A couple of months ago I decided to set myself a hobby challenge, to paint a full Warhammer 40k army for the Summer Solstice tournament which is held at my local club every summer. After a bit of deliberating I ordered a bunch of Eldar and officially started the project at the start of November meaning I had about seven months to complete the army.
So, coming up to the end of month one where am I at? Pretty much where I started to be honest!
I’m admittedly a slow painter so this was always going to be a challenge but my lack of progress is almost laughable. There’s a total of 66 individual pieces in my army (including some big stuff like a wraithknight and a crimson hunter), so far I’ve painted a whopping three of them (and they’re not even exciting pieces!).
In the past I’ve been fairly critical of the painting standard of 40k armies, I’m not going to win any painting awards but in comparison to most 40k stuff I’ve seen, I’m Raphael (which also happens to be my favourite flavour of turtle). Sure, there are some great looking armies at my local club (Dave Williamson’s Tyranids and Andy Richardson’s Grey Knights instantly spring to mind) but they’re vastly outnumbered by bare plastic, undercoat or, at best, three colours and a wash that look like they were applied by a retard on a rollercoaster.
What this project has taught me so far is that the poorly painted 40k armies you see may not come from a lack of painter skill, they may just be a product of necessity. Most tournaments have a minimum painting standard of three colours (and based) and have to be fully painted. Based on my recent experience, even that is a significant challenge! Based on my current paintin speed, my army will be fully painted to a decent standard in a little under 2 years.
The big question I have to ask myself is do I rush the painting to enter the tournament or do I go at my own pace and risk missing the tournament. That took me less than a second to answer, the reason being my reason for spending money on the hobby.
If you stop and think about it, spending vast amounts of money on small lumps of plastic is fucking insane! That is until you stop and compare that to other things. Let’s say you go to the cinema, you pay £8 for the chance of a couple of hours worth of entertainment and then you go home having gained nothing. If you go to the cinema three times, you will have spent the same £24 that you could have spent on a box of Eldar Fire Dragons.
The Fire Dragons may not give you a fumble in the back row but you do get some value out of that £24. If you’re a slow painter like me, that money will get you much more than the six hours of entertainment you would get out of the cinema. Hell, with finecast you’ll still be trying to clean the models up after all the films have finished. On top of the hours of painting pleasure you can get, there’s also the sense of achievement at the end where you can appreciate the thing that you have beautifully painted. Then you can stick it on eBay for a profit and buy more because people will pay silly money for painted armies (wonder why that is?!).
As this post has been a bit ranty in places, I’ll leave you with a picture of one of my completed Fire Dragons (taken before adding grass to the base).