Friday, December 29, 2017

How many miniatures did you paint this year?


I tried to be disciplined this year and keep track of how many miniatures I painted over the course of 2017. After just completing the reckoning, I find the grand total is 220 miniatures. This result astounded me because I thought my powers were ebbing. My eyes are not as strong as they were (I think I've mentioned before that I'm now using reading glasses when I paint), and my ability to concentrate on painting for long, unbroken periods is much decreased. I used to be able to do a three hour session standing on my head, but now if I do a solid 75 minutes at a time I'm happy with myself.



I'm also in a perpetual feud with my brushes, with 2017 being an especially acrimonious year. Do any of you other painters out there have a love/hate relationship with your brushes? I use Winsor & Newton's Miniature Series 7, which are not cheap and can only be found in one nearby store (and even then they are only in stock about 1/3 of the time). When I break out a new brush, there's at least a 50% chance that within a couple hours I'll find that it's just got the wrong personality for me, and I will unceremoniously dump it. I'm neurotically fussy about the tip -- it has to have the breadth to hold a large quantity of paint, a fine point to execute detail, and a plump midsection so that it can deliver a solid line when I exert an added lick of pressure. 

And even if I do find the right brush, I start to abuse it. For instance, I often mix paint with the brush, smooshing the bristles. Any experienced painter will say this is a big no-no. But I do it anyway. Who has time to fiddle around with toothpicks every time your need to blend colours on the fly? And so as my brushes wear and age, their ability to apply paint gets more and more eccentric. And I grow resentful. This all got especially bad in 2017, when I clung for much too long to my old, mistreated brushes rather than going through the rigmarole of breaking in new ones. I despised those scraggly wrecks, but wouldn't let them go. It's like the old poem by Catullus: I love and I hate. Why do I bother, you ask? I'm not sure. But I feel it and I'm tortured. 

Well, in the autumn I finally got new brushes, threw most of them away after a couple hours and kept the best of a bad lot. And I still hate 'em, the limp bastards. It's all pathetic and dysfunctional. And yet, together, my brushes and I still managed to pump out 220 miniatures.



So what did I paint in 2017? Here's the detailed breakdown:


31 Star Wars Imperial Assault miniatures from Jabba's Realm (Fantasy Flight Games)

2 Desert Skiffs for Star Wars Imperial Assault

1 Cthulhu investigator (Copplestone Castings)

42 Zombies (Gripping Beast, sculpted by Bob Naismith)

16 Zombies for Black Plague (Cool Mini or Not)

20 Zombie Wolves for Black Plague Wulfsburg (Cool Mini or Not)

4 Zombie Abominations for Black Plague (Cool Mini or Not)

18 Oldhammer Monks/Clerics for Vengeance of the Lichemaster (Citadel)

5 Oldhammer Villagers (Citadel)

4 Oldhammer Orc Warriors (Citadel)

10 Oldhammer Mutant Goblins (Citadel)

8 Oldhammer Citadel Goblins (Citadel)

10 Oldhammer Undead Cavalry 
(Citadel)

3 Oldhammer Skaven heroes 
(Citadel)

1 Oldhammer Wyvern with Rider 
(Citadel)

1 Oldhammer Giant 
(Citadel)

1 Oldhammer Ringwraith on Foot 
(Citadel)

10 Oldhammer Hobhounds (Citadel)

5 Characters models for Fallout (Fantasy Flight Games)

3 Cthuloid Horrors for Mansions of Madness (Fantasy Flight Games)

25 Orcs from Harboth's Black Mountain Boys (Citadel)


Although this may sound like a lot, my tally involves a lot of quick line-painting, like the zombies, the Black Mountain Boys and the hobounds. The figures I'm most proud of, I think, are the character models for Vengeance of the Lichemaster. I am also extremely happy that I finally got around to painting the Chaos Mutant Goblins from the 1980's. I've had them primed for years and could never find the right time to paint them. Now their spirits can no longer accuse me of neglect. 

So what about your? How many miniatures did you paint in 2017? Are you happy with your output? Do you loathe your brushes? 


Happy New Year!



31 comments:

  1. Happy New Year my friend!
    I love your blog, your papinting and I am waiting impatiently for the next entry!
    best wishes

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  2. Happy New Year Matt! I'm honestly not sure my production this year, as I really didnt keep track. Quite a bit tho looking back at my blog posts tho. I hear you on the brushes! My Windsor Newtons are doing the same thing at the moment. My favorite brushes that I had before apparently are no longer in production. :( I'll keep plugging away with these, they get the job done, but ya those wild tips sometimes are a bit annoying. I think you did well on your output this year....I hope the next is even better for you. ;)

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    1. I'm happy to hear that I'm not the only one who has a difficult relationship with the Winsor Newtons.
      Anyway, ABG, I hope we have lots of Oldhammer Comics in 2018!

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  3. Great year! Try Raphael Kolinsky 8404, I'm quite happy with this range.

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    Replies
    1. OK - I will try the RK 8404. Thanks for the recommendation, Jaeckel!

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  4. An impressive tally. Regarding the ole hairy wands I think that whatever brand you plump for you always get the odd naff one. I have bought expensive brushes in the past only to find they won't keep a point. I currently use Rosemary & Co and although I still get the occasional bad un their low cost doesn't make me grind my teeth quite so much. Happy New Year!

