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    Avatar photoMike

    Play with models that are painted below your best in order to game on soon, or wait and paint to your best and game on later?

    Avatar photoAlex

    If I waited to even paint at all until I played I’d play twice a year or something. So, I play, and paint to my best ability as and when I can.


    Yes I do prefer playing with painted miniatures, but I wouldn’t rush them just to game with – better to play with basecoats or primed than not to play at all.

    Alex (Does Hobby Stuff)
    practising hobby eclecticism

    Avatar photowillz

    As long as any figure for gaming is painted to whatever standard you can attain and you are happy with them, then game to you hearts content.

    I have seen wargames place wonderfully painted figures on the table only to see them rout at the first volley from average painted figures and visa-versa.  So does having brilliantly painted figures help you win more wargames, I have no idea.  I suspect gaming has more to do with luck of the dice and some low level tactical skill and the winner making less mistakes than the loser.

    Why do we collect and paint figures to our chosen standard and not use wooden blocks or cards to represent our forces?


    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games

    I solo play with unpainted figures all of the time, but I don’t document those games as no one wants to see naked figures!  And if you don’t photo and post, it didn’t happen 😉

    When playing with others I prefer figures to have some paint on them, even if only enough to tell the differences between troops types or units.  Flashy is great, but just identifiable is fine too.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Avatar photoRuarigh

    It varies. I very rarely play with unpainted figures, but am happy to field figures painted to a basic level. I usual persuade myself this is ok by claiming in my head that I shall return to them and add further detail at a later date. This never happens, but it is still a lie I am happy to tell myself, because it means games get played. On the other hand, I sometimes get inspired and spend ages painting to the best of my ability. This never leaves me satisfied because the best of my ability is not equal to the best figures I see out there.

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


    Avatar photoSteve Johnson

    I paint to a good wargames standard to speed up getting the troops on the table. I will use my wooden blocks for a game rather than unpainted figures, for aesthetic reasons.

    Avatar photoGeof Downton

    I would find it stressful to the point of impossible to play with (what I think are) poorly painted or unpainted figures, but it’s perfectly acceptable to paint figures and never play with them…

    One who puts on his armour should not boast like one who takes it off.
    Ahab, King of Israel; 1 Kings 20:11

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    I know that I’m able to do paintjobs with 5-10 layers of highlights, and special techniques like feathering and glazing. I’ve done it before, if only to test that I can. It’s not hard, really, it just takes time. A lot of time. So that would be my “best”.

    Do I paint my miniatures like this as a matter of course? No. Hell no!

    I think of painting miniatures as analogous to drawing and colouring frames in a comic book or graphic novel (which, to be clear, I have no personal experience with or talent at). A certain balance between quality and quantity needs to be attained. It’s the aggregated “big picture” that matters. In miniatures wargaming, this means attaining a level of adequacy on all fronts: An adequate number of adequately well-painted miniatures, together with an adequate amount of adequately well-crafted terrain and scenery. Adequate doesn’t mean lowest-possible-effort, it means adequate.

    In practical terms for myself, that means I paint my miniatures with two layers (i.e. a basecoat and one layer of highlights) for all colours/areas, not counting the undercoat of course. I’m trying to attain what could vaguely be thought of as a comic book visual effect, with a certain intentional “flatness” to it, without going so far as simply blocking in the colours with no shading/highlighting whatsoever (which might be seen as an approximation of Hergé’s ligne claire, but probably wouldn’t translate well to miniatures).

    Avatar photoThorsten Frank

    Playing unpainted to get to the table as fast as possible. My painting was always sub par so I waste no more time than neccessary on this part of the hobby.

    "In strange grammar this one writes" - Master Yoda

    Avatar photojeffers

    Of course! Back in 1987 I needed to field some Hungarian Insurrectio for the next week’s gaming session. I bought some packs of the new Esci French infantry and – I think – Cardigan’s light Dragoons, slapped on the equally new Humbrol Acrylics (sans primer) and managed to complete the lot in two evenings. They were not horrendous, but I had done better work as an eight year old. Despite being D Class, the little blighters never broke and continued to serve faithfully for years after. I never repainted them.

    If you want to paint quickly and to a decent standard, just copy the style from Airfix catalogues from the late 60s/early 70s or Britain’s Deetail.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    Avatar photoCerdic

    My ‘best’ standard is so low that if I painted worse the paint would have to miss the figure entirely!


    I have skirmish figures painted to collectors standard, and these aristocrats live in a proper poncey display cabinet.

    I have threes thousand Airfix Napoleonics from the seventies, they’re painted shite, and live in plastic storage boxes.

