Space To Be Creative

I’ve been trying to make enough room to set up a permanent painting area.

One of the things that constantly stalls my painting efforts is the fact that I’ve got to clear a space to do any. It may be a bit feeble, but that’s the way it is. The more I have to do to get the space ready before I even start, the less likely I’ll actually get a brush in my hand. By the time I get to even thinking about painting it’s always dark, so I need a space with a daylight lamp as well as paints, models and tools which makes it even more of a faff to move about. A permanent set up is the only real answer. I have enough room, and setting up a proper space is possible if I clear some of the detritus out of the way (and keep it out).

Couple this need for space with me actually following some of my own advice for once (from my column in Ravage magazine) and sorting through which games to keep and which to abandon, and you get the beginnings of some real chaos. Even so, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve actually made a fair amount of progress today, and will try to keep the momentum now I’ve got some. What’s also important is that I’ve got some enthusiasm to get painting, and that’s what’s driving this current spate of clearing. I’m also working on so many new games that I want to play that I just haven’t got anything like enough time to play everything that’s good. This means that games like Hordes and Bushido are going to disappear from my shelves even though there is nothing wrong with them as games. It’s hard though. I really like some of those models and those armies, and am very tempted to keep them, but that’s why I’m in the situation I am so I must be strong. It’s like the children’s book Kangaroo & Kangaroo. For those that are unfamiliar with it (probably everyone) it was about two Kangaroos who had a huge house filled with all manner of weird stuff. It was in rhyme, and the only line that stuck in my head was the apposite one:

Just in case, and just in case,
And so they filled up every space.


So I’m trying to unfill every space.

There will need to be a bunch of ebaying at some stage for those things which cannot be repurposed to God of Battles or Eternal Battles forces. I even found some of the unreleased 2nd edition Squats and was pondering whether they could be made into a Lost Patrol force. On balance, probably not, but you never know.

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40 Responses to Space To Be Creative

  1. Ben says:

    I suspect unreleased 2nd ed Squats would fetch a pretty penny on ebay.

    I’ve been pretty ruthless in clearing out stuff in the last couple of years though I’ve wound up regretting it with a couple of systems I’ve subsequenty had the opportunity to start playing.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The Squats are worth a bit, though I’d rather keep them to play with if I thought they’d work well in the game. I’ll have to ponder that some more. Cyberslayers… hmmm.

      I had a bit of a clear out of SF novels many years ago and sold over 2,000 to a secondhand shop. Afterwards I only regretted one of them, and I don’t even remember what it was now so no harm done 😉

      Which system(s) do you regret binning?

      • Ben says:

        I had a Cryx force for WM that I never got an opportunity to use so I sold it. Now I do have the opportunity to play as one of my friends has gotten into it.

        I also had all the 3rd ed WFB books and most of the Rogue Trader books that sat gathering dust on my shelves until I sold them a couple of years ago. Now there’s a bit of an 80’s GW scene taking off and I actually would have had a chance to use them.

        Did you ever manage to play Bushido?

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I’ve collected several WM/Hordes armies more than once, and will be getting rid of them again. Just never get a chance to play enough times in a row to feel like I know what I’m doing. Anyway, need to leave more time for GoB and EB.

          I played Bushido 3 or 4 times all told, and it works fine. There were some hiccups in the first version of the rules, but they’re apparently fixed now. It has some nice interactions between the different models in the way it uses activations. There are loads of nice skirmish games though, and I can’t play them all. It just doesn’t quite make it to my top 4 or 5 which is what it needs to for me to keep it. Even that number is probably more generous than realistic.

          I had every edition of WFBat one stage and probably still have some. Can’t remember. I also had both 3rd ed chaos books. I see the oldhammer lot and feel slightly like I wish I’d kept them, but I know I’d never really do anything with it. Having said that I’ll still try to make it down to the event at Foundry just because it will be fun to watch.

        • Ben says:

          I had both of the Realms of Chaos books too, they were the hardest to part with but I decided to be ruthless with stuff I was never going to use. I plan on being at the OH weekend at Foundry, at least for one of the days.

