Category Archives: Insanity Pile

Owen’s Miniatures: Part 2

Last time I lamented that two years ago, my friend Owen decided with finality that he was done with painting miniatures and gave me his sizable collection, amassed over the span of decades, to do with as I see fit. Up until now, all I have done is hold them in safekeeping for the last couple of years in the vain hope that he would leap headlong back into the hobby, eager and excited, his passion rekindled for all things paint and lead themed.

That has not happened.

So, I decided to start painting some of his unpainted lead, the hope being that my efforts will reignite in him that which lies dormant. Then, he will graciously thank me for keeping his miniatures and politely ask for their return, which I, of course, will expeditiously grant. Then we will rule the galaxy together as father and son (figuratively speaking, pardon the pun), gleefully painting miniatures until our fingers bleed.

That’s my hope, anyway.

Over the years, I have created many characters for role-playing games, many of which I have never actually played. I don’t consider that wasted time, as creating characters is by far my favorite part of gaming. I thought it would be fun to come up with some fluff for these guys, so while painting them up, I thought about a backstory for each one.

Karl Rost, master-at-arms, served Baron Graf of Zondergeld as military advisor, as his own father had served the Baron’s father before him. But this Baron was a fool. Baron Graf was obsessed with games, and to him, Karl Rost was merely another pawn to be used–or sacrificed. Thus when the Baron lost a wager to Duke Danius of neighboring Cyndar, a wager he could not cover, he paid his debt with Karl Rost. Baron Graf sent his master-at-arms to work like a common tradesman for a rival kingdom without a second thought, oblivious to the man’s true worth.

The term of Rost’s service was to be a year and one day, after which he would return to the service of Baron Graf. Humiliated and betrayed, Rost performed his assigned duties for Duke Danius as he was bound. With Rost’s guidance, the forces of Cyndar easily swept through the Baron’s defenses and subjugated Zondergeld within two months. The Baron was beheaded and his line ended; thus when Rost’s term of service was up, he had no place to return. He rejected Duke Danius’s offer of position and wealth in his new realm, and instead now wanders the land as a masterless adventurer and sellsword, making his way as he can.

Rost is Reaper’s Damian Helthorne, Bandit; sculpted by Tre Manor. I was aware of this miniature through my frequent browsing of Reaper’s site, but until Owen gave it to me (along with all his other miniatures) I had never seen it “in the flesh”, so to speak. It’s a terrific miniature (albeit a bit heavily-armed for a “bandit”), and I quickly fell in love with it. I think he’s a perfect representation of a lawless mercenary like Karl Rost. I’m not thrilled by my freehand shield design, but I’m also not motivated enough to fix it for what would be the third time, so this is what he’s stuck with.

The Red Wolf of Thord was born in that frozen wasteland as Lorm Einarsson, the youngest of four. Before he was twenty he had killed his three older brothers, none of them quickly, for motives unknown. Some say they bullied him as a youth, others claim he just didn’t like them very much. He usurped his eldest brother as cyng upon his death and took over his band of thegns, sailing with them southward into the fertile lands of Mornellorn and Evaleaux. There his cruel path of destruction, pillage and rapine quickly tore those kingdoms asunder. Centuries later, his name is still whispered to children to encourage compliance and good behavior, lest the Red Wolf appear.

In the frozen lands of Thord, there are only white wolves. During one of Einarsson’s prolonged “stays” in Evaleaux, he hunted and slew a huge red wolf that had been attacking cattle he had pillaged from nearby villages, splitting its head with his great axe, Skuffe. From that day on he wore its pelt as a cloak, and thus the legend of the “Red Wolf of Thord” was born.

Another Reaper Tre Manor sculpt, the Red Wolf is represented by the hirsute Olaf, Viking Chieftain. Unlike the previous model, I likely never would have purchased this guy. Not because the sculpt is bad (I don’t think Tre Manor is capable of bad sculpting), but because I hate double-bladed axes. I just think they look really stupid. Coming from a guy who loves dwarfs and has many dwarf miniatures, you can assume I have to deal with them more often than I would like, and you would be right. Typically, I remove one of the axe blades, and the model usually looks a lot better. But because of the way Olaf here is holding his axe, it wouldn’t look right if I modified it. (Besides, this is Owen’s miniature. I’m just working with what I have.) I should probably fix his eyes a little bit, as they look too wide.

