Home Forums General General Why Don't You Use A Painting Service?

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    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    I was wondering why gamers who have large lead mountains and plastic piles don’t use painting services.

    A – I’d rather spend the money on more shiny lead and bare plastic because I get joy from the collecting.

    B – I play with unpainted miniatures, so painting is a nice to have at best or simply not necessary at all.

    C – I feel that painting services are too expensive for what they are

    D – I couldn’t afford the standard of paint job I can do myself, even if I only paint 10% of my stuff

    E – I don’t trust anyone else to paint them

    F – Having someone else paint my figures is cheating

    G – I am more comfortable paying for “things” than “services”

    H – I don’t have much of a lead mountain or plastic pile

    I – I will get round to painting them all one day, despite all past evidence to the contrary

    J – I buy all my miniatures painted in the first place

    K – Something else

    Avatar photokyoteblue

    I use to paint but as I age I’ve had to farm out infantry to friends who can still see. Still, paint tanks and stuff.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    K. A big chunk of the hobby for me *is* painting.

    Farming it out would be like saying playing Monopoly is my hobby but paying someone else to play the game in my stead.



    Avatar photoWhirlwind


    Just out of curiosity, do you have a large lead mountain / plastic pile?


    Avatar photoSteve Johnson

    I have a large lead mountain, but would never consider using a painting service. My reasons are:

    • When I do get the time, I really enjoy the painting of figures, tanks etc. Less so cavalry. For me they then become my miniatures. If they were painted by someone else, that connection would be lost.
    • Cost.
    • Quality. I’ve had a friend use a few painting services and the finished product was pretty poor to be honest. Certainly way below his level of painting, or mine for that matter.


    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Donald, Just out of curiosity, do you have a large lead mountain / plastic pile?


    I own possibly 10 000 painted figures. Unpainted: a couple of hundred, max.

    I don’t like having a “mountain”. I think it inhibits your desire to paint so I only buy handfuls of figures at a time.



    Avatar photoRhoderic

    A, C, E, I, K, K.

    I can’t cram that kind of expenses into my hobby budget, given how many miniatures I still need to buy for my various projects. And I feel like I’m under constant pressure to get hold of said miniatures before they go OOP.

    I also want the painting style to be absolutely consistent across my whole collection. (Most of the miniatures I’ve painted myself in the past, I’ve ended up stripping later because I changed painting styles – I think I’m settling permanently for a style now, though, so no more stripping). Even if I could afford painting services, I couldn’t expect one, let alone multiple ones, to copy my style to a satisfactory degree so there’s no glaring discrepancies. It’s not just about shading and highlighting, it’s about picking/mixing the right colours.

    I have sizeable (figurative) lead and plastic mountains and I’m a slow, low-energy painter, but I don’t care. Besides, much of my energy is now going into acquiring the miniatures (which is genuinely stressful and time-consuming to me), but I expect there will come a day when I have most of what I need for the projects I’ve planned and I can divert more energy into painting. That’s my light at the end of the tunnel. I’m still youngish, I can get there.

    Also K: I can’t rely on a painting service to always be available to me when I need it. What happens when I need a project finished but my chosen painter is fully booked or (understandably, of course) needs to take a break because of personal issues? Or when a painter just closes down their service for good? I can’t be dealing with that kind of distress.

    Another K: It’s enough of a hassle/expense having the miniatures shipped to me when I first buy them. I don’t want to keep shipping them back and forth after that. I’m already having to expend inordinate amounts of valuable hobby energy trying to find out what happened to products I ordered but never received. Once I have my miniatures safely in my lead/plastic mountains, they’re not going anywhere that’s out of my reach.

    The bottom line, I suppose, is that I’m a stressed hobbyist (mainly because of the collecting aspect of the hobby, which is just a means to an end as opposed to something I enjoy), but hiring painting services would just increase the stress, not lessen it.

    Avatar photoMartinR

    I plan what I need to buy, buy it, then paint it.

    Building models, painting, basing and organising them is a huge part of the hobby for me.

