Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Dwarves are Upon You!

I have found a cure for my painting blues. I’ve decided that rather than drive myself crazy painting things I don’t want to, I’ll take a break and get started on those Dwarfs I’ve been meaning to paint for a while. Here are the results.

It’s a modest start: one unit of Warriors, one unit of Miners, a small unit of Quarrelers (that’s crossbowmen, not argumentative dwarfs), and an organ gun. It should be noted that with the exception of the organ gun and its crew, none of these are GW models.  Like I give a shit. Both the Warriors and the Miners are from Black Tree Design, the Crossbowmen are from Mantic. I placed them around some Gale Force Nine Battlefield in a Box Rocky Outcroppings.

First up are the Miners. I love the look of Black Tree’s dwarfs, as they are all metal and chunky, reminiscent of that old Citadel Dwarf range, which I really like. The only criticism I have of them is that there isn’t enough variation in the packaging. Out of 20 figures, I got 5 of one sculpt and 4 of another, while conversely I got 1 each of two very cool sculpts. Oh well. I did my best to paint them with enough variation so that they are individualized, but I tied the unit together by using the same dirty colors across the board (they’re miners, after all). I used some leftover mat board from my Modular Roads project as movement trays.

Up next are the Warriors. Again, I like the look of Black Tree. These guys are doubly cool because they’re so armored up, I could easily use them as proxy Ironbreakers. (Quick Math: I get 20 of these metal dwarfs from Black Tree for about $40. The same unit of “official” GW Ironbreakers would cost me $100.  I’d say they’re likely to be Ironbreakers most of the time.)

I didn’t make any banners for either unit yet, because I kind of suck at scratch-building banners. Maybe one day I’ll get around to it.

Last are the Quarrelers and the organ gun. The organ gun is an old-school GW metal version. I actually like the newer version better, but this one is fine.  I have mixed feelings about the Mantic Dwarfs. They definitely have a look all their own, and you can’t beat the price at about $1.50 each. I really dislike the fact that in this pack of 10 dwarfs, you get a bunch of head variations but can only really use 5, as the other 5 dwarfs are all one piece. The one-piece dwarfs are the dwarfs that are firing the crossbows, pretty much the front rank. There is a noticeable lack of detail on these models as opposed to the ones with separate heads. In addition, they don’t really rank up well unless you want the back rank to be facing off to the side. A somewhat annoying design flaw.

So, what next? Well, I have all the dwarfs from the Battle for Skull Pass boxed set awaiting painting: 12 Warriors, 10 Thunderers, 8 Miners, a cannon and crew, a Thane and 1 Slayer. (I’ve always thought Dwarf Slayers are stupid.) I have an unbuilt unit of Mantic Shieldbreakers that seem to have the same annoying lack of detail on the one-piece models as the Crossbowmen. And I have another regiment of GW dwarf Miners (making that 15 more miners in total, minus my unneeded second command group). I have another dwarf cannon and crew, and a proxy Flame cannon to paint, plus a few lords and heroes…So the army is a long way from complete, but I need to get back to my other projects for now.

When does painting = work?

Lately I have a problem: I can’t seem to get excited about painting. The reason is simple: it feels like it’s something I have to do, not something I want to do. In other words, it’s a lot like work.

I run an ongoing AD&D campaign, and I use miniatures for that. Which means that in addition to the normal prep work of getting an adventure together, I need to find time to paint miniatures in time for when they will be needed. So far, my method has been to paint up a bunch of stuff for a good story arc or two, then take a brief hiatus while one of my friends runs something for a while. In the meantime, I paint more miniatures to be used the next time I run my campaign. So far it’s worked pretty well. But now it’s starting to get on my nerves.

With all the miniature gaming I’ve been doing lately (and all the miniature gaming I want to do) there are a whole lot of things I would rather be painting than the miniatures required for my AD&D game. And they’re all just sitting there in the insanity pile. So, although I’d love to get my Dreadball teams painted; or start that new proxy Imperial Guard army with Wargames Factory Greatcoats; or paint those damn WFB High Elves and Dwarfs that are still mostly unpainted; or paint any of the (many) Clan War miniatures I have; or repaint some Heroclix for a SS3 scenario or two; or build and paint some scenery (for anything); or paint those Terminators and Genestealers for Space Hulk; or paint some Hydra Retro Raygun or Bob Murch’s Pulp Figures; or dive head first into Western miniatures for some Wild West skirmish; or even paint some fantasy miniatures that I’m in no hurry to use for an upcoming game…I can’t. (And those are just the examples I can think of off the top of my head. If I was home, where my miniatures are, I could list a lot more.)

I can’t because I need 20 kobolds, a female cleric, a griffon and a gelatinous cube by next week. (Note: I don’t actually need any of this stuff, but my players read this, so I’m wary of giving anything away.)

It’s kind of like all those books I never appreciated when I was forced to read them for school, but loved when I reread them later in life. If I feel obligated to do something, it kind of sucks the joy out of it.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to paint any miniature as opposed to, say, shovel snow or rake leaves. But I find I spend less time per session at the painting table, because I just can’t get into it. Which of course makes the overall job that much longer.

I’d be interested to hear some thoughts on this from other gamers and miniature enthusiasts. I’m curious to know if any of you experience the same thing from time to time, or if it’s just me finding problems with everything, including my hobbies. I’m particularly interested in any professional painters out there, considering that for you, it actually IS work. What happens if someone commissions you to paint something that you hate painting ? How do you get motivated to do it (aside from the fact that you’re getting paid)? When do you ever have time to paint your own stuff?