I have made Owen aware of this post and the previous one, so hopefully my effrontery will work: he’ll demand all his miniatures back and start painting them again. (Fingers crossed.) If not, I will continue to do so myself in the hopes he will one day return to the dark side…

Owen’s Miniatures: Part 1

I first met my friend Owen when we were in college, almost 30 years ago (Christ, that’s depressing as hell.) We quickly found we had much in common. Some examples: we both had a brother with the same name. We both played role-playing games. We both worked at a (now) defunct electronics retailer, albeit at different stores (at first). We both took the same hellish philosophy class taught by a crazed Jesuit who was banned from practicing mass because…well, because he was batshit crazy, among other things. We had a mutual friend that neither of us knew about until the first time I joined Owen for a gaming session and found him at the table.

Most significantly, we discovered that we both collected and painted miniatures. Prior to meeting Owen, I didn’t know anyone else who was the slightest bit interested in miniatures at all. Neither of us played wargames; we collected and painted miniatures purely because of our interest in rpgs. We bought mostly Ral Partha and Grenadier miniatures, as these were the ones commonly available at the time. We even bought them at the same store, but we didn’t know that until later.

I got into Warhammer in the mid-90’s, but Owen never did. Eventually, we both stopped painting for a while here and there over the years. I took a hiatus for about 5-6 years between 2002-2008, and I think he may have done the same, only sooner. I jumped right back into the hobby, whereas Owen never really did.

Two years ago or so, Owen gave me all his miniatures; hundreds of them, possibly more. Most of them are in various stages of paint; many complete, many primed or dabbed with color here and there, all stored in Plano tackle boxes. As I remembered, they’re mostly Ral Partha and Grenadier. In fact, I already own many of them already. But Owen’s miniatures also include many Reaper miniatures purchased in the early years of that company, as well as some impulse buys over time (as is any miniatures enthusiast’s wont). Owen told me he just doesn’t have the interest to paint them any more, and he would rather have the space than hold onto the lead. He knew I would give them a good home (and I have).

It broke my fucking heart.

This may surprise readers of this blog for several reasons. First, that I have a heart at all may come as a shock. Second, it may be surprising to some that I would be sad at the gift of so much lead. But both are true.

I offered to pay him for them. We have yet to discuss this in any meaningful way. This is because he’s not in a hurry to get paid, and also because I’m not in any hurry to pay him. In fact, I have been hoping very much that he would come to his senses and take them back. But that hasn’t happened.

I have a problem assigning value to any miniatures I have painted, as to me their value goes far beyond money. If I were to ever sell my miniatures (I can’t see how), I would likely overvalue them. Even though I may never again play the games they were designed for or use them for what was intended, the fact remains that I spent time, effort and money (obviously), on them; and I can’t easily part with them for those reasons.

I suspect many gamers feel the same way, although I know a significant number do not. (Our mutual friend, for example, had no problem painting and playing any number of Warhammer armies, only to sell them off at a significant loss whenever he got bored. He would then buy another army and repeat the process, only to eventually end up back where he started, with his original army that he needed to repurchase and repaint.)

Which is why, as I look at Owen’s miniatures, many of which he affixed to cardboard hexes that he lovingly cut out by hand (the better to fit on a combat map; unlike me, Owen actually USED his miniatures when he ran a game), I feel defeated. I want him to want his miniatures back. I want him to want to paint them again. I want him to be a miniatures nut like me, looking at painting tutorials online, geeking out over new releases, and planning and playing games. But it seems unlikely.

So, after a couple of years of ignoring his boxes, hoping he’ll ask for them back, I have decided to take a new strategy. I’m gonna start painting some of them. I don’t have the heart to strip his paint jobs and repaint any of his miniatures, but Owen was kind enough to supply me with some primed figures he never got around to. I’m hoping he will look at my work (on HIS miniatures) and get inspired.

Up next: the first two “Owen” miniatures, painted by yours truly.

A Little Something on the Side…

Or perhaps, “Some Side Action”.  Either “double entendre” title would work.

