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RexHavoc

How to make a dent in the unpainted pile of shame!

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I've accidentally ended up with a huge unpainted pile of shame over the past couple of months. With so many good AoS releases (and a lot of made to order offerings) I've ended up getting a little carried away picking things up for projects. And as lifelong Goblin collector/fan, it's only going to get worse next weekend when AoS goes from being a great game to being the best game as we see the return of the best faction ever!

My biggest problem is though as since the late 90s, the only mass battle stuff I have done is in 6mm, everything else has been skirmish level only! Things like inquisitor let me paint very small warbands and spend a long time on each mini, but there has never been any rush to get things done! That got worse last year with skirmish for AoS, now I can paint very small warbands for AoS and spend way to long on each model!

But now I really need to get through and paint up at least a good bulk of the minis I have for a minimum of two of my armies, that will bring the pile down to something more respectable and clear some space! Even as a skirmish only player, I've been buying up releases in 'army size' on the off chance I wanted to full AoS and that time has finally arrived.
But I have no idea how to go about painting an army from start to finish with out jumping between models/factions. I've never been much of a fan of batch painting, every time I have tried it, it has felt like a chore and one thing I never want painting to feel like is work and I also found the quality of my painting drastically dropped.

So I honestly don't know how to break this bad habit of painting one mini at a time or how to go about breaking the task down in to manageable steps. I don't want to have to resort to painting one army beginning to end as I like to jump about to what ever currently takes my fancy, but I also know that's not going to help reduce the shame.
I don't really play much as it is and not played outside my own house (not since the late 90s) so I cant really rely on getting a unit down in time for the next game as there never really is a deadline!

I did think about using a project management app to keep track of what I'm working on and what was finished (sort of a points-less scoreboard, I think if I used points I'd find ways to cheat the system to bump the score up all the time lol) but I've never tried this for miniatures painting (and again don't want it to feel like work!)

I have cleaned my hobby room and reorganised most of my paints and tools and hid away as much of the unpainted stuff from my workspace, so I'm ready to kick start the mass painting but that was last week now and I'm still to sit down and do anything more than painting a couple of layers on more warband figures!

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I think batch / army painting is a very different beast to painting single minis. I think you need to look at economy of effort when you’ve got a lot of painting on your plate, getting an overall good look to a unit as a whole rather than as individual models.

I painted 80 clan rats fairly recently, and they had a very simple paint job, but look good together as a body of troops in a game. Pick them up and study each one in detail and the illusion is broken a bit but no one does anyway. The first few I did had a bit more time spent on layering and you can’t see the difference in the crowd.

For packs of troops I stick to simple schemes (and let the magical Agrax Earthshade do a lot of the work ha ha) and spend a bit more time on characters or more elite troops. Both are rewarding in their own way.

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If you’re looking for motivation, come join us over at the painting table ... we always have more room for new folks! Making a painting goal and then getting community feedback and holding yourself responsible to your own paint work is key to moving forward.

 

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What armies are they? When I've been confronted with similar issues I pick one army, develop a really simple but effective paint scheme and then batch paint then to death. I work out an army of 500pts, then paint it. Increase it to 1,000pts, and paint that. Rinse and repeat until 2000pts, as I can still get some games in with it.

Lemme know what army you'd like to start on, and if I have a model spare from the same faction I'll try and come up with something awesome that won't take 20 years.

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Posted (edited)

A few thoughts that can help:

1) I started this https://www.tga.community/blogs/blog/337-the-great-box-count-of-2019/ its a basic system focused on me building stuff rather than painting, but the principle remains the same. Aim to not buy/build until you've painted a certain value and keep track of the value through the year with an overall objective to have painted more in a years time than you have bought/built in that time. It's a means to tracking your progress and also helps you retain focus whilst not actually stopping you from making purchases and building new stuff (going cold turkey can be hard esp with limited production windows and discounts which can appear).

