November 15, 2017 by crew
Big Projects – Why Are You Doing This?
Dave Taylor continues his article series on building and painting your armies, explaining his thoughts on the process from beginning to end.
Over the decades that I’ve been involved in the hobby, I’ve always derived the most joy from working on and, eventually, completing a big project. Most often that’s been an army, occasionally it has been a huge model (like my Warlord Titan) or a terrain project.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking with other hobbyists about their big projects too, and I’m always interested in hearing about the kinds of things that inspire them, help them get organized, and keep them motivated through the “dark times” that can befall any lengthy project. In this series of articles on “big projects” I hope to provide little nuggets of wisdom, gathered during my journeys.
WHY are you collecting this army? Why are you planning out the next six months of your hobby life? What’s your aim? What does success look like?
Last time around we talked about inspiration, typically the first step on a hobby journey. Something gets you excited, something clicks in your whirring brain and you are off. It is all well and good to find that initial spark, but a final vision of hobby success can be just as important.
A big hobby project can feel just like climbing a mountain or running a race, or any number of other metaphors. The common thread is that regardless of the activity, knowing what finishing/summiting/winning looks like helps you to understand when to stop.
I’ve spoken with lots of people at various stages of their big project journeys and, like myself over the years, there are quite a few common aims that people have. While this list is not at all exhaustive, it covers the main visions of success:
To Add (x) Warbands To Your Growing Collection In (y) Months
If you are a big fan of skirmish games, you might decide to add a few new warbands to your collection or paint up all the models from the latest faction release. I am currently doing this for the latest faction update for Dark Age (from CMON).
The Skarrd are an older faction that has recently seen an update and will be receiving a number of new units and re-sculpted models over the next year or so. I have previously steered clear of the “mutant cannibal psychics with a cyborg fetish” but some of the new models are just too good. So, rather than randomly state “I’m painting Skarrd!” I’ve set myself a goal – I’d like to have 1,000-points of Skarrd Horde (the unaligned models usable by themselves, or with a sub-faction) and 1,000 points of Cult of Metamorphosis (a Skarrd sub-faction) all completed by the end of the year. In the photo above you’ll see my progress as of the time of writing the article.
To Play With At A Tournament Or Event
This aim is a very popular one. When a lot of us decide to go to an event or play in a tournament, it’s something we’ll be talking about a lot. It makes it even easier to talk about the event if we can include our armies in the conversation because we really enjoy talking about toy soldiers (and who can blame us?).
As an example, I set an additional goal for my Skarrd collection for Dark Age – I wanted to have a 500-point, tournament-ready force painted up for the Blood in the Wastes tournament at the Michigan GT event the first weekend of October. This meant thirteen models needed to be painted and based. That goal was met and really gave me a boost on the way to my larger goal. In 2015/16, I built and painted a Warlord Titan.
My goal for that massive project was to field it in the 40K-scale Adeptus Titanicus game at AdeptiCon 2016. As I was going through the process, I could always look over my shoulder at the calendar and calculate how close I was to my goal. In the end, victory was achieved!
You Love The Idea Of Owning [Insert Army Name Here]
When we spend a lot of time immersing ourselves in the hobby of tabletop wargaming, we look at photos and videos and rulebooks, we play games and talk about strategies and tactics, we set plans in motion, and we also covet different things in the hobby. Chief among these things we covet are armies that our friends/opponents have used or that we’ve seen at big events.
The desire to field a particular army can become quite strong, to see it laid out on the table, advancing towards your foes, laying waste to all before it! Sadly, this goal can often be a little vague, so having a good idea of how big the army should be and/or when you’d like to see it on the table will help you determine your vision of success.
For the longest time, I have always been interested in the robed and cowled followers of the Omnissiah. The background is great, the red robes are striking, and the sharp metal points look dangerous. In 2003 I started working on an army that would end up using the rules from The Lost and The Damned list from the Eye of Terror campaign book. Over the years I’ve continued to add to the collection, especially when Forgeworld started to release their wonderful resin models. In 2013 I even entered it into the Armies on Parade event in my local GW store and won. The photo above shows the models I’ve added to the collection since 2012.
For A Club/Presentation Game At Conventions
While they are typically rare at wargaming tournaments, “display/participation/club games” are the standard at loads of wargaming shows, particularly those of the historical gaming variety. Taking on a project where you are creating a gaming table with bespoke terrain, plus two or more forces of toy soldiers, is a pretty big ask.
Thankfully these kinds of projects involve your friends helping out too, and the goal is very clear. If you are able to run the game at the convention, and the response from others is positive, you have achieved your goal In the photo above, you can see Ivor Evans (center) who spent a hurried two months before Historicon 2016 assembling 4Ground buildings and painting up gangsters for this convention game of The Chicago Way, by Great Escape Games.
There are more goals that you set for yourself when starting out on your “Big Project”. The two most important things to make note of when setting your goal are how big and when.
Do you always think of a final goal for each big project?
"I’ve set myself a goal - I’d like to have 1,000-points of Skarrd Horde..."
"...we look at photos and videos and rulebooks, we play games and talk about strategies and tactics, we set plans in motion..."