When I started DM-ing a while back (december 2014 was my maiden session) I also got interested in miniatures. They enhance the mood on the map, even if that map is just a big piece of paper with marker-scribbles where the trees are, and give both the players and myself a good sence of what is going on. I already had a few mini's and some paint, courtesy of a friend who decided he did not like to paint Warhammer armies after all. So I visited the Warhammer shop, got a nice dwarf mini (that I still have and love), some instructions and a new hobby was now part of my life. A hobby that I have had a love-hate relationship with until recently.
I love mini's and I can not get enough of them. If I could I would have a resin printer and I would be printing tons of mini's, but I can't because of allergies. Which is probably for the best because I really do not like using unpainted mini's at my table. And while I do enjoy painting mini's the only reason at the moment I do paint them is so I can use them in my games and have them not look like albino's.
But painting mini's in a way that they are pretty takes time. A lot of time; you need to spend hours of practise, take your time to prepare the mini (moldlines, edges, cleaning), come up with a colour scheme, more stuff that takes time and then take a lot of time to carefully, meticulously paint all the itty bitty parts of the mini, go back and correct itty bitty things, and so on. The result is a very pretty mini that you can be proud of.
But here starts my problem with painting mini's: that magical component time.
I have very little of it, and painting mini's is not my main hobby, being a DM is my main hobby. I love running my several campaigns and prepping for them. I wholeheartedly enjoy creating adventures for oneshots and demo's and getting players together to have fun with them. I also very much enjoy making my own 3d printable designs I can use in my game, or browsing my rather impressive stash of files and print all sorts of things. And on top of that I have a great but also nearly full-time job that can be rather demanding on the brain-space field.
So no, the time I would have to put in practising my paint skills and trying to paint really pretty mini's is extremely low on my fun-priorities-list, though it is definately on that list.
Though... it has started to climb.
The reason? Speedpaint!
The new Army Painter speedpaint allows me to paint a lot of mini's in one sitting without really any efford. (They do not sponsor me or give me free stuff to write this, I think they do not even know I exist.) They are not breathtakingly pretty, I will be the first to admit they are very sloppy even, but they are painted. The colours are in the right spot, there are shadows and highlights and when these mini's are at the table in their little village they will look the part. The 9 farm folks that you see in these pictures prove my point, at close-up they look... well... at least they are painted? But at a distance on the table, with a little house, some trees, a goat (or 12) and an army of zombies (also painted with speedpaint) running towards them they are very much good enough.
I painted these 9 farmfolks in 3 and a half hours, including priming and varnish. I am not kidding. Yes they do not look great but in one afternoon I got these finished and ready to inhabit their little farm (that I still need to print). My 24 zombies was 2 afternoons and an evening work, because I still had to figure out how the speedpaint worked.
In 3 very relaxed days I painted 33 mini's.
Talk about saving time, and still get a lot of my stash done and play-ready!
And this has changed the mini-painting game for me tremendously. Because I can now get the bulk-mini-groups (like zombies, farmers, pirates, goblins and so on) done so quickly I feel like I have more time to actually make an effort, practise my skills and make the mini's that matter in a campaign or to me personally really pretty. Practise on the eyes, the highlights, maybe in time even try non-metal metal painting and that thing with the light that comes from a source that the mini holds.
I know it is called object source lighting, after I just googled it.
But yeah, I feel like I have time for that now because I do not have to spend weeks painting the table/encounter filling mini's.
For now I am going to look through my stash, find a nice mini to start practising on and then get a big brush to finish some terrain stuff because it has been a busy week and I need to clear my head first before I can do anything that requires concentrating.
After that, I am going to start prepping that mini, remove mold-lines or support-dots and start making the effort.