Category Archives: Tools

2014 Hobby Year in Review

It’s almost the new year, so I think I’m contractually obligated to write up some kind of retrospective.  I started tracking my backlog (and therefore all hobbying) in January, and blogging in May, so I actually have a pretty good record.  In the last few weeks I’ve caught up with all the projects I completed in 2014 but hadn’t yet written up.

Overall stats

I started the year pretty deep in hobby debt, with a significant backlog from a store closing sale, and went deeper after buying a Space Marines Strikeforce for some Inquisition War projects.  I dug myself out, though, and worked all the way through the backlog.

Hobby Progress Burndown (Nov 2014)

  • 60 projects completed
  • 131 individual models
  • 94 infantry models (including 55 40k dudes, 6 40k characters, 17 Malifaux models and 16 Reaper Bones models)
  • 18 vehicles (14 40k, 4 non-game airplanes)
  • 19 markers, tokens, and the like
  • 6.7% of the Bones Kickstarter models completed
  • New workspace, with much more functional desk, shelves, and paint racks
  • Exclusively used painted models in every game

Warhammer 40,000

Revenant Header

The Warzone Harat three-part campaign finished up in January.  The finale was an apoc-style event, which got me to buy and paint up a Revenant Titan, my first experience with Forge World.  The other big ongoing event was the Inquisition War campaign at Endgame, which gave me the excuse to paint up old Necromunda models as the Inquisitor and retinue, and finally do the Deathwatch Kill Team I’ve been considering for ages.

In addition, I had a pretty large backlog to work through, which meant quite a bit of Ultramarines, Dark Eldar, and Eldar got hobbied.


terrortot_headerI’d been contemplating adding a second miniatures game into the mix, but had never pulled the trigger.  Early in the year I got a demo of Malifaux.  Then, Wyrd’s summer painting contest convinced me to pick up and paint a box.  Once that was done, I had no choice but to play.

Since then, I’ve built up a decent selection of models.  I still don’t really know what I’m doing, but I get more confident with every game.

Reaper Bones

I participated in the first Reaper Bones Kickstarter back in 2012, which was delivered in 2013, and I finally started painting in 2014.  For a while I was trying to do one per Thursday (Random Rursday), but that stopped being fun, so I stopped.  I’m still painting them when the urge hits me, and keep a couple primed on standby.

Scale Aircraft

Scale models header

I got back into miniature wargaming a few year ago through scale models.  The nice thing about wargaming is that it has a built-in excuse to show off your work.  I only found a little time for it this year, but like the results.

Looking to 2015

Malifaux is occupying most of my miniatures brain these days.  I’ve got a pretty decent backlog already which will probably take me through February or so.

I’m going to Adepticon in March.  I’m signed up for a mix of 40k, Malifaux, and hobby seminars.  I haven’t decided what, if any, hobby goals I have ahead of the con.  If I want to do anything special (build out my Deathwatch for Combat Patrol, maybe?), I need to get serious about it soon.

Beyond that, it’s hard to say.  I have a hard time imagining myself starting a new 40k army at this point, but I can see myself building my existing ones out.  I have an desire to complete the Neverborn faction in Malifaux (well, the plastics, anyways).  I get to play few enough games that I worry I won’t understand all the rules, much less actually play with them.  Or maybe I should collect masters instead of factions.

I’ve also got my eye on both Dropzone Commander and Firestorm Armada, but I’m pretty sure I already have too many games…

Backlog complete

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.

Tools: Gamecraft Paint Racks

I’ve been using some Ikea storage boxes to hold paint, but I’ve wanted to upgrade for some time.  I’ve out-grown the number of boxes I had, but Ikea stopped selling that particular one.  I wanted some kind of rack, and after shopping around, settled on the ones made by Gamecraft Miniatures.

These aren’t the sexiest of all the options, but I like that they are available in a lot of sizes (I also have Tamiya paints, which I may want to put on racks later) and is located in the US (which means reasonable shipping).  That gives me confidence that I can expand later if needed.

They warn that there’s a 5-15 business day waiting period, since kits are made to order.  I got the shipping notice very late on the 15th business day.  I was definitely getting impatient, but it was (barely) within the promised window.

Rack, assembled
Rack, assembled

The instructional YouTube video is worth watching.  This was my first time using CA accelerator.  I let the guy at the store talk me out of getting an needle applicator bottle.  This ended up being a mistake.  I sprayed the stuff all over the damn place, including my hands.  It still worked, though.  I wouldn’t want to have tried to put it together without the accelerator.

Rack, filled with washes
Rack, filled with washes

All in all, I was able to assemble the three dropper bottle (26 mm) racks inside of an hour.

Paint racks, all laid out
Paint racks, all laid out

I thought I was going to lay them out all in a line, but I think I like the angled approach after all.  I’m kind of kicking myself for not buying the 45º bend pieces, so there may be a followup order sooner than I thought.