Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How I achieved a painting goal.

Pictures, or it never happened! is what I imagine any viewer is thinking who comes across this kind statement on my blog concerning achieving a goal. I wouldn't move to stop any person's thoughts either as I have failed in the past. I am here to not only prove to any viewer who reads this post, but prove to myself I have the potential to succeed. This post is long, but it attempts to give as many details as possible and maybe it might help another viewer.

Please follow along as I explain ... How I achieved a painting goal.

What is this painting goal?

Around the turning of 2014 to 2015 I had New Years's resolutions on my mind and with this the idea of a hobby based New Year's resolution. This resolution or goal as it became and always was, became a reality at the beginning of January. The goal was simple to paint miniatures once a week. It wouldn't be till early February I would mention the goal on my blog. In late February I mentioned keeping the goal and achieving a finished product. Going on April, I still have yet to produce anything, lol. Doing the math I should have three months worth of work to show off.

I am pleased to announce I have kept my goal, and I do say kept as I am still working on the goal of painting miniatures once a week. Best of all I do have three months of work to show for. Adding to the three months of work to show I have three finished products to show for.

I never spoke about nor showed anything concerning this goal in January as I had to make sure it took root. I did this before and I crashed and burned. February was still a bit early as I was only a month in and only working on the second project and I came close to faltering. March came and went and I was able to pick up the slack and emerge victorious. April has arrived and I am on my fourth project and also prepping the fifth project to allow a smooth transition. I believe this is a good point to confirm my achievements thus far.

I do know the goal I mentioned back in February was to assemble and paint miniatures once a week. In January I was able to keep both ideas going hand in hand, but time took its tole so I kept one idea alive. I keep the goal of painting once a week as a high priority. I keep the goal of assembling miniatures when I have time and patience.

The foremost part of achieving the goal was to create a goal and make the goal achievable. Since I had a goal in mind, I needed to define how I could achieve the goal and pull all the resources and support I could muster to help achieve the goal.

How did I achieve a painting goal?

An important factor for me is not to get bored and stall or get preoccupied with something else pulling my attention away from the goal. I firmly believe these are issues a lot of people have. To even begin to let this goal see the light of day I have to remained focused throughout the entire process. I identified my two main areas of concern, boredom and focus. I needed to remove as many obstacles which might distract me from achieving the goal. I took to the task of examining all of my resources from the miniatures I owned to various forms of support.

Examine my miniatures.

Some of my previous posts show off unfinished painted miniatures and an impressive amassing pile of hobby back log so my choices are quite large. By narrowing down my selection of available miniatures to paint I can better stay on course and narrow my goal to one game, army, and unit. This way I can see one goal at a time and build back up from their to larger goals achieved over time. This might help me to focus on the goal. While examining my miniatures and determining what to paint in a way I developed a painting path. The painting path as simple as it can be is a way to help me decide on what to paint and help me focus and remain focused on the painting path itself.


The Painting Path: Game:Army:Unit

Choose the game: Warhammer 40K
Currently I have four game systems with miniatures to paint, Battletech, Infinity, Robotech RPG Tactics, and finally Warhammer 40K. I considered quantity of miniatures painted to reduce the backlog of unpainted and unfinished miniatures along with quality to give myself something to look forward to for a finished product.

Battletech miniatures I paint on a spastic basis. I have painted a few Battletech miniatures and they all take a lot of time so they would be high on quality versus quantity. Plus I have mixed thoughts on which miniatures to paint for which factions so this could cause a stall very easily. Inifinity had not even arrived yet, but was anticipated to arrive. Infinity in my mind would produce quality and not so much quantity as I would have very few miniatures to paint. Robotech was stalled in the assembly process till better instructions were obtained so an easy knockout. Warhammer 40K has two full armies and tends to be my most active game. Placing Warhammer 40K in the spotlight, it is the game I have two large armies for, numerous units in various states of assembly and painting and yet I have never had a fully assembled and painted army. Considering my thoughts on all four games it would be Warhammer 40K has the winning lead in this category.

Choose the army: Tyranids
I only have two armies for Warhammer 40K, Blood Angels and Tyranids. Previously my Blood Angels had undergone a successful paint overhaul, but my mind I was more geared to my Tyranids. Before thinking of creating the painting goal I had ideas of changing my Tyranid's paint scheme ... again, but this change would be for reasons other than just color changes. My Tyranids often fare well in games so they were the best choice at the moment

Choose the unit: Raveners
I considered painting my Termagaunts since I require the use of so many of them and they can be painted in batches. The thing about Termagaunts is they are to numerous to start with and are usually boring to paint. I had plans to change my current paint scheme so I needed a clean slate to work with. Based upon past success and failure I tend to do better painting small units compared to larger units. I also needed a fun unit to paint and since my Raveners had done well in past games they were the best choice.

