Friday, 19 July 2013

French 20th Dragoons - AB, Part Three

Hi all,

So here we are on day five of this project having started on Sunday, I have finished the riders last night and have started work on the horses.

There is method to madness here, in that by leaving the horses to last I am allowing the artist oils to dry thoroughly.

Please excuse the quality of these "on the paint table" shots as I am simply trying to illustrate progress. I will post some "beauty" shots at the end so you can see the full effect.

Both Paul and John have highlighted a common issue among us who paint, and that is the speed we are able to turn things around and get jobs done. Obviously this comes down to time available and our ability to discipline ourselves to get on with things. I don't think this is easy as there would be a lot more painting going on than there is.

I am quite pleased with the leopard skin effect on the Officers helmet

The first thing I would say, is "hey guys don't beat yourselves up", at least you are painting which from what I see puts you in the 20% that do. The other 80% are watching or paying someone else to do it. If I achieve anything with this blog, I would really like to inspire and encourage all wargamers to paint their own figures and proudly get them out on the table. I thing it's a big part of our hobby and you miss out if you don't get stuck in.

The other thing is about working on the "psychology of painting", which comes to my point of building self discipline. If you don't paint regularly it might be because you don't have a habit. I seem to remember the training books suggest that to get a new habit you have to do something continuously for thirty days to "embed" it in the behaviours, and that it takes another thirty days for it to become an unconscious habit.

As well as building the habit I have my own personal mantra that helps me deal with a problem that's common to all of us toy soldier collectors, boxes and draws of unpainted lead. I always tell myself that no matter how lovely a figure sculpt looks, it's just a glorified fishing weight until I put paint on figure and get that baby on the table.

As you can see, my method of painting is stage driven and I find this also helps to reinforce the habit by giving me "lines in the sand". I get a great feeling of achievement when I sit down in the evening knowing I have completed another stage in a painting project. This is only reinforced when I sit down to the project the next day and delight at the work done with so much less to do.

I think it's also worth saying that I produce my figures to a plan. Again the training speak says, "Fail to plan, plan to fail". Any plan worth its weight is always written down, and so before any painting, I plan the armies I want to create and write it down, ticking off the units as they get put in the tin.

These are some of the strategies I have used to enable me to move seamlessly from one job to the next, week after week, and start to build forces of multiple units. This process also has to be managed in the time we have available. I am now at the stage that I feel guilty if I don't paint at some time during the day. However I am a family man and time with the ones I love takes precedence over my hobby every time so I paint most evenings at home but always finish off early in the evening to spend time with my wife.

I would end by saying that I find painting a great way to relax after a day/week of work and I don't find it a chore. I think this is important because why would you want to do something if you don't find the fun in it. Most of us have that in our lives anyway when we are at work.

I hope these thoughts are helpful and provide food for thought. I don't for one minute want to suggest that what I do would suit everyone else. We all have to find what works for us, but I do believe that a lot of the stuff that gets in the way of us painting more, more often  is common to all of us. I hope some of my ideas might help you to get the job done.

So back to the 20th Dragoons. I am still on target to get these guys done this weekend so if you have enjoyed the journey so far, stay tuned for the finale.


  1. Cool figures and a nice read JJ.

  2. Your "psychology of painting" treatise mirrors my own. Painting is a relaxing and fulfilling endeavor where structure and discipline can yield big rewards.