Hobby Projects

With so many projects in my and my gaming buddies plans i thought it may be helpfull to write few words on how to get things done in our hobby world.

Hobby projects have many similiarities to any other projects be that work or personal plans. However they also can easily grow too big to handle. You start by geting hyped about some game or army or painting idea but at some time you get excited about some other new units, another army or something else which makes you jump into it without finishing what you started. I think we all been there. I want to share my approach to geting as much as i can out of the hobby without leaving unfinished business behind.

On Hoarding

I know its easy to get into this state when you get excited about all new stuff you want to have and then embark onto buying rampage. Few months later you end up with just one or two new units done and a bit bigger pile of shame. I also know that sometimes its not easy to get past it. Its especially dificult with certain companies products which dissapear as soon as they hit the shelves. Some opportunities as discounts, black friday deals etc also work similiar. It all made me often buy stuff knowing its going straight to the closet for months or even years. This is something i dont have anything smart to say about aside maybe for an obvious tip that you should buy in advance only that stuff that is trully limited and you know it will not be coming back in forseeable future. In ideal world buying something you want to work on in next couple of weeks would be optimal, but its usually not how it all end up. I do however have some tips on geting those boxes out of the closet and on the gaming table.

Mile stones

First thing first is to decide whats the purpose of doing the project. Do you want a new army or to get into new game or maybe do a diorama? Im talking about some bigger challanges here. If you just want to paint some smaller stuff for fun then just go for it. Not much to plan here, just start painting it instead of thinking about it! For more complex stuff however its good to establish some road map.

While starting new army i want to get playing with it as soon as possible. That means i want to have a smallest game-viable force in shortest time. Typical steps to achieve it would be something like this:

– get familiar with rules
– create army list for some small format, like 1000 points in warhammer games or 400 points in Middle-earth and similiar.
– paint stuff for first game
– play the game
– add more things and play more games

Its usually better to start on basic troops instead of jumping straight to that awesome dragon or tank. Unless you really want to paint it before all other stuff but then its not an army project but a painting project. Thats why i say its important to figure out what you really want to do. Do you want to start new army or make new terrain for the game? You can also mix those but keep in mind that its always best to keep it small and expand later. Geting things ready for a game, even small one will be rewarding and help to keep your motivation going. Starting many projects at same time is tempting but most probably almost none of them will get finished.

Starting army with some basic units also gives you opportunity to experiment and polish painting scheme you want to use. Its best to paint few simple models first as a test. Especialy if you have multiple shemes in mind and cant decide which one to chose. Its one thing to see them on some pictures or in your head and another painting it yourself. It may turn out you dont really like it that much after all or its very difficult to achieve. It also good to try out here some new techniques you plan to use. You may call it a preparation step of the project. Buying some paints and materials is also best done in advance.

Painting those first units you need to play is most time consuming and not always possible to do at once. Some people want to start playing without painting too. Its always best however to at least focus on constructing this minimal army you want to use, even unpainted, and avoid distraction of stuff you want use so soon. Its a good idea to connect it with some event. Like a game you plan with your buddies in advance, a tournament or maybe a campaign where you can start small and build up your force as you go. Keep those deadlines realistic however and dont stress too much about them. Goal is to have fun first above all.

When aiming to paint an army for games its also good to realise not all of the models needs to be painted to the same standard. There are some things you want to spend more time on (characters, large centerpierce models) and things you want to get done quickly or/and in large quantities. Think about how exposed those things will be on the table. Some models are more visible in units than others (standards, heavy weapons). This is true especially in horde armies. Some parts of models are also more exposed than others (shields and heads vs boots).

There are also things that you may need for games but not really want to paint. Its better to do them quickly or skip completely before they sap your energy for the project. Its good to be concious about this. This should be fun so look for fun things to do. If you really need to go for some boring stuff then try to do it quickly and then switch to some fun stuff next to recharge your batteries. For army projects best get familiar with various fast painting techniques. They really get usefull more often than you expect.

Small steps

Spliting each part of the project into smaller, managable chunks makes it easier for you to finish some parts before moving to next project. Its quite common, as i mentioned at the begining to lose interest in one project and get excited about something else. If you hold on to small steps and try to finish one unit at a time it would help avoid frustration that you end up with half finished stuff laying on your desk that no longer interests you that much. In some time you will probably regain interest in that project but its good to take breaks from time to time. If you achieve this point where you have an army viable for games you will be able to play with it, gather experience and revisit it later for some updates.

When you start painting a unit its also good do divide it into steps like bases, metalic elements, flesh, lether, wood, pants etc. It makes things quicker than going model by model (unless they are each very different, without common features) and also having a clear todo list makes it easier to pick it up when you have limited time. Like when you suddenly have half an hour in the evening then just pick one thing from the list than waste time on decision making.

Reward yourself

Some may say that painting stuff and playing with it should be reward on its own. Its not really how it works. Yes we do it for fun but its always nice to have some closing moment, some celebrations. It may be that big game you are preparing your army for or it may be some thing you want to get as a reminder. Army themed t-shirt or dedicated dice set? I know, you can just get it any time, but making it an extra trophy for finishing a hobby project makes it more special and easier to justify too. Most importantly though it puts that cherry on the top of your hobby cake.

Another kind of hobby enjoyment is something called hobby bingo. There are many of those that can be found online. Its a matrix of hobby themed achievements that usually involve painting, playing games and some other hobby activities like reading, attending events etc. Its a fun thing to try out especially when you look for some motivation.

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