A bit like everyone in January I have been spending time polishing off leftovers. Not just the last few mince pies, chocs and cans of grown up fizzy stuff but also a project I started BLOODY MONTHS AGO!, namely these:
They are a block of 15mm pikemen from venexia intended to be used as test pieces for a possible Italian wars project. I have painted them as Papal troops and have used some of the excellent banners from petes flags.
The reasons I abandoned the project in the first place were many, mostly a mix of frustration with the sculpts (soft details and the fact it's a bugger to try to line up a pike in both hands at the same time), the number of miniatures required to make the unit (44, but a pike block needs heft), my butterfly brain wanting to do several other bits. Now I've been thinking about this while finishing the unit off and I think I know what the root of these issues was.
I think it's my own perceived lack of skill when it comes to painting. When I look at the photos the models are perfectly serviceable as gaming pieces. They look fine. Not spectacular, not likely to turn any heads but I'm pleased enough with the finished result. They are, to coin a well worn phrase 'table top standard'. And you know what? I'm happy with that. I got annoyed enough to put the miniatures away half painted because I wanted to achieve a level of painting I can't realistically do especially when batch painting 40+ models. What I should do is stop expecting perfection and instead enjoy the painting process for what it is.
I also painted some Landsknecht shot.
When you really dig into it there are two major points that back this up.
1) Most people's hobby time is taken up with painting if they want to play games with fully painted forces. This means (to me anyway) that it is important to appreciate and enjoy the act of pressure free painting as it will be taking up most of my relaxation time.
2) I reckon a high percentage of miniatures fielded on the tabletop across the world are what their owners would consider 'table top standard'. I think this is because people mostly have limited painting time, abilities that are always improving and the fact that unless you are playing games with a low model count you really don't have the chance to do your best work on every mini you take a brush to.
So I think we should do more to take the pressure of ourselves and eachother when it comes to perceived standard of painting. The brilliantly painted models we see all over the web and in many miniature publications are used because they are really nice examples, often by pros, they are not even close to the average. It's great to have these to aspire to but we must keep in mind that we don't have to match them.
What I think I'm driving at is that you can easily put yourself off of painting by putting too much pressure on yourself to achieve unrealistic standards. Painting is a skill that takes time to learn, you need to pat yourself on the back for each project finished not beat yourself up for mistakes you make. I'm going into 2022 with a no pressure approach to my hobbying and am determined to get better at enjoying every part of it.
...'till next time...