It’s been a different year for me. I tend to be fairly reclusive and hide in my house up on the hill. Well, that didn’t change, but even so it’s been an interesting year.
My most important measure of the year is always what did I get done vs. what did I buy. Normally I’m a pretty careful purchaser of lead. In years past I accumulated big piles of lead against future projects. Bladensburg is an example of this. I bought four boxes of Victrix figures three years ago, and only just finished almost all of them. I have more painted Hundred Years War figures than any of other era with about 700 figures painted. But I have at least that many unpainted. So, as with many of my friends and miniature wargaming colleagues, I’m a figure whore. I’ve been better over the years.
I have painting goals of 400-600 figures per year. These get harder to reach every year. I tend to spend a little less time painting each year. In years past I’d guess I painted an hour and half a night 320 nights per year. A bit longer on the weekends. I would guess I’m down to about 250 days of painting per year. Why? My work schedule-newspaper deadline nights makes it tougher. I have more fatigue–I don’t sleep particularly well many nights so I’m just too tired to paint. Some nights I’ll just plop myself down in a chair and read. But there are times when I really, really enjoy what I’m painting and I’ll paint until I’m just too tired to go on. 7:00-9:00 p.m. is my painting prime time, but I often am all in by about 8:30. I’ll have the Mariners on, unless I’m really frustrated with them, or the season is over, or be watching something on Netflix and just paint away.
I didn’t keep up with my painting log this year. Tried, but just fell off the wagon. My guess, however is that I didn’t meet my goals. I believe I finished the year with about 350 painted figures. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is the fewer hours devoted to painting. Another is that I only paint 28mm figures now. No more 15’s, so no more cheapies. I count a figure as a figure. No bonuses for mounted figures, no bonus for extra size or extra effort. A tank, a 1/285 airplane, a cannon model, a terrain piece are all equal to a figure. So I fell short of my goal.
I’m going to keep my painting goal for 2014 right at 400. I’d like to think my painting can be equal to about one figure per day. I fully expect my work will be mostly 28mm figures, but I may reinvigorate my DBA projects and try to at least paint a few of the six or seven armies I have. Most of all my time will be spent working on my Louisiana Project. I probably have about 200 or so figures left to paint. I find them pretty fun to do, and they paint up fairly quickly, even the mounted figures. However, I don’t have a deadline with them. They don’t have to be done until they’re done. It will allow me to drag something else out to work on, whether those are my Irish Civil War figures, some AWI units, my 1/600 ACW ships, or something else. My Enfilade obligations are largely painted, though I still have a bit more fiddling to do for Bladensburg.
Two items I definitely want to work on aren’t particularly wargame related. A couple years ago I bought the Perry “Death of Gordon” vignette from their Sudan range. I love the movie Khartoum and admired the G.W. Joy painting the vignette is based on. It is something a little bit different to work on, and I’m preparing it on my work table now. The other item I really want to paint is a 54mm Imrie-Risley figure of Abraham Lincoln I’ve had for quite some time. I actually a lot of the “big boys” stowed away for quite some time, and some day I hope to paint them in my dotage. I’m an admirer of Lincoln. He is my favorite president, both for his principles and his ability to work within a greater understanding of what was needed to get things done. Because Lincoln dressed very simply, usually in black, the challenge will be to bring life to the figure.
Something I didn’t do a great job of is managing my buying this year. I was pretty good until August. I earned some extra money for my work at J-Camp, and I promptly started spending like a drunken sailor. Figures for the Louisiana project, the Perry Volunteers of Ireland, some War of 1812 Americans, command figures for the British for Bladensburg, and more I can’t even remember. My goal is to at least break even with figure purchases-no more figures purchased than painted. I don’t know if I did that this year. I purchased some figures for Bladensburg, but many were for sheer spec, and I don’t like to do that. My purchases should be for “just in time” production purposes and I feel like I failed.
I have a couple of New Years resolutions. The first is to set some painting goals. I would really like to finish all of my Louisiana figures. There’s not really a deadline on this. I’d like to run a game at Enfilade, but honestly I probably already have enough figures to do it now. Realistically I’d like to have everything done by Drumbeat in September. I have nearly all the figures to do this. I think I need a few more of the mounted Cuera militia, and a few more foot officers. I think this also leaves me some time to pick away at some other painting along the way. I have an AWI unit or two I’d like to paint. Maybe some of my Irish Civil War figures. Ships. Planes. My dance card is wide open.
My second resolution regards game play. I don’t do nearly enough. Mostly it’s my choice, so I am putting my choices out on right now. I want to play at the Game Matrix DBA nights twice per month. My hope is I can morph that into a bit more than DBA, focusing on DBX gaming. I’d love to, for example, play Sluys again. In addition I’d like to commit to playing on the NHMGS game days the third Saturday of the month. These are absolute musts for a couple of reasons. First, I need to get off my damned hill and get with my gamer friends. Don’t know why I’ve been so reclusive. I also have way too much time and energy invested in my projects to not be playing with my figures. I know I can do better. It’s as though I’ve just become a bit of a hermit.
In any case, 2014 is shaping up to be a good year, and I’m looking forward to it.