Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Painting in batches

One of the nice things of painting regular troops is that they all wear identical uniforms or at the very least, feature the same colour combinations. Even for Irregular mobs, the same colours will often reappear (skin, generic hairy warband brown etc...). This essentially means that in order to paint your army in the shortest timeframe possible, one has to adapt the Henry Ford method of painting. In other words you apply one colour to all your figures before switching to another colour. Some people actually paint this way and are able to process an insane amount of figs in one go, however, they are extremely rare and average Joe will certainly not paint all his 200 Romans in one batch.

The major downfall of the above method is that while it certainly will field your army in the shortest timeframe possible, you won�t get the satisfaction of a job well done until the entire army is actually finished. 200 figures with a flesh undercoat do not look as great as 3 fully finished figs and will certainly not give you the same level of satisfaction for a job well done. The amount of figures one can process without suffering painters drag is highly personal, in my case my maximum batch size is about 10 28mm figures, more than that and I don�t see enough progression to satisfy my fragile ego.

The amount of figures one can paint in one go is probably related to some aspect of personality. This brings us to the widely used MBTI personality tests, according to which one can roughly differentiate 4 fundamental parameters which make up the major aspects of your personality. One is Judging vs. Perceiving. A Judging person gets its satisfaction from achieving set goals and thus tends to be much more orderly, while a Perceiving person enjoys the process itself and thus tends to be much more flaky and in pursuit of a bundle of different things at the same time. This means that both types are probably doomed as the judging character is able to impose upon himself the ruthless discipline of painting 200 figs in one go but will not get any satisfaction till they are all done, while the Perceiving character can get enjoyment out of unfinished in progress figures but lacks the stamina to follow through and therefore runs the risk of never ever actually finishing anything before wondering off in pursuit of yet another new daft idea.

In the name of science and the possibility of achieving greater painting satisfaction and army production through adequate counselling and Zen meditation, let�s work out a J-P percentile inclination vs. batch size correlation plot here. I�m 11%P, batch size 10, what are you?


  1. Hmm, Bart, I think that third glass of malt was one too many. But I'm sure that's a valid point you're making there.
    Personally, I try to go for something between the batch process and a few figures at a time. In 6mm, i can paint 150 figs at a time, in 15mm I prefer to limit myself to 16 or 24 but can go up to 50, for example with warbands. There I would stick about 5 or 6 figures onto a strip of card, and each strip would have the same selection of colours. So, for example, use beige either for the trousers or tunic, etc. Yoou can later base them quite satisfactorily.
    For 25mm, I find the painting more tiresome, so I stick to about 8 figures a time so I don't get too bored.
    Overall, I find the 15s to be the easiest and most satisfying.
    But sorry, that wasn't the question you asked. Maybe you have the answer from this material?

  2. Allow me to welcome a second Bart as TTM author - welcome BD! (Alan, you might be confusing BD with myself, unless of course he's into malts as well).
    Bart V (INFP, currently determining the J/P ratio)

  3. Hmm, seems I'm drifting with age - Jung typology tests tend to put me in the INTP cage (as opposed to INFP) these days, as did the test BD linked to.
    Anyway, on BD's graph, I'm 44%P, batch size 3 or so (if that).

  4. I come out at 11% P and batch size - it depends. For 25mm 8 seems to be about right, and the same for 15mm vehicles, except that 25mm simple uniforms like ACW come out at the whole unit - so 16 to 28, while complex ones such as Hussars or Zouaves 8 is enough. The Macedon project has seen 3 batches of 8 in constant process at various stages of completion. For 15 mm figures though it is definitely whole units at a time. The range is therefore 12 (SYW through to 80 for WW1 WW2)and again different batches can be in different stages of completion. Confusing isn't it.

  5. I come out 22% perceiving on the test, and I usually do 4 bases (of 4 figures each) per batch. The highest I've ever gone is 8 bases per batch, when I painted my Polybian Roman DBM army (about 64+ bases) in 3 days.
    I find I tend to paint in concentrated spurts - and I find that when I get into the swing of things, I can endure a longer wait for the gratification of completion than normally. It's different for other tasks though - for building tanks (model kits) I tend to do one at a time, with the most I've ever done being 3 at a time (I found that taxed my patience).
    I came out INFP on this test ... and I'm sure that the last time I took it (5 years ago) I scored quite differently ...

  6. oops, sorry BD. I must say that I have no idea what a JP percentile means, though i am playing against JP tomorrow, we have finally gotten round to our WEC game.

  7. No problem Alan, I'll make you pay for it later :�). Anyway when you take the test (click on the 'work out' link) you'll get a four letter combination with percentages underneath them. Take the last letter (either J or P) and corresponding percentage. This will give you an idea how far you lean to either being Judging or Percieving.
    Currently the conclusions of this bogus survey are:
    A)Judging people don't wargame.
    B)If they would the perfect 100% judging person would paint 33(linear) to 600 (exponential)figures in one go.
    C)Alan has a malt obsession

  8. I'm a 22%J (there goes your survey conclusion), batches of 12 max (for 28mm), batches up to 24 for smaller scales.
    I've once in my life painted a batch of 48 (2 Austrian napoleonic batallions - nearly all white). Never. Ever. Again!
    Stipsciz Hussars

  9. I score a mere 78% judging - I guess I must have loosened up a bit lately.
    Batch size is not very consistent for me, for 10mm (Warmaster) I normally paint up one blister per time (that's 6 strips).
    For 28 mm, it really depends on period. I do tend to start painting up 8-16 miniatures simultaneously, but I usually finish 1-4 of those completely, before resuming the others (or starting on something different).
    My dungeon twister miniatures were prepared in a batch of eight, three are completely finished, one mostly, two so and so and the rest haven't seen a brush near them.
    I did the skin for all my border reivers in one go(12), then finished two horses and three reivers. The rest remain untouched.

  10. Judging wargamers, drat! :) As it stands the correlation coefficient R is now a whoppingly low 0.2 while the probability of no correlation is a high 0.7 ...
    Ah well, at least conclusion C) still holds.
    However, I'm willing to bet that there is a correlation between the amount of lead in stock and hair loss though :)

  11. According to the test I'm another case of 11%P - though the silver mountain in my basement puts me much more firmly in the P camp! On batch size I'm like Graham - in 28mm I find 10 already too many, so 5-8 is the rule. 15 mm SYW I did one battalion in two batches of 12 (intending them to be two batt. before we switcherd to larger units) and the next in one go, but found the incremental approach more satisfactory. The of course I also did 100 Terracotta Chinese in one sitting...
    - Whatever, just keep it up!