Hi, readers! This is the first of what will be many guest posts here on plarzoid.com! Mugu, is a good friend (despite being a dirty Cryx player), and is currently taking part in our Slow-Grow League, painting some of his filthy undead minions. Enjoy! – Plarzoid
Hello all you crazy gamer fiends out there! This will be my first post of hopefully many here on Plarzoid’s website. When I was approached (at spork-point no less!) by my good friend to add some content to his site, my mind immediately melted. After cleaning up the remains and pouring them back into my head, I thought I’d start off with a subject that I’ve seen come up time and again regarding getting miniatures painted up and put on the tabletop:
Finding or making time to paint.
I’m currently in the last few weeks of our slow-grow league and to me a large part of a slow-grow league is that it’s an ideal opportunity to make time to sit down and paint your miniatures a little at a time, and end up with a 35 point Warmachine/Hordes army. Perfect, right?!
Well, it would appear not to be the case for a few of our players. I’ve asked a few of them why they don’t at least make the attempt to get their armies painted and the reasons ::coughexcusescough:; roll in – No time, no place, no experience, too much of a perfectionist, too intimidating, no money to buy paints and brushes (okay, that one any gamer can understand), my models don’t look as good as so-and-so’s models, and so on.
While I won’t address some of those here, I do want to cover the two I hear most often – No time to paint and no place to paint. Never enough, right? Finding or making time to paint is…well, hard! Yes, I know, trust me. And here I bet you thought I was going to beat you all with an old brush and berate you for not making time to paint – family, girlfriend, kids, pets, friends, work, and homework be damned! No, I really do get that making time to paint is hard to do. Like a lot of fellow gamers and painters that I know (or read about online), they like to have at least an hour to paint. Why an hour? Well, to set up their painting area – paints, miniature(s), water well, palette, light(s), and whatnot (I like to have a drink at hand), then paint, and then clean up and put everything away. That, of course, is assuming you don’t need to clean, pin, or assemble anything, which eats away more of our precious available painting time.
One way that I’ve found to increase the odds of getting our little metal undead minions (did I not mention that I’m a Cryx player?) painted and on the table (I know it’s a personal preference, but I don’t usually field models that are unpainted) is to try to make a permanent painting area or have a quick setup. All that time spent on set-up and clean-up eats up valuable time you should be spending painting! Ideally, in your house, apartment, or room, you can make a small area that you can leave your paints, miniatures in progress, brushes, any other tools you like to use, and a container of clean water permanently that won’t be messed with by kids, cats (amazingly my cats became quickly disinterested in anything on my painting area when covered by an old towel or piece of cloth), and wayward nerf gun bullets, and you can also add carpeting to this area, so it will look better and it won’t mess up your floors if you drop a little paint, using the home décor from the Magnolia line I could find the perfect carpets for this. Someplace that you can quickly sit down when you have a small amount of free time to paint. I’m currently lucky enough to have such an area in my house, though this wasn’t always the case (especially when we lived in an apartment up until a few months ago).
A quick note on what I mean by a “small” amount of free time, I really do mean like 10 to 20 minutes or less. In that time I can paint a wash on several minis, do some basecoating, maybe paint a few details here and there. Nothing big and meaningful, but trust me those little 10 minute sessions really do add up and help you in the long run. This in turn allows me to focus on things that take longer (like highlighting and shading or detail-work) when I do get longer amounts of time to paint.
While I realize not everyone has the option of having a permanent place to set up a painting area (trust me, in my old apartment, I certainly did not), but if you have a plastic storage cart, tackle box, old TV dinner stand/tray, a large unwanted flat baking pan/tray, or box or something that you can set up quickly and put away again just as quickly is the key here. The idea is the same as with the permanent painting area- set your stuff up quickly and get 10-20 minutes of painting in. Note also that none of these things are terribly expensive even if newly purchased. The plastic cart below is only $15.00 at Office Depot online and will allow you to store paints, brushes, and whatnot and still roll it into a closet or out of the way area when in use but quickly pull out and set up when you want.
I used to have most of my paints in a tackle box and my in-progress miniatures on an old metal side of a computer case (both of which I still somewhat use). For years I’ve had most of my paints in a tacklebox, though some stores – DickBlick online comes to mind, sell them as hobby boxes, they’re mostly the exact same thing and often more expensive (my current tacklebox was about a $20 less than the exact same one sold at Dick Blick online as an art storage box). Tackleboxes come in all sizes, but the ones I use (I’ve only had two and my first one lasted over 20 years) have the trays that fold out to one or both sides. This allows me to see most of my paints all at one time. The one pictured to the left is $17 on Amazon.com and is pretty close to what I have now.
With this old set-up I was able to pull out my tackle box of paints, my water tub of clean water, and my miniatures off the top shelf of my bookshelf (it helps that I’m tall) and be set up and painting in less than three minutes and clean up was just as fast. It had the added benefit of making my long suffering wife happy as there was no embarrassing (to her) toy soldiers or paints littering the dining table. It made me happy because I could get in the odd 15 minutes of painting before bed or while she was in the shower (hey, take your time where you can get it!) or otherwise occupied.
Which is almost ideal as it has a fold out table that you could paint on. But I’m like most gamers who would rather spend our hard earned dollars on more miniatures, paints, or other goodies. I mainly wanted to show you the above to give you all an idea of what is out there. The good part of getting a wooden cart though is that you can permanently mount a light on it and hide the cord inside a drawer when not in use (I have a friend who did that).
So, in the end, the idea is to enable you to make more time to get paint on your miniatures, even 10-20 minutes a day will add up and help get your army painted!
My question to you, dear readers, is what kind of set-ups do you have or how do you get time in to paint?