Monday, 16 August 2010

The tale of fantasy painters 2009-2010

I've been following the Tale of Fantasy Painters (TOFP) on the excellent Warseer forums for a couple of years now with interest. If you haven't seen it, it's a great idea to encourage gamers to get their armies painted: you simply promise to paint 200 points of figures each month and post a picture of what you've done. After a year you've got yourself a 2000pt army. Simple.

There's no prize and nothing to stop you from dropping out, but the positive comments and good wishes you get from the other board members give you the encouragement to complete your army - and that brings it's own reward.

Now, my painting rate has been (and this isn't a joke, I've done the maths) three figures per year. I've found that buying figures is a much easier way of engaging with the hobby than actually painting them. The time has come to stop buying and start painting the little blighters.

So last year I decided to join in. First off: what to choose. I have a huge collection of figures, many still in the plastic wrap, all waiting to be painted. So open to me were: Orcs, Empire, Daemons, Warriors of Chaos, Wood Elves, High Elves, Dark Elves, Ogre Kingdoms and Vampire Counts (yes, I really do own about 2000pts of all of those armies, all still on the sprue. I can hardly believe it myself).

Some of those armies I have pretty ambitious plans for, so they can wait for now. The best candidate was Dark Elves. I'd already glued together a bunch of core troops, I had an idea for a look/theme, and the points cost of the models is quite high, so 200pts per month didn't seem that daunting.

It's now the 12th and final month of the challenge and it's been a crazy ride. It's been such a battle to overcome my innate laziness and skills at procrastination but I've got to say, the little TOFP voice on your shoulder really does work. OK, so I've played six jokers (that's where you don't submit anything that month with the promise of making up the points later), meaning that this month I have to paint a whapping 700pts to reach my 2000pt target, but heck, I actually have 1300pts painted! I've had those models hanging around for about six years, so I'm well and truly chuffed to bits. I'll show you what I've done in a separate post.

There have been some months where I've had to work into the wee small hours to get the things finished. And yes, sometimes you do have to compromise on quality a bit to get the things finished on time. But the amazing sense of satisfaction you get from posting up your 200pts is fantastic. And oh, the shame and disappointment when you have to play a Joker...

If you do manage your 200 point target, then the kind people on the forum post nice comments about your models. And you post nice comments back. It's like a blissful love-in; like a sweaty, communal bath for the exhausted players after a football match, with lots of positive strokes and ego fondling. Mmmm, feel that warm community spirit.

So every day this month I've been modelling and painting like a mad man to complete my 2000pts. Right now I'm feeling the agony of the long-distance runner but the finish line is in sight. And even though my eyes and fingers are bleeding, I've signed myself up for the TOFP 2010-2011 with not one, not two, but THREE armies (er, ok, that might be pushing it).

So all in all, I can heartily recommend signing up for it. And if you do, let me know how you get on.

But enough chatter, I have 700pts to paint in 15 days. Chaarrrge!