A Right Pile Of Potential

Earlier today I was looking through some of the blogs that I follow, sipping at my coffee and looking blearily out at the world around me much in the manner of a hibernating mammal forced out of its den. Some people start the day with the news but I like to have at least a pint of the black stuff (coffee for those times when Guinness isn’t socially appropriate) before I dare to expose myself to that much rage and misery, so I turn my attention instead to what, if anything, my fellow hobbyists have managed to produce overnight. In this case it was this post from Scent of a Gamer which caught my attention and got me thinking about something which I’ve considered writing about for some time – “The Pile of Shame vs the Pile of Potential”. I started to write a comment in reply and it grew and grew into something so sprawling and lengthy that I decided to post it here instead.

Firstly allow me to recommend, if you haven’t already, that you take a look at that post on Scent of a Gamer and indeed the blog in general – it’s well worth reading at the best of times and this post is very much a reply to it. We’re talking, to quote davekay himself, about “something every wargamer has: the pile of shame. Those unpainted miniatures bought on impulse or with intent years ago, but never touched”.

Unpainted Miniatures

He also links to a video by Goobertown hobbies which isn’t a channel I’ve watched before, in which the presenter digs through a (vast) collection of unpainted miniatures looking for something which takes his fancy to paint – a process which I’m sure will be familiar to many of us. I’ll confess that I didn’t watch all of the video, there’s only so long you can look at a man showing off how many miniatures he’s bought over the years whilst listening to elevator muzak, but I enjoyed what I saw and I’ll take a nose at the rest of his channel when time allows.

I’ll admit too that I had a moment of being “triggered” (as da yoof would have it) into a brief rage when he produced a copy of the Looncurse box out of his stash – a box I myself craved as the start of my long-planned Sylvaneth army, with a whole heap of lovely Night Goblins thrown in for good measure. Looncurse famously sold out in next to no time and I missed out, so it was damn annoying to see someone else proudly admitting to having snagged a copy and not even touched it. On the other hand, I realised with a growing sense of discomfort, I picked up various other kits at around the same time which I’ve yet to do anything with so could I honestly say I wouldn’t have neglected my own copy in just the same way?

Looncurse

This isn’t the first time I’ve had the pile of shame on my mind lately. In fact, a recent inventory of my unpainted collecting revealed a worrying fact – there’s a hell of a lot of it. Years of bargain hunting and snapping up good deals have taken their toll and the “to paint” pile has grown into a mountain large enough to influence the local climate. By my rough count, assuming that I keep painting at my current rate (something I wouldn’t bet on by any means) it’d still take me several years to clear the backlog. Add to that the forthcoming releases for Necromunda and Warcry, the new Space Marines (which would go very nicely with my existing collection), the new Necrons (and you know I’ve always thought a Necron army would be cool…), the mate who’s slowly but surely convincing me to try out Bolt Action, and whatever else emerges over the coming months and years and it starts to feel as though the lead mountain and the grey tide are very much here to stay.

Necron

Resistance is futile!

I don’t like the term “pile of shame” very much. Shame is a terrible emotion, and rarely one that inspires us to action. Excitement and enthusiasm is what gets us to pick up the brushes, whilst shame and embarrassment put us off, killing the joy that our hobbies are intended to engender and starving us off the passion that would otherwise help to overcome the unpainted masses.

At the end of the day miniatures are there to be enjoyed. A particularly good game can stay in the memory for years, even decades. There are plenty of ways of making that happen of course, and for me some of the most memorable contained no painted miniatures at all (indeed in a few cases no models were involved, just blank bases with post-it note labels to tell us what was what and a whole load of imagination). However it’s a fairly safe generalisation to make that well painted miniatures on thematic terrain will stick with us longer than unpainted models on a bare kitchen table. Add to that the fact that “check out this model I painted” is a far more engaging conversation starter than “check out this stuff I just bought and will now shove under the bed and never touch or look at again for as long as I live” and we find ourselves drawn to an inevitable conclusion; our hobby ought to have as its crux the collecting and painting of miniatures. A large number of us however would be hard-pressed to deny that our hobby is collecting unpainted models, with assembling, painting and gaming a sideline at best.

