Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Putting the blinkers on

I have never been especially good at focusing on a particular project and seeing it through to the end. I get bored fairly easily, especially given that I derive no particular joy from the time I spend painting, as I have mentioned in the past. This means that even if a particular model or unit captures my imagination, it is unlikely that I will push through and do anything productive with that energy.

Since the painting itself holds no particular joy for me, I have always relied upon things like tournaments to give me motivation. By selecting an army that would require a moderate amount of application between that point and the tournament date, I am able to ensure that I get something finished (or nearly finished) in time for me to turn up with it on the day. This often results in some late-night painting on the Friday night before the event, however this seems to have become something of a tradition anyway. It has almost become a mark of honour that you have too much to do the night before the tournament – if you’re not madly painting then, you didn’t try hard enough (you should have chosen more unpainted models in your army).

Using a tournament as motivation does help me focus for a definite period of time (or rather, for brief spurts over the designated period of time). However, it also tends to feel like a deadline, beyond which I have no plans. A number of times, I have made my plans, gotten the army ready for the tournament in question, and then stopped dead afterwards. Some of this can probably be attributed to burnout, given that I am sometimes painting quite a lot in the last week or two of my window. Some of it can also depend on how the army went in the tournament and during the lead-up.

My Dwarfs and Ogres have both suffered as a result of this – in each case I managed to get the army ready for a tournament, came to the conclusion that the army was not really what I was hoping it would be, and stopped as soon as my commitment to the army was over. The army then went back into its case and was more or less forgotten for an indefinite period.

I admit that this habit never really bothered me until 8th edition was released and I realised that my Dwarfs and Ogres were in no way ready for the shift in army construction. Both could field legal tournament-sized armies, but neither army would really be competitive. What good is a unit of 12 Troll Slayers under the current rules (the correct answer is not much – they will be dead in a round or two)? The frustration associated with this problem is somewhat exacerbated by the knowledge that I do have the models I need to fix the problem – but they’re not painted.

I am trying to avoid the same thing happening to my Empire army. Having already been burned by the Ogres and Dwarfs, I have resolved to persevere with the same army and keep going for as long as possible. There are a couple of reasons for this. Part of it is my wanting large painted armies, so that I can play much larger games and field impressive units that match the scale of the game. I think another part is my desire to be able to put the army aside when I am done, knowing it is there if I want to use it, without having to go back and paint half an army in order to make my collection match a change in needs.

Undoubtedly I need to continue using tournaments as a key motivator for me, as this is a tool that has worked wonders in the past. However, I also need to persist with the same race, even as I adjust the list to rotate more unpainted models onto my painting table.

I do not plan on entering another tournament until August this year, so I am in something of a lull in terms of events to aim for. This has impacted my motivation somewhat. I am also at something of a crossroads regarding my army theme, as I am starting to run low on white-furred empire and the standard-issue puffy-sleeved brigade is beginning to loom large on my radar. This is further spurred by me not having any white-furred halberdiers, nor any real plans to make any. My most recent painting effort has been 10 of the halberdiers shown below. I need to work out a faster method of painting them. As guinea pigs I am happy with the end result, however the process was too slow. I need to adjust my approach to the white half of the models.

Some classic Halberdiers

I am also somewhat delayed by my desire to have a properly themed unit filler in each large regiment. Most of my plans for the puffy-sleeved guys involve carts and wagons, and it seems to be difficult to locate plenty of spare wheels. I am experimenting with making my own and I will let you know if I come up with anything helpful.

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