In the last few months of 2019, I had something of an epiphany with regards to my miniature hobby, and how having a large number of unpainted miniatures was actually sucking the fun out of it. I spent the rest of last year working the lead pile down to next to nothing. With that achieved, I have taken the next step, which is to try and put a system into place so that it doesn’t build up again, and so that I stay focused on the projects that truly bring me fun and fulfilment.
To that end, I bought a new notebook (I have a notebook buying problem, but that’s a different issue). I wrote down all of the miniature projects I was interested in pursuing, from big armies to little warbands. I then took any project that involved more than 10 miniatures, and subdivided it into projects consisting of no more than 10 miniatures. I then picked the 5 that I most wanted to work on, and accomplish, right now.
And that’s my new system. At any time, I will have no more than five projects on the go, and none of the projects can consist of more than ten figures. I am only allowed to buy miniatures if they are needed for one of those five projects – or if they are a single figure that adds to something I’ve already done (so a new Frostgrave monsters, or what have you).
Since none of my projects involve more than 10 figures, I should, hopefully, be finishing projects on a semi-regular basis. Whenever I finish a project, I plan to do two things. First, do a complete review and cleaning of my painting set-up. So, see if I need any new brushes, or to order any more paint, etc. This should mean I’m always working with a quality set-up. Then, I will review my current interests and see if there is another project I would like to add to my list. This isn’t a given – if there is nothing that current has me excited, I will leave the slot open.
This is actually an important point - one of the problems I had before was overloading myself, so that when something new and interesting came along, I didn’t have any capacity to take it on.
So, after a lot of thought, here’s a brief summary of the 5 projects I am currently working on. I’ll talk more about each as I show off some figures.
1. The Fellowship of the Ring
I’m currently painting up a new Fellowship of the Ring featuring figures that match my mental vision of the characters. I have already showed off Legolas, Aragorn, and Sam, and I’m currently working on Gandalf.
2. The Nazgul
Reaper recently released a new set of ‘Wraiths’ in their Bones range that just perfectly fit my mental image of the Ringwraiths. You can see the first one that I have painted above. There are only six different poses, though one is definitely the Witch King, so I will either have to convert, or just put up with some duplicates. I haven’t decided yet.
3. Ghost Archipelago Warband
I had so much fun painting up my new Frostgrave warband, I wanted to do the same for Ghost Archipelago. I’ve acquired a couple of figures for it, but haven’t actually started on it yet.
4. Space Hulk Squad
This is an idea I’ve had for a long time, but always lost out to figures from the lead pile. Basically, I’d like to paint up a squad of the old, metal terminator marines for classic Space Hulk. I’ll have to get them off ebay, but I don’t think they are hard to come by. If I enjoy this, it’ll be just the first of my Space Hulk related projects.
5. Rangers of Shadow Deep
I showed off my new Ranger awhile back, but I want to give her a full team that I can either used to play solo, or break in half to play co-operatively. I haven’t yet decided exactly what is going into this.
So that’s it. Put all five projects together, and it is only a total of 41 figures, and some of those are already painted. I’m not painting figures nearly as fast as I used to (but I’m enjoying it so much more) so I have no idea how long this will take. I suspect, if I just focus on these, it will take most of the year, though other projects may come along as these are completed, and they’ll probably be some one-off figures here and there.
We will see. For now, I’m very happy to have a plan that will hopefully keep me focused on the things I really want to accomplish, and keep me from buying things I don’t need. That said, when I see some really cool figures, I make a note of them in my notebook, and I can return to them whenever I complete a project. Putting them in a notebook really helps keep them out of my head!