Ogre

Why won’t you paint me? I’m so beautiful…

On the other hand I really don’t like the term “pile of potential” either. The implication is very much that ending up with lots and lots of unpainted models is something to be celebrated, that buying things and then never painting them is inherently a good thing to do. This is quite a comforting idea, after all I have lots of unpainted models already, and there are new things that I’d like to own, and I’d far rather be telling myself that adding to this great mountain of plastic and lead and sitting on it like Smaug is something to be proud of. However I can’t shake the feeling that actually it’s just profligate, that all I’m doing is showing off how much money I would have had in the bank if I hadn’t squandered it instead on miniatures that I’m not painting.

I know that I’m not just speaking for myself here, I’m also undoubtedly addressing something that a lot of my readers will be very familiar with from their own collections, and I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad. After all we’re not really doing much harm, we’re not selling drugs, stabbing grannies or mismanaging the national response to a pandemic, we’re just hoarding bits of plastic. On the other hand I’ve never looked at a miniature and thought “I’d love to store that somewhere and be vaguely embarrassed that it’s cluttering up my house”. Quite the opposite in fact, I want to paint them, perhaps even play with them.

So how to go about it? Well there are a few tricks that have helped me over the years. Firstly, although I’m an occasional gamer at best, planning a game in advance is a great motivator to get something finished. I’ve boosted Necromunda gangs, Warcry warbands and the contents of Blackstone Fortress over the finish line using exactly this method.

Then there’s the old “model a month” trick. Some readers will already be familiar with this, as I’ve described it often enough in the past, but for anyone who’s not encountered it the premise is simple; paint at least one miniature for a project every month (for a year, or until it’s done – it’s up to you really). Now one model isn’t very much, especially when you’re dealing with a horde army like the Skaven (as I was). However Newton’s First Law of Motion can be applied here; Objects in motion tend to remain in motion, objects at rest remain at rest. If you’re painting one clanrat it’s easy enough to paint a second or perhaps even a third, and then your enthusiasm for Skaven is rekindled, you remember what it was about the project that made you want to paint hundreds of the little bastards in the first place, you get some more work done on the warp-lightning cannon whilst you’re waiting for the shade to dry and the whole project keeps shambling forward. Leave them sitting, allow them to gather dust, push them to the side of the desk and finally pack them away and months, then years will go past without so much as a kiss of a brush upon a ratty whisker. By applying this method I went from this (at the beginning of January 2017)…

… to this (at the end of December 2019).

Another trick I’ve been applying recently is simply to keep track of exactly what I’ve added to the collection. I keep a note of what I’ve bought each month and I check it before I buy anything else. For one thing this is just sensible fiscal prudence, but more than that it helps to remind me of all the things I was really excited about before I saw the thing I’m currently really excited about. More than that I also keep a note of all the models I’ve painted this month as well, and I aim (although of course I don’t always succeed) to make the latter number bigger than the former. It’s early days yet, I’ve only been doing this for a few months, but so far it’s helped me a great deal in keeping on top of the “pile of unrealised projects” and even helped me chip away at it a little, so I may come back to it and talk about it more in the future if it proves to be useful in the long term.

Finally, the most valuable tip I ever received was “paint what you’re passionate about”. If you’re excited about painting something then get on and paint it. If you want to paint something you’ll find the time to paint it, and if you don’t want to paint it you’ll find an excuse. Enthusiasm for a project will do far more to get you painting than all the tips, tricks and tutorials in the world and when that enthusiasm inevitably drains away to be replaced by something else you’ll have done a lot more than if you didn’t act on it.

Do you have a pile of shameful potential, and if so how do you tackle it? As usual if you have words of wisdom to share I want to hear all about them and the comments box is open to all comers.


35 responses to “A Right Pile Of Potential

  • Azazel

    I saw that video, and watched it through to the end. Well, not watched. Afte about 4 minutes I got bored with the watching part and just went and achieved a few minutes of zen-highlighting some black robes on models that I’d been putting off and got them done (yay!)