For my last post of 2018, I thought I’d share what I did in December, which is clean up “the side pile”: that group of partially-painted/assembled  miniatures that collects in the corner of my workspace over time; things I plan on getting to, but for whatever reason shunt them aside in favor of other projects. These sad miniatures collect dust and stare at me in silent accusation, wondering why they are neglected. Not having any other project slated for December, I decided to devote my entire month’s efforts to these orphaned miniatures.

A couple of these miniatures were supposed to be painted for my failed AD&D campaign, which ended back in 2012. Some of them have languished in the side pile for longer than that!

First, an old-school fantasy ogre, made by RAFM. I’ve had this guy for decades. RAFM still makes a variation of this miniature, but this particular guy is out-of-production. He was originally supposed to return as a member of the Cudgel Gang, that group of highwaymen that plagued my gaming group throughout the campaign. Length of time in side pile: 8+ years.

Another miniature intended for the AD&D campaign, this is Finari, from Reaper. This is the metal version; she’s since been reissued as a Bones miniature. Length of time in side pile: 10 years or so. Yes, 10 years. Easily.

Next is Kjell Bloodbear, another metal Reaper miniature. I really had no idea how I was going to paint him, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the end result. It was a long time coming, but he’s finally done. Length of time in the side pile: 7 years or so.

This is Duke Gerard, yet another Reaper miniature, this time a Bones version I got from a guy who bought into the Kickstarter. Apparently, he has a weird back banner-thingy that I didn’t get, which is ok, as I like him better without it.  Length of time in side pile: 4+ years.

This is Herryk Aesir, a dwarf that has a back banner-thingy I actually like. He’s another metal Reaper miniature (they make a Bones version, too). He’s been in the side pile the least amount of time; I intended to paint him for Dwarvember two years ago, but didn’t get around to it. Length in side pile: 2+years.

These snipers are from Demonblade Games for their Shockforce post-apocalyptic skirmish game. I didn’t play the game, but I liked the snipers. They’ve been primed and ready for a long time. Length of time in side pile: 7+ years.

Last but not least, some Reaper Toolbots, from their Chronoscope line. I don’t remember why I bought these guys. I think I wanted to use them for some Retro sci-fi gaming I never really pursued. They’ve been primed and based with a gunmetal silver for years. Once I decided to change them to this yellow color, I painted them in no time at all. I just couldn’t get motivated to paint them until I made that switch…strange how our minds work. Length of time in side pile: 6+ years.

That’s closes out the year. I thought I’d have one more side pile miniature done before the ball drops, but it’s not happening. As it is, I cleared out a fair bit of space and put paint on some figures that have been waiting far too long for it, so all’s well that ends well.

Bring on 2019!

Shocktober: a Project Postponed…

Some time ago I got my hands on a couple of boxes of Wargames Factory Shock Troopers. I had planned to make a proxy Imperial Guard army different from my Mordian Iron Guard, but having two Imperial Guard armies is just stupid, especially when I no longer play 40K. I decided I could use them for scenarios outside of the GW universe, or possibly as henchmen for pulp or supers gaming.

Originally, I planned on basing them on snow, inspired by an old friend’s 90’s era Valhallan Ice Warriors army. I scrapped that idea. I then thought I would paint them in dark colors reminiscent of the Injustice Superman’s security force, but I couldn’t find a color scheme I liked. My Mordians are already predominantly black, so I wanted a different color scheme.

As you can see, I tried several. I like none of these.

Then, by chance, I stumbled across an old blog post by Atom Smasher of Tabletop Minions fame. I really liked his color scheme, so I contacted him to ask him how he did it. Sadly, he was unable to remember. (Side note: this is why I’m glad I started writing down my paint recipes in a notebook.) This left me back at square one.

This month was to be the month in which I finally painted this “army”, as well as all the vehicles and support units I have collected over the years. It was to be called “Shocktober.” Brilliant, I know. But I  still have yet to decide on a color scheme for my Shock Troopers, so it’s once again getting pushed off.

Which leaves me with the question: what am I going to do for this month?

