Not one step back! Always forward, for the lead pile! Once I paint a figure I have a rule to never repaint it. I don’t spend time striping figures I finished years ago, or spend weeks painting even a character figure. Once they’re done, they’re done! You know, except for the times I go back and strip figures and repaint them…
So I don’t generally revisit minis. I’ll repair damaged minis, put decals on minis long after I finished painting them, and I have some minis who’s bases were never finished and I’ve had to go back and do those. The lead pile is never small enough that stripping a pile of minis and then repainting them because they’re not perfect is a good option.
But I have repainted minis, and I have stripped quite a few actually. The most notable case has been my the skin tones on a lot of my 28mm WWII minis. I’m a big proponent of craft paints, but frankly the ‘skin tones’ of every craft paint I have used has sucked. As my painting skills have improved I started using miniature paint skin tones and better washes, including home made ink washes instead of washes made with acrylic paint. I have gone back through and redone a lot of skin tones as I’ve redone bases, repaired minis, or just felt like redoing some minis. Some of the paint jobs are poor enough that redoing faces isn’t going to save them, so I’ve just put them back in the case and they’re the first guys to be taken as casualties.
I’ve stripped several sets of minis over the years. Recently I’ve stripped a set of 25mm Ground Zero Games minis when I really didn’t like the test paint scheme and a set of 6mm troops that were painted extremely sloppily. The 6mm didn’t strip so well, they were very slim casting and cleaning off the paint broke quite a few. But they were unusable as they were so no great loss.
I have some old GZG spaceship minis that I’m going to strip at some point, I had them painted for me and the guy slapped thick layers of paint that obscured the details to an unacceptable point. They’re ugly, painted poorly, and an embarrassment. I need to pick up a sonic cleaner and strip them, but it’s a low priority at this point.
So why am I so against stripping minis? Well to begin with its a boring process, takes too much time up that I could be painting and I can never get all of the paint out of the nooks and crannies. I only have so much time to spending ‘hobbying’ and I don’t need to be spending it elbow deep in Simple Green with a toothbrush. One of the big reason though is that I’m not a perfectionist, I’m satisfied with a ‘tabletop quality’ force. Yes I’ve been getting better and better over time and there can be quiet a difference between some of my older paint jobs and the newer ones when place side by side, but I’ve played against way too many unpainted armies to be embarrassed by my fully painted forces not being even my own top quality.
But by far the biggest reason I rarely strip minis? I truly enjoy painting. I’ve said before that it’s almost meditative for me. Its how I relax at the end of a long day. I sit down, put on some random YouTube videos and put some paint on some lead! I get no joy from stripping painted minis. When I need to do it it’s a chore, like laundry. I hate laundry…
Stripping mins isn’t hard really. Just dump them into something caustic enough to weaken the bond between the paint (and primer) and the mini and scrub with an old toothbrush. My personal preference is LA’s Totally Awesome since it’s WAY cheaper than Simple Green, but I’ve used brake fluid on metal minis before and will probably have to resort to that with these old GZG Full Thrust minis. I just find that the work involved in scrubbing the paint, re-soaking, scrubbing again, getting a pin or toothpick out to get into the crevices and just repeating the process over again for the little bits of paint in odd places is a complete waste of time. I hear good things about sonic cleaners though so I will invest in one soon.
I hear (or read really) people say how they view painting as a necessary evil, something they have to do in order to play. They don’t want to play with unpainted plastic, so they put in the torturous hours to put three colors on their army and be done with it. I truly enjoy painting, it’s a relaxing past time that is only surpassed by playing with my painted armies. I have run a convention game each year of the assault on Carentan in World War Two and I was very excited when I could finally put together not only both forces fully painted but was able to put together a table full of good looking painted terrain.
The painting portion of my goals is kind of a commitment to doing something I enjoy, not a grueling checklist I do so I can reward myself with something I actually like. I’m purposely not pushing myself to paint more and more each year. I picked 350 in 2019 based of some sloppy back of the napkin math and for several reason only barely achieved it. I’m doing 350 again this year because I know I can do it. I’m probably going to take on two more painting commissions this year to get hobby funds and I know I can get them done AND paint 350 of my own minis.
The chore portion of my 2020 goals are to clear out hobby stuff I know I won’t use and to curb my spending (Soooo many shiny toys I want to buy!). I’m struggling a little with those, I’ve been listing some stuff on Ebay slowly, but I need to bring more out and get rid of it. I just put in an order to Ground Zero Games but limited myself to some more riflemen to fill out a platoon I’m currently working on and some militia/armed civilians for the Tomorrows War/5150 solo campaign I’m going start as soon as they’re painted up.
I’m putting the finishing touches on my second platoon of Ground Zero Games miniatures as I write this. And next up the very thing that inspired this post: Repainting the pants on 30 ‘finished’ minis because I used the wrong color!
This post originally appeared on the Wargaming Recon blog http://wargamingforums.com/2020/02/27/not-one-step-back/