Outsourcing my hobby
May 31, 2007 9:33 AM   Subscribe

I have some wargaming miniatures. If I get someone else to paint them will I regret it later?

I have a couple Warhammer 40k armies that are in various states of assembly. I like assembling and converting them, but really don't like the painting and am not any good. I'm not even fair; I don't have a steady hand at all. The time consumed really bothers me too. If I'm assembling then I can get a squad done in a few hours and it's fun. If I'm painting then it can take me a couple of hours per model and it's tedious.

If I get the guy who runs the game store here to paint them, will I regret it later? It would be nice to be able to field a painted army. I'm a little worried that I'll feel a lack of ownership of the army though.

Has anyone been a horrible painter and soldiered through? Was it worth it? Has anyone had their miniatures painted and it worked out really well?
posted by ODiV to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You are asking me to worm into your brain and deterimine the parameters of your personal regret-o-meter. I decline this invitation.

Would I regret it? Heck, no! Look at it this way. "I want to listen to satellite radio in my car but I don't want to install the receiver myself. If I pay someone else to do this, will I feel a lack of ownership?" Correct answer = no.

There are many times when we want things and stuff to use but we want to skip some of the intervening steps required for their deployment. This is not necessarily bad. If you can find someone who loves painting and also loves taking your money, and you agree to use his or her services because you want to save your time and effort, it's a win/win.

Alternately, you can just take your pieces and dunk 'em in a tub of white paint and then splash a few red markings on them and call them the Albino Death Legion.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 9:47 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]

I've done a lot of painting for a lot of people. Nobody has ever come back to me and said "great job, but I wish that I'd painted them myself; it doesn't feel like I own these."
posted by solid-one-love at 9:56 AM on May 31, 2007

Also, if you were to say come up with the color scheme you like, and as many people do create a fluff background for your army then what would it matter who painted them?
posted by BobbyDigital at 9:57 AM on May 31, 2007

Getting the store chap to paint them certainly sounds like the better option - at two tedious hours per model, that's a lot of pain before you get to the actual gaming.

And once you have the functionining armies, there's nothing to stop you persisting with the painting but only doing special stand-out characters to add to your armies; that would be an easy way to reclaim some ownership if you feel it's been lost.
posted by thoughtless at 10:05 AM on May 31, 2007

I'd say no. You can always go back to touch them up, thus getting a bit of your personal feeling of ownership of them...
posted by samsara at 10:33 AM on May 31, 2007

Personally, I'd dislike them much more with my own crappy paint job than someone else's excellent work.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:37 AM on May 31, 2007

I had a hulk-load of WH4K minis that I would develop some fluff for, paint about half, then get an even BETTER paint scheme and fluff story, then start over. Each time I used brake fluid to strip my minis (plastics and metals). I just soaked them for a day or two, then scrubbed with an old toothbrush and washed. I did this three or so times before finally giving up on WH40K and going to other games. The only "hard" minis to strip were the tanks like Rhinos and stuff since they have the interiors. For a "less toxic" stripper, people say Simple Green also works, but it takes a lot longer soaking - but I've only tried brake fluid.

So if you find out you do hate the paint job, I guess you'll just be out the money you paid for it if you strip them...but not the minis.

Another option if you want to minimize cost for this venture is to look into off-shore painting services. Yes...there's even off shoring for that, and usually can be pretty cheap for gaming-quality minis that look fine at arms length. Check the TMP site and their forums for lots of info on this.

You didn't say what armies you had, but many lend themselves well to simple schemes. Go out and buy a can of polyurethane sealer at the local hardware store, but have them tint it with black/brown/dark blue stain color (something that will do shadows well for a base color). Then you spraypaint a base color, pick out one or two things that are simple to paint with another color (like the gun and shoulder pads for Space Marines). Finally, you dip the mini into that tinted polyurethane, and you have it sealed and shadowed. You could even slap some flock on that base and be done. But this is very low-tech, minimally painted for gaming and doesn't look the best. If you have an Imperial Guard army you wanted painted, I don't envy you at this point. They look great when done and fielded...but man, that's a lot of minis and complicated paint schemes.

But I'm like you - a horrible painter. And I don't have the time to practice and get better, so I tend to choose things that you either don't have to paint, are are very simple to paint. Recently, I've even looked into 1/144 Gundam models that come pre-molded in the proper colors, and then just using a permanent marker to black line them. I've even considered getting back into WH40K and doing a Necron army since they're so simple to paint...
posted by JibberJabber at 10:55 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

And once you have the functionining armies, there's nothing to stop you persisting with the painting but only doing special stand-out characters to add to your armies; that would be an easy way to reclaim some ownership if you feel it's been lost.

This is what my wargaming friend does and it works great.
posted by shelleycat at 2:28 PM on May 31, 2007

Ya, nobody can climb into your head, dude! I've had this experience though, so here goes..

Has anyone been a horrible painter and soldiered through? Was it worth it?

Way back when, I played 40k for a couple of years. I am a terrible painter, I just don't have the patience. All you have to do is look at my handwriting to understand, brain moving faster than hand, and all that..

I came up with paint schemes that I liked, and suited my abilities, but were not that well themed with most of the war hammer ascetic (dry brushing, washes, no chance, just shiny metalic solid paint with a couple of off colour highlights on gear and face mask..) It made me happy that I could look at the models with some satisfaction. If I was more into the scene (whatever that might mean) the ascetic differences might have been a bigger problem.

Economically hiring someone was not an available choice (hell, playing 40k at all was only barely an available choice - curse you games workshop!).
posted by Chuckles at 7:16 PM on May 31, 2007

Perhaps there are a few heros or vehicles or other interesting pieces that you could make some custom modifications too, then get someone else to paint.

For your rank and file, mod one guy per squad into a standard bearer (a super simple mod), and use your computer to design banners for every unit, to be printed in colour and attached to the standards.

Maybe you're good at making really nice flocked bases, or you have ideas for something that would make the bases look distinctive. (Don't under-estimate the visually unifying impact of distinctively similar bases).

If you are worried about ownership, there are plenty of ways to stamp yourself in there that still allow you to take advantage of someone else doing the painting.

I suggest passing the painting onto someone else, and finding other ways to stamp ownership. Or don't even worry about ownership - the army will be distinctively yours regardless.
But keep trying at the painting - it may not be worth painting your army yourself, but wear and tear and further purchases will mean that being handy with a brush will always be a useful skill.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:08 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also, from the other guy's side, for those who have wasted too much of their lives becoming good with a brush, it's nice to have that skill able to earn some actual money via situations like this :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 9:10 PM on May 31, 2007

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