I’ll certainly finish the Dwarf King’s Quest, since I only have a few miniatures left to paint. Also, I’ve heard tell that there’s a Zombtober event being hosted on Brummie’s Wargaming Blog, and I could easily supply a zombie or two that has long awaited paint if I can wrangle an invitation. But I want to do something else…something on which I can say I’ve made significant progress by month’s end. I have several choices:

I could bite the bullet and clear out the side pile, which has grown since last I labored on it. That would basically free up some desk space while I complete a diverse set of miniatures that have been in various stages of paint and/or assembly for a long time (in some cases, years).

I could paint another old-school Grenadier box, those are always fun. I really enjoy revisiting these boxed sets, and I have quite a few.

No matter my current focus, I am always repainting Heroclix miniatures for use in my supers gaming. I could dedicate the whole month to that alone and clean out my freezer bin (where I keep my ‘clix that I need to rebase; the cold makes snapping them off the dials easy).

I could do another big project, like my Orc Warlord on Wyvern…something large-scale that will take up a lot of time and effort.

I could start work on another miniatures board game. Currently the only one I have unpainted is 3rd edition Space Hulk…pretty low on my priority list, to be honest.

Finally, I could always do some more work for Gaslands. I have plenty more cars to convert, and I need to get started on some scenery. I will most likely do this in addition to any miniatures painting this month. Also, I need to work on terrain more often, so this may give me the kick in the ass I need.

I guess we’ll see what happens. Suggestions are of course welcomed!

 

Monster Month (and Getting My Shit Together)

First up, the good news: May is Monster Month! Now that my Gaslands project is (somewhat) complete, I’ve decided to get back to my first love: fantasy miniatures. And to that end, I have decided it’s high time I got around to painting some good old-fashioned monsters!

With the arrival of Reaper Bones and other inexpensive miniatures like Nolzur’s Marvelous Minis, it’s easier than ever to get your hands on some large beasties for not a lot of cash. And for the most part, the sculpting is top-notch on these miniatures, whether sculpted by hand (Bones) or 3d designed (Nolzur’s). Some of the monsters I’ll be painting this month have been in my insanity pile for years, whereas some are relatively recent purchases. Some are metal, some are plastic or resin. Old school, new school; the point is, they’re all monsters, and they’re all getting painted this month!

Now, the less-fun news. A couple of months back, I reminisced about the early Grenadier miniatures that were my first steps into what would eventually become my wargaming hobby. If you missed that post, you can read it here (if so inclined). One thing  I wrote in that post has been on my mind ever since.

Here’s what I said: “…even if I were to (paint) one miniature every day for the rest of my life, I would likely never finish what I already own, never mind any future tempting purchases. A somewhat sobering and morbid thought, but true nonetheless.”

Guess what? It is true. And it is sure as hell sobering.

(Actually, what I wrote was about stripping and repainting old miniatures, not painting new ones, but that changes nothing. Between what I have that I would like to strip and repaint, and what I have that has never yet seen paint, the reality remains the same. It ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime.)

Like many gamers nowadays, I am of a certain age. I am not the oldest grognard wearing a “Keep Calm and Cthulhu Fhtagn” T shirt, but neither am I a youngster any more. I’m in my mid 40’s, and I’ve been gaming since I was 12, collecting and painting miniatures since I was 13 or so. While mid-40’s is hardly old, especially considering the well-known and often-discussed “greying of the hobby”;  and although I’m reasonably healthy at the moment (knock wood), I have no illusions about my life.  In addition to other vices (like indolence), I really like scotch and gin, and I’ve liked them for many a long year now. The sad truth is that I have a lot of lead, both painted and unpainted; and a lot of half-started and wish-list projects I’m simply not going to ever complete.

As I’ve stated elsewhere in this blog, the last big gaming convention I attended was Gen Con in 2012. In addition to a comprehensive review of the convention, that post includes a list of all the stuff I bought when I was there. I knew buying most of that crap was a mistake as soon as I got back home. Most of it is still sitting right here in the original packages. I haven’t painted or used most of it, and it doesn’t look like I ever will.

Herein lies a problem faced by many wargamers: Let’s say you drop dead. What happens to your stuff? Many wargamers would naturally pass their armies on to the next generation, assuming their children had any interest in such things. I don’t have kids, and likely (and hopefully) never will. So what then?

