Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And We're Back - Deep Thoughts About Time Investment

Whew. Been out for a while. The flu is fun. Ran a fever for 4 days and had a weeks worth of general malaise after that. Shaky hands prevented me from getting too much painting done and I ended up having to welsh on a painting challenge some buds and I entered into. Blech.

Work proceeded to get bananas right after that.

But you guys don't come here to read about the flu and updates are always a plus.

I have a follow up on painting tanks, but my pics are unavailable right now, so I'll move onto some deep/depp thoughts that occurred to me over the last three weeks. There's almost a theme.

Paint Because You Enjoy It
Painting is a hobby. Hobbies are recreational activities. This indicates that there is some level of enjoyment that you get out of it.

If you aren't enjoyment out of a hobby, why the hell do it?

Mini (many - HA!) painters run into this all the time. Painting you little manz can get downright tedious at times. If this happens, its time to do something different. This can be anything from painting something different than your regular fair to just taking a break from painting for a period of time.

This happens to me all the time. Painting an army can get tedious - especially if you have the same kind of crazy, exacting standards that I do. Painting a ton of the same guy over and over again can break a man. Overly complicated projects can also do this.

In the past I had tried to just push past a lack of enjoyment. That leads to burnout. Which is worse.

So, if you feel like a painting project is starting to feel more like a job and less like a hobby. Stop. Take a breather. Drop what you're working on if need be. Maybe paint something unrelated to what you were working on. Take a break for a day or two. Whatever you gottta do.

Once your hobby loses its enjoyment factor, its likely you'll just stop doing it all together.

Diminishing Returns
I mentioned overcomplicated projects up there. They have a tendency to eat up your time, and can quickly kill your fun if things keep going wrong. Often times for little added value depending on your situation.

What I mean by overcomplicated is actually contextual. The guy aiming to win a slayer sword is going to have a much higher tolerance (even a demand) for a complicated process - detailed conversions, hybrid painting, scratch building, etc are all things that turn a regular miniature into a job interview for the 'eavy metal team. The same time and care that Bob pro-painter puts into his latest masterpiece may not be appropriate to the needs and time constraints of Spike Tourney gamer. Painting each one of his models to an award winning standard may actually be counterproductive to the his goal of gaming at an upcoming con. Working on master level stuff can very easily lead to 400 man hours of wok.

Scale your painting intensity to the situation at hand. While the extremely detailed and hard to do paint job can be amazing, is it worth your time to pursue it? What if it prevented you from finishing an army for a tournament? When it comes down to contesting an objective in the 5th turn of a hard fought, 3rd round game, does the vine design lovingly painted on your wave serpent help and do you care if it doesn't?

Here's my real life example (if you didn't see it coming):

While I was painting my (as of yet incomplete) Inquisitorial Rhino, I wanted to do something really cool with the color scheme. The Grey Knights vehicle schemes are pretty cool and the bare metal colors would tie in nicely with my Iron Warriors. I wanted to do the kind of gear toothed black lines surrounding a white band on the model.

When it came time to mask off the lines, I had a revelation.

Previously, I had been working on a Thunderbolt for some time and ended up shelving it due to frustration with the whole project. Largely because it was overly complicated (in hindsight).

In this instance, it was totally not worth it to spend the time making custom masks for the pattern (with regards to the features on the model's surfaces) and then constantly having to touch the design up as the model progressed (paint removal is a problem with masking that I have yet to completely conquer). By my estimations at the time, hours would be added to the project - also a lot of frustration. The fiddling around with all of the things I would need to fiddle around with was kind of daunting. All of which could be avoided by scaling things back a bit and going with just a simple line. Much easier to do, and pretty much the same effect.

Do I want the the original pattern I had envisioned? Yes. But I also want to game at some point and adding the time just didn't jive with my needs. If I had been painting this thing for a painting comp, then hell yeah I would have gone all the way. But I wasn't, and even though my standards for the Iron Warriors are high, there IS a limit.

New Direction
All of the above have contributed to a conclusion I came to while sick.

The considerations:

40k is fun to play.
I need practice to get good at it.
I do not have a full army.
The Iron Warriors are taking too long.
I will not compromise the standards of Project Iron Warriors.

The result:

Time to start a new army to be painted in a much more quick and dirty style. No fancy weathering, no insane detail level, no complicated/time consuming painting techniques. A simple style with simple colors. I can get on with the business if playing and then work on my 'masterpieces' concurrently.

More on this last thing later and maybe some thoughts on painting ADD.

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