2) Organise your painting on multiple levels:

a) Clear your painting desk of distractions and generally organise and tidy it up. This creates a neat and easy to work in space where you know where things are and the clutter is gone. Sometimes visual clutter and loads of half baked projects all jumbled atop and the frustration of having to find where things are can be a casual barrier to progress.  

b) Establish projects, either single models or batches or a mix and set them out along with their paints for their next layer/stage. The idea here is to place a set of models ready to paint, all you need is time to get started. This way you can leave a project out ready to start and it can be a neat way to fill in those smaller gaps of time when you get a few moments to paint a layer on. You'll be amazed how much "time" you can find when this is done and you can fit in a little bit here and there easily. 

c) Try to have medium term goals, these might well define what projects you select but can also help you establish time slots to work in. Say setting aside several hours for some concentrated painting of a batch. Here the organising is about time management. By setting aside a dedicated slot you give yourself a good chunk of constant time to work and progress.

3) Display your progress as best you can. A cabinate or display stand can be ideal. This is about rewarding yourself and also keeping track. Early on it might not seem much; but each model that gets finished and put on display can encourage you to add to the quota. Plus as time passes the amount you have on display grows - before long you can have quite the display and that can be very encouraging to see real progress. 

4) Make sure you've got music/DVDs/whatever to hand as your background entertainment as you work. Of course if you paint in silence and are happy with that then this is dead easy; other times its just like the above stages; about having things on hand and ready to get started with quickly so that you can seize the moment when it comes and not faff around finding the music tracks or dvd . 
eg myself I've been binge watching Buffy/Angel on Amazon prime whilst assembling. 

 

In general its a balancing act. You want to motivate yourself and put some pressure in place to complete things. But also use tools and methods to facilitate easy progress. However this is a hobby not a job and the journey is a huge part of things; so you want to make sure that what you set in place is to boost your chances and act in a positive way; rather than to punish, force and act harsh and create a negative association. 

You WANT to paint and whilst you might push and force yourself here and there to sit down and get on with it; you dont' want the whole process to be a chore that loses the fun. With that in mind respect yourself when you're just burned out and do take breaks

 

Edited by Overread
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Pick a single project and finish it. Do not under any circumstances buy more. Repeat until everything is done. 

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3 minutes ago, Barkanaut said:

Pick a single project and finish it. Do not under any circumstances buy more. Repeat until everything is done. 

Easier said than done for some 😅

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Just now, Retro said:

Easier said than done for some 😅

There will always be something new you want. By finishing your backlog you keep the future open as GW releases new stuff it lets you have way more options to really decide what you want by waiting longer. Then when your done you can go crazy narrowing down all the options.

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Batch painting is a skill to learn, that's seperate from your usual painting skills

1) You need to sacrifice quality, if it's not a character, banner waver or unit chamption, you want to be done with 3-4 base colours, a wash, and a bit of detailing.

 

2) Plan your colour scheme, work out the minimum colours that you need to achieve the result you want. A good batch paint scheme is around 10-12 steps.

 

3) Paint no more than 10 at a time, seems counter intutitive to put a limit, but more than 10 and I find the paint dries on the brush, making the results look worse and this in turn puts you off painting the models in a group.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Lucio said:

3) Paint no more than 10 at a time, seems counter intutitive to put a limit, but more than 10 and I find the paint dries on the brush, making the results look worse and this in turn puts you off painting the models in a group.

I agree, no more than ten at a time,, or the minimum unit size.  For me it's that any more than that is too long working on one project and can become boring and monotonous.  It also means a long time before you get to see your achievement and the feeling of a job well done (hopefully, which is important to my enjoyment of the hobby.).

I also like to be adding to more than one faction, so I can hop between the two (or more) occasionally to keep things fresh.

Having said that, once I have got he base coats and washes on,  I do find it hard to refrain from more detailed work such as a bit of blending and highlighting.  Even so, the first two stages are a great time-saving operation.  It does also depend on the faction.  I do find it quicker to batch paint Ardboyz or Grots, for example, than I do Sisters of the Watch or IDK Thralls.

 

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My first suggestion would be to inventory what you have.

A counterpoint to doing this step would be that you would psychologically overwhelm yourself with how much stuff you have to get done and you will get nothing done. My counterpoint to that is that you have already hit that psychological wall by identifying that you have too many things you need to get done. This is quantifying what you have and hopefully evaluating whether it will be the next project, or that you need to sell it off.

The next suggestion is to evaluate where you want to be with your collection, then begin to move your collection toward that goal.

