Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Retrospective


I had a tough time getting started in 2009, but I finished strong. What with taking care of my young son, making time for other family in town, my volunteer work, and my music, it's always easy to find reasons not to paint. I probably did that too much at the beginning of the year. By the late summer I was striking a better balance between my hobby and everything else.

Counting mounted men as two figures, I finished 1,874 figures this year. For comparison's sake, last year I painted 2,167 figures, and that was after losing two months to hand surgery and losing a lot of production when my son was first born.

I'm definitely settling into a few periods: classical antiquity, the American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the American Civil War. For the first time, I painted NO World War II figures.

1:1200 Figures for Me (1 Ship)
1:1200 Napoleonic British, 1 frigate

When Warhammer released Trafalgar, the fellows and I decided we would build some fleets. A little experience with the fiddly ships and a little experience with the cheesy rules was enough for us. This project is likely to remain unfinished until we find some rules we like better.

15mm Figures for Me (261 foot, 12 horse)
15mm Napoleonic Austrians, 152 infantry
15mm Napoleonic British, 24 infantrymen
15mm ACW Union: 85 infantrymen, 12 cavalrymen

For the first time, I really wasn't motivated to paint too many 15mm figures this year. Usually this is my gaming scale of choice, but I shifted to mostly 28mm figures in 2009.

I expect that I'll be painting a bunch more 15mm ACW in early 2010. Austin, Don, and I are going to give Regimental Fire and Fury a whirl, and we've decided that the infantry need to have shallower bases to give the game the right look. I have 250 infantrymen on order and will probably start them in January. If we enjoy the rules enough, I'll probably get cranking on some cavalry, artillery, and generals to match the new basing scheme.

I had hoped to complete my 15mm Napoleonic Austrian army in time for the bicentennial of Wagram, but I made very little headway. I hope to get this stalled project started again, but honestly, I just have other priorities right now. Still, I'm about 80% finished, and I should probably put my nose to the grindstone for a couple of months and finish that army.

15mm Figures for Commissions (356 foot, 105 horse, 6 elephants, 2 artillery pieces)
15mm Romans, 104 infantrymen
15mm Turks, 40 infantrymen, 30 cavalry
15mm Macedonians, 124 infantrymen, 2 charioteers, 47 cavalrymen, 2 artillery pieces
15mm Carthaginians, 68 infantry, 28 cavalry, 6 elephants with 18 crew

Much of the first half of the year was taken up with commission work. My idea was to make my hobby fund itself. I would take enough commission work each month to pay for that month's purchases, and after I finished painting for others, I would paint for myself. I charged $3.50 per foot figure and $6.50 per mounted figure, so I did earn just over $2,000 by painting. Much of the money went to my new terrain setup, but most of it ended up just paying the bills.

Unfortunately, my theory was sounder than my practice. I had trouble motivating myself to keep painting, and my production slowed to a crawl for a while. I finally decided in June to stop taking new commissions and focus on painting for myself.

28mm Figures for Me (823 foot, 56 horse, 7 guns)
28mm Greeks, 28 hoplites
28mm Macedonians, 112 infantrymen, 30 cavalrymen
28mm Gauls, 38 infantrymen, 14 cavalrymen
28mm Carthaginians, 18 infantrymen, 1 cavalryman
28mm Marian Romans, 82 infantrymen
28mm Napoleonic French, 36 infantrymen
28mm Napoleonic Austrians, 11 infantrymen
28mm AWI Americans, 221 infantrymen, 1 gun, 4 crew, 6 horsemen
28mm AWI British, 8 infantrymen
28mm ACW Confederates, 240 infantrymen, 6 guns, 20 gunners
28mm ACW Union, 5 mounted generals

I started and finished two 28mm armies this year, Macedonians for Warhammer Ancient Battles and AWI Continentals for British Grenadier! No doubt I'll continue to add to these armies, but it was nice to have a couple of small, manageable projects that I could finish within a few months.

