Root of the issue

Sitting at the painting desk doesn’t make it happen. If you’re not in the mood to paint or you lose steam, it’s not going to matter if the motivation isn’t there. This has been an issue for me since November.

There are any number of reasons why a person doesn’t feel like picking up the paint brush. For example, I’ve got a commission I need to deliver in a week that I should be working on, but I’m writing this blog instead.

So what gives?

Simply put, it comes down to time management, something many gamers are notoriously bad about. It doesn’t help if there’s a desk full of models demanding your attention. If you’re a magpie gamer like me, the new shiny catches your eye and demands your attention. In my case, it’s not always pewter-related.


Oh Atari 2600... you were the beginning of the end.

My gamer roots can be traced back to the Apple II and Atari 2600. Even at the tender age of five, I couldn’t get enough. My family owned neither of these devices, so I got my gaming in at friends’ and at my cousins’. Combat, Indiana Jones, Space Invaders, they all called my name — until there was a new game to play.

Damn you, Bub and Bob. Damn you to hell...Fast-forward to the halcyon days of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the first console to grace the Ferret family household. My brother and I jockeyed for screen time, and we played the hell out of our handful of games. Bubble Bobble, Jackal, Top Gun, California Games, Contra… those were the days. Our next system was the Sega Genesis, but a year or two into that system’s life and only after we had save up and combined our allowance to make the purchase.

My introduction to miniature gaming came in college with Necromunda nearly 20 years ago. I took great pains to convert and customize my Ratskins, coming up with back stories for every member of my gang. Back then, there wasn’t as great of a concern regarding getting the new shiny. I had my toys and was generally happy with my Ratskins, House Escher, Cawdor and Delaque. Hang on a minute… Uh… I had four gangs. So disregard that part about not needing the new shiny, mkay?

There was a brief interlude with collectable card gaming, but I’m not going to dwell on that. Nor do I want those repressed memories any closer to the surface than they need to be. 😛

Miniature gaming gave way to video games, especially after acquiring a Sega Saturn. This was the cusp of 32-bit gaming. I had no interest in the Sony Playstation because, well, what did Sony know about game consoles (A LOT more than Sega, as time would sadly tell). I painted the occasional mini during my evolution as a full-fledged video gamer, but it was more of a distraction than my passion. I’d paint if I didn’t have anything else to do.

NiGHTS... what a magnificent love affair.

There were a handful of Sega Saturn games that held my attention, but none more than NiGHTS Into Dreams and Panzer Dragoon II. To this day, I can’t think of two days that demanded so much of my attention. Gameplay, music, story, visuals, theses were such a big part of my gamer evolution. It’s where the OCD really manifested itself — especially with NiGHTS and the desire to score “S” rankings on every level I could. To date, it’s the only game where I’ve accomplished that, or have had the desire to do so. I loved NiGHTS so much that when I got my first tattoo, I chose an image of the main character.

In 2005, I was introduced to Warmachine and the Iron Kingdoms. Sure, I knew about 40K and Warhammer Fantasy from my Necromunda days, but this stuff was different. There were stompy steam-powered robots. The big red guys looked kind of Russian, the guys in white were religious, but I didn’t buy that they were the good guys. There were these undead guys, and then the guys in blue. They had knights. Really cool looking knights. And guns and electricity. Alright, I’m in.

Sword Knights, painted on commission c. 2009.

June 2005, I bought a Cygnar battle box. That same day, I struck a deal with a guy at the shop to buy his Cygnar. So in a very short amount of time, I had 500+ points worth of models. It didn’t take long for me to add models into the mix. What does this do? Those look neat. Hey, I like what this model does, I want a second one, or a third one. Then there’s a book release, more new models and the insane desire to own all of it.

Magpie, fly by. Bye-bye, Magpie.

The funny thing about collecting damn near everything for a faction: You run out of stuff to buy. So you start another faction. This is where the magpie REALLY reared it’s head. By this point, I was thoroughly invested in Warmachine. There was no turning back. The weekly games, the bull sessions, the friends I made. Painting wasn’t really playing as big a part at this point because there was so much to learn about the game. I didn’t have a complete grasp on Cygnar, but that didn’t stop me from buying a Protectorate of Menoth army on the cheap.

Since 2005, I’ve acquired Mercs, Trollbloods, Circle (sold), Legion (battle box), Minions, Cryx (battle box), Khador (battle box), Retribution, Minions and Circle (again). I can’t turn my head without seeing something I want to grab for one of my armies. The words “That would be fun to paint” are just a smoke screen to get more models. And given my current situation, acquisition of models isn’t a huge issue. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Time keeps on slippin', slippin'...

So why all of the history regarding video games, and my similarities to that black and white bird up there? Because my life has changed, and painting is no longer my only means of recreation.

