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A Space Marine Lost in the Woods

A Space Marine Lost in the Woods

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Project Blog by senjimakoto

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About the Project

A short(ish) story about the lessons of a hobbyist's first painting contest and the wandering the woods afterwards looking for answers.

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Epilogue - It's the Hope that Kills You.

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I thought I’d have had this entry up before today, but time got away from me and other things kept getting in the way.

I had planned for this entry to be about the bright hobby future I envisioned, but in the time since my last entry, I’ve had a few set backs. I’d love to be able to say that I’m not letting them get to me, but they are unfortunately doing just that.

However! As to not end this project on a completely somber note, I wanted to share a link to a fantastic cause with you all.

I’m sure many of you have heard about the wonderful children’s charity “Extra-Life” – Every year, gamers from around the world raise money by hosting and running various gaming marathons. While it did originally start as a video game-related project, boardgames and table top games have become a massive part as streamers and gamers find the social interaction more rewarding. As of 2021, they have raised over $100 million (USD) for various children’s hospitals.

2023 is Extra-Life’s 15th anniversary and the selected game day this year is November 4th. That is a Saturday most of us will probably be at the local shops or clubs playing games, why not raises a little money for the kids while doing what we’d normally be doing anyways?

That’s all I have. Thank you to everyone who swung by and read my giant walls of text or scrolled by for the pretty pictures. I appreciate it.

~Take care and happy gaming.


Chapter IV - If a Space Marine Falls in the Woods....

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After losing a competition, what is the best way to sulk? Probably walking around the woods? Actually, that might not be the best idea. I could bury the carcass of the losing entry I made.

With it being Earth Day, I decided to visit the local nature preserve – Wesselman Woods. A dear friend of mine works there and my brother and his girlfriend (both of whom entered the painting competition as well) were volunteering, so why not? Plus they had a really good Chinese food truck there for the celebration. Who doesn’t love a good food truck?

'Where's Waldo' 40K Edition'Where's Waldo' 40K Edition

I have always been a competitive person, especially when it comes to gaming and my artistic endeavors. Combing the two felt makes for a massive powder keg.

In the world of gaming, I am sadly a midmaxer. I have the most fun finding the most efficient ways to power game. I’ve been called a rules lawyer so many times because I love memorizing rule books (my friend even made up fake business cards for me).

With my artistic ventures, I attend various shows selling my art, sketch books, and self-published comics. If I’m have a bad turn out, I am constantly comparing myself to everyone with bigger turn outs. What are they doing that I’m not? Is my stuff that much worse?

Whenever I have a bad art show, I tend to get inside my head far too much. I overthink things and tend to get rather depressed. I store to myself I wasn’t going to let that happen with this.

Sure, I’m officially 0-1 for painting competitions, but this was as low of stakes as possible. I’m proud of the color scheme I picked, and of the new techniques I learned doing it.

That should be good enough, right?

Chapter IV - If a Space Marine Falls in the Woods....

Perhaps I’m putting too much pressure on myself because of the stupid “goal” I boasted about?

All the people who have won Golden Demons, let alone a Slayer Sword, have years more experience than I do. Hell, some of them have more years under their belts doing this than I’ll ever have the opportunity to.

So why am I comparing myself to their accolades and accomplishments?

Chapter IV - If a Space Marine Falls in the Woods....

Perhaps that is where I am missing the point in my own hobby journey?

Painting miniatures is a fun, somewhat relaxing hobby for me. It lets me take these little toys I play against my friends and family and customize them just a bit to my personality. If I shift the focus too much from that, what is the point?

Maybe the true purpose of my desire to win a painting competition isn’t to compare myself to the legends that of come before, but to compete against myself? We are our own worst enemies after all. If I am proving to myself that I’m better now than I was before, isn’t that better than a massively gorgeous sword?

Chapter IV - If a Space Marine Falls in the Woods....

Chapter III - Game Day on Earth Day

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The day finally came to submit the model for the competition. The fact that it was also Earth Day does come into play later.

Anyways, I packed up my entry and headed to the store. I was incredibly nervous. Would mine stand a chance? Will I get laughed out of the competition? How will I feel, win or lose? Will The Simpsons continue to run if anything ever happened to the main four voice actors? So many questions were running through my mind.

The truth is that I am an extremely competitive person. I know it is a fault and I do my best to keep that part of me in check. So while this was as low stakes as possible, I knew I was putting undo pressure on myself. It is a vicious cycle.

When I got to the store, there weren’t many people there. A few tables had some Warhammer 40K games going on in the back, as one as a Magic the Gathering Commander pod in the corner. I was the 6th entry into the comtest.

Chapter III - Game Day on Earth Day

After a few minutes a handful of other entries showed up. A total of 12 Space Marines in total, including two or three that went that very bright and colorful route. We were told that customers in the store would be voting on the entry over the course of the next hour.

I spent some time talking with some of the other painters about what they did or why they selected the paint schemes they did. It was nice to get to “talk shop” as it were.

As I chatted or sat off to the side, I tried to pay attention to what people were looking at mostly on the table. There was some focus on the bright ones and a lot of people seemed to be attracted to them. I guess that’ll teach me to second guess myself, uh? After a while, though, focus seemed to narrow down to three in particular – and mine was one of them!

I won’t lie. I was feeling a little on Cloud Nine that anyone would like mine, let alone talk about it. The other two models were even better, though, having opted to freehand the store’s logo on the shoulder pad. I figured that small attention to detail was definitely a one-up on everyone when I saw their models. Still I was hopeful.

