Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Painting Survivor Series!

Greetings fellow wargamers, and welcome once more to my humble hearth. This time around, I have been inspired to talk about an invention of mine...

I like to think that I am an all round hobbyist, by which I mean that I play games, assemble and convert models (with even a little 'greenstuffing' thrown in from time to time), I write fluff, I collect, and I paint models. Now, not everyone likes every aspect of the hobby to the same degree. I will happily admit that I prefer gaming to almost everything else, and though I like seeing painted armies on the table top, and do paint from time to time, I haven't been concerned about the painting aspect sufficiently to push me to paint the hordes of models I have built up over the years.

I am sure that I am not the only gamer in this position: lots of models, but lacking the drive and motivation to get them painted. Sometimes I get into a painting mood and spend a few sessions knocking out a few models here and there, but I start to flag before I make much of a dent in my 'to do' list.

This is why I came up with the idea of the Painting Survivor Series. It's really just a bit of fun, a motivational tool intended to give inconsistent painters like myself a small incentive to start a painting project and keep going, rather than downing brushes a week later.

The premise is simple enough: an 'iron man' style endurance painting competition which is posted as a communal 'Work In Progress' thread on your forum of choice. In my case this is the Astro Wargaming Community forum. The basic rules are that each participant is required to post photos of the project they are working on every third day after the Opening Day, in order to display their painting progress, bearing in mind that the key phrase is 'Noticeable Progress'.

Progress includes everything from undercoat to completion of basing, which though not strictly all painting (static grass etc), allows people to get that last bit finished off before moving on to the next project. Any participant unable to post pictures of their progress for ANY reason is eliminated. This includes not having time to paint due to work or family commitments, batteries in the camera running out, or internet access problems.

To be a Survivor, you have to paint and you have to post, come rain or shine. If a participant was the 'last painter standing', then they are rewarded by being able to proudly display a badge in their forum signature declaring that they are a Painting Survivor. A fair amount of barracking and verbal 'one-upmanship' went on I can tell you.

Originally, the plan was to keep going until we had just one Survivor remaining, but within a couple of Series, this was resulting in 'paint-offs' that wouldn't end, the last two or three painters gritting their teeth and preparing to sell their soul rather than be eliminated.

I decided that, in order to be able to end a Series in a reasonable time, and give participants a 'light at the end of the tunnel' to aim for, (not to mention letting eager participants that had been eliminated have another bite of the cherry) I would limit the number of posts that would have to be made before reaching the end of the Series to twenty. That's twenty posting days met without being eliminated, which is about two month’s worth of painting work. Anyone who made it to the end would still get a Survivors badge to add to their signature, but if we did have a 'last man standing' situation before the end of the Series, then a purity seal could be added to the badge to display the winner's painting prowess.

In time, as people took part in successive Series, we decided to add to the existing badge rather than have more than one, so we added a tiny skull with a number on it’s forehead corresponding to the series that the participant took part in. The badges are awesome, and were created by a kind forum member, so a shout out goes to LutherMax, thanks for that bud, the icing on the cake for sure.

After six successful series, and about to start a seventh (after a lengthy pause it must be said), I have found that I have got more painting done as part of the Astro Painting Survivor Series than at any other time in recent years, and I am sure that others have felt the same benefit. It's amazing how much motivation you can draw from being part of a communal project, to see what multiple other painters are doing and how they are getting on all in one place, rather than as part of a single isolated thread. Why not mosey on over to Astro and have a look at past threads?

So, if you find that you struggle to maintain a fair pace when it comes to painting your miniatures, or that you are easily distracted by other things like the new series of Doctor Who, why not set up your own Painting Survivor Series, rope in those forum or club members who want to get their armies painted and on the table but don't seem to be able to build up enough steam to get it done, and see who has the stones to be the Last Painter Standing...

Thanks for reading.

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