    Marouda was half-watching, and noted at one point “he’s got more half-painted models than you do” to my incredulity.

    I’ve got him easily beat on untouched kits and metal though, and I won’t go into how many unopened copies of Looncurse I have…. (yay me?) 😉

    I’m not one for “pile of shame” either – and though I’d never use the term, I do prefer “pile of potential” though I wouldn’t personally use it, either and your description is more apt. I do feel I understand what he was getting at, though – sometimes it’s best to just paint something you want to paint rather than concentrate on the project of the day and get that little endorphin hit and satisfaction of having something you like suddenly completed…

    • Wudugast

      Really I’m just jealous because he’s got even more unpainted stuff than I do 😉 I seem to be working on doing something about that though…

      I’d very much agree on that last point especially. Paint what takes your fancy and get that endorphin hit because a)this is meant to be for fun, b)it’s one more thing painted than you would have achieved by painting nothing, and c)having painted something and enjoyed it you’re much more likely to paint something else than you would be if you slogged through paining something and hated it. When it comes to clearing the backlog there is no trick, tip or technique in the world that compares to wanting to get something painted 🙂

      • Azazel

        I’m slogging through the last models on the Tray right now, and it’s as hard as hell to get motivated in a lot of ways. I think the lesson for me on this is to put fewer figures on the thing, especially since I’m going to allow myself to paint 2 new (to me) models between each tray. – one big and one small, no restrictions. Hopefully that works out to be enough reward to get me through the last models….

      • Wudugast

        That’s a good idea, helps to break things up and stops every model you buy turning into a neglected model because you’ve got to wade through the backlog to get to them (a problem I know all too well). Not putting too many things on the tray is a lesson I’ve learned too, I think that may be part of why the tray method didn’t suit me when I tried it. Even just recently I realised that I needed to paint six miniatures in order to have painted as many models this month as I’d bought, and decided to pick out six easy wins and knock through them. Picking six was easy, and then I found myself going “that one I could finish in no time, and that would mean I’d be ahead of the game, and that guy is only small so I’ll bung him in as well, and this one has the same colour scheme as that other guy so I could do the two of them at the same time, and I’ve been meaning to get around to this one for ages so this should give me the push I need…” and before I knew it I’d just made a heap out of all the unfinished stuff on the desk with the original six buried at the bottom. Will I ever learn sense? 🙂

  • Pete S/ SP

    Mine is all tucked away out of sight in the shed, which often makes it out of mind…

    … although a good bit of advice I got some years back is if you are stuck on something to paint paint the smallest group of things it takes you to play a new game.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

  • davekay

    Wow, love this post, and also thanks so much for the kind words about my blog. That kind of thing always makes me smile, and having been quite unwell for the past few days it was extra special – so thanks!

    Now on to your post! I totally see what you mean about the term ‘potential’ being a… ahem potential enabler of hoarding behaviour. Cutting my purchasing to a level far below my painting output has been the key to reduce the pile for me. Also I like the model a month idea, and I think if I had applied that years ago I would have a SAGA Revenants army painted for sure, rather than the lone 12 that are currently done.

    I suppose ultimately what it is, is a pile. Whether it’s one of shame, possibility, potential, or something else is up to us.

    • Wudugast

      No worries, it was a very inspiring post 🙂 Sorry to hear you’ve been under the weather, hope you’re on the mend now though?

      “potential enabler of hoarding behaviour” – those are the words I was struggling to articulate as I was writing this, you’ve hit the nail on the head for why I feel uncomfortable with it. I’m also aiming to make my purchase rate significantly below my painting rate (or at least a little bit below it…) – the trouble is when limited run boxsets come out and suddenly I get a huge heap of new models all at once. It’s not so bad with Start Collecting sets and so on because they stick around and I can buy them when it suits me, but I’m a sucker for a bargain so when it’s a limited run there’s much more of a temptation to snap it up (think of the money I’m saving in the long run! I’d be a fool not to! Really I’m not giving in to temptation, I’m making fiscally prudent long term decisions!)