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I found it invaluable to make two interlinked lists to help manage my painting/buying. Basically I have to paint so much before I can buy an item.

What I need to buy - I drop in what I need to complete a project eg an army.

Painting order list - this lists what is next on the table to complete projects. Each item is either a hero, unit or scenery piece. I also drop in a few purchases every 2 to 3 items so I can see what I have early as I go along.

I review both lists al the time and move items about the painting order, add/remove purchases

This system allows me to stay focussed and make progress. I can drop in the latest shiny things but more often than not I see that they lose their appeal once the hype dies down, I rarely buy things when they come out with system, and items often come off the to buy list. So I know what is on the buy list is usually something I need as opposed to want.

I try to paint my leaders and units to a similar level to keep the consistent look across army. For units I tend to paint 5 models at a time but I mix in other things to break it up eg I leave washes to dry over night, so in this down time I make progress on another item in the current batch of items.

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Posted (edited)

The first thing I'd do - and I've done this myself  recently - is go through and take an inventory of every bit of grey plastic you own, assembled or unassembled. I put mine in a spreadsheet. Then think seriously about what you're actually going to enjoy (a) painting, (b) playing with, and (c) owning/displaying. You need at least two out of the three to justify keeping them, in my opinion.

Find new homes for everything that doesn't make the grade. Ebay, friends, etc. It might result in taking a loss financially, but personally I always feel a lot better to have the storage space back and a reduced sense of plastic guilt. Sometimes I've actually found that it feels better to give some things away as gifts rather than try to get money for them - impulse-buying a bunch of Skitarii I'll never paint goes from being a mistake I made a year and a half ago to a very forward-thinking birthday present. That kind of thing.

I appreciate that this isn't painting help, but it'll make the painting itself feel less intimidating and you'll know you're working on the right stuff.

As for batch painting:

  • Basecoat sprays make a huge difference. Sometimes the choice is obvious: metals for Stormcast, red for Bloodletters, etc. Sometimes however you can save a surprising amount of time with an unusual basecoat spray. I batch-painted 30 Tzaangor using a Leadbelcher spray basecoat, which might sound insane but it's based on the fact that those models are covered in metal details - chains, charms, horn caps, etc. Basecoating the non-metal parts on 30 models is actually less time/energy consuming than going over all of those tiny metal bits with an artificer brush. A good general rule is 'use a spray for the colour you *really* don't want to do with a brush'.
  • Stick to basecoating, washing, and highlighting. Layers are for special occasions.
  • I find it helpful to print out a list of all of the stages for the models I'm working on. I break them down into materials: e.g, 'steel', 'brown leather', 'black leather', 'armour plates'. Listing basecoat/wash/highlight paints for each. I then do one material at a time, keeping my desk clear of everything that isn't related to painting that one step.
  • If you can, do an hour a day. I often paint before work. At the end of the day, all you're doing is pouring time into a bucket. Doesn't matter how much you put in at any given point - you've just got to fill the bucket.
  • I don't have a maximum batch size. I often do every single model of a particular type all at once. This can be intimidating but personally I find it harder to 'start all over again' with a new batch of 5. Doing a small amount every day definitely helps make it feel manageable: it can be pretty satisfying to slowly see a huge pile of models come together.
  • A common theme to all of this is motivation: the purpose of tricks and shortcuts isn't to paint faster, it's to skip you straight to the parts you enjoy. If you look forward to painting something, you'll get it done. If you're bored or frustrated with painting something, you probably won't - so you've got to really want to play with it, or display it, to justify working on it.

Sorry for the essay! Hope this helps.

 

Edited by CJPT
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Wow, tons of good responses, thanks lads.

@Luke82Yeah, Agrax Earthshade is magical! I'm looking forward to getting in to my skaven at some point as I can just dump the stuff on it will look great! Having painted 6mm for years, I still forget the number one rule that it follows also applies to 28mm, that troops get the basics and the heroes get the extra time spent on them! I think as they are so much bigger than 6mm, even painting a unit feels like painting 20 individuals!

