Not because he thought he was better than others.  He's clearly not.  No, he wasn't happy because he knew he could do better.  And he wasn't going to accept second best for the good models he's shelled out his hard earned cash on.
Which brings us up to date.

So, where do I go from here?

Firstly, pick and mix isn't getting me anywhere.  Its time to settle on one project at a time.  I ned to see things come together, not bits of everything.

Secondly, sod the timescales.  No, I'm not going to get gaming on my beloved games anywhere nearly as soon as I thought I might.  But then again, it's not that different to the last 35 years, is it?  I'm going to enjoy the painting journey and know that I'll be happy with the finished result.  No chance of winning any painting awards, but that's fine.  I'm not interested in them. I'm more interested in having some nicely painted miniatures I'm happy with on some decent terrain.  The end is worth the journey to get there.  However long it takes.

Thirdly, I'm going to spend less time looking on t'interweb and dreaming up the next project.  I want to focus on what I'm doing rather than lamenting what I can't get. Of course, that's going to be hard, considering all the lovely stuff GW is releasing at a rate of knots these days...

Fourthly, I'll keep blogging about it as I can.  I confess I had considered taking down the blog, for I haven't been able to update it as often as I'd like.  With all the comments wiped away by the closure of G+ it feels an empty shell.  But I'm determined to carry on sharing what I'm up to.  My sincere thanks to hose of you who still pop by to see if anything's happening.

Right, if you'll excuse me, I need to get some work done on my Stormcast Eternals.  These are the first project i want to get properly finished.  Well, have 2K worth of models painted for them at least...!  And after then...?  Who knows?  I'll let you know when I've decided myself!

As always, thank you so much for stopping by!


  1. Let me tell you , you made my day .. what a lovely refreshing read it was ( .... hey this person sounds like me, at least I'm not alone, a kindred spirit if anything)

    Please do keep writing... i enjoy it a lot
    Thanks from the heart 😉👍👍👍👍

    1. Zrunelord, I'm humbled. I confess I have been worried about my blog. I don't get the chance to post as often as I once did. Add to that the loss of all comments with the demise of G+ and I was considering closing it down. However, I'm greatly encouraged by your comments and assure you I will continue!

    2. You're more than welcome my friend. See ? You're not alone ðŸĪŠ haha...
      Keep writing... you do have a great way to put words on paper ( pc).
      G+ 's demise hit us all unfortunately.
      Keep it up

    3. I most definitely will, Zrunelord!

  2. Be encouraged. My lead pile has diminished dramatically over the last two years. I've nearly caught up! It has been a long road and sometimes I stopped by the wayside because I wasn't in the mood to continue. Then I would start again.
    Actually having TWO themes, I wouldn't call them projects as I hadn't really planned them, has worked. When I tire of one I'll do the other and vice-versa.
    This year I hope to actually clear the pile. It will be a kind of relief.
    Then I'll look at what I need to flesh out some armies or the Frostgrave endeavour.
    So, keep plugging along.

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement Khursu. I'm really delighted to hear you've been able to work your way through your lead pile. I assume you put a halt on buying more to help? That might actually be a problem for me...

    2. Actually, not totally, but near enough to zero. It is hard when you have plans and enthusiasms. I've just ordered some more H&R ECW figures, I'm currently painting some units but aren't there always some left over? I haven't ordered many, 3 packs. One each of Dragoons on foot, horse holders and musketeers. The fourth pack is Napoleonic French in bicorns, I have a Prussian and Austrian army and though I should start on some French. Slowly, very slowly.

    3. There is joy in the journey. The destination, or in our case the result, is a wonderfully painted army ready for many happy years of gaming. But everything that gets us there is meant to be fun too. But let's be honest, you never really finish collecting for an army. Or period. Or set of rules...!

  3. At times, your story sounded a lot like mine and I loved it.
    Keep on blogging, there are people who are reading about your projects and also try to do something with the ones they've got on going at the same time.

    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement Wouter. It's encouraging to know I'm not alone in these experiences.

  4. I found your blog about a year ago I believe. I think I was googling atz batreps or maybe wargames factory survivors. Anyway I saw an image that I had to click on which brought me here. I love your painting style and your scenery is amazing. I don't feel I'm anywhere near as good as you but I feel we share a standard that we feel needs to be met in these things (whether I can attain it or not!)

    I don't see your blog come up on others blogs which I find odd as I reckon yours is the best I've come across in the genre (?). Every now and then I like to go back and re read so many of your past posts. Basically what I'm saying is don't you dare consider taking down this blog! How will I go back through it all every few months? And what would I do instead? Paint the lead pile?! Ridiculous.

    I don't really comment on blogs or such things. And never so sycophantically! Make of that what you will.

    1. Hi Jay!

      Firstly, thank you so much for your incredibly kind words. I'm delighted tand rather humbled hat my ramblings and hobbystuff (that's the technical term right there) have been helpful to you. Rest assured, the blog won't be taken down at all. It was began as a way of recording what I was doing. I used to keep notes on bits of paper, but they were always getting lost. My blog was something I did to keep everything in one place, so I could remember what dimensions I'd used on projects and what method worked better than others. That other people have been interested in it actually still blows my mind to this day.

      What I need to do is keep adding to it and hoping that people notice all the old posts that used to have comments and decided to add some new ones themselves.


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