The Batch Paint Bitch – My Batch Painting Tips
I have a lot guys to paint and like anyone else I’ve been doing them in batches. The photo to the right shows about a fifth of all the Guardsmen I own, in fact it’s not. Every time I think about the number of Guardsmen I have, I think of more. Lets call it a fifth though for now.
My Batch Painting Pros
The batch painting approach has some real advantages especially for a horde painter like myself. It’s probably the fastest way, although it still slow, to get your minis painted. Doing a single colour at a time helps you to race through the models as you learn where mistakes can and cannot be made. Each model is done a little faster than the last. Also because I’m doing all of a batch exactly the same I can ensure they are all exactly the same. That sounds easier than it is, but your mind plays tricks on you…
Was the knife handle black or green?
Was the grenade silver or green?
Was the Lasgun’s muzzle black or silver?
I do forget these little details fairly regularly. And it really doesn’t matter. But it does! This is the Imperial Guard! I like to think my men are well turned out and any that deviate from my strict colour scheme are shot by Yarrick while in their storage case – Toy Story style. Doing them altogether means I can check each one before moving on to make sure they’re all proper.
Batch Painting Don’ts
Recently, in my current batch, I’ve made some bad decisions which I’m regretting now and it’s these I feel like I should be sharing so others do not suffer the same monotonous hell.
My first mistake was this line of thought…
By selecting all the same models in this batch the process will be stream lined even more. Genius.
Wrong. It’s technically right but it’s a killer. My current batch is 24 models, 21 of them are the same, all with Lasguns. I then have a Flamer and two Vox Caster Guardsmen. For starters this is a big batch, I think, but it’s magnified by having so many models exactly the same. I can spend an evening painting and do one colour on all the models, including the touch ups at the end. It’s soul destroying and makes an evening in with a takeaway and the Dark Eldar seem attractive. The progress is so slow you feel like you’ve done nothing at all. Lesson one; if you do a big batch do different models with different equipment and weaponry options.
My second lesson is that there is an optimal batch size. This batch of 24 is too big. The batch before this was around 15 and I feel like 10 to 15 minis is a more manageable number. Any lower and you’re not even doing a full squad. The other issue with 24 is that it’s not a full squad it’s 2.4 squads, but not. With no sergeants or special weapons or heavy weapons when my laborious task is complete I’ll have nothing of worth for the table top. Lesson two; make the mix of models work on the table top as a unit, so at the end of it you have something of worth for your next battle.
Finally paint little and often. This may not be of any use as I haven’t tried it yet. But I feel like it could hold some water, so bear with me. The bigger batch requires a whole evening to get a single layer done. That’s a significant amount of time in order to achieve very little at face value. A more manageable batch size with just an hour or twos painting will yield more visible results and hopefully spur one on to do more. With my current batch it’s easy to become lazy and not bother because I cannot find a whole evening to devote to Zandri Dust. Lesson three; paint little and often so progress can be seen more quickly, keeping your spirits up.
Basically what this has boiled down to is do a 10 man squad as if you were doing them for a real game, with a sergeant, with a special weapon or two, with a heavy weapons team and with a Vox Caster. Don’t try and be clever or more efficient!
Got a tip, share it in the comments, save some unfortunate soul from turning to Chaos for a reprieve from the maddening world of batch painting.