It goes without saying that it becomes a problem for those we leave behind. Someone (or, if you’re lucky, several someones) who probably doesn’t need any more to deal with while grieving your death, as it may make them reach the “anger” stage of grief much faster. In my case, it’s not just my painted miniatures and the insanity pile that would be left behind. (That link leads to a description of my insanity pile that is outdated by several years. Like Scrooge, I have labored on it since.) It’s also the thousands of books and comics that I have amassed in almost four decades of collecting. All this stuff is going to land squarely in the lap of people who may love me, but may not necessarily love my hobbies and want to deal with 30 plus years of accumulated academia, esoterica, and plain-old geekery after my death.

It’s time to get real, and prioritize what I can realistically keep and what I should just bid a fond farewell to. And like many gamers, I need to STOP BUYING NEW STUFF. Not just new stuff, but old “new-to-me” stuff too, no matter how great a deal it is. I have to start saying no.

To this end, I’ve come up with an action plan.

Part 1: As a way to motivate myself to shrink the lead pile, I’m stealing an idea I saw on fellow TMPer Oiler72’s blog: the lead mountain progress total. With every post, Oiler keeps track of the number of miniatures he’s painted vs. the number of new miniatures he’s purchased, for a plus or minus overall progress total. I’m doing that, starting with my next post. I’m not about to count what I already have (that would make me mental). But whatever the starting point number may be, it should be easy to track whether I’m up or down relative to it if I keep logging painted vs. purchased.

(Note: this is for miniatures only. I do not consider terrain projects or things like Gaslands conversions, which are technically not miniatures, to be any progress towards adding to or shrinking the lead mountain.)

Part 2: I need to narrow my interests. I need to decide what games I’m going to focus on and what projects I can realistically complete. I need to look at the stuff I already have, and decide, once and for all, whether to keep it or get rid of something I know I’m never going to paint and/or play with. Is it worth the investment in time and/or money? If not: adios, muchacho. When deciding what to keep, I should consider whether it can be used in multiple games or whether it will only be used in one system; for example, unpainted police miniatures can be used for zombie, pulp, supers or any other modern game, whereas pirates can pretty much only be used as pirates.

Example: Wow, those Firestorm Armada ships look really fucking cool! Should I keep them? Let’s see:

  1. I’m never going to find anyone else near me who plays Firestorm Armada,
  2. Spartan Games went out of business, which means the game is no longer supported,
  3. While I could conceivably use the ships for other games, I don’t have any other space games except for War Rocket and X-Wing, neither of which match the theme or scale,
  4. I don’t want to buy any more space games,
  5. I have way too much other stuff to paint.

So should I keep them? Sounds like a big fat NO.

Firestorm Armada was easy. I have many other games/miniatures to consider, and many miles to go before I sleep.

 

“Yesterday’s Lead”

It seems I took the month of January off from blogging, quite accidentally. For Christmas I was gifted with Mass Effect: Andromeda for PS4. It was released back in March of last year, but I’m not the kind of (video) gamer that needs to get a game as soon as it’s released. Thus I tend to spend less money on video games overall, as I can wait until the price drops. I am a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, and although this latest game was (unfairly, IMO) derided,  at least in comparison to the previous trilogy, it has accounted for my free time throughout January.

Anyway, it’s nice to be back.

I rarely pick up Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine these days. Although it’s a fine publication, it’s not for me, as it is primarily geared towards the historical wargamer, and even casual visitors to this site will know I don’t fall into that category. The other day I found myself at my newsagent (see what I did there? I used a British term) by complete happenstance ( I was purchasing coffee and donuts for a work meeting at the Dunkin’ Donuts next door), and, since the latest issue of Miniature Wargames magazine hadn’t arrived yet, I gave in to whimsy and purchased WS&S #92. As expected, it had little to interest me as far as gaming goes. I am unfamiliar with most of the historical periods and battles covered throughout the issue. But what issue #92 did have was a worthy article by the great Rick Priestly, entitled “Time, Tide and Yesterday’s Lead.”

You might think Mr. Priestly waxes nostalgic for the early days of Citadel and Warhammer miniatures, but he quickly sets the record straight. Despite his involvement in Warhammer’s development, his particular enthusiasm is the Minifigs line of the 70’s, as those are what led him down the garden path to wargaming.

