It’s already the end of January—where did the time go? Though the last blog update I did was just a few days before New Year’s Eve, it hasn’t felt to me like I’ve been dodging the blog for four weeks. But the facts don’t lie: by all appearances I took leave of my blogging duties for the month of January. That’s not quite true: I’ve been painting!
In the life of working retail, Christmas is a doozie of a time of year. If you work in retail during the holiday season, you not only get to handle the hustle and bustle that everyone gets to deal with at that time of year, but you also get to add in the Christmas-shopping madness and shenanigans! Juggling those for the better part of a month, I can usually keep exhaustion at bay; but it all catches up with me pretty quickly following Christmas Day. Some years with me, it’s more mental exhaustion; and January sees me disorganized and …moving through my life in slow motion. Other years, the exhaustion is more physical, and I get super sick for about a week. This year I got to have both!
So, yeah, I totally know why it’s been four weeks since my last blog post: it’s the post-Christmas crash. A few days after my traditional Christmas crash, I had a rare moment where I wasn’t ill and was feeling project-oriented at the same time. So I decided to clean up and organise my painting room. I was not successful.
No sooner was it that I had started tackling the piles of hobby detritus when I stumbled upon an old container of old miniatures from years gone by. I can tell they were old because they were all out of their packages. (My habit these days is to keep anything I buy sealed until I’m about to start building and painting it). These were all old models that I had squirreled away (“perchance to paint one day”) back before 2001.
I think what snagged me into painting that day was that the models weren’t part of my standard fare: they weren’t Warhammer, 40k, Heavy Gear or Flames of War. They were old, late-1980s through mid-1990s fantasy miniatures made by Ral Partha (and other companies), all presumably intended for use with Dungeons & Dragons. I don’t know how long I’ve been holding on to these miniatures.
The Zen of Painting (well, kind of)
I’ve written before about how the goal of my hobby involvement has transitioned from being focused on getting my models painted so I could play more games to just focusing on the act of painting miniatures. Upon finding all these miniatures, I decided to paint them following this “Zen” attitude: that it’s not about how long it takes to get the models completed; all that matters is that I spend time painting.
When I can push that line of thinking to the front of my mind, I truly enjoy painting again. Gone are the deadlines of needing models to be finished before the next event, game night or what have you. Also gone is the stress of painting models and putting effort into choices that might be ineffective when used in games. Gone is the overtime that my brain works puts in, whether I want it to or not, meticulously keeping track of how long it takes to completely paint each area of a single model (and then does the math of what that works out to when applied to the a five-man squad…or 10 man squad or twenty-man regiment –all while still painting that one single model). Instead, I can focus on colour choice and technique.
What was especially freeing was that there was no requirement for these models to have a complementary or cohesive paint job to make them match up with other painted models. (It sucks when you get sick of your colour choice before you’re able to finish painting your whole army).
“Done” is my Favourite Colour
I tend to be guilty of having painter OCD: I can’t *not* paint every detail on a model differently. Newer-era models are maddening for me: I feel the need to make sure every detail is picked out and differentiated. It was surprisingly welcome that these ‘vintage’ sculpts had less intricate details than more-contemporary models do. This was incredibly freeing for me.
I’m not trying to speed paint these models, I’m setting up these guidelines so I’ll be better equipped to avoid getting side-tracked or stuck in any painting quagmires. Not only was I having an easier time painting models, I was also finishing more models in less time. The endorphin kicks I got with every completed model also helped keep me revved to start the next one!
Where Next, Columbus?
The fruits of my painting labours are scattered throughout today’s blog post. With the pace that I’m painting them up, it’s conceivable that it won’t be long until I’ve painted thirty or more models that …I actually have no practical use for. So I thought I’d do something a little unorthodox: I’ve decided to display them in the store and offer them for sale! I usually eschew selling my own painted stuff, but what to do these models that don’t really fit with any of my current needs?
I’ve priced the models with their size and the amount of time I spent painting them as my metric. (Most models took about 2 hours…some a little less and quite a few took three or four hours). I also kept in mind what people have paid for the Wizkids-produced pre-painted D&D miniatures—obviously, my hand-painted models won’t go for the $2-3 that the smallest Common minis go for. However, it’s not lost on me that most of the mass-produced pre-painted models, when sold loose, sell for $5-15–more if they’re a ‘Rare’ model!) Most of the models will be priced around the $12-20 range.
(As you can see with the vintage skeleton model and the pre-painted D&D ‘Merrow’ miniature made by Wizkids, there’s something to be said about hand painted-versus mass-painted models.)
Below are the models that will be on display in the store. For a better look, come down to the store! The miniatures cabinet closest to our Dungeons and Dragons section will be where you’ll find these miniatures.