Friday, January 4, 2008

Thoughts on Army Building

Just some thoughts on building my Empire Army. Thankfully for the blog here, I have a good documentation of the process. I can see looking back that I actually didn't dig into this army full time until around the beginning of August 07. I definitely did some building and test painting previous to that, so at this point I've probably put 6 months of work in. Currently I have built and primed 140+ models of which 122 actually have made in the final list, I still have enough stuff built and unbuilt to field another probably 1000 points, so I will have no problem fielding 3K with some options this year.

Currently I have 75 models fully painted and based with the corresponding move trays done. Some units have extra trays for different formations. All my units are magnet based and my cavarly and riders are magnetized which is a real time saver if I want change some mounted units up. I have 47 models to paint and 13 weeks to go until Adepticon so I am not too worried about getting it done. I have to build a display base which should take me a day or two. I have an old picture frame that will look very nice and given the amount of models going on display not much is going to fit on it other than some textured terrain and some trees.

This is the point where I scare people off from the hobby when I talk about how long things take (If you're reading this and have any interest you already know how long things take)
I consider myself an average hobbyist. I have been painting miniatures on and off since I played D&D in high school 20+ years ago. I still consider myself a slow painter even thou I didnt get back into the hobby for real until about 4 years ago, when I took up painting Reaper Miniatures as way to burn off steam ( I find painting relaxing) It wasn't until I got into Warhammer 40K and WFB about a year and half ago that I felt my skills have really progressed. The reason for the progression is obvious, I spend roughly 10-15 hours a week working on things about 85-90% of that time has been this Empire Army, while 15% being other things, building Terrain, working with Foamcore, or other miniature models, I average playing about 2-3 games a month, but not all of my game time comes out of my hobby time, some definitely does thou. Spend that amount of time on anything You'll get better at it. I probably spent 20 hours a week playing the Guitar in High School and College and I got professionally good at that. Point being is you have to put the time in to get results.

One piece of advice that I got early on in this hobby has become my basic discipline and that's "try to do at least one thing every day, no matter what". I've found sometimes doing one thing can lead to a major break through skill wise which can really help you set or even increase the pace on the rest of your project. The other piece of sage advice from longtime GW hobbyists is. "Don't buy more than you can build". Well if you're addicted to this plastic crack like I am, you know how long that idea lasts. good advice, but not really practical if you got money in your pocket and the bills are paid.

I read about some guy on Warseer the other day who claims to have painted 80 models in two days!, I find myself asking why?. They don't look good, while they aren't horrible, its seems like a waste of several hundred dollars in models to paint them half assed in two days, just to say they are done. While 10-15 hours a week probably seems like ALOT of time to some of you, (And I am sure some on of higher skill level than I can do the same in half the time) for me it works. I don't sleep a ton so between 10pm when my daughter goes to bed up to 2am (when I do , if not before ) is golden time for me where I can do what I want. I'm not saying take on more than you can handle but set a pace that works for you and stick with it. If you do, you will find things become so much more satisfying because even when the games or ruleset gets you down (like the current post-apocalypse, pre-5th ed blues going on with many 40K players)
You can always take comfort and satisfaction in your collection of awesome models that you would never dream of putting up on eBay just so some bonehead can throw them in simple green and re-paint them all in two days.

Once Adepticon hits, I'll probably step it down a bit and a get few other things accomplished. I have some actual furniture for my house I want to build and I have alot of terrain and other models I want to play around with and I'm sure I am going to start buying Vampire Counts when they come out this spring. Thankfully now I know that I can put a tourney ready army on the table from scratch in 8 months and that feels pretty damn good.


xenite said...

"Point being is you have to put the time in to get results"

So true.

Great post John, quite inspiring. I am hoping to get my skeleton army of doom done before A-Con so I can get in on the WFB tourney there. Perhaps I'll have enough done in several+ weeks that we can get some games in!

CresceNet said...
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Rich said...

I think I'm at 9 armies for more than 1000+ figures painted over my hobby career. The last time I had to finish an army in a hurry, it took 6 weeks to paint up a 100+ figure beastman army. Practice might not make perfect - but it does make things a whole lot easier.

Scott said...

Somehow I missed this post when it first went up. Very cool. You've definately gotten a lot done this last year.

I used to have that mentality of trying to do something everyday, but it's so damn hard. I'm happy to have one night a week at this point.

Still, either way you go,I think the point is that consitancy is the key.


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