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Unspiration

April 28, 2010

Ah, the joys of writing an hobby blog when you haven’t been doing anything even remotely connected to your hobbies. Instead of being down about it or posting a quick ‘n’ easy movie trailer post, I figured I’d explore the whole phenomenon some. Everyone loves editorials, don’t they?

For me, painting miniatures is very much a thing dependent on inspiration, which at any given moment you either have or haven’t. It’s very much like a mood swing thing: one day I”ll be thinking “oh, sweet, miniatures!” and spend an hour or six working on all that stuff on my desk and starting different projects. The next day – or rather the next month – I’ll lose interest. Not gradually, mind you, but just go cold turkey. It’s not that I start feeling bad about doing miniatures or getting in any way repulsed by the hobby, but it simply gets pushed way back in the priorities, so I’ll be thinking “oh, I should finish those models. I’ll just clean the flat and go jogging, do a little Facebooking and play some Mount & Blade first.” And what do you know, it’s 1 AM and “oh, I’m not going to start painting at this hour, but tomorrow!” Yeah, right.

Now, I’m a bit of a bipolar character and my relation to miniatures reflects this a lot. It’s almost like a switch that’s either on or off. When I’m really into it, I can – despite my rather slow painting – get pretty prolific and multitask a lot, sculpting this, painting that and assembling those. However, this enthusiasm does have its downside. As probably every single miniature hobbyist knows, minis are like crack or bacon. You just can’t get enough. What this means, that when the craze hits I tend to order just a few more, since I only have around a thousand or so waiting unpainted on the wardrobe shelves. This really isn’t a problem, though. I know that I’m in no hurry, and most of that stuff will get painted some day, but it is a bit funny. I blame the ease of internet shopping. Especially eBay has delivered me a ton of WHFB orcs, which I simply had to have. Even if I play WHFB maybe twice a year.

That brings me conveniently to gaming. Which I don’t do a lot. Come to think of it, I’ve probably played less than ten games during the last year. I get in a shot of WHFB every now and then, although the laborious task of setting up the tables and assembling the armies tends to put our group off frequently. To combat this I bought Fear & Faith to go with all of my vampires, zombies and werewolves. The problem with this? Ummmn. There actually isn’t one, come to think of it. For crying out loud, I should get a game on. Ok, the reason it got put on the back burner was the fact that I was very much into moderns when I bought it, and didn’t have a good modern table setup available. Of course I had grand plans for that too, but it fell into the “oh, I’ll just finish the kitchen renovation first” category. The renovation is long done, the table not yet started.

Gaming is important. Even if I’ve become much more of a collector than a gamer in the last few years, games still hold a very special place in this hobby for me. While I often think that games aren’t half as much fun as painting and collecting, every single time I play I game I will think “oh, this is really fun! Why don’t I do this more often?” Seriously. Every single time (apart from that WHFB game with the high elves destroying my army without ever leaving their hiding place behind a largish wood). Luckily, I now have the new Space Hulk game on the way. It’s very quick to set up, doesn’t require special gaming boards and I already have the painted miniatures I need for it. In other words, it’s perfect to kick start my gaming anew. After that a bit of Fear & Faith, maybe a werewolf hunt using my WHFB Empire troopers and terrain? After that..oh yes, the blog.

This, dear readers, is interesting. Writing this blog right now has actually rekindled my enthusiasm for minis and gaming. All I really needed was a good think about this wonderful hobby of ours. See? It comes and goes, often on a whim, and unspiration turns into inspiration.

I’m leaving for London and Cardiff in ten hours or so – just imagine my frustration about missing Salute by a very small margin! Anyone fancying a pint, a chat or simply a chance to say hi, feel free to send me an email.

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4 comments

  1. If you want to get back into a more positive space with your painting then I suggest the following. Its not foolproof but it can often work for me:

    1) Dig through your lead pile until you find a fun figure or a pair of figures. Dont look online and buy something new: it is possible that by the time they arrive that you will have been distracted by something else shiny. The important thing is that they are a small project easily completed over a night or two that you have sitting right in front of you. That bit is crucial.

    Examples such as a pair of buddy cops (Crockett and Tubbs or something) or something cool and characterful from an old project that you never got around to (I have a fun looking old GW Zoanthrope that is calling to me at the moment) or something totally frivolous (I have some cat miniatures that I hope to paint to look like my cats some day).

    Ignore whatever purpose you originally planned to use the figures for and simply remember why you thought that they were cool in the first place.

    2) Paint the figures over two consecutive nights/sessions, not longer. Dont get too bogged down by trying anything fancy (big conversions or resculpted areas or tattoos or pinstripes or detailed military markings or non-metal metal etc), just get them finished fast. Get that sense of satisfaction about completing them.

    3) A few days later repeat steps 1 and 2.

    After a while you will hopefully end up with a few idiosyncratic miniatures painted. Let the figures that you wanted to paint determine the games that you end up playing, not the other way around (for the time being at least).

    When you are back in the painting swing of things then you can tackle larger projects that “have” to have something prepared for them.


    • That sounds like very good advice, thanks Paul! I think the trip I’m on at the moment should do wonders as well. Fear not, I’ll be back on the painting bandwagon before you know it. Your L4D and RE stuff are certainly an inspiration!


  2. […] getting back to painting after one of my hobby-uninspired periods (see this blog post from four years ago). Sort of like exercise, you have to ease yourself into it after a break, so I […]


  3. […] summer) has robbed me of nearly all of my miniatures gaming inspiration and brought about one of my unspiration periods, or funks as they say, I have no intention of getting out of minis. It’s been a lot more […]



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