Whenever we sit down to start a build there are always a few things running through our mind; what paints to use, what moment will be the most crutial, glue less, glue more. All these questions have a different answer with every hobbyist. I would like to share my take on it.
First of all, before any project; inventory is imperative. I cannot stress this enough. If you aim to be an effective hobbyist in both time and quality there are no shortcuts to this. I have been in this hobby for almost 17 years and routines have built up, some bad some good, all of them crutial.
Your inventory control should check the following points;
- Glue. Right glue for right project and end. Always keep in stock: plastic, super and pva glue. Overcourse would be to also include cartridges to your gluegun (if you have one). You need the plastic glue for your plastics. Super glue for resin and metals and last but not least PVA for your base/diorama.
- Tools. No project will be done without the right tools. In my opinion there are many tools one can without hurting the project overlook, such as moldline knife, the backside of your hobby knife those the same job. The hobby knife, on the other hand is a must. Always keep fresh blades in stock. Cutting board is optional, but you will never ever regret getting one. Lighting is also very personal in taste, but once you get that white daylight lamp, you will question your every life decision up until that point.
- Paints. Make sure you have all the paints needed for a certain project. Nothing worse than sitting all fired up at 2 AM and realising you are missing Gunmetal. It has happened to me, let it be a lesson to you.
- Brushes. Run over your brushes once a month if you paint a lot. Keep them pointy and clean. The will wear and tear, acrylic paints do that to brushes.
- Airbrush. Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. Always keep it clean and keep spare needles, nozzles and bushings.
When you have these points down, you should be ready to start.
On the size of the project.
How big should a project be? According to me, this is something that comes with experience, but also with determination. Don’t go ordering a full chapter Space Marines and think you will have it done in a month or two. A professional studio with 5 painters wouldn’t get it done that fast. And there is such a thing as a too big project, and in 8 out of 10 times it is a matter of quantity and in 2 instances it is bad planning. Always plan ahead. If you paint recreationally and don’t pay attention to certain deadlines such as commission delivery, tournaments or Apocalypse battles, take it easy and make your projects small in quantity, also best way to perfect skills.
But then you come across that project that in fact is a commission, tournament requirement or Apocalypse battle. Then again planning is of the essence. I would say divide your painting in two categories; rank&file and uniques. On some armies this is easier to do such as Space Marines, where basically everything is rank&file. Everything has the same colour basically, part from your shiney captains, chaplains and librarians. Same thing goes with Necrons and Eldars. Ironically an army like Orks you would wish this would be so easy, but unfortunatelly it isn’t. In my experience in an Ork army everything deserves a special kind of love.
On my table right now I find 20 Necron warriors, 20 flayed ones, 5 immortals, 1 Triarch stalker and a magnetized Doomsday/Ghost Arch. This is almost all rank&file, at least to a certain point. The only thing in here that falls into the unique category are the skin and bone details on the flayed ones. But up to a certain process I paint these the same way as the rest. This makes this project work in bulk, to a certain extent.
If you don’t paint with airbrush as myself, don’t go for the bulk strategy. It will wear you down faster than a wild bronco on a hot day with a wasp klinging to its ass. But if you do, you can actually save hours of painting on doing a factory bulk of your minis. One way of making the bulk strategy effective and feel less tedious, is to once again, plan order of colours and time of application. My project that I described above I will paint as a full bulk, starting with primer and armour plates the first day. Second day metal and weathering. Third and fourth day details and unique features.
Before I embark on this project I follow my list of preparations, I make sure the models are glued to the point where they are the easiest to paint without skipping detail. I put on Van Morrison – Moondance album and I get going.