Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We All Get a Little Bored Sometimes

It all started off with biting off more than I could chew with that damned Ork Wrecker. It is a
massive undertaking to convert an non 40k model to be usable in 40k. Perhaps I bit off more than I could chew and that is what lead to me stalling out. At first, work went swimmingly. The frame and cab assembled and converted nicely. When it came to converting a driver and gunner for the cab, things kinda stalled out. I did not and still have not found a way to insert a couple of Orks into the vehicle in a way that pleases me. So I would push off working on the Wrecker and work on other projects. Since I started the Wrecker, I have finished 25.5 minis. That's a lot of productive procrastination.

Now, I am out of side projects or small projects to paint and I do not want to go back to Wrecker. I am bored with painting. I sit at my desk for hours just looking at my minis an bits and thinking but brushes never touch anything. I have things I could paint. I have things that I should be painting but I do not have the drive. I have the mini painter's version of writer's block.

What follows is an article on some of the things that I do to break myself out of this sort of funk when it settles over me.

1. Go Through your bits box

Sometimes all it takes to jump start your creativity is to find a bit that you forgot you had. That will get you thinking in new and interesting ways. That has often lead to me digging out a few more bits and banging out a a cool new mini that I had never thought of before.

2. Read some of the fluff

One of the best things about 40k is that there is 20+ years of fluff about every conceivable aspect of the universe that you could be interested in. What's better is that is that there is still more stuff written about things that you may not think that you are interested in. For example, I play a lot of different armies and some of the most gratifying books I have read abre about aries taht I do not play. Legion, Prospero Burns and Know No Fear were some of the best novels I wrote. At several point in each book, I was overcome with the urge to start the army detailed in the book.

3. Talk to your buddies or make new friends

If you are bored, then send your buddy a text. Ask him what he is working on. Maybe that will get you jazzed up for your next project.

If that fails you (or you have no friends) go down to your FLGS. If you live in a place that has enough draw, then it will not be the same 7 or 8 people there all the time. Meet a new friend and inspect their army. If they are not playing a game, then they may be able to talk to you about some of their favorite painting techniques or models.

4. Look at Cool Mini or Not

If there is a unit or mini that you are not too hot on, they going to CMON and search for that unit name plus conversion. Odd are that someone has already done something that you never thought of. that may inspire you.

Also, just browsing on that site can spark your imagination. I really wish there was a better way to browse photos but you can sort by manufacturer. If you are into 40k then GW and sci-fi are going to be your pics. Then I would sort highest to lowest. There is a lot of garbage on CMoN and that stuff is usually rated less than 5.

5. Think about starting a new army

Now you do not have to go out and drop $500 on a new army,  but somethings of thinking of a new army can spark your interest in painting again. With the advent of 7th Ed and Unbound armies, you can really just buy and paint what you want at this point. You play Chaos Space Marines and you want a Wave Serpent? BBP (Buy it, build it, paint it)! It makes you a douche bag to use it because there is no reason for CSM and Eldar to be friends, but that's the risk you run. At my table, if you take the time to BBP and at least try to come up with a reason for that unit to be on the battlefield, you are good. If your reason is anything like "It is a really good unit and I wanted to take it." Then I do not see many games with you in the future.


6. Play a game

I am sure that many people do not have the same problem getting a game in that I do. I speculate that for most people the point of 40k is to get the minis from the sprue to the table top as quickly as possible. That's why I see so many grey Orks or primed black Space Marines on the 6'x4' tables.

Sometime when the painting, modeling, converting or collecting aspects of The Hobby bore me, getting a game in can jump start my interest in 40k. The best example was a game against a guy I only played once because he was a bit a of a DB. He used a Vindicator for the first time against me. It ate 2 or more Assault Squads and 5 Death Company like they were candy. In the moment, I was furious. I knew that I was not going to win the game but I would be damned if I was not going to kill the ever-living hell out of that Tank. After the game, I wanted one so bad. I wanted to build it and paint it and use it to crush my enemies more than anything.

When it was over, I went out and bought a Vindicator. That game changed me. To this date, almost every time I make a list I consider putting a Vindicator in it. Sometimes having a new game piece introduced into your local meta and really change everything.

7. Buy something

In a similar vein to the last point, sometime just getting a new kit can inject some enthusiasm. This assumes that you are in a position do drop $20-$50 on a whim. If you are in that position, then sometimes picking up a kit, even if it not for an army you own, having something new and shiny in your hot little paws can get you jazzed up to get back to the painting table.

8. Paint a single mini

Baby steps. Sometimes you have to crawl before you fly. The journey of a thousand steps and other cliches. But really, sometimes you just have to paint a single mini and that can get you started again. Pick something that has been laying in your bits box forever or a mini that you have been putting off. Sit down, start, paint and finish a single mini and hope the inertia carries you ahead.

9. Work on something else

More constructive procrastination. If you stall out on a project that you dislike doing, then put it aside and work on something else. This can lead you on a long and dark road of never finishing that project but rather than stalling out on something you dislike it is better to keep painting.

10. Read a White Dwarf

I know that White Dwarf is a shadow of what it used to be. It used to be filled with articles about painting, hobby, terrain and battle reports. Back in those days, you could read an issue of WD and when you were finished you would be electrified and just want to buy, assemble, convert, paint and play your heart out. Those days are more or less gone. WD is now a 20 page sales flyer and it is hard to get inspired by someone trying just hard enough to get you to buy and not a whit more.

11. Walk away

You have to know when to hold them and know when to clean your brushes. Sometimes you just have to know when your heart is not in it and walk away from the painting table for a while. Take a walk. Watch some Netflix. Start a fight club. Do whatever but don't force it. Trying to grind through a painting project can just burn you out further. 

12. Wait for a new Codex

While you are walking away from that table and exploring that big bright outside world, GW might just release a new Codex. Sometimes, new rules, new units and pretty pretty pictures are more than enough to get you back to the table.

I hope that helped some of you overcome the funk or at the very least let you know that your frustrations in painting are shared by others. I could have added a 13th point of start a blog an write about your hobby feelings but I thought that would be a little to obvious.

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