    So no, I don’t pay other people to paint my stuff. Most second hand stuff I buy, I repaint. The only pre paints I regularly use is Star Wars stuff, mainly as I don’t use them very often so can’t be bothered.

    Over the decades I have accumulated a moderate lead/plastic pile, but it doesn’t bother me much and I clear it out from time to time.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoCameronian

    Well, I don’t have ‘mountains’ of either. Painting and the necessary research is a very high percentage of my hobby time.  Once the old arthritis and eyesight forces me to stop painting, likely I’ll spend the time gaming – maybe.

    'The time has come" The walrus said. "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

    Avatar photoshelldrake

    K: I find it hard to paint these days due to my eyes, and wish I could pay someone to do them for me, but I can’t afford the cost due to a tight budget.

    Avatar photoOB

    I enjoy painting and find it very relaxing.


    Avatar photoirishserb

    Dumb reason really.  If I don’t paint them, they are not my MY troops, and I can’t use them.  Actually no reason to it, more like superstition or something.  I’ll readily use other people’s figs in games that they put on, but if I own the figs, I have to paint them.

    I don’t always enjoy painting, though usually I do.  And, I rarely try to do a particularly good job, as going “full artist mode” takes me up to a couple of hours per fig to paint, and I simply can’t afford the time given the variety of periods/armies/factions that I game (plus, it doesn’t result in that good of a paint job).

    My lead heap is at something of a high point right now at around 800 figs, and I’ve been putting off buying other figs, as I want to avoid growing it more.  Guess I should paint more, and browse less.


    Avatar photowillz

    If I was a millionaire I would pay somebody else to paint my figures and only hire the best painters.

    I paint my own figures as I enjoy doing it, I have bought figures from a couple of painting services and was mildly disappointed.  The price of the figures were reasonable but the painting was poor and I could do better.  If you want well painted figures 25 – 28mm scale £6 – 10 a figure is the price you are going to have to pay to get a good to very good standard.  So if you were doing a 200 piece army, that’s £1200 – £2000 for painting not including the cost of the lead / plastic or cleaning up and building.

    When it comes to paying for painting figures as a collective group wargames are non to keen to pay high prices for painted figures.  That is mainly down to affordability a 200 figure army at £2000 to paint or £200 for the raw lead and do it yourself is a no brainier.

    Like I said if I had millions.

    Avatar photoMatthew Hipkin

    K, something else.

    I am a painting service.

    Avatar photoJames Manto

    Just budgetary constraints.

    I enjoy painting but using a service to get those last units for a project finished would be great.

    Avatar photoPatrice

    Because my figures are miiiine.


    Avatar photoA Lot of Gaul

    What Donald said. I get at least as much enjoyment from painting and basing my miniature armies as from playing with them.
    OTOH, I prefer to buy my wargame scenery pre-painted.


    "Ventosa viri restabit." ~ Harry Field

    Avatar photoMike

    I like the achievement from having painted something.
    Because I painted them, they feel more personal.
    I like them to look a certain way, my way!
    I like that it is free to paint them.
    Because I painted them, they feel more personal.
    I don’t really have that much which needs painting.


    Avatar photoAutodidact-O-Saurus

    C,D,E,F,G,H and I.

    Hmmm… I don’t think there’s any chance that a painting service will ever woo me away from painting my own figures.  However, every now and then when I think about doing stuff in 6mm, I consider using a painting service. I just can’t see to paint the little buggers yet the scale has a real attraction for me.

    Ultimately, though, I paint much more than I play. If I didn’t paint, this wouldn’t even qualify as a hobby.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/


    Using a painting service would mean my projects get finished but then I would be paying a premium for miniatures that wouldn’t be painted in my unique style. Also like others, it would feel wrong somehow owing to the fact I didn’t paint them so they can’t really be my figures.

    I do enjoy painting when I’m in the mood but I have to be in the mood. Which means it takes a while or a very long while to finish projects and even then they are not completely finished with all figures purchased not all painted and based. Plus I’ve invesred in slot of paints and paintbrushes so there’s no excuse really!

    Avatar photoEric Schmitz

    I enjoy painting, but don’t have the time to get everything painted, so I’m using a painting service to bring the lead and plastic pile to a manageable point.

