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Batch Painting 2: The New Batch

Batch painting wargaming miniatures


If you’ve been reading these articles for any length of time, you know that I really don’t like batch painting.

“Why don’t you like batch painting, old fella?” I hear you cry.

Because it’s the Henry Ford Assembly Line Method applied to something that’s supposed to be fun and creative. It’s dry, it’s utilitarian, it’s mindless, it’s blah.

For the uninitiated, batch painting is when you have a group of miniatures – all part of the same army, etc. – that you’re going to paint in a similar color scheme. You start with one mini, apply a particular color, go on to the next mini and apply that color, and the next, and so on. Once you’ve finished with that color, you do the same thing, but with another color. Back and forth, back and forth, until you’ve got all your minis painted to your specifications. It’s the most efficient means of painting large numbers of minis I’ve ever seen. But it’s DULL.

For me, the fun of miniatures painting is when you’re working on a character, and, in jazz-musician fashion, improvising as you work, you’re deciding to try this new color or this new technique. And, at the same time, as the miniature takes shape, in your head you’re also sort of creating a personality and a history for this mini, something that you can apply to it once you finally get him on the table and he’s rampaging over the terrain.

Batch painting is, quite literally, the opposite of all of that.

So, I’m actually going back to batch painting right now, for the first time this year, because I have a warband of 20 Thugee Cultists from Bob Murch’s excellent Pulp Figures line to get done. They’re going to go up against a couple of different warbands I’ve already finished.

Now, it shouldn’t take long. They’re already all built and primed, and I’ve already laid down some initial colors. And they’re going to be pretty simple, because their outfits are going to be white, with a sepia wash, white drybrush, and spot color. Probably the easiest minis I’ve had to batch paint before – and I’ve done over 100 Death Guard.

Hobby procrastination, of course, came into play. I only just realized today that the reason I’d been focusing on panting hero minis lately is that I was trying to avoid putting the cultists on the assembly line. Well, no longer. On the conveyor they go.

Probably the biggest upside to batch painting is that, in the end, you actually do feel some accomplishment, because you’ve finished a big group of minis all at one time. You can cross that group off of the list. It’s a nice, warm feeling.

Now, please excuse me while I retire to my basement to paint. I shouldn’t be long. Like, a week. Or two. Who knows…

About the author;

Peter Kuebeck is a writer, gamer and award-winning mini-painter living in the Midwest. He wages a constant battle against the ever-growing tide of unpainted minis in his basement, and occasionally GMs role-playing game sessions with friends. Catch his hobby shenanigans on Twitter at @popculturecube

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