My Painting Journey

04/04/2021

Enough-Why is time to stop buying miniatures

 


I know it, I shouldn’t be buying any more models, for God’s sake!? How many miniatures do I owe? I don’t want to even count them but … Sitting at home comfortably. You are perusing the internet.

You know that this would be the perfect time to practice your craft; you could use this spare time to get some painting done and learn a new technique or try something new…

But instead you go on a rampage of collectionist consumption. You will spend the rest of the day perusing eBay looking for old school minis, games workshop store, Amazon and other miniature online shops. Finally you find something that will look amazing when (eventually) get to prep, paint and base it. You press “process order” and you feel a warm sensation of excitement in your gut -definitely you cannot wait for the plastic crack new blister or box to arrive home.

A pair of days have gone by now, maybe even one week and life kept happening, you are busy and there are some chances that you even forgot that you did it again. You open the mail box and you find a parcel with your name on it. Suddenly the warm feeling wraps around you and so you proceed to delicately remove the packaging.

Now you have the plastic sprues in front of you, you visually caress every single part of it and let your imagination wander about the million universes and possibilities that lay within the grey plastic.

It is time to wrap up because you have to make dinner, prepare for tomorrow’s work or watch Netflix, whatever... and then you carefully put back the box together and store it with all your other unpainted and/or unassembled miniatures.

Congratulations!! Your miniature hoard is officially bigger!

Without realizing it you just had a full dose of plastic crack.

 I consider myself  some kind of an expert on this field: It is the hunt, the hours exploring the net until you find something that can fulfill your creative desire. The million possibilities, the blank canvass…

I have gone through this cycle in innumerable times… and I know for sure that the result of it is hoarding an obscene number of miniatures (Sigh). With that being said, I still fall into this trap from time to time. That is why I had to put in place some strategies to manage this behavior.


WHY HOARDING MINIATURES IS BAD?

Depreciation of the kit:

Let’s make this clear-The moment you buy a model, its value will go down automatically. Let’s say you bought a box of space marines in a Games Workshop store and a couple of months have passed…now that the rush is over and the models don’t seem to you as sexy as they used to, you decide to sell the kit on eBay-If you didn’t open the box you may be lucky if you get 80% of the money you paid originally. This is due to mainly stores offering discounts online for unopened boxes as part of their deal with GW and the fact that GW will always try to entice you to buy their latest product.

As time goes by, miniature companies get better at their business, their figures get more dynamic and the models cooler and more sophisticated. As the public will trend to buy the new products, the older versions loose value due to the public’s new preferences.



The rare case of classic GW kits:

Sometimes there is an exemption to the prior point, and this is the rare market of Games Workshop old school collectionist  kits. What I refer with collectionist kits are Out Of Production (Can be seen on eBay under the acronym OOP) Models that the brand discontinued from their range .  For some reason (nostalgia, cool models, history of the hobby…) there are some models that manage to age well in time and see their value increase.

An example of this would be some of the Out of production GW Orc boar Boyz-Going now on eBay for ludicrous prices (The kit could be bought for under £18 when fantasy was supported by GW), see picture with a kit sold 3 times its original price.

Kit of Boar Boyz sold on ebay for £60

Although this increase in value is very interesting for the kit owner it is usually not the case in the miniature market. If you buy models as an investment strategy please keep in mind that this is a very risky investment, so many things need to happen for a kit to become a classic...

Waste of Money:

I will say it again, if you enjoy collecting boxes this doesn’t apply to you. If your hobby is somehow related to collecting unopened boxes and blisters of miniatures this article is not for you.

On the contrary, if you buy miniatures because you want to see them eventually come alive with a decent paintjob then there is something that you need to consider.

Depending how big is your hoard there is a big chance that you will never paint many of the kits that you bought. It seems to me incongruent spending money to never use the product as originally intended (an equivalent to this would be the person that pays a gym’s membership to never hit it).


I am guilty of this as well.

Analysis paralysis:

If you really intend to paint all the models you own, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the task in front of you .If you own 400+ models awaiting for you to put some love on them, the mere act of choosing which one goes next may be a challenge on its own.

At my worst moment I really felt defeated by the task that I set myself. There was no point as to start any of these projects as there was no chance of success!

Painting one miniature is achievable, painting 1.000 may overwhelm you.

Procrastination:

The act of buying miniatures and kits can prove to be another excuse to procrastinate on the projects you already have on your backlog.

There are many reasons to procrastinate on our hobby, and in my own experience , buying minis can be a way of overarching the task of painting what you already DO have.

First, is the perusing of the internet looking at other artist’s work and then is the act of going into different webs to buy the miniatures…or even better, you can find alternative brands or proxies!! This hunt can be incredibly entertaining…and unproductive.

Let’s be clear, if you own a considerable hoard of minis you should be focusing on getting your craft in motion, not another excuse not to action on it.

I have done it a million times so please don’t be like me!

Space:

I see many other hobbyist sharing photos of their workshops on Facebook groups and I always wonder how amazing would it be to have such space for just the hobby we all share.

I live in London, one of the most expensive places in Europe, space here comes with a big price tag. As you can imagine, having a room just for my miniatures is not an option-it becomes a luxury

It sets the wrong incentive:

If you have too many models you may decide to rush your collection. You will be tempted with the idea that it is time to start doing the bare minimum and get miniatures not even to a tabletop standard.

I must say that I never understood why some other hobbyist are willing to spend a small fortune in miniatures but are not willing to put some extra effort  to get their models decently painted. If playing is the only focus…why not do paperhammer!?


Putting things in perspective:

In early 2015 I made a list of miniatures that I had in stock. I placed everything on the floor and started cataloguing every single piece of plastic or metal kit in my possession.

I then made a little estimate of how long would it take me to paint each individual kit(roughly) and then the cold truth hit me in the face like a hammer…500 models…5.000 hours, I don’t even want to count how much money…

Let’s put this into context: If I painted everyday 1h WITHOUT EXCEPTION (that means Monday to Sunday every-single-day-of-the-year) for the next 15 years and I NEVER BOUGHT ANY NEW MINIATURE I would manage to paint all the miniatures I was buried under.

 I was under no delusion that this was going to be the case:  life happens, work demands more of your attention than expected, kids, studies… I knew that new models would be released and that the plastic crack addict in me would need them….15 years was a very optimistic calculation.

 I had to design a strategy to get myself outside of this situation; to develop a strategy that would help me stop buying miniatures and at the same time helped me reduce the stock that I had built over time. I spent the next couple of years reducing and controlling the urge to buy new models (spoiler alert-sometimes I failed misserably and ended up buying new models)

My current hoard after some years of managing my "condition"

In part 2 of this article I will explain what is the mental frame and measures I put in place to refrain myself from impulse buying and make the same mistakes all over again.

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic, any ideas?

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you gimnir!! The procrastination part made me laugh, as I have seen myself so many times looking for new miniatures when I had a few good boxes still to be opened! Or spending so many hours on Pinterest, daydreaming of achieving amazing painting skills, but obviously not painting for days and days.

    Anyway, I'll go back to Pinterest to get some inspiration, a have a few Teutogen fellas waiting for me...

    ReplyDelete