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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.