One of the most daunting challenges of Warhammer 40K is actually painting your entire army, particularly if you are interested in playing in a Grand Tournament. The average wargamer is not very disciplined, and so may often find themselves slacking off when they should really be painting their 2000 points of Orks or whatever army they happen to be fielding.
This isn't necessarily very surprising, especially given the amount of time it takes to paint a single model. You can easily spend hours painting the eyeballs of your Warlord, or getting that detail just right on the blood-splattered corpse riding shotgun on your Lemun Russ. However, in a tournament situation you don't always have the time to get everything ready. In light of this, I suggest the following tips for getting that army done in time...
- Don't Slack Off: The easiest thing to suggest, and the hardest one to stick with. Hell, even as we speak I have 30 Space Marines, 7 tanks, 3 Obliterators, and a host of other niggly things to paint before March 8th. And what am I doing instead? Writing a WU on how to paint. This just goes to show you just how hard discipline is to maintain.
- Paint in Batches: Doing a single model at a time is horribly inefficient. Instead, establish stages of painting and get a group of models to each stage before moving on. I tend to do things a squad at a time.
- Paint With Others: If it works with addiction, it will work on anything. If you paint with friends, you'll be more inclined to continue painting and get things done. On the other hand, painting alone will cause you to slack off and distract yourself. This is a bad thing.
- Stretch: No matter how big or tiny you are, you're still several order of magnitude larger than the figurine being painted. This naturally will put yourself into extremely awkward positions that your body will not enjoy. The occasional stretch (or better yet, massage) will help you paint better and longer.
- Schedule Yourself: If you have a ton of miniatures to paint, schedule yourself properly and STICK TO IT. If you can keep yourself painting a tank every weekend and a squad every week, you should be able to get everything done in time. It just takes patience and discipline.
- Don't Paint While Drunk: It never helps.
- Don't Forget To Play: You might get so sick of painting that you'll just give up in frustration, which is not good. Relieve your load by playing the occasional game with your half-painted army; as you progress you'll see a change. This also gives you plenty of practice for the tournament.
- Reward Yourself: Variety is the spice of life. If you finish painting a squad, reward yourself by painting up a tank or some other different model next. Not only will it keep you interested, but you won't get sick of painting the same thing over and over again.
- Don't Despair: Just paint. If it seems hopeless, keep it up anyway. Nobody likes a quitter, and more importantly the more you paint the fewer minis you'll be inclined to borrow if you can't get them all done.