@TheOtherJosh Thanks, I've always been put off adding myself to the painting contract as when ever I tend to drop in and look, I see tons of ''oh I'm keeping it easy this month as I'm super busy- 9000pts of nurgle, an entire converted forgeworld bloodthirster smashing through a village, a display board, finishing off my last 250 freeguild and I got to make time to start and finish an entire DoK force for the tournament I've entered, which is three days away'' ! I always feel that my own 'I'd like to at least finish this one night goblins skin and maybe get the basing done on the only two daemons I painted last month'' would just be awkward , especially when at the end of the month I've managed to paint something completely different and not finished the basing! haha

@AlphaKennyThing thanks, thats a kind offer! The thing I'm dreading most of all is painting my joint DoK/dark elves force which I got for christmas. I have so much skin to paint, and it terrifies me (I've stuck to green skins for years as I hate painting flesh!) I've had some luck in the past with the white undercoat and fleshshade wash method, but find it feels 'mucky'. It worked well for my cannibal ghoul I painted that way for an inquisitor game, but not sure the messy style works well for elves. I dislike the pale/rakarth flesh version that peachy and duncan used for warhammer tv, I prefer the warmer soft pink tone but having painted it from brown up to pink skin before, I dread to attempt that on 200+ models. I've always loved the idea of painting in 500pt batches, I was tempted to join the 500pts per month at my local store, trouble is if I get caught up in too much work and miss a month I'd feel really defeated having tied myself into it being a hard set timescale.

@Overreadwow thanks for such a detailed response. I like the box count idea. I might have a rejiggle with the idea and convert it to painting, I've no problem with getting stuff built, I've had to force myself to stop as its the bit I enjoy the most but it quickly piles up! Yes, definitely hard to go cold turkey, especially as my favourite army is getting its update this week as well as so many good made to order offers. Thankfully I dont buy much on impulse but most of the made to order stuff has been far too tempting to add models I missed out on or lost over the years, to armies I already own!
I tidied up my whole hobby room before I sat down to start painting the other week, its much nicer to have it clean and not covered in half painted projects. I do still have a shelf of shame I need to clear but once I do, it can then become a shelf of display, which should be must more inspiring! I like the organisation ideas. I cleaned everything up and away and sorted out some new paint racks (even if they were cheap home made affairs!) but perhaps I can shift them about that I can have a WIP rack as well in front of me!
I do often spend far too long decided what to put on when painting. I need something that I can enjoy but dont need to always look at. I love Buffy and Angel but having fallen ill a few years back, I became housebound for a time and that was all I had to do so ended up watching it on repeat for an entire year, I think it will be a long time before I can watch it again with out getting a bit queasy! haha I always like painting to Dexter, as it was never complex enough need to pay all my attention to it, especially  having seen it before, but found it relaxing enough to crack on with painting with out ever getting bored.

@Barkanaut What a monstrous suggestion! It's a nice plan, but with my favourite army getting its release this weekend I don't think I'm strong enough. Maybe I could try after this release, but buying more stuff is like the number one part of this hobby!

@Lucio
Thankfully sacrificing quality isn't too hard for me, there is not much difference between the quality of my heroes and  plain old troops anyway! 10 models at a time seems a lot, I sometimes struggle to keep the paint flowing for base coats on one model let alone 10! I do use a wet palette now which helps a hell of a lot, but I still don't think I'd make it to ten before I have paint that is too dry or thinned too much. I might have to return to using retarders.

@Aelfric Yes, I'll have to work between at least two projects because if I hit a snag or painters block I need to be able to switch or I'd stop completely! Thankfully I do have two other huge models I've been working on and off and they are detailed enough to jump into and do a little bit on if I get stuck and have nothing else in front of me, but eventually, even they will done and I dont want to add more big models to the unpainted pile !

@Fairbanks Yeah, exactly why I didn't add everything I had to a spreadsheet, even though it would be great fun ticking things off as they are done, because seeing it all written down like that would be horrid, but you are correct, I'm already at that point by walking around the pile in front of the hobby room everyday!

@Praecautus I like the idea of multiple lists, and also having a 'need to buy list' would stop me needing to write out a list twice a year for the misses to know what to buy for christmas/birthday, as it would always be updated! Would probably also stop me buying too many of anyone thing, no matter how much I like the model (I've brought multiple copies of some of the heroes recently as I've wanted to do various things with them but not having painted any of them, I should have spaced them out!)

