Burned out!

Hello all,

After burning myself out a bit preparing for the April Assault, I decided to take a week off painting.  That week turned to two.  Then I hurt my shoulder and used that as an excuse to put it off another week.  Then I just got lazy.  Now it’s been a month and I still haven’t done any painting.   So what the hell have I been doing? 

The weekends have been quite busy with family stuff, yard work, and helping the local theater group with some set construction.  I’ve played a few games of 40k.  I’ve done a little updating to some of my terrain pieces.  I still have plenty of modeling/painting ideas that I want to get to but every time I have the opportunity my brain fogs up and I find myself playing video games instead.  I’m just a little blocked right now.

I usually enjoy painting but there are times when it can become tedious for me.  Sometimes this is caused by needing to get a certain unit painted when I want to be working on another.  I’m frequently distracted by bright shiny things.  If I’m half way through one model when a new idea strikes me I start wanting to work on that new idea.  This often leaves me with a lot of partially finished models and is the reason I’ve so rarely been able to put a fully painted army on the table.  Another pitfall I fall into often is working on cool models that don’t see the table very much.  I’ll have a bunch of HQ and Elite models painted while my core troops are primer grey.  Then I’m fielding a shoddy looking army while a bunch of well painted models sit at home.   I work best when I can stick to a single model/unit at a time but having a half-finished army just makes it so much harder to stay focused on that one.

Another issue I’m having is that I’m teaching a new player by letting him play with my models.  He’s taken a shining to the Eldar which keeps putting my mind back on my Eldar.  I’m quite happy with my Reavers (Space Wolves) army on the table and I still have plenty of projects I want to finish for those but lately I have Eldar lists bouncing around my head.  It doesn’t help that I make him proxy similarly sized Ork models for Eldar models that I have sitting unassembled in my basement.  It’s like a silent accusation of neglect.   I used the army a lot in second edition, then a fair amount in fourth.  In fifth edition the lists I had been using just weren’t as good anymore.  I’ve managed to plug enough of the holes in my collection that I believe I can field a decent list with them now, but I have been much more focused on my orks and marines over the past two years so none of those new models are painted and many are still unassembled.  Many of the ones that are painted need to be repainted because they were done so long ago, and some of them need to be remodeled.  My Avatar and Wraithlord are still on the square bases they came with!  The only Eldar models in my collection that I’m completely happy with are the Swooping Hawks.  In short, there is a lot of work to be done to resurrect that army and with sixth edition looming now just doesn’t seem like the right time.

So what am I going to do about all this?  I guess I’ll suck it up and soldier on.  When a hobby becomes a chore it’s time to take a break.  There’s no real point to a hobby that you don’t enjoy.  But there’s also a line between taking a break and getting lazy.  I’ve had enough time off; once I get back into it I’ll pick up momentum and enthusiasm like I always do.  I have a lot of elements in my Reavers army that are on the verge of being finished.  Models at the stage where an evening of painting takes them from being ok tabletop to something I can be proud of.  It’s one of my favorite stages of painting so once I knock a few out I’ll be eager to do more.  After a few more weeks of painting I should have a solid 1500-1850 force with a paint job that I’m happy with.  With that core to work from I should be able to focus on one unit at a time without feeling guilty about the rest of the army.  I want to add some Thunder Wolf Cavalry next; they’ve been sitting in limbo long enough.  Then I’ll work on my Land Raider or some terrain.  I’ll put off the lure of the Eldar until I’ve digested enough of sixth edition to know what to focus on.

Well, that’s enough rambling for now.  I just wanted to get some of that off my chest.  And as I mentioned earlier in the post, I’ve managed to get jack done in the last few weeks so I had to post something!  My goal is to have some nice model pics to post for you next week.  Till then!


I've been playing Warhammer 40k since 1991. You'd think I would have learned something by now!

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  • therhino

    I run into this a lot, and my new solution is to take smaller bites. My Ultramarine Honour Guard project was supposed to be fun, but it’s ground into a chore. My problem was that I started with too much ambition, thinking I could build and paint ten models in a row. The first few were a blast, but the last several have been like pulling teeth.
    In hindsight, I should have just started with a 4 or 5-man project instead of 10. I’m finishing the full 10 before I move on still, but am doing so now by pure force of will and mule-headed stubbornness. My plan after that is to work on a couple Scouts. I’m going for the absolute minimum squad size of five, so that if I get sick of paitning them after the minimum squad is done, I can move on without feeling that the unit is incomplete. It’s fieldable, and that will be what matters.
    I’m not sure how to cope with the sea of assembled-but-unpainted models you describe. I only assemble a model if I have plans to paint it in the near future. I’m a snob when it comes to fielding unpainted armies though. I’ll field a painted force that’s awful on the table over a top-notch force that’s not fully painted.
    I’d recommend just taking a minimum-sized unit of your preassembled models, completing the 5 or 10 models, and reassessing your desires after each set.

    • I fully agree with taking smaller bites. My goal has been to get to a fully painted force so that I could focus on only adding one unit at a time. I’m a bit of freehand work away from that goal. With that done I can add to it in pieces as you describe.
      As for the Eldar resurrection, that may be difficult. For that I think I’m going to have to set a solid plan and stick to it until the core if finished. I do have a lot of the models painted, just not as well as I’d like them, so I can focus on the unpainted models first then start working on the rework.

  • It can be hard to keep focused or stay motivated with such a circular hobby. Unless you’re the type to create one list and collect only those models then it’s just an endless pursuit which can definitely drain motivation.

    I just try and mix it up. The past 2-weeks I’ve been working on my Daemon Prince and this weekend I took a break and started putting together a Sorcerer. Once he’s all assembled I’ll bounce back to the Prince.

    • I like how your advice is almost opposite of therhino. Where he says pick small goals and focus through completion to avoid backlog you advocate bouncing from project to project to stay motivated. It’s an interesting example of different personalities!

      • True enough.

        For the record, when I bounce around I do bounce to other things that need to be completed, such as my current derailment to the Sorcerer. I also try and keep my side-project to something I know I can knock out quickly and won’t keep me off my primary task for long; just long enough to not get burnt out on the primary.

  • bkbutlerme

    As for me, I go on benders. Collect…glue….prime…wait for it….BENDER! And the next thing you know 5 vehicles and 50 troop models are table ready…And then I go complacent for a few days or months or whatever till the next….BENDER!!!!

  • khorneinquisitor

    I normally will get out stuff that has to get done, look at it, and decide what I want to work on. Unlike shiny, I don’t really set goals when working, I simply paint until I feel like stopping. Hence why he has more models painted to 100% completion, but nonetheless, I like my way. :D However, I do bounce like Thor in the sense that I bounce between units that need work already and stick to those models.

  • @khorneinquisitor and Thor – I usually have a couple of units that need to get done and I’ll bounce a bit between them but if they’re not the units I really feel like working on I’m prone to distraction. When it’s a model like Raemos(Bjorn) or my Wolf Lord I can stay focused pretty well unless I start stressing about all those unpainted Grey Hunters. I do find it helps a bit to bounce between a boring troop unit and a more interesting character. I’ve also put a lot of effort into reducing the level of detail I want to to put into the rank and file. It’s better to get them done well enough and free up time to focus on a character model.
    @bkbutlerme – I sometimes do that before an event as well, but I find it often puts me into burnout mode after the event. I’ve finally got my marine army to the point where I shouldn’t need to do that again. A push to complete a unit isn’t so bad but churning through a sea of practically identical models gets tedious for me.

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