Examine my paints

All of the paint I used to use to paint my Tyrnaids were GW paints, most notably Averland Sunset and Mechanicus Standard Grey. Along with this most of my GW paints I used to paint my Tyranids were drying out or dried up or completely separated. My attempts to saturate the dried paints failed and the separated paints did not blend back together well. Replacement paints would be pricey so I had to make a decision as to keep with GW and replace my losses or continue my exodus of most paint pot paints to dropper bottle paints. My Blood Angel's paint overhaul was successful largely to changing my paints to Army Painter and Liquitex products. I took the successes of my Blood Angel's paint overhaul into account and went with what worked before and changed over what colors I could.

What is it?

My plan was to change my current paint scheme slightly, but in reality the entire paint scheme and painting process received a complete overhaul. The entire paint scheme was changed from the prime color all the way to the basing and the painting process was modified to improve speed and reduce general boredom.  The next section is lengthy, but it explains in reason everything I changed in my Tyranid's paint scheme from paint to painting process. Most of the GW paints I mention have their most current name, but I lost a lot of new and old named colors in my great paint moisture drought. I used the most current name for reference.

Examine my paint scheme.

The original primer color was white under grey skin and yellow armor.  I found working with yellow from a white primer to be a pain causing multiple speed humps in applying multiple layers of paint to achieve an even layer of color. I read grey is a better substitute for white in this manner so I chose Army Painter Uniform Grey as the primer color.

Original white primer color.
New grey primer color.
New grey primer color.

The original inner flesh bits were painted by applying two layers of GW Mechanicus Standard Grey along with a wash of Nuln Oil. This process caused considerable amounts of slow down, dried paint, boredom, and general mistakes. To alleviate these concerns the flesh was changed from two layers of GW Mechanicus Standard Grey to two layers of Army Painter Dark Tone Ink. The new flesh color application is much faster and provides a much better look and feel.

The unfortunate thing is this ink method is much more pronounced when viewed by the naked eye. The following pictures shows the flesh at a better angle. Another note is through painting more and more miniatures I have found applying a third layer was necessary in some cases. One funny side effect is the miniature stinks after all of the ink has been applied, lol.

Inner flesh
Originally this step came before painting the flesh and used multiple layers of various green paints and washes with names I can no longer recall. The original scheme for the inner flesh would be to bright for the new flesh color and it also incorporated every inner flesh part. To remove one issue and alleviate another this step was moved to after painting the flesh. The new application process ignores anything except noticeable inner flesh portions of the arms and legs. The new inner flesh paint scheme would be changed to painting a layer of Army Painter Goblin Green paint and then applying a mix of Army Painter Dark Tone and Army Painter Green inks and then applying GW Waywatcher Green glaze.

Notice the inner flesh joints are not painted?
Dem scything talons.
Inner carapace armor
Originally this portion was never picked out and remained the same color as the carapace armor. This new process does cause a bit of repainting. To alleviate any concern for lost time and resources this process was added prior to painting the full carapace armor. The inner carapace armor is painted by applying one to two layers of Vallejo Game Color Heavy Goldbrown to the inner carapace armor and cracks and then applying Army painter Strong Tone ink. This process adds a definite visual division of the carapace armor plate sections, the cracks in the armor, and the inner meat where the armor joins the flesh. You can see this in the following picture.

Carapace armor
The original carapace armor was painted with two layers of GW Averland Sunset. My two most common issues again plaguing the carapace armor like the flesh armor were dried up paint and paint separation. I discovered in my ongoing exodus from most of the GW paint line I could not find a substitute in either of the Army Painter and P3 paint lines. This might lead me to the same issues, but if I was going to change the paint color I had to change it or leave it the same. Viewing DakkaDakka's Paint Range Compatibility Chart provided me with Vallejo Game Color as a suitable compatible color very near the original GW color. After a few test trials the process of painting the carapace armor was changed from two layers of  GW Averland Sunset to two layers of Vallejo Game Color Heavy Goldbrown. You can see this in the following picture.

The carapace armor plates are much more well defined.

Claws and hooves
Originally the claws and hooves were painted various bone paints and assorted washes. I never could settle on what I actually liked to consider painted bone. This is an easy area for me to simply stall and not finish a process. This happened way to often and is a pitfall I must avoid. To alleviate any past and future concerns the claws and hooves painting process was changed from an unsatisfied bone painting scheme to a simple application of two layers of Army Painter Black. This does not do wonders for the claws and hooves, but it gets them done and left for room to expand upon eventually.