          I like the Bushido minis but never quite got around to getting any. That it didn’t have finished set of rules was a bit off-putting, plus I have plenty of stuff to play already.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Probably see you at OH then 🙂

      • tornquistd says:

        You must have done a spot of reading. For many years I used to read seven books a week with most of them SF but that has really slowed and I am down to six of seven per year with most of them non-fiction. Are you a speed reader by chance? I have been looking about and plan to clear things out by the trailer load once the weather clears (still getting snow at this point). I spent one summer clearing stuff already and early this year had very good luck using up a pile of lumber that I had plans for. The lumber was converted into four tables 12 foot by 30 inches in size that will have backdrops and be sceniced. The tables have a lighting valance setup with space for 42 lights and I am rounding up materials for the lighting. I am on a mission to remove or use everything including all the air space I can find. We had a refrigerator go out and I removed the shelving from it to use next to the my work bench and it filled up nicely so it seems I had built up a lot of rubble on the bench. Although my work bench is cleared I am making limited progress on painting but am feeling fired up and ready to get some figures completed.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I used to read a lot more novels than I do now. Mostly these days I read memoirs and history books, or research for whatever I’m working on at the time. We’ve got the last dribs of snow, but it was never very serious. Took the first batch of gubbins to the local tip and plan to do another run tomorrow once I’ve finished my meetings.

          Your set up is huge in wargamesvault terms, and I suspect that even in railroad it’s not small. 42 lights! I’m happy with a 6×4 table 🙂

  2. curiso says:

    Squats?! Swap you for a New Oiler logo or two?

  3. Sami Mahmoud says:

    About to go through this process myself so best of luck!

    Certainly for me when the painting window of opportunity is 30-60 minutes a night, not having a permanent set-up really puts me off.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      That’s exactly the problem. I can spend most of the time I have just sorting myself out with a clear space and finding everything I need. Not a good way to get stuff done.

      • James 'Maz' Marsden says:

        As i mentioned to you before jake, i got rid of everything except Warmahordes and DreadBall. Sometimes i see a new game and almost get suckered in though. Its a sickness really! I nearly dumped s load of cash on Wild West Exodus but came to realise i’d never play it.

      • Sami Mahmoud says:

        I’ve also found a key problem is not having appropriate storage for the stuff I want to keep/work on now when it’s finished, so I need to invest in that too.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Storage is important. Most of the time I find that stuff in its raw and packaged state takes up more room than when it’s finished, which helps. Not always, but commonly with figures.

        • Every miniature and game I buy these days goes through the “where and how can i store it” routine in my head. Helps a lot.

  4. You haven’t even got the free space to get ‘to’ a free space to paint in that ‘magpie nest’ of yours! 😉

    It’s always hard when you’ve got to part with gaming stuff. As you know, I’ve learned that the hard way! Just think of it as getting paid to clean up! The money you make can go towards any modelling stuff you need!

  5. Is it practicable sir?

    Those Squats will be worth a pretty penny on Ebay too, I’ll dare say!

  6. Mike says:

    Aside from ebay anyone got any hints on where to get rid of (ideally for money) old board games and the like? My local game shop says he’s considering buying second hand games but wants to try selling his own second hand games first to see if its practical.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Ebay is the main place. Other venues I’ve tried are BGG, various gaming forums, local clubs, swapping stuff with mates. Everything is a faff to some extent. Ebay does have the advantage of being fairly quick – or at least on a timetable.

    • Ben says:

      If you sell them to a shop then you probably wouldn’t get as much for them as you would selling them directly to a buyer. As well as ebay I usually post my unwanted items on the sales boards of the main mini-gaming forums and take them to bring and buys and wargames shows.

  7. fiendil says:

    I have a permanent table. It’s the sort you can slide the feet under your chair, and push away from you when you’re done, but I can’t remember what the actual name for this type of table is.

    It’s got enough space for common tools and brushes, a selection of paints, water pot and a number of models, all on a cutting mat. Just needs maintaining so it doesn’t get overrun with any of them.

    The hard part is then finding enthusiasm to paint when you really can’t be mithered.