@CJPT haha no, thank you for the essay, if you haven't noticed from my own posts in this thread I love a good essay on the hobby! Thankfully I had a huge clear out not too many years ago as I moved overseas from my home, there are a few items that I may be able to bring my self to part with, but having been pretty good, the only thing I have brought on impulse the past couple of years was warhammer quest hammerhal, as I Was buying the blight kings anyway and it seemed a better deal to buy the larger box of goodies!
Good call on the sprays. I've often ignored colour sprays as it seems odd to spray a colour that has very little surface by the end, but I never thought of it as being able to skip a step that I hate! I always spray night goblins black, as it seemed to be the right choice but the skin takes me hours where as I end up painting all the robes anyway as I always need to cover the odd mistake, but painting the black robes is quick and easy! Maybe it's time to sort out a green spray! I've not the patience for an airbrush , but could happily buy up plenty more sprays! I do often try to squeeze ten minutes of painting at each end of the day when I'm travelling (I travel about 4 hours everyday during term time) but it gets harder as the year goes on,  due to workload. Thankfully I do get at least one 8 hour session most weeks, but I think I might try break that up a bit more going forward, as much of that time can be wasted taking breaks or getting distracted! Yeah, I dont necessarily need to paint faster, just more efficiently!
 

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Paint drying in the pallette should never happen, and wet pallettes should only really be used if you're mixing colours.

 

Basically this suggests that you're putting too much paint on the pallette at once. Mix should be, two brushloads from pot, to 1 of water. Use that up before you get any more. Make sure you rinse your brush out between refills from the pot

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As others mentioned, the "mass paint" technique is a good way to make a large number of models "tabletop quality". Army Painter for example heavily advertises it and even GW for their paint guides mention the spray one color then basecoat+wash trick.

Though I have heard it takes a leap of faith to do it, I heard one blog basically say something like "I hated how the models looked in each stage, until the very end when it suddenly clicked". Some examples of the steps below.

bundledeal-technique-3-480px.jpg

2AIvITpVQdaX._UX970_TTW__.jpg

 

 

Though one big thing to make sure you do well is the Spray and Anti Shine Spray part. You really need to practice to find the sweet spot of distance between the sprays and the models. Too far and the paint spray gets grainy, too close and the paint spray becomes too thick, obscuring details. Have some sacrificial models or some paint strippers just in case!

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14 hours ago, Lucio said:

Paint drying in the pallette should never happen, and wet pallettes should only really be used if you're mixing colours.

Basically this suggests that you're putting too much paint on the pallette at once. Mix should be, two brushloads from pot, to 1 of water. Use that up before you get any more. Make sure you rinse your brush out between refills from the pot

Sorry, going to have to disagree with this - your palette choice is largely down to personal preference.  Some people use a wet palette for everything and others don't even have one.  This applies to all levels of painter too - even the 'Eavy Metal team varies between painters.

How much you water your paint down also depends on the paint brand, colour and what you're using it for.  A base coat just needs enough water to make it flow better whereas painting highlights are going to need it watered down a lot more.

@RexHavoc I think you've had quite a few really good suggestions.  I was in a very similar situation a few years ago before AoS launched, so when I decided to paint up a Bloodbound army, I knew I had to approach it in a different manner.  The "tricks" I used were really simple. 

  1. Firstly only have the unit you're painting out - pop the rest under a towel, in a cupboard or otherwise out of sight
  2. Scour painting guides on YouTube to remove the thought out of painting - I was lucky in that WHTV had released a really good set of painting videos by Duncan.  This meant that I could be really formulaic about what I was doing *
  3. Finally push yourself to finish one "step" on your batch of models.  Lets say your current step is to paint the tails on a batch of 10 Skaven and you need to stop painting to go to bed.  Work out if you can finish that step for all 10 models, or if you need to clean your brushes and stop for the evening

By doing this I was able to go from perhaps 10 models every 8 to 12 months, to painting a 1000 point army in under 3...  It also changed how I approach painting too and sped me up - I faff a lot less than I used to.

With regards to your paint drying out, it sounds like you're not topping up the water on your wet palette?  Ideally the foam/tissue should be "sat" in water, with only the top layer and paper out.

