Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Dice Thrower In All of Us #2- When Painting Gets You Down

Everyone has been there. The models are assembled, the army list is complete, and the super glue has dried to your finger tips. Now the time comes to add some "color" to those models, making them into living, breathing things rather than hunks of molded plastic. BUT, instead of rejoicing with excitement, you try to think about something else you could be doing besides painting. While painting models is quite a fun venture, there is a point that most of us get to when we wonder why all 300 of our guardsmen need to have an insignia on their shoulder, or a painted face with eyes. When you look at those models and sigh in discomfort at the thought of painting so many little things with even smaller detail, you know the "dice thrower" is preparing to strike again.

I, like many of us have been in this very same state of mind. After painting 93% of my Grey Knights army a couple of years ago, I loved painting. I loved adding detail and life to those proud warriors, but it wasnt until I started my Imperial Guard army that I began to despise all of those little paint pots. Painting a small, elite army is one thing, but painting a massive force such as an IG behemoth can make anyone's morale tests suffer greatly. The only thing that kept me from clearing off the painting table with one freakish swing with my arm before diving over the table in extreme horror at the thought of painting more guardsmen, was the idea that this is a hobby and supposed to be.....FUN! I immediatley learned the secret to keeping the hobby fun was to catch myself before I became frought with intense hatred of painting. We must learn to stop ourselves right before we start thinking of our hobby progress as "work". Once you think of painting as "work," the dice thrower has just passed his reserve roll and is ready to come onto the board unsuspectingly.

Of course, dont ever force yourself or anyone else to paint. I have many friends who have wonderful models, well written lists, and great tactics to match. We never penalize each other for not having our models fully painted. After all, its about the story the game creates, and not how green the Salamanders look in their brand new rhinos or how shiny Draigo's new coat of mithril silver looks in the afternoon basement light. I dont condone players that "push"others to paint. Its like being pushed to jump into the deep end of the pool before your ready. The dice thrower can sometimes be brough out by such peer pressure, and as a gaming group (if your a part of one) you must remember that not everyone may find the same excitement in painting or modeling, so dont expect the same level of painting (or painting at all) from every member in your group. A fun way to get around this peer pressure is to devote a Saturday night to painting instead of gaming. Everyone in the gaming group gets together and helps one another paint while eating pizza and drinking beer (or whatever you guys eat and drink when hanging out). It is sometimes easier to do your painting when you have the group helping you, and you will also find that more things get painted faster, especially since more people are going to naturally paint more models. Of course, you must have faith in the painting abilities of your fellow group members, and try not to critique everyone elses finished products. Just like any good horde army has tought us, more objectives and goals can be obtained by sheer numbers than almost anything else!

This hobby, and all of its components should never be considered as work. If it becomes work, it ceases to be a fun thing to pass the time, and turns into that one thing that we all have so much to do. Work is what we are trying to escape from, and is the reason why we are trying to relax. The last thing you want to do is try to relax and end up working instead of hobbying. Although it is nice to have a fully painted army that looks amazing on the battlefield, we must learn to paint only until we start getting bored, or we start seeing it as a chore that MUST be done. When this thought comes to mind, the best thing to do is to set the brush down and walk away. Write another list, build more models, read a Black Library book, or even play a game. Do whatever you can to build up your inspiration to continue to paint, but dont force yourself. The main thing to remember is that this hobby is not a job, and the moment it stops being fun, it loses its whole purpose. Remember, just set the dice down (or in this case, the brush) and walk away!


  1. Last year I was running a blog, modelling and gaming. Hobby life was great. However once I added the pressure of painting my models I quickly spiralled into a world of hate. I stopped blogging, modelling and of course painting for 8 months. During that time though I did read some Black Library books, and gamed twice a month. Slowly but surely the urge to paint came back. Once that started my blogging took off again and more gaming followed suit. I am now back in the full swing of things.

  2. As a player with a large guard army and a growing blood angels list I like to start by painting the Sergeants, heros, maybe the heavy weapons guys and priests first. That allows key models to be visible amongst the grunts. Stops dissatisfaction at the hidden jump chaplain no one could see or confusions with all my sergeants in one squad. Ill play games then until I feel a unit "deserves" to be painted. IG squad beat down the Deamon prince in CC!?! Time to paint that worthy squad. It allows my Army to look aged as well with old veterans having some wear and tear and my new shining stars having the best an brightest paint job. Sometimes a little game world motivation is needed for me.