  8. sho3box says:

    I paint about 140 hobby things a year, mostly 28mm human sized things with the occasional terrain piece or 10mm unit or vehicle or similar. Im no Kevin Dallimore but the paint jobs are decent enough and I am happy with that sort of throughput. I work a normal working week: all the hobby work is done outside of that. Getting a miniature finished for every ~2.5 days of the year doesn’t make me the sort of guy that everyone should listen to, but it has taught me the following, largely obvious things. They might be of interest:

    A permanent, comfortable painting area is crucial. I find that it has to be somewhere where I actually want to spend time, rather than just somewhere that it physically fits in. I paint in the living room, often while the TV is on. The TV lowers productivity because it’s distracting, but being in a comfortable room means that I get more done than I would if I had to forcibly exile myself to the man-cave every evening. It also helps with marital bliss if I share a room with my wife in the evenings while she does her internet stuff or reads or whatever. YMMV, but it works for us.

    Keep the miniature assembly area small and separate from the painting area. Not everyone has that sort of space of course, but if possible it really is a lot better than trying to paint in the midst of metal filings and a pile of plastic limbs. I deliberately use a small painting table, simply because it prevents me from shoving things to one side to engage in other work when the new flavour of the month comes around.

    Clean the work area up after every squad/unit/team is finished. Half finished little guys that I ran out of enthusiasm while painting need to be out of sight or they demoralise me, which in turn can lead to slumps in productivity. Tidyness makes the work easier anyway, so only keep the paints and figures currently in use to hand. Clutter is the enemy. As my painting area is in the living room, I have to keep it more under control than I keep the man-cave contents. This is a good thing.

    Attempt to do something every day. Keeping things rolling makes all the difference regarding motivation. Sixteen hour painting binges have their place too, but the tortoise beats the hare: routine is key. Even if you are not really in the mood, try to do something simple every day to keep things moving along. I had a long day at work yesterday so rather than attempt to be arty-farty and creative that evening, I filled the bases on my veer-myn team. Dull repetitive work that had to be done anyway, and at least it means that the project isn’t stalling.

    Achievable goals are crucial to avoiding too many slumps or stalls. Identify colours that you enjoy painting or that you know that you can paint quickly and base as many colour schemes as possible on combinations of those colours. You have to experiment a bit from time to time of course, but a finished project using a different arrangement of a familiar palette is preferable to a demoralising, work intensive, half finished scheme.

    Throw out your Xbox 😉 I love playing video games, but if there is one thing that absolutely scuppers my hobby time, it is that. I have to ration my video game time or I get nothing toy soldier related done, even if the games give me inspiration to attempt hundreds of extra projects.

    As for advice on getting rid of (currently) unwanted games and miniatures, I am definitely not the guy to ask.

    • tornquistd says:

      Thanks for the post your output is what I would like to work up to. Always good to know what works for others.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Thanks Sho3box, that’s excellent advice!

      I suggested to my wife that I put a painting desk in the corner of the living room in place of a largely redundant piece of furniture that currently sits there. However, she just sees a bunch of paints and toys as more clutter and she’s nothing if not clutter-averse. So I’ll have to be antisocial and hide in my study. As you say, YMMV.

      I had only half considered separating assembly and painting areas, though I have heard the idea on some painting videos. I think it’s a good one as neither area needs to be large and in fact being small may be beneficial as you say. As I’ll have a normal sized office desk to use that would easily accommodate both functions.

      Removing anything that isn’t the current project is also a good idea, as is having a daily routine. That’s my plan: do at least something each day.

      Thanks again.

      • Back then i got me the wodden GW painting tray and constructed a dust cover for it. Now I simply have to get it out from under the bed and put it on my table and I can start (Being a writer/translator my desk is easily cleaned) right away. I prefer this semi-fixed approach and it helped me quite a lot.

  9. sho3box says:

    Like the clutter-averse Mrs Quirkworthy, Mrs sho3box is also a neat freak. I am happy to say that the pros of that condition outweigh the cons 🙂

    I clean up and assemble miniatures in binges in the man-cave: its to be too dusty and messy and has too many attendant solvent smells to do pleasantly in front of the TV..

    Although very convenient, having a fugly painting table in the living room remains less than ideal visually, even though I do try to keep it as tidy as I can. I think that a rolltop desk might be the best solution (plus it would make me feel vaguely like some sort of Victorian gent), if only I could work out where exactly to put it and still use natural light at the weekends. Some day…

    • Quirkworthy says:

      My suggestion had been a roll top desk too. My dad had one when I was little and I always thought it was a great piece of furniture. Hard to find nice ones now though, at least at prices I can afford. In either case, I’m banished so I can be as tidy or otherwise as I like.

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