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    1. I will ad the Rosemary & Co to my list - thanks Gareth. I think your strategy of aiming for inexpensive brushes is a good approach. The secret to happiness is low expectations.

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  5. I painted 69 miniatures this year, which I am relatively happy about. Mine is a mixed bag of different veteran brushes that I could probably treat a little better but they have served me well! Well done on all your lovely stuff this year :)

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    1. Thanks Ragsta. 69 miniatures is a great amount, so long as you are happy with them. Happy New Year!

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  6. That’s quite an achievement! I’ve managed to paint 158 this year despite focusing on building models at the start and a house move.

    I’ve just taken delivery of some new W&N no.7 brushes. I swapped to them in 2014 and the first one lasted just over two years. I replaced it and have barely used the new one (about six months), and already the tip is splitting. The original didn’t suffer from a split tip so hopefully it was just a duff brush.

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    1. If you had to deal with moving house, then 158 sounds pretty impressive to me. I hope the new brushes work out, Steven!

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  7. I have no idea, but good 00 detailed pointers are elusive.
    I find I'll have a brush with a tip I like but the ferrul loses it's grip!
    Although keep a 3 or 4 mop handy for mixing your paint!

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    1. That's a good idea about keeping some mops handy. Happy New Year, James!

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  8. Odi et amo? I feel you! I have the same relationship w/ my craft paints as you with your brushes, but at least mine are cheap! Sometimes they are perfect, and others must be destroyed immediately...

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    1. Yes, the key is to try and make sure the amo outweighs the odi!

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  9. No idea how many I've painted this year, but I can go back through the blog and look. I think for 2018 I will do an inventory and make a database of my collection to get a better handle on things. I use Rosemary & Co and am currently beating the crap out of mine. The first ones I ordered were magic, the last couple of orders have been so so, but I really abuse them.

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    1. It certainly has given me a pleasant sense of progress to keep track of my output. Anyway, Gareth also recommended the Rosemary and Co, so I will give them a shot. Thanks Sean! Good luck on 2018!

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  10. Hmm. I think I’m about 200ish, plus all the pieces for Star Wars Rebellion. My brushes don’t get replaced very often, I work with their quirks.

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    1. Working with the quirks is a good way to go.
      By the way, I love your work on Star Wars Rebellion. I don't really have the space for that game in my already crowded place, but your paint jobs have made my hand reach for it in the gaming store more than once.

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    2. Ha, I do that too! A fishtailed brush is only useless if you aren't careful ;)

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  11. Damn it Mathew, I was all excited about this when I saw it on G+. Then I read your profusely long list of painting accomplishments and compared it to my embarrassingly small list! Oh well, hopefully 2018 will be more productive! Keep up the great work and be prepared for many questions from yours truly since I picked up a copy of Imperial Assult!

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    1. I would be very happy to discuss Imperial Assault with you any time, WK! And I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it. Have you tried to new solo app?
      Anyway, good luck with your own painting in 2018!

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  12. I'm shocked to discover that, according to my blog posts, I painted 34 figures this year! Most are 15 mm, admittedly but it's not bad for a guy who "feels like he barely paints".

    As for brushes... I always buy the cheap synthetics from the art store. Usually #1. They work for almost everything, but I do go through a lot of them. I have a few W&N's that I save for special occasions, like painting eyes ;)

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    1. You paint too well to be a guy who barely paints.

      Can't wait to see what else you do this year. I am also looking forward to more sidewalk penises of Guelph.

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    2. I am proud that I am one of the first (and only!?) two followers of SWPoG. It's almost as if you weren't trying to publicize it.

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    3. Lolololol. It's almost as if a blog with barely any, yet mildly obscene content isn't something I really need on my CV ;) But I won't lie, if I could find more SPOGs, I'd post them.

      Thanks for the compliment, honestly I've been painting since about 1989 so I'd hope to be at least decent. Before the internet, learning anything took ages since there was no creative cross-fertilization...

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  13. I think you've painted a whole lot of stuff this year mate and it's all been very cool to follow. (Especially for Star Wars fans like me. :P) I posted a year end roundup and I think I did, okay. Could/should have been way more but like everyone else, real life got in the way.

    My brushes are typically cheap and I use them until they are good for nothing but dry brushing. I'll find and use a point on even the rattiest looking brush if I can to get that "last bit" of usage out of it. So far I've not seen much benefit to buying better quality brushes at all truth be told. (This from a bloke who as a pocket-money-less child would paint with toothpicks prior to be able to afford his own brushes. And that with enamel paints!) Though it is nice when a good one stays in great shape.

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    1. Haha! I also used toothpicks (and pins) to paint my first D&D miniatures with nasty Testors enamels. Gosh, I LOVED those figures.

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  14. A great post and a wonderful retrospective of your skill and productivity. After I finished reading it I decided to go back to my own blog to do a quick headcount. I came in at around 180 last year, which is not too bad considering I took the majority of the summer off to enjoy the outdoors and was away for a month during the autumn. I have about 30 in the bag for this year, but that is largely driven by the Painting Challenge. I expect my numbers will drop to almost nothing once spring is in full bloom.

    As to brushes, I use an assortment purchased from hobby and craft shops. If they have a good point and can take a decent load of paint then they pass muster. I have a couple of W&N's, and while nice, I don't find them so superior to warrant the expense. I did pick up an airbrush in the late autumn and am really enjoying playing with that (bulk colour, OSL and fades) For nothing else, the ability to prime indoors during the cold weather is invaluable.

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