I must confess that since I live in the United States and I was born a good decade or so after Mr. Priestly, I am unfamiliar with Minifigs. Like so many others, I started gaming through Dungeons & Dragons, circa 1983 or so. I’m pretty sure I got the red box for my 10th birthday and it took me a year or two to start running “The Keep on the Borderlands.” I never played a miniature wargame until I was in college in the early 90’s. Predictably, my first introduction came through Warhammer 40K, then quickly moved to WFB. But I had already been collecting and painting miniatures before then. Despite all my failed attempts to introduce them into my roleplaying games, I found them really cool (an obviously still do). I certainly share nostalgic feelings for the miniatures that got me started down my own path, some 35 years ago. And those miniatures, primarily, are Grenadier and Ral Partha fantasy figures.

The first set of miniatures I ever bought was the often-reissued Grenadier Tomb of Spells set. It’s the second one down in the left column. Starting from the top left and continuing clockwise, we have Specialists, Hobgoblins, a Dragon Lords set that once included paints, Thieves, Denizens of the Swamp, Orc’s Lair, and Wizards. The Wizards set was the second set of miniatures I ever bought, and I repainted the set a couple of years ago. You can see the results here, if so inclined.

With the arrival of AD&D 2nd Edition, TSR started packaging miniatures under their own name. The above sets are examples of this era. I bought the Marvel Super Heroes and Dragonlance sets when they came out, and a friend gave me the Magic-Users set long ago. The remaining sets were all recent eBay acquisitions.

I probably paid too much for the Indiana Jones set (it’s rare). I paid less than I thought I would for the Star Frontiers and other AD&D sets, but again, probably more than I should have considering the quality. I’ve said this elsewhere: this era of miniature manufacture leaves a lot to be desired. The sculpting is pretty sub-par across the board. Scale is pretty much an afterthought, even between models within the same set (Star Frontiers is by far the WORST for this). I have been painting some of the Marvel miniatures for use in my supers gaming alongside Heroclix models, which should give you a idea of how random the scale is. Some are compatible with Clix models while some are on the small side of 25mm. To top it off, I have no idea what metal was used to cast this line of miniatures, but for some reason, they do not take paint well. Prior to sealing them, even casual handling can cause the paint to rub off, which is kind of a pain during the painting process.

The last of my old sets are above. The Grenadier Secret Agents set is really good, containing lots of mercs and soldiers for use with Top Secret or any other skirmish wargame. Grenadier released two sets of these. I know I had both at one time, but I can’t remember what happened to the other set. (As an aside, the box art above was painted by famous Grimjack artist Flint Henry!) Below them is an exceptional set of ninja by Ral Partha. I recently bought a second set, because as everyone knows, you can never have enough ninja. The bottom row contains dragon models; a Ral Partha T’Char (one of the best dragons produced, IMO) and a couple of Julie Guthrie Grenadier Dragons. I painted up her Red Dragon a while back. You can see it here.

Nostalgia, as Mr. Priestly aptly observes, exerts a powerful force that drives one from affection for times gone by to collector’s obsession. All of the above boxed sets were purchased either on eBay or at a flea market over the last couple of years. With the exception of the Skeleton King’s chariot (top right), all these sets are complete and pristine. (I even managed to replace the 54mm Batman set with one that included a Joker this time.) The DC Heroes sets were a real find at $10 apiece, all bare metal! I painted up the 54mm Batman a few years ago, and recently painted the Grenadier Halfling set above. Batman is here; the Halflings are here.

Which brings me to painting, or rather, repainting. In his article, Mr. Priestly mentions that most Minifigs of the time were likely “favored with a hefty coat of Humbrol Enamel…and then gloss varnished to within an inch of their little metal lives.” Again, I can relate. Here in the States, Testors enamels were the model paints of choice, and I laquered many a miniature in them before “discovering” acrylics right around the time I started playing 40K. Prior to that, every miniature I painted, including many from the sets above, were done with Testors enamels and gloss coat. I shudder to look at them now, but if you’d like to see some before and after shots, look no further than here.

