We Love to Buy Miniatures Because We Believe We Are Buying the Time to Paint Them


In his VH1 documentary, Inside Out, the late, great Warren Zevon shared this pearl of wisdom:

We love to buy books because we believe we’re buying the time to read them.

I think this is just as true for miniatures as it is for books.

I am sure that I am not the only person to buy more models than he is able to paint in any given week, month, year… decade?  It starts off quite innocently, with a little box or two of unpainted metal, plastic or resin staring at you from the shelf, quietly calling out to be painted in a voice that, although niggling, can ultimately be ignored.

Flash forward a few years and things have gotten out of control.  Where once there was a box and a couple of blisters, there are now entire starter sets for Games, abandoned projects and, possibly, even an army or two sitting in sprue-grey or bare metal.  All the while your shame grows hot and heavy and stifling.

I am currently in the midst of moving from a small, rented house to a larger house that I have recently bought.  During my time in rented accommodation, space has been at a premium and many of my hobby items have been left to languish in my parents’ garage, a good 5 to 6-hour drive away from home.  In moving into more spacious accommodation, it seemed a good time to take stock of what I actually owned and, I must say, I’m a bit shocked.

There is so much grey.  Box after box and bag after bag of bare plastic and shining metal.  Most is built, but some is not.  There’s some scattered scenery here too; some assorted dice and sundry templates.  The majority of the plastic is for Warhammer – the square-based, fantasy version.  There’s some 40K here too, and some Warmachine, some Avatars of War characters and even a few Confrontation miniatures.

I group together what I can, to see what comprises the bulk of this grey tide:

  • A huge amount of Skaven, with a few painted units of clanrats and plague monks breaking up the grey, along with an old, painted warp lightning cannon that a friend painted for me almost a decade ago.
  • A lot of greenskins.  Like, thousands of points or Orcs and Goblins.  There are a few painted units in here, but not many.  So many boyz…
  • Bretonnians.  Lots of knights.  Around half of these are painted or nearly painted.
  • Chaos Warriors – the old, hunched-over ones – and marauders.  These are all primed black and are accompanied by one unit of the newer-style warriors painted purple and cream.

Add to these a smattering of odd models here and there, a good amount of 40K, the remnants of projects long-abandoned – oh, cool, a couple of painted Uncharted Seas fleets! – and despair kicks in.

I can’t entirely claim that all of this was wasted money as many of these grey armies saw a lot of play, despite their non/partially-painted states.  The models were used and enjoyed, even if not painted.  Saving graces, eh?

For now, I grab a few select models – some marauder units here, a box of unidentified dwarfs there – and close the garage door behind me.  Once I have a hobby area set up in the new house, an area with adequate storage for these neglected miniatures, I’ll be back.  At that point, I can work out what is to be kept, what can be sold online, given to friends or, where damage has been done, thrown out.

Guess I’m going to need a lot more green paint…


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