Warmachine. Apparently, for a good number of gamers out there, painting is a huge chore. I don't say this accusingly, but the evidence is still there. I mean, I'm a commission painter for crying out loud. So, to many players out there the prospect of getting an old or new army collected, assembled, and painted on their own is a truly daunting task. I thought I would help out a bit by giving a few ideas on how to make the process go smoothly.
It's been my experience as a commission painter, that painting an army can be done in a manner that severely slows down the process and kills your motivation, or you can take a few intentional steps to make the process work smoothly so that you don't lose interest.
1) Plan, plan, plan. Choose a color scheme before you start. This sounds like an obvious thing, but you need to do a bit more than just pick colors. Find images of models that have the scheme you want to implement. Bolter and Chainsword has a Space Marine model painter application that allows you to try out different color combinations. It is amazing how many people think they have a cool idea, start to paint it up on their models and then realize that it doesn't look so hot, or that it is simply too hard to pull off well. Taking time here means time saved later on.
2) Choose an assembly method. Some people prefer to completely assemble models while others would rather paint their minis in pieces. Decide beforehand how you want to accomplish this. Using some sticky tack and/or dry fitting will help you make this decision. Some models such as your average grunt or marine or soldier won't merit as much attention as a character model or tank. Thus, they don't need to be fussed over as much. Taking time here also saves headaches as there is nothing worse than painting a model and then realizing that its torso is obscured by the positioning of its arms or some such.
3) Plan your painting schedule. My recommendation is to intersperse your high interest models inbetween your larger squads. This provides you with a bit of motivation to get done and a bit of respite from the mundanity that is painting the same model 20 times when you create a full unit. I have made the mistake (multiple times to my chagrin, I'll never learn) of leaving multiple large units of similar models to paint AFTER painting all of the character models and larger, high detail models. This makes painting those last units painful. Having a cool model to look forward to inspires you to persevere and get those last 10 minis done so that you can paint something with more character.
4) Paint wisely. If you haven't check it out, I have a series on painting for tournaments that includes a lot of the ideas I summarize here. Check it out. Basically, there are a few techniques that yield great results and dramatically speed up the amount of time required to paint an entire unit or army. The first technique is what I call assembly line painting. Basically put, instead of painting all of the elements on a single model, paint one element on several models at a time. I do this and can efficiently paint an entire squad by going from element to element instead of painting each model in turn. This also saves a lot of paint as you aren't constantly having paint dry in between models. Another thing that saves time is either buying resin bases or creating a simple basing scheme for your army.
Achieving that new year's resolution to paint an entire new army isn't going to be a simple stroll in the park, but it can be made far easier with a little planning and care.
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