Scything Talons
Originally the scything talons like the claws and hooves were painted with failed attempts at bone and eventually a light grey if I remember correctly. To allow the scything talons to be brought out more, but not cause a stall I developed a painting process with experimentation along the way. The scything talons are painted with a layer of Army Painter black, then a layer of Army Painter Goblin Green paint and then applying a mix of Army Painter Dark Tone and Army Painter Green inks and then applying GW Waywatcher Green glaze. The color of the scything talons are the same as the inner flesh portions as you can see. The top portion of the scything talon remains black in color to separate the top of the talon to the sides of the talon. I treat the green color as the acidic poison nature of the inner flesh seeping through the talons giving them their killing capability.

The way I paint the eyes did not change at all, just the paint manufacturer. I got a tip from a local gamer that P3 paints tend to be a little more liquid compared to GW. Since Army Painter was lacking a GW equivalent, P3 gained a chance to join my paint inventory. Testing concluded P3 paints gave a smooth transition from pot to brush.The eye paint color was changed from GW Moot Green to P3 Necrotite Green.

Originally the teeth were painted GW Flash Gitz  Yellow and had nothing else done except perhaps a wash of additional color. The yellow teeth set against a purple maw might have been a complimentary color choice, but the colors never did well together. The yellow teeth needed to go to remove redundant color usage. To alleviate the concerns and bring the teeth out more, the painting process was changed from GW Flash Gitz Yellow to Army Painter Bone paint and a layer of Army Painter Strong Tone ink.

Maw and tongue
Originally the maw and tongue were painted with multiple layers of various purple paints. I wanted to keep the maw and tongue purple in color and I also wanted to brighten the tongue a bit. To update the maw and tongue, the painting process was changed to Army Painter Alien Purple paint and Army Painter Purple ink and Secret Weapon Miniatures Purple wash. The final wash was an afterthought, but it serves as the brightening factor. The purple paint is obviously the base, the ink provides shading and depth and the wash adds the right amount of brightness.

The base was one area the scheme or process was not changed at all as it was perfected months before. The base and sides are painted with GW Ork Waaagh Flesh and the base has GW Lustrian Undergrowth Texture paint. GW Lustrain Undergrowth texture paint added on top of GW Ork Waaagh Flesh makes a great blend to form a perfect natural bond of color and natural look to represent the raw ground and undergrowth beneath the flock I use. GW Waaagh Flesh sits well as the side color of the base.

I use a mix Spring Undergrowth to create the look of a planet's surface as the Tyranid organisms are beginning to emerge. I use Summer Undergroth basing to create the look of Tyranid influenced vegetation beginning to rapidly grow out of control.

Where are the Highlights?

Highlights are a detail I had to skip for the meantime. I understand how important highlights are. With undecided color choices, brushes which will not cooperate and perhaps an outdated application theory I am left to the mercy of a stall, along with mistakes and repaints. Highlighting is something I will have to wait on. Highlights represent a raw sacrifice to be made to remain focused on the goal.

Another note on the new paint scheme is it is bright on dark. I believe the bright will show up better in pictures which is what I want to happen. My Blood Angel's paint overhaul had this effect so I would like the same to happen. I won't be able to tell till I play a game worth pictures and I have a few units visible on the table at once.

Examine my support

My support stems from a good amount of different areas, local players, local painters, blogging, social media, and forums.

Blogging is good, but it is always dependent upon the audience.  The audience is dependent upon the content and the frequency of content. My blog content has been fairly consistent with a few options, but not frequent enough. Blogging gives rewards in the form of comments. I do enjoy comments, but again getting those comments can be tough. Sometimes comments are not helpful or useful, but this is the nature of comments. I for one haven't been posting much and should post more if I am to garner more support from this blog.

Social media tends to be either good or down right toxic depending upon where you chose to seek support. I have only had a few marginal successes for support from social media, so I tend to refrain heavily from looking for support through social media.

Forums in my opinion offer some of the best support, Q&A, discussion, and participation. Forums can be toxic to a point, but they are more subject to being cleaned up often. This is one reason why forums are easier to find support. Lately I have found a large amount of support in the form of participating in forum painting challenges. Currently I am in a forum based painting challenge which is a goal in itself. This painting challenge is where the personal painting goal originated from. I was able to join in late, but with the respect of its members I have flourished.

Ready to work!

Sort of, but not exactly ready to work yet. I needed to determine when I would paint. When it comes to painting, thoughts come to mind as to what day to paint and what time to paint. For me any day could work to paint except certain days I have a scheduled activity. I am not referring to all of sudden things, just activities which would have been scheduled like game nights for a common example. One detail I have to stress is I had to follow and continue the painting path (game:army:unit) every time I paint. If I strayed from the painting path just a bit I opened myself up to failure of meeting and keeping the goal.

