In my last post, I briefly discussed some of the frustrations and burnout that I was experiencing for the past month or so. These periods frequently come and go for a miniature hobbyist, however, sometimes the periods are so bad, you can’t help yourself from purging all your miniatures and starting over.
We’ve all been to that point. We’ve looked at our pile of shame and thought to ourselves, “Why do I have this? I’ll never get to it”, only to sell it and regret it later. I’ve gone through multiple periods of this, and from my experience, I’ve regretted almost every single time.
Before it gets to the ‘purging stage’, there are things you can do to prevent that. I’d like to share some of my experiences, as well as some of the ways I’ve learned to avoid the possible regret that comes later.
- Take An Inventory of What You Have:
One of the biggest obstacles I’ve faced with hobby burnout is the pile of shame. It’s an overwhelming feeling to know that you spent money on all these games or kits, and you just freeze there like a deer in headlights. So, take an inventory! You don’t know what you have to work on until you look at all of it.
Pull out your pile (or in my case, closet) of shame and sort it via factions. If you have multiple gaming systems you play, separate it by game, then faction. By doing this, you will see exactly what you have and give you a much clearer picture of the mountain you’re facing.
From there, I like to take a ‘time inventory’ of what I have. So, I will estimate exactly how long each kit will take. The breakdown I generally use is- 30-45 minutes per infantry, 3-4 hours for a vehicle or monster, and heroes will generally be between 1 hour and 2 hours, depending on if they have a mount/vehicle or not. These times will also need to account for assembly if applicable. While not 100% accurate, this will give you a general idea of how long it will take you to finish a certain portion of the pile, and you can generally weigh that against what time you personally have available.
Seeing the time investment you will need to put into new factions, games, etc., can always snap you back to reality on what you really want to paint/build/play, and can even get you excited for what you want to play as you won’t feel that overwhelming shadow from your shame pile.
This will also allow you to really see what you want to keep, and would help get a little extra cash back into your pocket.
- Have a Palate Cleanser Project:
This may seem counter productive to the previous entry, but, just hear me out. When you have 2000 points of Orks, you get really sick of painting green. It’s a lot of green. I mean… A LOT of green. Most individuals will get burned out of painting the same green base, green shade, and green highlight 200+ times only to then have to go back over and paint all the armor and clothing. It can get incredibly dull if you are doing that sort of assembly line painting for such a large army.
So, to combat this, get a palate cleanser project. This can be pretty much anything. I’d suggest something small, like a box set of something unrelated, or even a starter set from another game that you don’t play as much, or are just dipping your toes into. Something that I have used in the past are Malifaux gang boxes. You have some varied paint schemes in the set themselves, while also having a limited number of miniatures to paint. So, if you don’t make a lot of progress quickly, it’s alright, you don’t have the same mountain to climb as painting a massive army of Orks.
I’d also very strongly suggest Reaper miniatures as palate cleansers. These are great things to just break away from your standard painting style and try something new. You finish them up and they look great on your shelf, and, more often than not, you feel refreshed after painting one or two of them. With all the different designs and models they have, you would for sure find something new to try.
Doing terrain and scenery is also a very good cleanser as well.
- Make a Completion Sheet:
This is something that should not only help you feel accomplished in your hobby, but help prevent your pile of shame from getting too large. You can use this sheet I’ve linked here, and keep track of your kits purchased and completed. I will be using this to make myself not get too deep into new armies before completing what I have. Feel free to download it and make adjustments for how you’d like to use it.
The theory behind this is to see completion and accomplishment. We can all look at our pile getting smaller, but, it’s really cool to see the total number of completed models go up as a definitive piece of data. I find this motivating, and it makes me want to complete more.
- Take a Break:
Sometimes, the best reset can be just walking away. We’re human (well, most of us anyways). We have a limited amount of interest to place into certain things, and sometimes we just need to let it reset naturally. Distance makes the heard grow fonder after all. Let your brain cool off and get back to it the next week. You’ll be surprised how much you missed it.