So we aren't far away from April now which pretty much means the first quarter of the year is over. We've seen a lot of activity from GW in regards of a new Warhammer Book (Vampire Counts), some Warhammer 40K releases (Necrons and 25th Anniversary model) and a Lords of the Rings re-release. We've also heard rumors about the 6th edition of 40K and the next Warhammer Army book (Empire), and we are about to see the new paint range from GW. From me, we've seen virtually no activity apart from me signing up to a Tournament and having no true 8th edition Warhammer Army ready. So in NFL terms I think this at least puts me 0-7 down and looking quite rubbish. So with the 2nd Quarter coming up, I'm going to dig deep and see if I can even the score.
So with real life under control and my fantastic wife basically telling me that I should be playing more with my toys, I think I'm ready to get back to what I enjoy doing. Unfortunately this involves the one thing I said I would never do again - Speed Paint an Army.
The last army I speed painted was my Necrons for Open War. The general plan was to get them done a few months before and I was to take a week off to get the majority of the painting done. But the Dice Gods cursed me that week, and I spent most of it racing around being a hero (just one of the real life problems that have been plaguing me) and then had to take a second week off to get the army done. I was then stuffed by the fact that the Gold Spray I used didn't like Citadel paints and had to redo the army. Thankfully I got it done in time (thanks to Army Painter) and ended up with a nice looking Necron Army. Now I'm in a similar boat and have just about a month to get it done.
So how exactly do you speed paint an army? In theory it's very simple - Assemble a load of models, paint them production line to a basic standard, and use a wash or dip to cheat and bring them up to a nice table top standard. This makes it sound quite a straight forward process and too be honest it is, but it is a very frustrating process because you don't actually enjoy what you are doing because you are working to such a tight deadline.
So my Speed Painting Tips are....
1.) Try to have your army list finalized when you start
Very important this tip as it means that you don't waste time having to track down and assemble models you don't need. Time is of the essence when doing a project like this and you don't want to waste any of it. It also hopefully means you aren't wasting any money either by spending too much on things you don't need.
2.) Don't get carried away
While you are speed painting, it is very easy to get distracted with the quality of what you are painting and either get carried away with not spending enough time on what you are doing or spending too much time. You are trying to achieve a goal of getting an army painted quickly, so there is no excuse to have something that a blind chimp painted. But on the other hand there is no excuse to have something worthy of the 'Eavy Metal team but the rest of your army is just undercoated. You have to strike a balance.
3.) Dip and Wash
The best tool in a Speed Painter's arsenal is a product known as Army Painter. It's basically Wood Varnish but it can make your basecoated models look fantastic. Another worthy weapon, is GW Washes which can achieve a similar effect but you may have to do some work afterwards, which is why a lot of people use Army Painter. Over the years there has been a lot of debate about Army Painter and it's impact about wherever it's a good thing or a bad thing. Personally it's a good thing as it gets painted models on the table but be prepared for some players not to be very positive about your painting feat!
4.) Break it up
Remember you are painting something for your enjoyment and while you may not be especially enjoying demoldlineing 100 goblins or painting 200 skaven tails, you will end up with a painted army. So break up what you are painting into manageable chunks. This means you get to see your army progressing and you don't have to worry about a whole army to paint as it will look like you have two-thirds left to do.
Looking at the Calender I have very roughly six weeks to have a fully painted army and I know from experience this is very achievable, especially if I have a couple of days off here and there (in fact I have assembled and painted an army in weekend so I know I can do this). At the moment, I have two issues with the success of this cunning plan. Firstly the tournament I'm going to is using ETC comp and that's not even finalized yet! Secondly I have no idea what I will be using but I will be raiding the stockpile of models I have been hording over the years. I will however promise to have a update next week about what I've been doing!