The question then becomes “To strip and repaint, or not to strip and repaint? I am a big advocate of repainting. I’m not the best painter in the world (not even close), but I am exponentially better than I was 35 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the old miniatures I have repainted recently, and I think they are the better for it. But, if even if I were to strip and repaint one miniature every day for the rest of my life, I would likely never finish what I already own, never mind any future tempting purchases. A somewhat sobering and morbid thought, but true nonetheless.

What do you think? Do you get dewey-eyed for a certain manufacturer or era of miniatures? Do you advocate repainting, or are you content with (and perhaps comforted by) viewing your early efforts for what they are?

 

My Pile of Insanity

Like most miniatures enthusiasts, I have an ever-increasing mountain of unpainted lead and plastic that might one day get me my own episode of Hoarders.

Well, I will not go gentle into that good night, friends. I’m doing something about it. They say the first step is to admit you have a problem. Well, I submit to you my pile of insanity. Judge not lest ye be judged. I know some of you are worse.

First up: my desk. Thousands of miniatures have been painted and, in some cases, repainted here. Considering 90% of the painting I do nowadays is for the AD&D campaign I’m running, I have to be careful about what I show so as not to give my players any warning of what’s coming. In front of the paint rack is a group of miniatures, most of which are primed black. Some have been in this state for YEARS. The current project is a group of 10 Wargames Factory Zombie Vixens. Once these are done I have 20 more to paint. You may notice the backscratcher on the right. Highly recommended for those of us who spend hours painting hunched over.

This rack contains leftover bits on sprues,  Plano cases full of painted miniatures (don’t count), old boxed sets of Grenadier and Ral Partha miniatures (one day I’ll get around to repainting them), basing materials and supplies, etc. All the white card boxes are full of Heroclix miniatures, sorted by team. There are some hidden gems here, too. For example, I have about 40 Rogue Trader Beakie Space Marines, still on the sprue. I’m saving them for a rainy day.

Here is one side of my closet. The miniatures are on the second shelf, all unpainted: boxed sets of Wyrd, Confrontation, Alkemy and Privateer Press stuff; an unopened High Elf Battle Ready Battalion; an unopened WFB Battle of Skull Pass; several unopened regiments of High Elves, including a Cavalry Patrol; my Cawdor Necromunda Gang; some Warzone stuff I bought just because I liked it; a box of Defiance UAMC Marines; a box of Wargames Factory Shock Troopers (soon to be joined by 2 more boxes en route); a Reaper Dwarf Cannon; some Mantic Dwarfs, a box of Judge Dredd Gangers I bought at Gen Con for 5 bucks; and a Clan War Crab Regiment to go with the Clan War base set I haven’t painted. It’s over by the Space Hulk game that has all unpainted miniatures in it, too.

Below that are three shelves full of mostly unpainted scenery. Yes, that’s an original Warhammer Mighty Fortress. I’ve never used it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. Three boxes of Pegasus Gothic buildings and ruins share the same shelf, along with a GW Chapel. (All those tackle boxes and miniatures cases have painted WFB and 40K armies in them, so they don’t count towards the pile of insanity.)

Here’s the other side of my closet, just for the hell of it. No miniatures here, just RPGs and card binders.

You could dive into this and never come up.

And lastly, here’s the box o’blisters. Way too much stuff to list here individually, but Reaper, Hasslefree, Pulp Figures, Armorcast, Warhammer FB, Privateer Press, Confrontation, Moonlight Miniatures, East Riding Miniatures, Wyrd, Killer B, Bronze Age, Rattrap and plenty of nameless and/or forgotten miniatures companies have at least one and most likely more than one blister in here.

If I was so inclined, I could count all the unpainted miniatures I have to paint. But I’m not so inclined.

After a recent barrage of orders, I decided I need to do something about this. I can’t keep buying stuff and not painting it. That’s craziness. So I’m doing what others in this hobby of ours have done. I’m making a plan.

Ten miniatures a week. If I can do ten miniatures a week and stop buying more than ten miniatures a week, I should make some headway, right?  Although the miniatures I paint are to some degree influenced by my needs for the AD&D campaign, that game is on a brief hiatus. So I can use the opportunity to blow through some lead. First step: start with the shit on my desk.

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve painted 20 miniatures. I’ve bought about 50. So I’m starting over. Monday-Monday…10 miniatures, no new purchases.

Starting now.