      That last point is very wise I think, really it’s just stuff – neither inherently good or bad – how we feel about it, and what we do about it, is up to us – and personally I always find that being positive get’s more done!

  • Mark A. Morin

    I have a tendency to build and paint with a specific game in mind. Still, I tend to buy more cool stuff that is OOP for running games with this stuff that most folks have never seen – or in a genre that is not common (kind of my thing). I have spreadsheets for the projects that I am working on and inventories for the ones I have long term plans for completing. Right now I am building out forces for the Spanish Conquests of the Aztecs, the Inca, and the Maya. I built out tank forces for France 1940, the North African Campaign, and Normandy. I have several retro sci-fi games built with more stuff to add to them. And I do have a massive number of RAFM Reptiliads and Critter Commandos – but I have a plan to incorporate them into games. I tend to buy only those things that I know are rare or that are missing pieces to my games. But I do have a bunch of metal stuff that I bought several years ago when I was buying some cheap lots on eBay of old minis. And a Bolt Action starter set that I have not touched (as Bolt Action is too unrealistic for me). I can still use the figures for Combat Patrol. As I have heard, once you finish your last mini, your heart gives out and you drop dead. So, your plan, while slightly dissimilar to mine, will guarantee us longer lives!

    • Wudugast

      Ah, a fellow spreadsheet fan! I find it’s a very useful way of keeping track of projects. I see the appeal in having more obscure models, there’s something cool about having a collection that’s really unique (part of the reason I convert things I suppose).

      So you’re not a fan of Bolt Action then? I’m not really into historical miniatures, especially that particular time period, but I’ve got a mate who’s interested in it (the same guy who got me into 40k actually) so it’s more about getting some games in against him than anything else.

      Aye, I’ve heard that theory too – based on that I should comfortably live forever! 😀

      • Mark A. Morin

        Bolt Action is “ok” as a game but not as a good representation or simulation of combat tactics. I have played it a few times, and it’s not horrible as a game, but the Army vet in me struggles with some of the unrealistic aspects. For example, when close assaulting a building, you roll a bunch of dice and either everyone gets in or they do not. In real life, some figures would be laying down covering fire while others move into the building. Last I played, there were not grenades either, though I heard that might be getting changed. The scale is also weird when tanks are added – ranges look wrong. I prefer the Combat Patrol -WWII system – in that system individual figures and crews perform actions very much in line with reality, and I find it easier to play as well.

      • Wudugast

        I know what you mean, although I’ve got no personal experience of combat I do find it takes the shine off for me somewhat when a game behaves in a way that you know is unrealistic. For me I want to be having fun, and getting immersed in the setting, rather than thinking about the mechanics of the game. Someone once put it brilliantly when they said “Some games are about whether I’m a better player than you are, and some are about whether that little model represents a better general than that other little model”. For me it’s all about the latter, I’m not really interested in the former. If games are above a certain size then there’s a level of abstraction that comes in naturally, you’re more looking at the grand sweep of a massive battle and individual heroics one way or another don’t play a major role in the overall result. On the other hand very small scale battles where every model on the table behaves as an individual lets you really get into that nitty-gritty where one guy is climbing through the window whilst his mate provides covering fire and someone else picks the lock on the front door. Games that fall in between those two are the ones I struggle with though, there’s too much abstraction for me and it puts me back in the world of rolling dice and away from the immersion I’m looking for.

        That said I’m still tempted to give Bolt Action a go, it’s not so much about the game as it is about rolling some dice with my mate (once C-19 eases off enough for us to catch up that is).

      • Mark A. Morin

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply! I neither have any personal combat experience, although 12 years in the US Army gives me some perspective. Based on your preferences, I really think you might want to take a look at Combat Patrol WWII as a gaming alternative. It’s available in the UK from Sally 4th, and was written by a good friend of mine, Buck Surdu. It substitutes a card-based action for miniatures and a different activation sequence engine that is quite good. The nice thing is that you can use it for a number of different types of skirmish games (it’s been used for the Falklands, the War of 1812, Star Wars, the Winter War, and much more). Buck has free downloads of the scenarios on his website http://www.bucksurdu.com/combatpatrol/

        Very adaptable system – I use it for my retro sci-fi skirmish games.