At the top of the hour, the store manager announced that the votes were in and thanked everyone for being a part of the event, either as a hobbyist or a voter.

Obviously, by the way I’ve been building this up (not to mention the description of the project to the left), my model did not end up winning. Nor did either of the two models that went the extra mile with the free hand or the brightly painted models. The winner ended up being a model that used only the three or four colors found in the store’s logo.

Sort of makes me feel like I wasted 15 hours…

Chapter II - Color Selection

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My initial thought for the color scheme was to go super vibrant and off the wall. I wanted the entry to stick out amongst the crowd. So I debated working with a lot of neons, only to decide to go in the opposite direction. As much as I visited the store, I’m still not 100% familiar with the staff. I don’t know if they’d care to recreate that color scheme.

After some back and forth, I decided to go with a subtle color palette actually based on the local college’s basketball team the Purple Aces. I am far, far from a sports fan (outside of golf and dodgeball), however my city lives and breathes their teams. I figured the nod might score me some extra points.

So without further ado…

Along with this being my first painting competition, this was also the first time I actually painted a Space Marine. All of my 9th edition and Kill Team models sat assembled and not even primed until after I got this one done. I know, I know. I am horrible.

All in all, this model was approximately 15 hours of work. It wasn’t all in one sitting, but rather done over the month. With my work schedule, I usually get an hour or two of free time to hobby a night if I’m lucky. So i took advantage when I could. Though, I guess in hindsight that was a bit too much time spent.

For those interested in the color recipe –


  • Stynylrez Black with a light misting of Stynylrez White

Space Marine:

  • Army Painter SpeedPaint Hive Dweller Purple – Base coat over the entire model
  • Army Painter WarPaint Alien Purple – Mid-tone
  • Army Painter WarPaint Warlock Purple – Dry brused over the armor
  • Army Painter WarPaint Plate Mail Metal – Used on the gun and all silver trim
  • Army Painter WarPaint Greedy Gold – All gold trim/embellishments
  • Army Painter SpeedPaint Zealot Yellow – Applied over the gold to dull it a little


  • Army Painter SpeedPaint Hardened Leather
  • Army Painter SpeedPaint Gravelord Grey
  • Army Painter SpeedPaint Blood Red
  • Army Painter SpeedPaint Highlord Blue
  • Army Painter WarPaint Plate Mail Metal

Fun thing I discovered while doing the base –

There is a chunk of metal at the front of the base that looks like it may have been part of a Titan/Knight or Rhino. Not really for certain. I played it off as a part of a destroyed Ultra Marine vehicle.

I thinned down the Plate Mail Metal metallic paint before applying a coat of the Highlord Blue over it. This gave the blue a metallic shine that was absolutely perfect! Granted, I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone else, but it felt like a nice level up moment for me.

Now all that was left to do was wait for competition day.

Chapter I - Answering The Call To Battle

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At the start of the year, I made a vow to myself to push my hobby to the next level this year.

Only problem is that I have zero clue what that meant.

I’ve been in the miniature wargame hobby since late 2015/early 2016. Prior to that, the most experience I had with miniatures were games like HeroClix and Star Wars: X-Wing. Since then I’ve gotten into dozen of various miniature games, though most of them are still in their gray state of shame.

I would paint from time to time, mostly hero models. The idea of batch painting small groups of look-a-like models bored me. That did change during the pandemic when I finally got into Warhammer 40K, but that is a story for another time.

Sometime around the end of February I began joking that I was going to enter the mythical Golden Demon and take home a Slayer Sword in my first event, retiring my brushes after that. And that is when it hit me. That is what my vow meant. I was going to actually attempt to enter the most contested miniature painting competition in the world.

Only problem is, aside from some illustrative art competitions, I’ve never competitively painted before. Even worse there aren’t really any events within my area that would give me the opportunity to practice and compare myself to others. Lucky a local game store was about to fix that for me.

The premier game store in my city decided to host a painting competition to determine the official paint scheme of the store’s Space Marine army. Painters would all use the same model (the free Space Marine model GW was giving away) and could not do any kit-bashing/alterations to the model. We had roughly a month to get it done, the voting would be done in store by the customers, and the winner would get a set of the Citadel Paint Brushes.

This sounded like the perfect chance for my first painting competition! Low stakes, decent reward.

I swung by and picked up the model from the store, paid the nominal entry fee ($5) and got to plotting my color scheme.


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Greeting and salutations, fellow gamers and hobbyists.

For the most part, I am a lurker here at OnTableTop. There are far more talented and insightful people on here that I will often only ever really comment on the occasional Atomic Mass Games-related news.

Still, even in my awkward shyness and self-imposed community isolation, I wanted to reach out to submit something 100% completed for this year’s challenge.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do for this year’s Spring Cleaning Hobby Challenge that we are already half-way through May without an entry from me yet. I kept telling myself that I have so much gray in my pile of shame that I could just separate all the projects into random piles and roll a d20 to decide the project. I had several things planned, including possibly restarting my original project from back during the very first challenge, but instead I decided to go a slightly more simpler route.

I’m not sure what kind of category this will fall into (at least the A Breath of Fresh Air I’d think), but I wanted to share a story with everyone. It is a story of hobby milestones and of lessons learnt.  It is a tale of trying to find even the small victories in defeat and putting one’s pride aside to continue onward.

Yeah…I think that sounds a bit melodramatic as well. However, I promised you a story and what is a good story without a bit of drama?

So please sit back and enjoy.