There are things like Netflix, the PS3, Nintendo DS, games on my iPod Touch, chatting with friends online and heaven forbid, spending time with Awesome Dude when he’s not working. I’ve started to explore up here a lot more, and if the sun is shining, chances are I’m grabbing my camera and driving somewhere new to see the sights. Thank you Google Navigator (even if you’re Skynet and will kill us all). Painting was something I did because I didn’t have anything else to do, or didn’t want to find anything else to do. Yeah, it’s cheaper than going out, but some time you just need to go out.

I’m still passionate about it, and the hobby side of gaming is what I’ve really enjoyed for the past 3+ years. I’ve recently discovered how much fun it is to play with a fully painted army and that’s how I want it to be when my models hit the table. The cool thing is, I’ve got at least 100 points of painted Cygnar, Protectorate and Retribution that I can throw down with.

All of them. Must. Have. All. Of. Them.

Moderation is key, however. During November 2010, I painted up 100 points of Cygnar for a staff challenge that damn near killed my will to live. I got it done, but it cost me my desire to paint and a small part of my sanity. I barely got models done for Templecon and didn’t touch a paint brush for the rest of February and didn’t pick up a brush in March until a few days ago. It doesn’t help that I’ve got Mass Effect 2, Pokémon White or any number of iPod Touch games to distract me.

I’m slowly getting my motivation back, and right now, it’s more important for me to paint every day than to have the marathon painting sessions that had become the routine. I do have a delivery to make, and it won’t take too long to get those models completed. Then I can knock out the other commissions that have been dogging me forever. And paint my stuff. And figure out which faction I want to focus on for the rest of the year.

But that’s an entirely different blog post.


4 thoughts on “Root of the issue

  1. I feel your pain. I’ve been painting and playing for twenty*mumble* years, and have ( until recently ) Three 40k armies, ( with bits of two more ) FIVE WFB armies, ( Seven if you count the different Chaos armies individually ) Five Necromunda Gangs, Innumerable RPG type figures, Every Warmachine/Hordes battle box,( except Khador, Cryx, Mercs,. and Skorne, which I owned but all went to infect other people with the bug ) Nearly every model released for Circle and Cygnar ( plus half of Everblights stuff, and the beginnings of a very specific Menoth force ) , at least two starter boxes from every Malifaux faction, and probably many more that I’m forgetting about at the moment.

    I did, however recently begin to just give away armies. Right before I moved, I gave my Blood Angels and Tyrannids to a friend. I have many more armies to get rid of, it’s just a slow matter of finding good homes for them. I haven’t played 40k nor WFB pretty much since I discovered WM/Hordes, and don’t forsee getting back into them anytime soon. ( Though I will never get rid of my beloved Wood Elves, with models spanning back to the time of *insert angelic music* White Dwarf #141 with Mike McVey’s Wood Elf Army. I have more conversions in that force than anyone has a right to. )

  2. It doesn’t help that I’ve always been a “play with everything painted” kind of guy. That’s one of the big reasons why I played ( WFB and 40k ) so little until Necromunda came out. ( WHAT? I only have to have ten guys? Sign me up! )

    On the plus side, I’ve become an incredibly fast painter because of that tendency. In fact, on Hordes release day, I was the only one playing with painted models. ( Even though some of the people in the tourney had battleboxes since the previous Gencon. ) I got mine a day early, put them together, primed them, and painted them throughout the day between rounds.

  3. *Sorry, I keep thinking of more to say*

    One of the things thats helped my “Gamer ADD” is that I’ve gotten better at saying no. Other than casters, I haven’t picked up an Everblight releases since just after Primal. When Forces of Cygnar came out, I looked at Kara Sloan, and said to myself “She doensn’t fit my playstyle” and passed on her. Ditto for the Reeves UA. ( I won’t get into the deficiencies of the Reeves vs the Nyss Hunters here, I promise. ;P ) I don’t own Cassius yet, I’m waiting until I play the heck out of my current casters before I pick him up.

    That said, I did just drop a bunch of money picking up all the Super Dungeon Explore releases. Oh, well, you have to pick your battles.

    • Hehe…

      Part of my OCD is that I want to own at least one of everything for my factions. This is pretty much true with Retribution and Cygnar with the exception of the Storm Gunner. With Protectorate, I still don’t own a Sunburst Crew. Circle is my newest infatuation, and the original plan was to leave out anything doglike. But the models are too good to leave out. Why handcuff myself?

      I’ve played one game with Circle using Cassius, and it was a pretty good time. That is likely to be my only game with them unpainted, since they’ll be on the desk shortly.

      I do own Wood Elves, and I’ll be damned if I can figure out what I want to do with them. 😛

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