Examine my time

Weeknights are good, but they are also my workdays. Weeknights I have a good time block from early evening to late night to squeeze in some painting. However some nights you don't want to do anything near painting.

Weekends are also good as I have much larger time blocks available. Considering Saturday for me tends to be the busier of the two leaving Sunday more open for selection. Like Friday, Saturday tends to be a local game night so this would further restrict the time I had available to paint. Sunday on the other hand tends to be the slow with purpose lazy do what you want day. Sunday still holds the time option to paint mostly whenever I want to start. Since Saturday seemed to be more of a time restraint and to have a more preferred time block I chose to use Sunday.

With Sunday as my locked in choice of day to paint I have the benefit of being able to paint mostly whenever during the day. There is always the chance I may miss the chance to paint on Sunday so I needed an insurance plan. Weekdays would fill the insurance gap nicely as well as the occasional Saturday if needed. This idea worked wonders as one weekend in February I relaxed on my painting progress one weekend and another weekend I couldn't paint due to a minor medical issue so I lost a week or two worth of painting time. Late March I found myself using a few weeknights to cover the gap I created to finish off a current project and it was well worth it.

Off I go then!

Right, off I went to paint and paint I did.

Achieving the painting goal.

The fruit of my labors. This is were I can finally show what I have to show for so many months of determination, focus, and sacrifice. Determined to keep my painting goal alive I moved in tandem with the forum painting challenge. On a weekly basis I was able to achieve my weekly painting goal and on a monthly basis I was able to achieve my monthly forum painting goal.

I found myself numerous times during weeknights going back to painting as it felt good and rewarding. I remember reading somewhere no miniature ever looks good when painting until you are at the last 90% of completion. This makes a lot of sense now I have completed three units. I receive an overwhelming feeling of joy and reward when I can see the miniatures almost complete.

With all this said and done in January a brood of Tyranid Raveners joined the swarm. And the Raveners were only the beginning.

A brood of five Tyranid Raveners joins the swarm fully painted and based.

Keeping the painting goal.

Now that I had achieved the painting goal I needed to keep the goal alive to achieve the same goal again and again. I wanted the swarm to grow.

More work?

Exactly, now that I had one unit painted I wanted to see if could challenge myself and get another unit painted. January came and went and I produced a fully painted unit. February came and went and I produced a fully painted unit. March came and went and I produced a fully painted unit. I found myself towards the end of ever month looking for the next unit to paint. Actually I had all of my units broken down into painting priority based upon table play use. I have a google doc spreadsheet which makes sense of all of this. I see no need in painting a unit I may not use for while or much less use at all. I have a total of nine miniatures painted. Granted nine is not a lot, but it is three units and nine medium sized miniatures. What follows is the fruits of my labors of February and March and the reason why the Raveneers were just the beginning.

A brood of two Tyranid Hive Guard joins the swarm fully painted and based.
I only have two and use two of the miniatures currently.

A brood of two Tyranid Tyrant Guard joins the swarm fully painted and based.
I only have two and use two of the miniatures currently.

I have more pictures of the Hive Guard and Tyrant Guard which I will show another time. I did a few new things with these models which I did not do to with the Raveners, The Hive Guard's guns I feel need a bit ore work, but they are an even painted appearance for now.

Continuing the painting goal.

When March ended and April arrived I looked ahead to get a few units ready so not only do I have a unit prepped and ready to paint for April, but also for the next month as well. This covers for weather issues which might prevent me from prepping a unit with primer. I prepped a new unit of three medium sized miniatures along with a single medium sized character miniature and a large monster miniature. My next unit shouldn't take long to paint so I may be able to add the character unit in with the main unit. The large sized miniature will most likely be planned for May do to an error in prepping over spray. I have a small unit of ten small sized miniatures I am slowly working on in the cracks between units. The small miniatures are the most boring to paint so I avoid goal focusing on them currently. If all goes well April should see another unit join the swarm.

This post was long, but I believe it explains a lot. It actually records what I used to paint in case memory fails me somewhere. I know I will have a large planned two week gap in May from painting so this will be a hurdle to plan for so I don't stop painting. I feel like I am on a roll, but I don't want to over roll or burn out either. If anyone reading this might be able to pick up on anything or it helps them get painting again I am glad.

Thanks for reading and look forward to more posts which I have planned.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see you making progress. I've got a couple big projects starting up as well as I thin out my 40K some, so I know what you mean about needing to keep it organized to keep making progress. You wouldn't have any advice on painting horses would you? Going to be painting my firsts cavalry models in the next couple months.