Everybody needs a hobby…

I’m not sure when to start counting, but I don’t think I’ve had an actual HOBBY, per se, for 20 years. Every time I picked something up and stuck with it (music, cartooning) I quickly turned it into a vocation, or at least something I aspired to earn a living at. I never succeeded with music, but I pulled it off with cartooning.

So here I am with a hobby-ish pursuit (drawing funny pictures) as my day-job. Can I have a REAL hobby now? PLEASE?

It’s a rhetorical question. The answer is yes. I found one. Painting miniatures. I’ve been spending a few hours (maybe 15) per week on this for the last couple of weeks, but I’m not really COUNTING the hours. I don’t have to. This is something I do for fun, when I’ve gotten enough work done that I can feel good about actually playing.

I can also feel good about the fact that I’m starting to get kind of good at it. I don’t for a moment harbor the illusion that my work will compare favorably with those who do this professionally (and there are numerous professional mini-painters out there — I’ve joined a couple of communities where I can see their work and comment on it), but that doesn’t bother me. This is a HOBBY. The moment it stops being fun, I can decide to stop doing it and there are no sharp edges on that decision.

That’s really the definition of “Hobby,” right? Something you can stop doing when it stops being fun?

Anyway, enough talk. Here’s a mostly-finished miniature.

If you’re not familiar with this particular pursuit, please note the following: I did not sculpt the miniature in question. The model is roughly two-and-one-half inches high (6.35cm) and is used in a table-top wargame called “Hordes.” This is a “Dire Troll Mauler” and he is wearing a torn enemy flag as a diaper. His name is Cocoa. Cocoa came in a box with a stat card and was in about 10 unpainted pieces, which I had to assemble using a pin-vise, drill-bits, two gauges of wire, superglue, and epoxy putty (“green stuff” kneadatite.)The painting was done with a mixture of acrylic paints, inks, and non-acrylic varnishes over the course of about three weeks.

(Note also: this piece is absolutely, positively NOT for sale. Not ever. The moment I do that this stops being a hobby, and We Cannot Have That Happen Again. So don’t ask.)

(Addendum to Note Also: Okay… a million dollars. But just this once, and only because for that price I can retire, and then pay my friend Drew to paint me another one.)

35 thoughts on “Everybody needs a hobby…”

    1. Drew is at least half again as good as I am, and easily three times as fast. In one sitting he painted the only warpwolf I’ve ever seen look good — he managed to choose a warmer color-scheme than the box or any prior art suggests, and very quickly executed a precise, well-blended paint job.

      I’ll link to his stuff when he starts putting things up for sale. He wants to go pro, and I think he’s got the chops for it.


  1. Oooooh, shiny! This looks really nice. Awesome conversion!

    What sort of paints are you using? (I’m guessing either Citadel or Vallejo, but that’s because everyone I’ve seen so far uses C or V).

    Will said miniatures ultimately march out onto the field of battle? Or is it painting-only?

  2. I painted miniatures quite a long time ago for several years… it is a fun hobby! My favorites were always bards… I eventually aspired to have a bard orchestra but didn’t quite fill it out before other things became more interesting to do in my ‘spare’ time.

  3. How many miniatures is this for you? The only things I can find to criticize are the loincloth and the little tie in back look a little flat. Beyond that, it’s better than I’d been able to ever achieve till I’d been painting for about three years.

    Darn fine work there, sir.

    1. Counting all 9 kobolds as one (because they were more speed-painted as a unit than individually considered) this is #6.

      The “tie” in back is not sculpted. It’s a Khadoran triangle, torn in half. The other half of the triangle is in the front. You see, this particular troll ate a Khadoran standard-bearer, and now wears their flag as a trophy-diaper.

      1. (apologies if this is a double-post)
        By “flat” I meant underhighlighted compared to the rest of the piece. Still, dang. For #6, this is better than my #158. Is it ok if I hate you (in a good way) for being so good?

        We’d love to see you at http://www.reapermini.com/forum too if you;d care to drop by.

  4. I started my miniature painting in Warmachine. It’s massively fun. I haven’t had time lately, so I have three quarters of an unpainted army and a bunch of painting supplies.

    Good times.

    Also, that looks great. 🙂

  5. Privateer Press makes some sexy miniatures. I would highly reccomend one of the Warmachine warjacks for your next painting endeavor. The Thunderhead or Centurion from Cygnar, or any of the Cryx big jacks are so much fun to paint.

    1. I have a broken laserjet 4m printer — the very printer that put out over 6 years of Schlock scripts — upon which I will draw Schlock. Any takers? It is cluttering my office, yet I haven’t the heart to just throw it away.

  6. The creature reminds me of a Vor Growler I once paint, what with the whole EAT YOUR HEAD look. I really like the way the teeth turned out on your paint job, better than I ever managed in my painting.

    Alas, I don’t really have room for that hobby anymore, and my miniatures are sitting in their case next to me, biding their time.

    1. Drew showed me the trick to the teeth. It’s a four-step process, assuming the gum-line has already been painted.

      1) Use a mustard color to base-coat the entire tooth, taking care not to get paint onto the gums. This is the hardest part.

      2) Mix the mustard 2:1 with linen-white or bone-white (not pure white) and paint the upper 3/4 of the tooth.

      3) Mix the mustard 1:1 with linen-white or bone white and paint the upper half of the tooth.

      4) Wash the whole tooth with a very dilute flesh-toned glaze (transparent acrylic gloss, or “ink”). Make sure the glaze pools at the gumline and streaks a bit along the length of the tooth.

      If you mix the base-coat and other coats so they’re too thick, and show brush-strokes, you can also pull another very cool trick: as long as the brush-strokes run the length of the tooth or claw they will look like natural striations when you wash them with the glaze.

      1. Ah, I see where I’ve been going wrong. I’ve been starting with an off-white and darkening them instead of going the other way and lightening them. Thanks! 🙂

        1. That’s a pretty standard mistake — I make it a LOT, since I’m used to working with markers (translucent color) instead of paint (opaque color).

          With translucent colors you HAVE to work from light to dark because there’s no lightening something that’s too dark. With opaques you work from shadow to light because it is usually easier to blend opaque colors up rather than down.

  7. Selling the piece won’t stop this from being a hobby or even being fun as long as you don’t get into the same mindset that you get into when you are in the business of cartooning.

    For now, you have one Dire Troll Mauler for your game and no freshly painted replacements. Have fun with it, keep telling us about your hobby, and your various victories and defeats when you play with it.

  8. Just out of curiosity… if you barter miniature-painting with another fan, does that violate the hobby-ness of it the same way selling does?

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