      • Wudugast

        I’ll give it a look, cheers!

  • imperialrebelork

    Sigh… as much as it’s a great topic and great post it has reminded me of my pile(s) of miniatures haha. I have adopted the “Paint what you’re passionate about” for 202 and it’s going well. Something else I do, on occasion, is sort out my hobby room and in doing so I stumble across forgotten minis or projects and suddenly I feel fired up to paint them. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a hobby butterfly and, in fact, I’ve come to like that I am. Life is good but it’s full of things like “Work schedules, routines for kids, pay this bill on time” and, for me, the beloved hobby is, and always will be, the opposite of that. Of course I like it when I have a deadline (a rare thing) for getting something painted. For example, if I have a game coming up and I want to finish some sandbags or something. Generally though I quite enjoy hopping from one thing to the next. It’s always nice to get things finished but then what?? If I finished all my projects I’d only need more and MORE to go on with hehe. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s about the journey not the end. I don’t have the willpower to say no to new toys so if I buy them but don’t get to paint them until twenty years down the track then so be it. At least my kids will be able to sell them when I’m dust hehe. Imagine how much an unopened box of Warcry minis will be in another 30-40 years?!

    • Wudugast

      Yup, it’s an uncomfortable truth, but most of us in this hobby have piles. I blame all the sitting around painting. Being a hobby butterfly is no bad thing though, I find it helps keep the creativity alive. No matter how excited about something I am there comes a point where I need to paint something different, not necessarily because I’ve lost interest in the original project, often simply because I’m excited by the new thing. It’s rare for a project to die forever though, I might lose interest for a while but then I come back to it and add something new. Like you say, life is full of other obligations and our hobbies are supposed to be an escape from that. For me it’s all about striking the balance, I want to be painting and enjoying all the things – and I want to be doing it now! Pleasures deferred are all very well but I don’t want to defer them so long that I never get to enjoy them at all 🙂

  • imperialrebelork

    PS I’m keen to start a Necron Army one day.

    • Wudugast

      Same, I almost bought a mate’s Necrons when I was 18 and I’ve often regretted not doing it. Now looks like being a fine time to do something about that though, I really like the look of all the stuff in the new launch box (I’m just hoping it’s not so limited that I’m never able to get my paws on one). Some of the other new stuff we’ve seen hints of looks pretty cool as well, and I’ve always had a fancy for painting some deathmarks and lychguard. Oh and those doomscythes mate, I’d love a wing of those. For some reason they remind me of the shadow ships from Babylon 5 although they’re not that similar. The night shroud bomber from Forge World is really cool looking as well, bit rich for my taste though but if I ever find myself wealthy that’d be one to spend my ill-gotten gains on. Actually, the more I describe this, the more I realise that Necrons would be the race to get me into Aeronautica Imperialis, fingers crossed they get around to doing them someday.

      • imperialrebelork

        Hahaha it’s almost like your mad little rambling just wandered off into the distance then haha. I’m with you though buddy. I really like the Doomscythes and actually thought they’d be good as some sort of looted flyer for me Orks

      • Wudugast

        Haha! Yup, that’s my brain I’m afraid! 😀 Good shout on the looted doomscythe, there’s nothing da boyz can’t loot if they put their minds to it. I’ve always enjoyed seeing looted carnifexes, some poor tyranid gribbly trying to rampage with a bunch of orks on the back trying to steer it.

  • Kuribo

    This is chockful of wisdom! I’m one of the rare wargamers that doesn’t keep a very big backlog. I like to have somewhere between 2-4 different types of sculpts I can bounce around and so I don’t get tired of painting any one thing. At the same time, I avoid buying big box sets or things I may not get around to painting for a long time because I know how much a commitment they are to get painted.

