Tournament Attendance as a Painting Aid.

I don't paint very often...

Halleys comet appears with greater regularity than my paintbrush does.

"But GMort, you have several fully painted armies I hear you shout"*, "Are you one of those bastards who gets other people** to paint your armies?"

*or that may be the same voice in my head that for some reason want's me to kill clowns...
** Admittedly my girlfriend sometimes helps with the last minute stuff as she's better at doing squad markings than me and can base 20 models in about a fucking minute...

So I obviously need some motivation to paint and that (you've probably already worked out from the post title) comes from going to tournaments.

I'm also not very good with scheduling or time management or chronological resource implementation or whatever the current terminology is. If I have a week to perform a task you can guarantee I'll be doing it on Day 7, Hour 23, Minute 59.....I was that kid doing his homework on the bus on his way to school ;-)

Anyway I digress...which is also a problem as I normally have about 10 times the ideas for armies than I have time to do those armies and then end up doing an 11th one....

Bollocks, I digressed again...


Okay I'm better now.

The following are a few random thoughts based on my experience of using this particular method.

First you need to pick a Tournament.

Most UK tournaments are 1500 points with the occasional 1750 thrown in for good measure which is a decent sized force to paint. The tournament needs to be close enough in time so you need to get a move on but not so far away that the whole 'urgency' point of this is lost, 2-3 Months is probably best. It obviously also needs to be a tournament that requires you to use fully painted armies or the object of the exercise is somewhat defeated.
This shouldn't be a problem as virtually every gaming club anywhere has several tournaments a year and the UKGT is now 4 separate events spread across several months and most of these will require at least a 3 colour minimum + basing standard of painting.

Now we need to pick an army.

If your anything like me you've probably got loads of stuff at the assembled and/or under-coated stage that you use in games or that you built because you felt like it and then dumped on a shelf or in a box and forgot about. If this stuff is enough to make a semi-competitive army then that's great, If not we may need to buy a few extras to fill in the gaps.
Marines are a good choice as they have a relatively low model count and Rhino's/Razorbacks/Predators/Vindicators are a piece of piss to paint ;-)
If you must do a horde army ('Foot' Imperial Guard, Orks, Tyranid Swarm, etc.) then prepare for the boredom factor to kick in at some point. We'll look at ways to combat that in a bit.

Painting vs. Testing.

If the army is one that you've been using unpainted and can already use well then ignore this part....Go make yourself a cup of tea or something and meet us back here in a bit...

As we're talking about taking this to a tournament we don't want to get clubbed like a baby seal, so play-testing time is going to be a factor. For this reason do all your assembly and undercoating at the very beginning, this means you can still practice with your army in between the equally important painting bits ;-)

Editors Note : I have myself taken optimised armies that I haven't tested very thoroughly to tournaments and got my ass kicked. Conversely I've taken Chaos lists that are to all intents and purposes crap but that I'm familiar with and done surprisingly well...


This is the bit I suck at***.
First work out what free time you have and allocate it realistically. Then make yourself a rough check-list of what you need to accomplish. I am a fan of chart style check-lists usually using excel or something similar, though a scrap of paper will do equally well...that is as long as you don't leave it somewhere where your girlfriend (or mom I suppose in the case of the children**** amongst you) will throw it away.
The allocated time really needs to be when your reasonably sure of no interruptions and when you still have some energy. Don't try to extend your day at the expense of vital functions such as sleeping...

*** Okay, one of the bits I suck at.
**** There is of course the chance that your not a child and still live with your mother which I am in no way criticising...even if it is a bit sad...sorry...

Model Priority.

This is a polite way of saying 'Do the shit you hate first'. Motivation inevitably suffers towards the end of a project rather than at the beginning, having your favourite model to paint at the end should help with that (at least slightly).

HOW many models in this stupid list?!?!?!?

Their are 2 main methods for mass production

1) Do every single equivalent model in your army to the same stage before moving onto the next stage. In the case of my new Infantry Guard Project this would mean assembling over 90 Guardsmen models, then undercoating over 90 Guardsmen models, then base coating over 90 models, then etc.
Obviously this method makes large chunks of your army look like you're making progress with it but can be a little bit soul destroying...

2) Do every single model in a particular unit to the same stage before moving onto the next stage with the same unit. This means you complete a squad at a time and therefore gain moments of satisfaction periodically through the whole project.

Method 1 is quicker, method 2 is probably more likely to save you from going insane. I leave the choice to you.

Regular Progress Reviews.

Ever week or so, have a look at what you've accomplished so far and see if you need to get your finger out a bit.

And Finally,

The Last Resort.
Try this simple test. Turn up at your FLGS drop a pile of models on the table and yell "I need help basing this 150 model Ork horde for tomorrow". If everybody in the room picks that moment to do their 'Roadrunner' impressions then your probably not as popular as you thought...

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