Saturday, 29 December 2012
2012 in Retrospect
In just a couple of days, 2012 will be over and it's time to look back and try to sum the year up, hobby-wise. It's now almost exactly one year since I started this blog. My aim was to use it as a log for my different projects with the ulterior motive that posting about them on the Internet would force me to finish what I started. To this end I also made a list of projects that I wanted to finish during the year. Looking over the list I'm quite happy that I managed to accomplish most of what I set out to do. The only exception being the Wars of the Roses project for Basic Impetus in 6 mm (let's not talk about that one ... or the "bonus projects"), but on the other hand I did paint a lot of other stuff I didn't put on the list so it's all right I guess.
In total I managed to paint 171 28 mm miniatures this year, 8 of which where cavalry. I know there are some very fast and producive painters out there, but for me, 171 miniatures in one year is a lot! Unfortunately I bought more miniatures than I painted, so in the end the dreaded lead pile did grow rather than shrink.
As I said, my thinking behind this blog was primarily to force myself to finish projects as during 2011 I accomplished very little (though I think becoming a father for the first time is a valid excuse for this). In retrospect I do think that the blog worked out as planned but in the end there were probably three other factors that had a more profound impact on my productivity.
The first of these factors was my paternity leave, especially after the summer when my boy and I got into a good rythm of me getting some hobby time when he was napping most days. It's amazing how productive you can get with one or two hours regular painting time each day. Alas, all good things must come to an end and as I will be getting back to work in the beginning of January, my productivity will drop considerably. However, I'm determined to get at least some hobby time each day – be it just 15 or 20 minutes – just to keep the momentum up.
The second factor was the simple fact that I finally found a way to achieve a "table top standard" I'm satisfied with and which don't take too much time. I've always been a slow painter, and so last year I started experimenting with the Army Painter dip to try to speed things up. While the results were generally OK to my eyes, the process was a little too messy and fiddly for my taste. After some more experimenting I finally settled on the tried and tested "basecoats, washes, highlights with basecoats"-technique. I'm really happy with this way of painting, as it produces "good-enough" looking miniatures with a minimal of hassle. I've yet to try the technique with anything other than Dark Ages miniatures though, and perhaps I will have to adjust my approach slightly for other periods (then again, maybe not!).
The third and probaby most important factor, was me getting in contact with a gaming club and getting a regular opponent. By the summer I was actually on the verge of quitting the hobby altogether, as I couldn't see the point in spending money and time on something I'd play once or twice and then never use again. I decided a change was demanded or I would put my miniatures and paints away – for a while at least. More on a whim than anything else I shot off an e-mail to Dalauppror as I knew he was also living in Stockholm, was also into Dark Ages stuff at the moment, seemed like a really nice guy and was a member of an active club. Well, not only did it turn out that he was even nicer in real life than on his blog, I also started to hang out at his club regulary and played some really great games, such as the Dux Viking Age campaign, Saga, Hail Caesar and Dux Suecia.
Getting some regular gaming really did boost my painting morale, not at least because I got some strict deadlines due to booked games. A tight deadline apparently works wonders – who would have thought?
It's a funny (or sad, depending on how you look at it) fact that since late August I actually have played more games than since I took up the hobby again in 2008. Every year, my goal was to have at least a game a month, but it always fell apart after a couple of months. This year I have played 16 games in total (15 of those since late August). Next year I'm aiming for another 10, for 26 in total (or one game every two weeks, or twice a month) which shouldn't be too hard. But we will see!
Speaking of goals for 2013, I've been thinking about the blog for a while: I think A Conflict of Interests, its purpose and topics, is working as it is so no need to change any of those for the next year. My ambition during 2012 was to update the blog at least once a week, which I most definately did not manage during the first 7-8 months, but since after the summer I think I pretty much nailed it. An update once a week shouldn't been too hard, and thus the goal will stay for the next year.
Looking back at 2012 it was an excellent year hobby-wise and I'm very much looking forward to 2013. It promises to be another great year with a couple of really nice projects lined up (one of which I've already started), and possibly another one also on the horizon (time permitting of course).
I'd like to thank all you readers and followers, especially those of you who have commented on my posts, for your kind words and support during the past year, it really means a lot to me. Let me wish you all a Happy new year – I hope it's a good one, hobby- and otherwise!