Finishing Andre Durand brings my backlog down to zero for the first time since I started tracking it. This seems like as good a time as any to talk about what the backlog means to me, and how it I use it.
I started using Kanban Tool to track my hobby progress after hearing about using kanban boards on the Independent Characters. I’ve set up categories for different projects (Space Marines, Dark Eldar, Eldar, Reaper, General Hobby, etc), and using swimlanes to roughly divide up the categories into systems (40k, 40k models from when I played way back in 2nd/3rd, Malifaux, other).
I set up the columns to track the state of each model/unit/project:
- Acquired: I own the model.
- Selected: The model is currently selected to be completed. More on this later.
- Assembled: The model is assembled, including any gap filling or the like. If I intend to paint the model in subassemblies (which is almost always), then the subassemblies are completed.
- Basecoated: The model is primed and any airbrush basecoat is complete.
- Active Paint: Just what it sounds like. Even if there are a number of models or units ready for paint, there’s usually only one or two that I’m working on at a time.
- Painted: Painting is complete, but there’s still work to do. This might include varnish, basing, decals, or final assembly.
- Done: Finished and ready to use.
I’ll often batch up a couple of things for priming and airbrushing, then pick them off for active paint one at a time. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate for spray-based varnish, so models sit at Painted for a while.
I try not to buy too far ahead of what I can paint, or buy things I’m not intending to immediately paint. Ideally this would mean that few things sit in Acquired without being Selected. Most of the volume is individual models from the Reaper Bones Kickstarter, but there are also leftovers from bundles and some limited editions pieces. Most unpainted stuff that I have from my first foray into 40k (2nd/3rd edition days) isn’t in here, unless I intend to paint it up.
Between overbuying at a store closing at the end of 2013 and buying the Space Marines Strikeforce to build up for the Inquisition War, I had too much backed up. I declared no buying more models until I cleared it. Naturally, I cheated some — I bought some Malifaux for the summer painting contest and in their Gencon deal. I pulled some models out of my deeper stash.
The backlog won’t stay clear for long. I’ve already picked out a few more Reaper Bones to paint, and bought a box to expand my Malifaux collection. There’s always the next thing.