After ignoring my pile of unpainted 28mm ACW lead for most of the year, I was able to really crank out the figures in the second half. All of my Confederate infantry are finished now. I still have 40 Union skirmishers to finish, as well as all my Union gunners, most of the guns for both sides, mounted and dismounted cavalry, and Confederate generals. I have a feeling 2010 will see me finish up these armies, finally finishing the project three years after I started it.

I've continued work on my WAB and FoG armies, and while these projects will likely never end (at least not until I die or find other rules), I do plan to finish enough FoG bases to play a proper 28mm game with the rules in 2010.

28mm Figures for Commissions (36 foot, 18 horse)
28mm El Cid Spanish, 8 infantrymen
28mm Medieval English, 18 cavalrymen
28mm Napoleonic Bavarians, 16 infantrymen
28mm Napoleonic French, 12 infantrymen

Only the medieval English were a paying job. The other figures were all samples from HäT Industries. I was glad to paint the figures for them, but these will probably never see my gaming table (except just possibly for the Bavarians).

1/35 Models for Me
Tamiya King Tiger, built and painted
Tamiya Panzer IIIL, built
Dragon Panther D, built and partly painted
Tamiya SU-122, mostly built

With the help of Austin, Don, and Scott R., who are all much better at this than I am, I revisited a hobby that I had given up after high school, building scale armor models. I learned to use an airbrush, experimented with washes until I got them right (or as right as I'm likely to get them), bought reference materials galore, and actually entered my King Tiger in a show, where I received a bronze ribbon. Now that I have a spray booth, I'll be able to paint year round, not just when it's warm enough in my garage. The best thing is that building models doesn't cut into my miniatures time, because I can build on the kitchen counter while my son plays.

Once again, our little gaming group was able to keep to a fairly regular schedule. Jon, Austin, and I meet once each month for a painting night and once each month for a game. Don and Scott R. are becoming frequent gaming partners as well, making the 2.5 hour drive about every other month.

After our experience at the local gaming convention in 2008, an experience that none of us particularly relished, we decided to hold our own "convention," three days of gaming over a long weekend in October. We played four games in those three days and had a great time.

In 2009 we played:
10mm ACW with Jon's adaptation of Republique
15mm ACW Fire and Fury
28mm ancients with WAB
28mm ECW with Ironsides
15mm Napoleonics with Republique and Age of Eagles
28mm Napoleonics with Jon's adaptation of Ironsides, Piquet: Field of Battle, and Rank and File
15mm World War II with Battlefront: WWII and 1943
1:1200 Napoleonic naval battles with Trafalgar
15mm AWI with British Grenadier! and Jon's adaptation of Ironsides


  1. All I can say is WOW!

    And I was feeling good about painting 10 15mm Union guys in a day and a half!!


  2. Scott,

    As someone who discovered your blog this year, let me say thank you for sharing your painting with us.

    I check your blog often. It serves as both inspiration for my own work and as a reference for uniforms and painting techniques.

    I look forward to seeing your work in 2010.

    Happy New Year!


  3. A great year by any measure. Here's hoping you have an even better 2010.


  4. Scott

    Its great to hear another painter tell of what they went through in a year. Not that long ago I had similar aspirations to taking commissions to pay for the hobby. For a few years it actually worked and I even made a profit (briefly) but found like you that I couldn't keep the pace up - particularly with both a job and a young family. I ended up also getting demotivated because I did little for myself for long periods - and ended up with no time to do it anyway. Striking the right work/home/hobby balance is very difficult at the best of times. Needless to say I have put this behind me and now have largely given up commission work and am much happier for it - you can see the results on my blog:

    I am full of admiration for your production figures and am amazed that you have still had the time to do so much of your own work. Thanks for documenting it all on your blog and I hope 2010 is an equally productive and prosperous year for you.


  5. Scott,

    I really enjoy the blog, in particular I look forward to continuing to follow your ACW work as our group are about to embark on this project as well - Perry figures but with the Rank & File rule set.

    Have a happy and prosperous New Year!


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