Saturday 16 January 2016

Sprue Cutters Union January 2016! - Sticking point...

Greetings Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome once more to the Eternal Wargamer blog. This month, the members of the illustrious Sprue Cutters Union have been asked to talk about a varied discombobulation that must plague us all from time to time:

At what point of the build do you tend to stall?

Well now, here is a question that could have a multitude of answers, but I will stick to the spirit of the topic and think about just which bit of a project it is that causes me to bog down and flounder. And what is the answer? Honestly, I would say there are two points in a project that might inhibit progress. The first is right at the beginning.
In recent years I have made it an essential part of my builds to prepare model components properly, which means removing all the parts carefully from the sprues, and cleaning them up by scraping and removing mould lines and other imperfections. This is a mind numbing process which takes about as much time as the assembly of the kit, so bearing in mind that the majority of my hobbying takes place in my hour lunch at work on weekdays, on a box of twenty miniatures I have added about a week to my project time.

The benefits to cleaning up the parts like this are significant when you look at a finished model that was cleaned up first to one that wasn't - visible mould lines, or nubs of plastic or metal where they shouldn't be, un-drilled gun barrels etc, compared to a miniature that has none of these blemishes for me to be bothered by for years to come or for other people to kindly suggest should have been removed before assembly and painting. I am now what I would consider to be an experienced modeller - that doesn't mean I am a good modeller, just that I have been doing this for some considerable time, and have picked up a few tricks, and so naturally I am going to use the techniques I have picked up.

So where is the stall point? It's before I even take the shrink wrap off the box, because I know that when I do, the project, like every project these days, starts with the job I dislike the most...

There is one other factor that causes my projects to stall, but it isn't related to the kits or the work involved, it is related to the amount of time I have to spend on hobbying, and the impact of this is far more pronounced. Unfortunately the job I do can be quite demanding, which means that occasionally I either don't have time to take a lunch break away from the desk, or I am off-site altogether for the day and don't have the usual hobbying accoutrements with me to work on my project, and this has in the past cost me several hours of hobby time. This alone has a double impact on my projects, because not only do I lose actual available hobby time, I also find that my brain can be too fried to even contemplate concentrating on a modelling project.

I never like stalling on a project, and I have found that the more a project stalls, the harder it can be to get back into good routines and pick it back up again - it's important to get back on the horse and crack on with a job, because nobody else is going to do it for you. I guess this is why some people have additional motivating factors, like deadlines for finishing an army so that it can be used at an event that you have committed to or, in my case, a painting target to be reached before the end of the year.

I have found that another great motivator to help you keep going is a little bit of friendly rivalry, and so periodically at our club on online on forums I have run one of my 'Hobby Survivor Series' events, which are just a bit of fun to try and keep people painting and building where, left to their own devices may lost the motivation to continue weeks earlier. Suffice to say that the premise is that all participants have to post progress photos of their project every third day throughout the Series, and anyone that misses the posting deadline or has failed to make progress is out.

Those that successfully post every posting day until the end (typically a Series is 20 posting days long) are allowed to post a badge in their forum signature that tells everyone that they are a Hobby Survivor. If everyone drops out before the end, the Last Man (or woman) Standing is allowed to add a special 'extra' to their Survivors Badge to indicate this achievement, and anyone that fails to make it to the end is open to a little ribbing from the rest of the group. This is all in jest however, and those that do drop out are always keen for the Series to end and the next one to start.

Anyway, those are the things that cause my projects to stall, and a little bit about an initiative I have found works very well for keeping myself and others motivated. I look forward to reading what my compatriots have said about their project stalls, to see whether they are different to my own.

Until next time, thanks for reading...