* Write down the steps too rather than relying on the video

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On 1/2/2019 at 12:33 AM, Overread said:

A few thoughts that can help:

1) I started this https://www.tga.community/blogs/blog/337-the-great-box-count-of-2019/ its a basic system focused on me building stuff rather than painting, but the principle remains the same. Aim to not buy/build until you've painted a certain value and keep track of the value through the year with an overall objective to have painted more in a years time than you have bought/built in that time. It's a means to tracking your progress and also helps you retain focus whilst not actually stopping you from making purchases and building new stuff (going cold turkey can be hard esp with limited production windows and discounts which can appear).

2) Organise your painting on multiple levels:

a) Clear your painting desk of distractions and generally organise and tidy it up. This creates a neat and easy to work in space where you know where things are and the clutter is gone. Sometimes visual clutter and loads of half baked projects all jumbled atop and the frustration of having to find where things are can be a casual barrier to progress.  

b) Establish projects, either single models or batches or a mix and set them out along with their paints for their next layer/stage. The idea here is to place a set of models ready to paint, all you need is time to get started. This way you can leave a project out ready to start and it can be a neat way to fill in those smaller gaps of time when you get a few moments to paint a layer on. You'll be amazed how much "time" you can find when this is done and you can fit in a little bit here and there easily. 

c) Try to have medium term goals, these might well define what projects you select but can also help you establish time slots to work in. Say setting aside several hours for some concentrated painting of a batch. Here the organising is about time management. By setting aside a dedicated slot you give yourself a good chunk of constant time to work and progress.

3) Display your progress as best you can. A cabinate or display stand can be ideal. This is about rewarding yourself and also keeping track. Early on it might not seem much; but each model that gets finished and put on display can encourage you to add to the quota. Plus as time passes the amount you have on display grows - before long you can have quite the display and that can be very encouraging to see real progress. 

4) Make sure you've got music/DVDs/whatever to hand as your background entertainment as you work. Of course if you paint in silence and are happy with that then this is dead easy; other times its just like the above stages; about having things on hand and ready to get started with quickly so that you can seize the moment when it comes and not faff around finding the music tracks or dvd . 
eg myself I've been binge watching Buffy/Angel on Amazon prime whilst assembling. 

 

In general its a balancing act. You want to motivate yourself and put some pressure in place to complete things. But also use tools and methods to facilitate easy progress. However this is a hobby not a job and the journey is a huge part of things; so you want to make sure that what you set in place is to boost your chances and act in a positive way; rather than to punish, force and act harsh and create a negative association. 

You WANT to paint and whilst you might push and force yourself here and there to sit down and get on with it; you dont' want the whole process to be a chore that loses the fun. With that in mind respect yourself when you're just burned out and do take breaks

 

This.

I only started to paint 3 years ago, started with a 200+ backlog in 2018 and finished the year with the same number BUT including 130 new minis. I succeeded in mitigating the new entries by listing my entire backlog and keeping track of my advancement each month. It helped me a lot.

For 2019, I've planned to at least plan 80% of the first 4 month, it will help me focus and finish projects that should be already finished.

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Turn on Bob Ross and just let him talk you through the painting. I absolutely love this and it has helped me hammer out a 2k army in about a week recently. Not to any level of real detail mind you but table top quality.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 1/2/2019 at 4:54 PM, Lucio said:

Paint drying in the pallette should never happen, and wet pallettes should only really be used if you're mixing colours. 

 

Basically this suggests that you're putting too much paint on the pallette at once. Mix should be, two brushloads from pot, to 1 of water. Use that up before you get any more. Make sure you rinse your brush out between refills from the pot

I don't really agree (though I'm no expert, as always I'm sure YMMV from each person). I've only started using a wet palette a couple of months ago and even for blocking in colours, it's been a god send. I have started mixing colours with it now (I've done very little mixing before, as I could never get the hang of matching colours by eye) but it's defiantly been helpful in getting paint to the the right consistency,  more so with Vallejo (which I find to twice as thick as GW paints) but even with citadel colours. I still use a dry palette for a lot of things but using the wet palette has helped increase my painting speed ten fold. I couldn't hoped to have painted my goblins skins the way I do in less than a couple of hours using a dry palette, the paint I use is super thick and dries insanely fast. I used to have to do it in about three stages, as it would dry before finishing a layer, working with it from the wet has dropped it down to being able to block the colours in minutes, rather than hours.

