Welcome back! Today I would like to take a minute and talk about something that the majority of us as hobbyists have to consider and deal with to varying degrees depending on your level of hobbying, The Workspace. What I mean when I say ‘The Workspace’ is the area you use, whether is be a permanent setup or a mobile, continuously changing system to build and paint your miniatures. This can also relate to not only Blood Bowl but anyone who plays miniature games that involve the same level of work involved.
The reason I would like to write a post about this topic is that, for me anyway, it is a big part of the hobby and having a set up that works for me is the difference between being motivated to paint and not. When my system is working I feel more inclined to sit down and put in a good session where as when it’s not I really struggle to even sit down and clean out the water pot.
So in this post I would like to show you what I do, why it works for me, and what issues I have come across getting here that negatively effected my productivity.
So to starts let me explain my current set up and how it got there. I am fortunate enough to live in a 2 bedroom flat and not have the second room occupied, giving me the freedom to have a permanent corner out of the way to organise and store my hobbying equipment and paints. The biggest benefit of this is removing all the stress and inconvenience involved in setting up and clearing down your workspace every time you want to do anything, meaning if I wanted to jump in and paint one base colour on a set of minis which may only take 30 minutes I am able to do this without spending an additional 20 minutes setting up etc. For me this is a huge benefit and if this changed I am positive my productivity would drop drastically.
So here is my corner of guilt, my get away and area of productivity. I am able to cram all of my hobby tools and products in this corner, a lot harder as time goes on and more teams are released but i’m reorganising as we speak, and keep here on a permanent basis without cluttering the rest of the flat and bleeding into ‘real’ life. So let’s look at how it works
Painting and Building
I actually use a very small computer desk with a pull out drawer designed for the keyboard and mouse set up directly under a shelf, what this does is gives me 3 levels when the drawer is pulled out but when not painting and the drawer is away it reduces the footprint of the area. I can also store the painting tray on the drawer hiding the dirty aspect of the hobby when not in use (the paint palette). On the top of the desk I keep the water pot and any minis/projects I am in the middle of whereas on the top shelf I can organise my paints, brushes and tools using the paint pot tray from Games Workshops Hobby box from a few years ago.
On the lower shelves of the desk I then have the ability to store my ‘To paint’ pile and believe me this is a lot bigger than I would ever want it to be, damn GW and their consistent release schedule of great products. But also I can store anything which I use but not on a regular basis i.e basing materials, drills and files.
Lighting is something that some people don’t really think about when painting, and I’ll be the first to admit I was one of those people, but is something that with some minor and fairly reasonably priced adjustments can make a huge difference. Having the correct lighting for the area you are working in can not only improve your painting by allowing you to see the models an details a lot better but will also improve productivity. Having bad lighting can strain your eyes and will drastically reduce the amount of time you can sit down in one session and in turn could lead to losing motivation to do so.
My lighting set up is not optimal and I am currently looking into upgrading but at the moment it does work, just not as efficiently as it could if I was to invest in LED lights. I currently have 3 lamps set up in my space, a main desk lamp set up to my side to give general lighting over my work area, a smaller desk lamp on the shelf above me lighting my paints so I can easily see what is what when trying to find a colour and a clip on LED bendy spotlight which can be located directly over the painting try illuminating the models I am painting to a good degree.
There is a huge choice of paints in the market, ranging from your easy to access but higher priced citadel range from Games Workshop to independent brands brought to market by enthusiasts in the community such as Turbo Dork. I personally have not tested the full range of what is on offer and have stuck religiously to the Citadel range not reflecting on the other options but purely my own laziness and fear of not knowing. Maybe one day there will be a time where I venture out into the unknown of other brands and be surprised by the reward that comes with the extra effort and planning but for now the huge (and pricey) selection that GW offer is good enough for me, at the end of the day I paint my models to tabletop standard and nothing more and they do the job perfectly for that purpose.
Over the years I have collected a fair size range of colours and technical paints from the Citadel range allowing me to experiment when needed and allow me to paint most of my teams in different colours keeping the motivation and enthusiasm alive to some extent.
With the fairly newly released range of Contrast paints by Citadel I have had a chance to try out different methods in painting and whether these are something that are right for you there are plenty of reviews out there on this range of paints so will not go into much detail here.
Base coating/Spray painting
Moving on from the basics of painting and what I use, you always need to base coat your models before applying the visible colours for the mini. The most popular method to achieve this is by spray painting your models allowing a quick and efficient method of applying a thin and overall coat to the whole model. Although there are a vast range of third party (not GW) paints on the market, it is a bit different when it comes to spray cans with GW leading the market here with an equally impressive range of colours and finishes for undercoats.
I once again personally use Citadel sprays with no complaints and don’t think even if I do decide to experiment with other paint ranges, sprays wont be included in that change.
The process of actually spraying your minis is something that can be a logistical challenge if you do not have the tools or space to do so. Naturally you cannot spray paint your models indoors and must be done outside and on top of that you cannot just spray a model whilst holding it in your hand (well you can but be prepared for it to take 10 times longer and to finish with you fingers covered in paint). It is a messy process and therefore everyone has different methods in order to give themselves the best results in the most convenient and clean way.
For me once again I am fortunate that I have a balcony where I can spray outside in private but for others I know there can be some issues with where they can base their models. For the past few years I have used a shoe box with one of the sides cut off allowing to spray my models with the other four walls picking up any stray paint. The problem with this is in order to get a good coverage of the model I need to turn them around half way through which can potentially leave fingerprints in paint.
A few weeks ago GW released a product that has made my life, when it comes to spray painting a lot easier, The Spray Stick. Now when this product was released it had a mixed bag of reviews with some people like myself finding some real value in it and some seeing it as something that isn’t needed (the comment I heard the most was ‘just use a bit of MDF and some Bluetack).
What the spray stick does it lines your model on a long flat base with a handle on one end allowing you to get an overall coverage with your point of contact a fair distance from where you are spraying. A great product at a reasonable price.
The Importance of the Workspace
So after having a look into my workspace and workflow when it comes to the hobby aspect of the game I would like to talk about why your workspace is intrinsic when it comes to not only productivity but also your motivation and enjoyment of this aspect of the hobby.
There is something to be said for the old saying ‘Tidy desk, tidy mind’ when it comes to this specific hobby, talking from my own experience, when I don’t have an organised process and working area it is extremely difficult to be efficient and inspired to create and paint. I’m sure we have all had those moments when you have a few hours spare in which you planned to hobby but when it came down to it and coming home and seeing your work area a mess has really put us off causing us to put it off for another day. In turn this can have an additional affect on overall enjoyment of the game, not only the hobby side of it, when your painting projects are falling behind and the frustration kicks in which in turns leads to beating yourself up about what you SHOULD be doing.
So how do you overcome this? Well all I can suggest is get your workspace organised, even if you don’t have a set workspace or a very big area, just keep it organised. Make sure you have a set process. Where do you spray? Where do you paint? Where are the paints stored when not being used and make sure you stick to it. I know it takes a bit more time and effort and sometimes after a long painting session all you want to do it crash on the sofa and put Netflix on (other streaming services are available) but in the long term that extra effort will help in keeping the hobby passion going, well in my experience anyway.
So I hope this has helped in some way, but please share pictures with us of your workspace and processes, we would love to see them.