Painting an Army

PaintingPainting. There’s nothing quite like seeing two fully painted armies face off in a game, especially if there’s some nice scenery. The combination of painted armies and a nice looking table really adds a layer of fun for me, it’s almost real. No longer are we pushing around plastic and metal models and rolling dice, we’re two generals facing off on the field of battle. Then there’s the armies that never see a paint brush that ruin it all.

Down at the shop almost everyone has a fully, or mostly, painted army. My Marines are one of the few armies that’s not fully painted, they’re getting there though. I can’t complain about the armies I see at the shop but judging by a lot of what I read it seems Crossroads is an exception to the rule. I know I read a lot of players who just don’t bother to paint their army. They’re so caught up in collecting that time is never set aside to put brush to model. There are others who claim to be too busy to paint, I can see this, but a lot of the people I see claiming this are also people who’ll spend a ton of time modeling and converting or the type of people who’ll spend all day on a 40K forum posting that they’re too busy to paint. Matter of priorities I guess.

It’s easy to get caught up in one facet of the hobby, we all have our favorite parts, but painting your models is that final step, it says you’ve completed something from start to finish. There’s a certain pride you get when you field an army that’s all painted. The paint job doesn’t even have to be amazing, just the fact you put the effort and time into something and finished it is all it takes to get that feeling. So how do you find the time to accomplish this, or the motivation?

The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone who wants to have a fully painted army is this. Just work on it when you can, no matter how little that may be. I leave my painting stuff setup, easy to do without kids, and when I get five minutes then I sit down and paint. I may manage an hour here and there, but mostly it’s just smaller sessions of 5-15 minutes. I may only get the shirt painted one day, but the next day it’s the pants, then the straps, etc. It all adds up and eventually you have a completed figure. If you wait until you have free day to paint, or a few spare hours, then you’ll never get very far…well, unless that’s a frequent occurrence.

The motivation may be harder to come by for some though. I’m honestly not the biggest fan of painting, I far prefer modeling, converting and sculpting. However, for me it’s just that look of a completed model that keeps me going, then it’s the completed unit, finally the completed army. Look at it in stages not as a huge overwhelming task. It’s easy to get used to the plastic gray look and feel that’s good enough for you but once you get one model done you’ll find the desire to keep going…hopefully. Also, don’t stop once you start. For me painting is like working out at the gym. You feel great while you do it and you feel you’re making progress and seeing results but once you stop you find it hard to get back there again, it’s easy to keep putting off and the excuses pile up. Keep at it, even if it’s slow going. The more you keep at it the more momentum you build and the better you get and eventually you’ll paint faster. Painting faster is key if it’s not your favorite thing, at least you’re getting something accomplished and not spending a huge amount of time on it.

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In the end everyone is different though. I can’t say what motivates everyone and give you a definitive means of finding that motivation but I feel confident in saying that once you get going and have results that the pride will drive you further.

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