    I have 700 30mm Spencer Smith ACW figures (They look shite and are painted even shitier!), and live in plastic storage boxes.

    I have hundreds of other bods from many periods, both metal and plastic, they live on shelving around the New Emporium by the Seaside.

    When any one of ’em march onto the Fields of Glory… they look magnificent!!!

    "Wot did you do in the war Grandad?"

    "I was with Harry... At The Bridge!"

    Avatar photoirishserb

    I don’t really ever consider painting figures to the best of my ability.  I simply paint them so that I can play the game, as I can’t play the game until the figures are ready.


    Avatar photoMartinR

    Good enough is good enough. I do put more effort into some things which enthuse me, but tbh once they are based up, they all look the same on the tabletop anyway. A good base will save a shocking figure, but a shocking base will ruin an excellent figure.

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

    Avatar photoAlan Hamilton

    The only models that are painted to the “best of my ability” are display models, often for other people as gifts.

    My wargames figures are painted to what I would consider an adequate standard.  This is dependent upon the size of the model, what it is to be used for, when I painted it and how much time I have available. So I have all sorts of different “standards” sometimes in the same collection.   I have Airfix Combat Group and Germans in Humbrol gloss that was all that was available.  Metal and plastic 20mm and 25mm in enamel gloss and matt then later in acrylics as the model shop stocks changed.  By far the majority of my 28mm figures are just block painted, recent ones may have a wash and/or highlighting.

    I do and have played games where unpainted figures are fielded by my opponent.  I make no fuss about it.  The objective is to encourage new players and not put them off.  Almost all of my opponents who fielded unpainted figures came back with them painted.  Not because I insisted but because they wanted to.

    I have also played games where my opponent has deployed figures that would grace a museum display. Fortunately he does not mock or refuse to play against my quite basically painted forces.

    For me the fun is in setting up challenging games and playing them.  The toy soldiers are a means to that end.  Others, of course, have a different emphasis and that is perfectly OK.

    Avatar photoPiyan Glupak

    I like to think that my painting tends to be adequate for wargaming.  I don’t bother trying to do better than wargaming standard.  When I buy figures, I want to get them usable as soon as reasonably possible.

    Avatar photoAutodidact-O-Saurus

    I can procrastinate playing for years while I paint figures. Realistically, for me, the hobby is more about reading, painting and building than gaming. I’m an OK to pretty decent painter but I’ve been known to do some slop jobs for upcoming games.

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

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    it’s perfectly acceptable to paint figures and never play with them…

    This is me.

    I paint an armies not figures, once upon a time before I played games I painted everything to the best of my ability, then I went through a phase of playing games and the standard of my painting dropped, I would just lash on a couple of coats of paint, dip ’em in some gunk or other and call them finished, a process which I found most unsatisfactory.  Now I don’t get distracted by playing games, the painting is the end not the means to an end.  I think of my projects as a Hollywood movie cast “The Stars” get the star treatment, the supporting actors also get the star treatment and the poor old extras usually get a table top paint job.

    While I don’t play any games now I would like at some point in the future start to play again.  I have never personally used unpainted figures in a game, nor would I and personally I wouldn’t play against unpainted figures. For me games are about the aesthetic.

    Unpainted figures indicate to me that the person using the using them has a different attitude to the game to me and we are looking for different outcomes,  unpainted guy is looking to play a competitive game, while I’m looking to spend a couple of hours having an enjoyable social interaction.

    Avatar photowarwell

    My painting standards are also very low. Even so, I will happily field troops below standard if it means getting a game in.

    Avatar photodeephorse

    I always paint to the best of my ability, which isn’t saying much really.  But I have fielded the odd tank or two that were not completely finished because they were required for the scenario.  I wouldn’t use unpainted models or partially painted figures in a game though.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    Avatar photoAlan Hamilton

    it’s perfectly acceptable to paint figures and never play with them…

    Unpainted figures indicate to me that the person using the using them has a different attitude to the game to me and we are looking for different outcomes, unpainted guy is looking to play a competitive game, while I’m looking to spend a couple of hours having an enjoyable social interaction.

    My experience is different.  The chap or chapess with the unpainted figures has bought them, built them and wants to play a game with his/her own “army”.  He/she is gradually working through his/her models a squad or unit at a time.  Fitting in time between work or study.  Not letting him/her play puts him off and we lose him/her to the hobby.  Unpainted figures do not spoil our social interaction, they increase it as we discuss painting styles and tips, terrain making and baseboards, uniforms and organisations and battles and history alongside (bad) jokes, puns and chatter.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    My hoby is more towards sculpting and paintng than gaming so I usually have minis painted but never seen a game. It’s never been the other way round so far.

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