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Taking Stock of Your Hobby

This week, Peter (@PeterSpiceLatte) pauses to take stock of his hobbying and reflect on accomplishments and progress...

Taking Stock

Taking stock of your hobby progress PrinTerrain game mats

Every once in a while, it’s important to stop and take stock of your wargaming or mini painting hobby.

No, I don’t mean updating your Excel spreadsheet of all the sets you have painted (you weirdo).

I mean, get back to basics a little bit and reflect on where you started in the hobby and how far you’ve come. It’s a great way to chase away the hobby blues and to help renew your love for what you do in the shadows of your basement by the light of a LED lamp (you weirdo).

I do this every so often – I’ll look at one of my old rule books, or go through some of the older minis I have in my collection and ruminate and reflect on what it was like to paint them, how long it took, the mistakes I made, what I ultimately learned from it.

I started painting minis about 20 years ago when I was 15. My middle brother, who was always the trend-setter with these kind of things, one day bought the old West End Games “Star Wars Miniatures Battles” starter set. It was a nifty box and came with a softcover rulebook, dice, and a bevy of great old metal Star Wars minis (25mm scale… but really closer to 20mm). We’d spend our weekend afternoons, after finishing our homework, painting, using the old Citadel paints we bought at the local comic/hobby shop (I still recall Dwarf Flesh as being our standard skintone, and Chaos Black being our standard black). We weren’t great painters, to put it mildly. Concepts like “drybrushing” and “washes” eluded us. Imagine Star Wars characters painted in bright primary colors and you have a pretty good approximation of what we were contributing.

But it was fun.

(Now, I could have sword I threw them out once I started college, but when we were cleaning my mom’s basement this summer, we found the box containing my old minis. And I fell in love with them, and their terrible paint jobs, all over again.

Not going to strip those and start over. No sir.

Well, maybe a couple of them with the badly painted googly eyes…)

Thing was, eventually we grew out of painting the minis and moved on to other hobbies. And I dropped minis altogether. Until I met my (future) wife, that is, seven years ago. Because her brother was looking for someone to play Dust: Tactics with, and I decided “Eh, what the heck?” and bought a couple boxes of minis to paint.

Suddenly the itch was back. In a big way. I remember trying to paint that first mini after more than 15 years at my dinner table. It was a zombie in a prison uniform. For the first time I really tried washes, and dry brushing. That one mini took me an entire afternoon, and it wasn’t a rousing success. But it proved to me that I could still do it after all those years.
Now, I’ve gotten the hang of dry brushing. And washes. And inks. And scenic basing. And other techniques.

But it still helps me to stop and look at those old minis and see where I started.


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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