Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Batch Painting or My Inability to Complete Miniatures

To most miniature painters, batch painting is an incredibly efficient method of turning out large numbers of miniatures in minimal time.  A favorite of the wargaming crowd, entire units of spearmen or squads of infantrymen can progress from bare metal to tabletop gaming quality in short order using batch painting methods. Painting all similar items of a similar group of miniatures at once saves vast amounts of time and allows for impressive forces to be fielded with minimal effort.

Being more of a collector (or miniature hoarder rather), batch painting means something entirely different to me.  And my personal definition certainly does not include the words efficient, timely, nor any remotely similar verbiage.  Since I rarely paint more than one type of miniature at a time, batch painting to me simply means painting an unrelated group of miniatures (usually comprised of what can fit on my painting desk) during a common period.  For example, my current "batch" is comprised of a motley assortment of pirates, townsfolk, rangers, wizards, wildings, and Cadians.  The paint scheme of each could not be more different nor the assortment less appropriate for batch painting.  But hey, that's how I roll.

My current "batch".

My method of batch painting is incredibly slow and commonly delays a miniature from moving to a completed state for weeks or months at a time - hardly a model for efficiency.  Quite often I'll pick up a miniature with full intentions of finally finishing off the poor lingering half-completed model only to be sidetracked after completing one small detail.  Usually, the process goes something like this:

  1. Mix a really great shade to highlight an existing basecoat on a model.
  2. Finish said highlight with paint to spare.
  3. Notice that the spare paint would make an interesting basecoat on a different part of a different model.
  4. Paint new model with spare paint or until the paint is no longer spare.
  5. Either the remix paint to complete the unfinished part on the current model or more likely proceed to step 7.
  6. Complete the part on the new model then begin with highlights and decide that the new color would look nice on another miniature .  Repeat process starting with step 2.
  7. Remember that several miniatures needed flesh highlights.  No need to waste paint though.  Before highlighting minis that are ready, why not bring up a few more models and highlight them all at once?
  8. Begin several new miniatures.
  9. Ooooh, pretty color.  I wonder what it would look like on that model?
  10. Wash, rinse, repeat......

Meanwhile, during this viscous cycle, a miniature that is 99% complete lingers in the painting queue, forlorn and forgotten until another mini needing a similar quick step to finish comes due.  As I write this I am turning my head towards my hobby desk and counting no less than three figures that could be completed in less than a half hour's worth of work.  But why do that when I have about twenty-five other miniatures that I could "batch paint"?

Perhaps this is simply another facet of my Hobby A.D.D. or another defect that has not yet been discovered or documented.  Either way, it's no small wonder that I have loads of unpainted miniatures and numerous unfinished projects that are always just on the horizon.

So is this seemingly incurable ailment specific to me or do others suffer from a similar syndrome?  Am I the only painter with a totally incorrect notion of batch painting?  Please do discuss...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

In the meantime.....

Well, May is finally over.  Thank goodness!  It was a tough month for me to say the least.  Business, a busy schedule, and training for a long distance bike race all conspired to keep me away from my miniatures and hobbies for nearly an entire month.  The chaos is beginning to subside however and life is returning to normal. 

With normalcy and free time comes a return to a regular blogging schedule.  In the next few days I'll have another installment of Pirate Profiles and a few new minis to showcase.  And if all goes well, a small sailing dingy will be joining the fleet.

In the meantime........

Having a bit of fun with a flintlock and long camera exposures.