    I like the tips you provided a lot and I may try to make a little progress on something each month to ensure older things that I have don’t get neglected. The only thing I might add is I think GW’s limited edition boxes and the way they tend to make some things only available for so long can really feed into the mentality of “I need to go ahead and buy that even if I’m not sure if I want it because it will disappear and be outrageously expensive later on.” Looncurse is a great example of that, actually!

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! Not having a backlog is a rare thing indeed in this hobby, something to be proud of though I think. I know for a while when I was younger I really looked down my nose at people who had loads of unpainted gear sitting around (which was arrogant I know but I was a younger man and therefore by extension a bit of a supercilious knob. How the worm has turned!). I think avoiding the big boxes is a wise move if you want to stay away from ending up with a backlog, I always find myself taken in by seeing them as a bargain (which to be fair they are, so long as I actually get around to painting them which I certainly intend to – I just haven’t yet…). The limited edition side of things does bother me though, it’s clever marketing for sure, and I’m sure it’s played its part in making them the global giant they are today, but it certainly heaps on the pressure to rush into buying something now – which doesn’t really fit with the otherwise leisurely pace of the painting hobby.

      • Kuribo

        I think I learned in my first foray into the hobby that you can buy lots of stuff and never find the time to build them or even worse, lose the motivation to finish. I bought Starter Boxes for 40k and Warhammer Fantasy and never got close to having everything in either one painted up. I dabbled in probably 5-6 armies in each game and once again, never got them finished. So since returning as an adult, I keep a pretty tight focus on what I buy and always think about what do I have the painting and storage capacity for. With that said, there are times I wish I said to heck with all that and just bought an amazingly huge Starter Box like the current one in Necromunda 🙂 I wouldn’t look down on someone who has a huge backlog though I can see where that would develop. I tend to view massive backlogs as a bad financial move because a lot of times, people lose hope and sell off a bunch of stuff for cheap when they finally give up on the hobby/become overwhelmed. I’m glad to hear it isn’t just me who doesn’t like the limited edition side of things too. I’m sure I’ve missed out on stuff I would have liked to have bought if I had the chance but I suppose that is as much GW’s loss as mine!

  • theimperfectmodeller

    A very enjoyable post and a thought provoking one too. Personally I fall into the “paint what you are pasionate about” camp. As a non-gamer there is no motivation for me to be had from preparing for a game and I don’t do armies or gangs as such so there is no drive to complete on that score.

    For me the driver is simply a figure I like or a diorama idea that takes my fancy. If I’m dealing with just a single then it is usually simple enough to finish the one I am doing and move on. There is no real order or sequencing and as such this is a pile I am simply happy to add to and work through. It’s quite a big pile though so the monthly challenges can help align the order if I can relate them to what I do.

    Dioramas do present much more of a problem because they can take so much more time to complete. Inevitably ideas pop into my head during a build and if it excites me and I can find the right materials and figures then there is a good chance I might move on before completing what I am currently working on. However, due to my advancing years I have had to devise a method which enables me to do this without feeling guilty and I call this the “FILITS Principle” – Fuck It Life Is To Short. It does help much in terms of motivation but I sure don’t feel guilty any more. 🤗

    • Wudugast

      I tend to stick to the painting and modelling side of things myself, I play some games but the majority of what I work on is for the enjoyment of painting/converting only. With that in mind I’ve often wondered why I tend to stick to set armies (or gangs, teams, warbands etc). Why paint something I’m not that mad about because I need it to reach a certain points threshold for a game I don’t play, and not a model that I like the look of but which belongs to an army I don’t otherwise collect? Ah well, at least I’m aware of my eccentricities!

      The FILITS Principle is worth wide application I’ve found, there’s room for it in life well beyond the hobby!