 

@kenshin620 haha that army painter guide does remind me of that silly picture of how to draw an owl, where it is all shapes for the first couple of steps and the end result is a perfectly shaded drawing! I've always been put off by their dip/quick wash method as I've seen some really horrid examples when it first started showing up online! I should probably give the block in all main colours a go though, I do have a habit of painting every 'part' of a mini on its own, which does slow down painting considerably , especially when I have to go back over with the same colours multiple times! I will have to try varnish sprays, I still varnish everything by hand, which is slow but never had an issue that seems to come up with sprays!

@RuneBrush thanks for the advice, Most of my shame is now all tucked away, though I have left a couple of really, really, really old goblin models out, naked in their lead, as they require a little more attention than the rest of my models and I've left them there as encouragement to clear a schedule to work on them! Everything else is away out of sight.
Good call on writing the stuff from the videos down. I was working on some chaos models last year which I had to stop and now I'd like to finish off the unit that's on the desk, even though I have the video saved, there are a few bits I changed to make the scheme work and it's a headache trying to remember what I colours I changed, when really I'd liked to have knocked them out in a hour to finish the last bits off and have them done and finished. 

As to my wet palette drying out, I've been experimenting with different household items. When I first made mine, I followed a video and used kitchen towel which turned out rubbish. I tried a couple of other things (sponges and the like) we had about the house, and ended up settling on toilet roll, as it seemed to work the best. However, it dries out so quickly and also leaves little fibres in the paint. So I went back to trying new things, and ended up  finding a bag of J-cloths, which turned out superb. Not only has it kept the water in all weekend, it goes completely flat, which is something I couldn't get with the tissues! So maybe that was my issue!

If I could get to 10 models every three months, even that would be a vast improvement! 😀

@pseudonyme Advice from across the board does seem to indicate I need to start recording my minis input/output! My last exam of the year (well last year, but it's carried over to the holidays) is tomorrow and after that I have some free time on my hands, I'm going to have to knock myself up a input/output spread sheet!

@Bryan I Guess What a wonderful idea, I hadn't ever thought of that! I've watched through so much on youtube for AoS painting that I had turned to foreign language videos to be able to watch more AoS videos and was fast running out of things to watch while painting! I will defiantly have to find some copies of his show, been a long time since I've seen his show but I enjoyed it when it was first on, what a great thing to rewatch when painting now!

Edited by RexHavoc
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I took a similar approach to my pile of shame to the method I used to lose weight - If you don't fix what you're putting in, what you're putting out isn't going to make a dent.  I used to work out every day, but I wasn't losing weight because my diet was trash. In much the same way, even if you manage to crack out 500pts a month or whatever your target is, your pile is still going to grow unless you cut back on purchases. Following the method below has helped me clear over a thousand models net in the last two years. Try the following rules:

  • Ask yourself two questions - 1. Will I have time to paint this in the next couple of weeks with everything else I have to do? 2.Will do me any harm to buy that shiny new kit later rather than now? If the answer to either is no, do not buy it. 
  • If you can't go cold turkey, set yourself a threshold in terms of minis or points to finish before you buy anything new. I operated a '3 out, 1 in' policy last year that I stuck to, and this year I'm upping it to 5 out, 1 in. You can use either points or minis, but I tend to focus too much on the characters and monsters at the expense of troops, so Gimli's Law applies - Grot or Lord of Change, it still only counts as one! This is great to motivate you to finish projects ahead of big new releases.
  • [Warning - use with caution!] Get a non-hobbyist to hold you to account by always clearing your purchases with them. Explaining just why you need the new mangler squig right now sounds a lot less convincing when you're explaining it to your SO. Bare in mind that once you've let the veil slip on your hobby purchasing and given authority over your budget to the spousal unit, there may be no turning back!
  • Spend that money elsewhere. If you've got a fixed hobby budget (and if you haven't, make one), consider redirecting it slightly. Buying new minis without finishing others means one or the other are wasted money. On the other hand, nice terrain, a display case, better storage or transport for your collection or going to that event you've wanted to for ages are all things that add value to your existing collection. You could even (gasp!) spend it on non-Warhammer stuff. Keep track of what you don't spend and put it towards a holiday, home improvement or shiny gadget you've wanted for a while.

