As you read this, I’m about a week or week-and-a-half out from finishing the most monumental hobby endeavor of my life: My Warhammer 40,000 Death Guard Army.
More than 180 models in total, ranging from cultists to poxwalkers, to Death Guard marines, to vehicles, etc. and clocking in at over 4,000 points (without Mortarion, who I have yet to get to…) I’ve been picking away at the army for years; it wasn’t until the premier of the 8th edition Dark Imperium box that I kicked myself into high gear and finally got that army finished (well, I haven’t painted the rims of all the bases yet, and at this stage, I likely won’t).
Now that all of the minis are safely stowed in their boxes and ready for the day when they’ll be called to the battlefield, it’s a relief to look back and think that, hey, I actually accomplished a major hobby goal.
But at the same time, I’ll honestly admit to a little bit of hobby burnout. And one of the major reasons for that is batch painting.
For those of you reading this who might be new to the hobby, “batch painting” refers to, literally, painting your minis in batches. That is to say, you get a group of the same kind of minis and, in an assembly-line style, you paint a part of each of them in turn. So you’ll, for instance, start out with the armor and lay down the base coat on each one. Then you’ll go back to the first mini and then lay down your first wash on the armor, and go down the line. You repeat the process for each different color and part of the minis until you finish them. It’s a great way to organize your painting and keep things simple, breaking what can seem like a massive job into manageable chunks.
It’s also absolutely mind-numbing. One of the things I enjoy about painting miniatures is the contemplative, creative process that goes along with it. With batch-painting (which necessarily takes the serendipity and sense of focus from painting in favor of speed and efficiency) while you’re getting scads of painting done in a relatively short span of time, it becomes monotonous. It’s much different than painting a single hero mini, where the emphasis is on making that mini stand out and tell a story. With batch painting, by its very nature, you’re trying to ensure that each of the minis looks the same, using the same process of painting over and over.
A number of people I follow on Twitter are constantly building new armies for different tournaments and events, and they talk about how they have X number of weeks to get over a hundred minis done, for instance. I can’t imagine the kind of hobby burnout that would engender. I’m not a particularly fast painter, and the prospect of finishing a single army even in the course of a month would put me in a cold, cold sweat.
This is a beautiful hobby. But I’ve found that I just can’t do a big bout of batch painting too often.
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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