Saturday, 21 March 2015

Staying Motivated... Ugh

Hey there, filthy corpse worshippers. Today I want to talk about the age-old problem of waining hobby motivation and the scourge of hobby ADD.

Case in point

I've been playing Warhammer 40k since 1999. That's a whopping sixteen years! How many completely painted armies do I have to show for it? One. 1. Uno. That would be my Chaos Space Marine army. My Iron Warriors. And that army isn't even valid any more. My main army, the one I love and hold dear to my heart is my Space Wolf Great Company. Even there, I don't have a painted, legal army (<-- You can check out what I have painted in the Gallery). On top of this, I have a Chaos Troll army in the works, as well as a metric shit-load of unpainted, unglued, High Elves, not to mention other games and projects that just won't ever see completion.

So, the question is: What to do? I think to answer this question, I need to find out what it is that makes it so hard for me to finish a project.

There are so many reasons I don't finish my projects. Sometimes, I bite off more than I can chew. I'll have an army in mind and then I'll go buy it and put it together for a game. Then I have a big pile of unpainted plastic that is just way too daunting to even think about getting to. Sometimes it's changes to the game that throw me off. My Chaos Space Marine army is the perfect case of this. When I built and painted the army in 5th edition, Thousand Sons and Khorne Berzerkers were troops choices. Now, I need to take a Lord with the Mark of Khorne, or a Sorceror with the Mark of Tzeentch to make them troops. This means I went from three troops choices down to one, which means I have to buy, build and paint a unit of Chaos Space Marines or Cultists, just to have a viable army.

The final reason, is that I just plain old get distracted. In August last year, the Space Wolves got a new Codex. I went out and picked it up with the Storm Claw box and set about building my army. I rebuilt a bunch of marines who were old and falling apart, as well as a squad or two that were ill-equipped for the new book. Then my playing group decided that we were playing Fantasy. So I put my Wolves to one side and got swept up in the whimsy of WHFB. Now I find myself concentrating on 40k again. As before, it was Space Wolves that got me interested, but I find myself dreaming of new Iron Warriors lists and all the things I could do.

Like not finishing my Shadowsword.  I could do that.

The evidence suggests that I like buying Warhammer more than I like playing or painting. But back to the question at hand. What do I do to stop this?

I can't use the old 'reward yourself when you finish something' trick because there's already too much there and I don't need more right now. Do I break it up and paint some fantasy in between my 40k projects? Do I just play more games? I've often found that painting things for a particular game works. Similarly, when I play a game, I usually want to paint something afterwards. 

At the moment, I'm trying two methods for breaking the motivation drought. The first is an escalation campaign. I'm going to play a campaign with my Wolves and hopefully build them up to a Great Company (per the formation in the Codex). The idea is to have a fully painted force on the board for every battle. I think this will work to a degree, but I can foresee it becoming a chore and something I won't want to do, because I feel like I have to.

Squad: That'll do...

The second tactic is half-arsing it. I have recently painted a Grey Hunter squad up to "Table Top Standard." This follows the three colour rule. I've just painted the base colours as I would before applying highlights or shading. The aim is that they look 'good enough' for a game, while being easy to come back to and paint up to standard when the motivation strikes me. I managed to get the unit done in a short time, so I can see this being a good tactic going into the future.

Ooh, looky at that new Khorne Daemonkin book... Maybe I need some Bloodletters.

 What causes your Hobby Fatigue?
How do you fight it?
Check out the rest of my Red Scorpions in the Gallery!


  1. I have a personal rule that I never play with a unit or terrain piece that isn't fully painted and based. This gives me a big incentive to get things done, and although I have a small backlog (about 2000 points maybe, mostly a new Iron Hands army), I have around 12000 points of stuff painted.

    So why not follow my example. You probably have enough for an army if you go unbound, and losing because your army is random as fuck will be one hell of an incentive to get some stuff painted!

    I also find it useful to only work on one unit until it is done, so no big piles of half done stuff. In fact I don't even assembe stuff until I have time to paint it shortly after, I just assemble enough to make spray undercoating efficient, so no big piles of models, just sprues, and no temptation to play unpainted armies. I batch paint everything for speed too, which helps!

    1. Living the dream, dude. The escalation campaign I'm doing is exactly what you describe, no unpainted models or terrain allowed.
      My goal is to be in a similar position to you, where I can just build and paint a unit or model as I get it and not have it sitting there doing nothing. My biggest problem is that there isn't a good base for most of my armies yet.
      I think the big difference between us, that I see, is discipline. I think I need to take a leaf out of the Space Marines' books and focus on one thing at a time and get things done.

      Thanks for commenting, and I hope you're enjoying the blog.

  2. Its tough, I know. Every unit is a lot of work. I think if you look at everything you have to do, it can get overwhelming. Maybe just choose a single unit, and ignore everything else, including getting new stuff, till its done.

    I bought 20 Eternal guard right before our mutual friend kindly donated his old wood elves to me. Suddenly I had a crapton of painting and modelling to do (Though I'm sure it pales in comparison to your pile.). Haven't been able to buy anything since, as I made a pledge to only buy things after the what I already had was done. That pledge, by the way, was made due to what I remembered from the last time I collected, all that dropping things half finished to buy a new army. Its worked really well so far, I think I've done as much or more than I did in the old days already.

    But a few other things that really helped have been:
    - being able to chat to people who love this stuff too
    - the burning desire to have an army ready for a battle (now that I actually have a possiblity of doing that)
    - putting my army out on the table. As I finish stuff, it joins the painted side. The current unit sits out in the middle. I hide the unpainted stuff. It tricks me into thinking there's just one more unit to do. Plus, it reminds me what I've already done, and makes me pumped that I've actually painted so many models.

    Keep on truckin', slugger.

    1. Man, it's good to hear you're making so much progress! We'll have to have a battle soon and chuck it up on the blog.
      I think you're right, I need to just focus on one thing at a time. I've noticed one of my problems is getting distracted by fluff. It was a bit of a mistake to read a novel about Iron Warriors, while trying to focus on Space Wolves. Now all I can think about is siege warfare in the name of Chaos.
      I've been painting terrain lately, which has been good for breaking up my project log. I think I'm ready to go back and detail 'Squad: That'll do' and get them all schmick and battle ready. Although I did recently buy a bunch of bionics...