Friday 5 August 2016

So Many Miniatures, So Little Time

Back in my painting prime (before I became a father and a professional wargame writer) I was painting 200+ miniatures a year. Over the last two years, that number is probably somewhere between 30 and 40. That’s probably the best indication of the relative time I now have to spend on the hobby*. Whereas before I was happy to flit between periods, scales, and systems, I now feel that I must be a lot more choosey in how I spend my time if I hope to accomplish anything. So, after giving it a lot of thought, I have decided to try and limit myself to just five specific areas:

The Lord of the Rings – For me, Middle-Earth is where the hobby started and where I still find the most pleasure, especially in painting. Most of the unpainted miniatures I own are Games Workshop LOTR figures (stockpiled when it looked like they were going to cancel the range). That said, I won’t limit my collection to just GW figures. Any figure that fits into my particular vision of Middle-Earth qualifies, such as the Footsore Miniatures I’m using for my Rohan forces, or some of the great monsters available from Reaper. I suspect, in the coming year, at least half of my painting will be The Lord of the Rings figures.

Greek Myth – Every since I was young, I’ve loved Greek Myth, and it has always been a minor part of my miniatures hobby. Thankfully, it’s a genre that doesn’t need many figures. I’ve got a nice little collection already, and I’m happy to slowly add to it when the mood takes me.

Warhammer 40,000 – I don’t actually play Warhammer 40K. As a game, I think the rules have long been overtaken by more modern systems. However, I have collected a large Demon Hunter’s Army, which I use as my go-to science-fiction forces. It’s already a pretty large collection, so I don’t think I’ll be adding much to it, just a figure here and there that strikes my fancy. I’ll likely spend more time working on bad-guys for them to fight, such as the genestealer cult forces from Deathwatch: Overkill.

Battletech/OGRE – Basically, 6mm science-fiction. I don’t actually have a very large collection of 6mm science-fiction figures, however, I have long been drawn to both Battletech (great setting) and OGRE (great game). Thankfully, a lot of figures for these two games are interchangeable and usable with a lot of other systems as well. I honestly don’t know how much time I will spend on this area, but I’m keeping the possibility open.

Silent Death – My all time favourite space fighter game. One of these days I’m going to get around to painting the figures, but who knows when that will be.

And that is basically it. I’m not going to rule out painting an individual figure here and there just for fun, but I’m going to actively try to avoid buying multiple figures for any other period or genre (a lot of Will Power rolls in my future).

Hopefully, with these limitations in place, I can make those 30 to 40 miniatures I do paint really count!

It is perhaps worth noting that the above period limitations are only about buying miniatures. I’ll perfectly happily pick up new rules sets. Many of these, hopefully, will be usable with the figures I already have, but also, I think it is important as a game designer to keep up with current trends in miniature gaming and to use other people’s good ideas to help fuel my own.

* This does not include time spent writing or working on Frostgrave as this is classified as ‘work’.


  1. Hi Joe, like you I am a big fan of the GW LOTR line & also like you stock-piled a huge this day I have not painted a single one, just too many other things going on I suppose. I am also a big fan of Silent Death & remember playing the Red Shirt Smash & we even had a 1000 ship battle (again the Red Shirt group). Good luck with those Will rolls. I had best use a 1 sided die for those

  2. I too love LOTR but I can't restrict myself. My rule is do what you enjoy and don't feel guilty ........I may get round to it all one day😀

  3. Good luck Joe, you have a nice variety of themes to choose from in there. We'll likely talk about Greek mythology soon, once I find someone to produce my sculpts.