I've been nagging one of my best friends for the past thirty years to get off his ass and paint all those miniatures he bought in high school and which have been gracing his game room, unprimed, ever since. I was talking to him just last week and was shocked beyond belief to learn that he has finally bought himself some paint and brushes and is working on getting those childhood miniatures painted... a few weeks shy of his fourty-fifth birthday. But better late than never.
I know he isn't the only one, either. Despite my chiding I, too, have a substantial collection of unpainted Ral Partha and Grenadier miniatures laying about my basement. I think that many of us do. Perhaps it's finally time to see to them.
I was an avid collector of miniatures all through high school, but after I left home they got packed away in boxes not to see the light of day again for twenty years. Life just kept getting in the way. First were my years in navy, living out of a duffle bag while at sea for three-hundred days a year. Then came my impoverished student years, followed by my moved-to-a-new-city-and-don't-know-anyone years. Then, about five years ago, I met a fellow at my local game store who was looking for a new player for his game. I happily agreed to join the group and bought a new Reaper barbarian miniature to represent my character. But I couldn't just show up with an unpainted figure. What kind of first impression would that make? So I also invested in a small collection of paints and a new brush and took my first stab at painting in two decades.
|Garesh Krull - may he rest in peace|
It was a crude and amateurish attempt, but I was proud of what was the best work I was capable of at the time. It also renewed the spark of collecting and painting miniatures, which has become what I like to call my "hobby within the hobby." It's funny to look back at this miniature, which I was so proud of just five years ago, and find myself embarrassed by it now. Posting it for the world to see is kind of like dropping my pants in public, but it's a great example of how anyone can improve dramatically with a little practice.
For comparison, here's my most recent character miniature, GW's Prince Althran:
|High Elf Prince Althran|
"But I don't have time to paint!"
I hear this a lot. Let's take a look at how we spend our free time on evenings and weekends. How many hours do we spend watching T.V.? How many hours playing computer games? How much time spent trolling the internet and reading stupid blog posts about painting miniatures? Most of these passivities (we aren't after all, actively doing anything, are we?) are thieves of time that leave us with nothing to show for it afterwards. I've made it a habit to devote an hour each day to painting, and the time was pretty easy to find. As I've become more engaged in my hobbies (working on D&D stuff, painting miniatures, and blogging), I've ended up cutting television and computer games out of my life entirely and don't miss them a bit. This is not to suggest that everyone should do so, but it's pretty easy to eliminate one mindless sit-com or reality show each evening and spend some time with brush in hand instead. You'd be amazed at how many miniatures you can paint in a month if you spend even 30 minutes a day working on them.
There's also a practical reason to get some paint on those miniatures. You're sitting at the game table and it's your turn to act. You lick the nacho cheese powder off your fingers and move that unpainted Grenadier mini across the table, roll a dice, then eat some more chips. Repeat all evening.
Painting. It's fun, it's relaxing, it prevents lead-poisoning.