      Regarding dioramas, how do you manage to store them? Just my painted models take up a hell of a lot of room and as I’m getting more into building terrain and larger models that’s just exacerbating. Sooner or later I might have to call a halt anyway, that or sit out in the street and reach in through the window to paint models in a flat that’s floor to ceiling with miniatures. Unless you’ve turned part of your house into a museum of dioramas (which I’d visit right away, but I suspect SWMBO might not have let you…) you must have some kind of clever storage solution to call upon – words of wisdom always welcome! 🙂

      • theimperfectmodeller

        My answer to your question on storage developed into a whole new post which I am just about to publish! Whether it provides any form of solution for you of course remains to be seen. Ultimately I fear you might have to make some tough decisions such as eating out all the time so you can clear the kitchen of pots and pans etc. 😉

  • Liquid Phosphex

    I don’t have a lot of miniatures since I spend it on other things (drawing supplies and an art subscription) and using my Trumpbux to pay for a summer class when my financial aid wouldn’t cover it until it goes through, and then I might consider getting a laptop. I’d like to get into Bolt Action and their paints don’t really excite me, but it’s a shame that GW’s paint containers dry out the paint when you never use them. Maybe Army Panter has a better bang for my buck.

    • Wudugast

      Part of the reason I’ve managed to build up such a backlog I suspect is because although I have quite a few other hobbies, none of them are terribly expensive, so what disposable income I do have I can splash out on this. I also know exactly what you mean about being a bit skint, it’s something a lot of us have to face, especially if we’re trying to make more of ourselves in the long term. I know how annoying it can be when you’re having to budget for every last little thing, to see someone boasting about how they bought some big expensive box of miniatures that they’re not even going to paint. It’s a big part of how I got into converting really, I’d find myself thinking “I want Model A but I can’t afford it, but I have Model B – so how do I turn B into A without spending anything?” Anyway, best of luck with the art and don’t let the bastards grind you down, the effort you put in will pay off in time (even if it doesn’t always seem like it at first).

      • Liquid Phosphex

        Thanks for the kind words. No one really grinds me down more than myself, but I still have plans to wargame, paint, and probably do some TTRPGs. Still, it’s nice to worldbuild with close friends and come up with ideas and probably why I’m drawn to your blog.

  • Alex

    A good read & thought provoking stuff mate – I do like it when you poke around the edges of the hobby 🙂 You neglected a particular species of hobby hoarder – the ‘collector’… there are two distinct sub-species of collector – the ‘Curator’ (collect all the things, ultimately destined for the Mathom House until they die, and then a family member will either bin the lot, of flog it for pennies at a car boot sale), and the ‘Speculator’ (‘this’ll be worth something one day!’ aka ‘Scalper’). Speculators have a parasitic relationship with Curators, feeding on their need to have all the things, and so they continue to thrive in the interwebs…

    Personally, I tend to look at my pile as life insurance – everyone knows you can’t die if you have stuff still to paint. More, recently, I realised I have actually been prepping for lockdown all these years, and have had a great time going back through the baggies and boxes, fishing out the raw materials for grand projects of the imagination… From now on, I will refer to it as my ‘pile of delight’.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers mate – good point on the two species of Collector. I’ve been known to use being a Speculator as an excuse to buy things (“If I decide later that getting this was frivolous I can always sell it on again – by which time it’ll probably be worth more. I’m not being seduced by clever marketing, I’m making an investment! My kids will be over the moon when they find this in the loft!”). I’ve been thinking about the way in which I’m a Curator as well and its definitely a slippery slope, the more things I have for a certain set the more I’m drawn to complete it. To use GW examples, say they release something really outstanding for the Dark Eldar. I’ll drool over it but as I don’t have any other Dark Eldar I won’t buy it. Now they release something ok for the Orks. As I’ve got a lot of Orks already I’ll be tempted (I mean, it’s not bad – a little ropy maybe but I can improve on that…). Finally they release something truly dire, ugly, expensive and hard to get hold of for the Goliaths – but because I’ve currently got everything in the current Goliath range I MUST HAVE IT!!!

      You’re right on the life insurance side of things too, which makes me realise what a sensible move it was buying all this stuff – as it stands I should live forever! Plus with C-19 and all that there’s no denying we’ve shown remarkable foresight in building up a collection with which to keep ourselves entertained and safely off the streets. Indeed some sort of public acknowledgement of our heroism is really well overdue – personally I’m expecting the government to put up a statue of me, I hear there’s a lot of empty plinths now so it couldn’t be a better time…

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