    So a combination of painting my own, sending to a cheaper painting service the hordes of infantry, and using a more expensive service for commanders, large monsters, and other items which I don’t want to paint, but which will be focal points of  my armies.

    and if I buy minis, they are always painted.  My goal is to have no lead pile in another year, then only buy a few at a time, and then take my time to paint them.


    Avatar photoThuseld

    I have seen my painting skills increase over the past 5 years. That wouldn’t happen if someone else painted them.

    If I paint the miniatures then I feel a connection to them. They fit MY  vision, exactly as I see it, not someone else’ interpretation of my vision.

    It would also feel like cheating.

    BUT: My lead mountain is more of a mole-hill. I got excited and bought a load of 6mm miniatures, but now am working my way through them before ordering more. (A white lie, as I have ordered some for Christmas).

    Avatar photoMcKinstry

    I’ve used painting services to kickstart some mass 6mm Hail Caesar, Blucher or Black Powder projects but never on ships, space ships or anything bigger than 6mm. The results are mixed as some were acceptable if not great and some really poor.

    I enjoy painting and now that I’m retired, I haven’t really been tempted as I have more time for myself.


    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Avatar photoKatie L

    I like painting…


    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    I like painting…

    Because painting is part of the hobby.

    I like painting too.  I tried to frame the question so it was really for those gamers who have lots of unpainted miniatures, because whether they like painting or not, they are still probably going to have lots of unpainted lead or plastic regardless.

    Avatar photoTony Hughes

    I used to run a painting service as a part-time business so that’s probably the best answer why not – though I suppose you could say I have all my stuff done by a painting service, ME.

    I have, at least in terms of number of figures, a large lead mountain. My problem is that I do love the planning and research side and end up with armies that were fun to research but, when I get to thinking about paint and whether I’d ever use them, the enthusiasm wanes. I don’t usually consider that wasted cash though, I had fun getting them that far and they are always there for a rainy day.

    Having mostly small scales means I can have a LOT of figures waiting for paint and still room for more – not necessarily a good thing. You can store 1000 6mm figures in a very small space. Recently I’ve been collecting and painting 20mm & 28mm stuff and they take up vast amounts of space compared to my 6 & 10mm armies. A painted skirmish force takes up the same space as a whole division of WW1 10mm. Some of those I definitely regret buying.

    I NEVER buy more than I can comfortably afford so cost isn’t the main issue but now I really do have to consider now much more space I need when I start a new project. I am going to have to have a serious rationalisation of what I have in my workshop and my storage ‘corner’ in the library upstairs as I’m pretty well at the limits now.



    Avatar photoOldNick

    While I have bought a few painted figures over the years they never feel right.  Part of the joy of the hobby is finding great figures you like and then painting them. Once done I have a feeling of ownership and pride K do not have over figures/regiments I pick up.

    The lead Mountain Is Shrinking.

    Avatar photoRuarigh

    K – Budgetary constraints. For me, painting is a necessary evil, not an enjoyable part of the hobby. I would happily let someone else paint my figures for me, but my gaming budget does not permit this.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.


    Avatar photoDarryl Smith

    Cost and the uncertainty of quality and/or getting my figures back.  I have used two services to paint some 1/285th scale aircraft, and they were both excellent to deal with, but the amount of planes I need painted vs. the amount of infantry to be painted makes having aircraft done a no-brainer.

    Buckeye Six Actual

    Avatar photoOtto Schmidt

    If you don’t paint them they ain’t yours.

    Avatar photoAltius

    I’m in this hobby precisely because I want to paint. In fact, I consider myself to be a painter who occasionally plays games. I find it enormously relaxing to spend an evening painting. Paying someone else to paint my stuff would feel so wrong, as if I’m cheating myself.

    Where there is fire, we will carry gasoline


    I enjoy painting too much – it is how I unwind.

    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    If you don’t paint them they ain’t yours.

    I hear you.  But I don’t remember feeling that playing with unpainted Airfix French Napoleonics and US paratroopers as a kid; or with Britain’s pre-painted Guardsmen, for that matter.

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