As for the painting a lot of great advice has been given but I'll add my 10c

  • Lower your standards. Not every mini in an army has to be your best work, and not every army has to be your finest either. Painted minis, even with a basic wash and drybrush, look infinitely better than grey plastic. I binged through a load of my old projects this way which I would otherwise never have gotten round to.
  • Build a routine by sticking to something easily achievable. Have a dedicated painting area with everything you need for your current project out (and nothing else) and make sure you sit down to paint each day, even if only for five minutes.  A guy I used to work with gave talks about using exercise to help overcome his PTSD and depression. His minimum each day was to get out of bed, put on his running gear and step out the door. Even on days when the idea of a five mile run seemed insurmountable, this goal was always doable. It kept the routine going and more often than not getting to that point was enough to get him over the inertia and have a proper workout. If nothing else you'll see how much those five minutes add up over a year. 30.5 hours.
  • Measure milestones. If like I did you have a huge collection of half finished projects, I really recommend writing army lists for the stuff you have in increments of 500-1000pts. It made a big difference to me to know that rather than just clearing my backlog, I now had a fully painted 2,000pt Nurgle army.
  • Set goals. I use the increments in my last point as monthly goals. January is Tzeentch month so I want to get my Lord of Change and Acolytes done by the end of the month to round out 4k points. One guy I know did the Space Marine Company challenge - one squad a month, plus a month each for command and vehicles. A common one is finishing an army for a tournament. There's an old Irish proverb about throwing your hat over a wall so that you have no choice but to climb it. Book yourself into an event with that half finished army and make sure you finish it in time.

Good luck!

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Posted (edited)

Okay......................I'll start with a statement.

 

I painted 900 models last year.

 

 

Not an exaggeration either, as I've blogged the progress and photographed it :) 

Did this whilst having wife, kids, full time job and a newborn baby arrive in the middle of the year too.

So, how to break the unpainted pile. There is only one method........................you have to sit down, make the time during the week and get on with it. 20-30 mins a day. Three hour sessions are exhausting and irregular.

Not being pithy, but it really is the only way to do it. Start by painting one model, get used to working quickly and then move up to bigger batches, so you'll be building the skill for painting accurately and quickly as you go. Break models down into units and work on the unit. Units become brigades, brigades become armies.

Be happy with a good quality basic paint job. No need to go flash at this point, just get it painted to a nice tabletop standard. Key to remember - if you want to work up to a higher level of painting, then you can..........but do it later. You can always go back and work up a painted model to a better standard and most of the work is done.

Break the back of the pile and just get it table ready. Painted is better than unpainted. 

Enjoy it! Its a part of the hobby you can do every day and get better at :)

I'm now at the point where if I DON'T paint or work on something 5 out of 7 days, I get funny and feel like I'm missing out. I'm also confident enough now to be able to look at a project and go "yeah, that'll take three weeks" and know exactly that I'll get it done in that time.

Edited by Mosquito onthe TenthFloor
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Posted (edited)

A useful tip I picked up last year was to paint every day, even if it was just for 30 minutes, rather than trying to have marathon painting days / weekends. By being disciplined and building up this habit, you can gradually extend that time (where it's available) without feeling the drain. It's hard at first, but once I cracked it I found that I got less downhearted about the pile of grey and from only making a little progress each day. Carving out the time became easier and easier and with the time came muscle memory, improved brush control and new techniques. 

If you're on Twitter the #hobbystreak (although this once can be annoying when you miss a day and have to start from 1...) and #painthammer2019 are good for mutual motivation and the Painting Contract thread over in the Painting and Modelling forum is also great.

 

Edited by Tzaangor Management
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Wow! 900 models... I thought I was doing well with around 150 or so...

Lots of good suggestions so far. I've used a mix of these at times. I've sold off or given away models that I knew I would never really get around to. I've created detailed lists with goals for the year. I've painted for an hour or two every other/third day to get things done. It works!

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All good advice but alternatively Marie Kondo that ******. Does this 10 yr old Clan Rat model spark joy?

No? In the sea with it.

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