Tag Archives: hobby status

Wednesday Workbench

My hobby feels like it stalled in September.  It didn’t, but it feels that way.  I led a big push to get stuff ready for NOVA at the tail end of August, and then spent the bulk of September painting up Adeptus Titantics (which I need to get both on the table and into the lightbox), which took me most of the month. The rest, I spent slowly making some progress on another batch of Warsenal bases and farting around on video games.

I’m excited to start playing some Combined Army/Onyx Contact Force, but with the Michigan GT coming up I haven’t wanted to start on painting any of that… I basically won’t be able to play it until after Baltimore Brawl is in the rearview.

Fortunately, Nightvault came out, with terrain pieces that Shadespire really would have benefited from (I’ve been using some prepainted Mage Knight Dungeons terrain for want of better options), so I’m working on those as a nice little break/palette cleanser.

Wednesday Workbench

When Chris announced a Flames of War Great War tournament back at the end of April, that was the motivation I needed to (finally) start making progress on painting all the stuff I’d picked up for it over the back half of last year. Well, just over a month later, I’m almost done painting all of it.

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Progress really flew, as I’ve mentioned.  It’s been pretty empowering, really. Between making super fast progress on these (all told, it was just a hair over a month, which is less time than I’d expected) and the release of the Flames of War – Pacific (the theater I find more interesting), I’ve started picking up some USMC models.

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I’m not all the way done, though: I still have some (glorious) A7Vs to paint. I freaking love A7Vs. This is just getting in the base colors, two of them will be getting camouflage.  They’re going to get painted up as:

  • 503 – unnamed – a buntfarbenanstrich-ish (I’m sure there’s a correct name for it) camo.  Skull and crossbones on the front, more modern crosses
  • 506 – “Mephisto” – blotchy, soft-edge camo.  Devil on the front.
  • 561- “Nixe” –  Grey
  • 563 – “Wotan” – Grey

Need to do the camo on the two, then details, the weather them and I’m done.  Maybe I can finish that this week?

Wednesday Workbench 20160608 (2)

My Deadzone Infestation pledge showed up last week (it was delayed by a pledge manager SNAFU).  So far I’m liking what I see; probably have a longer, rambling post about it.  Got a crapton of terrain out of it; I’ve been making quick progress prepping the bits.

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Finally, once the A7Vs are done, I’ve got a bit over a 100 1:72 Red Devils to paint up for an Arnhem game we’ve been planning for later this year. These are mostly Plastic Soldier Company, but with some Eureka minis in there, too.  I think the work will go quickly, which is good because I’m burning 2016 – I need to figure out what I’m going to work on for the Historicon and NoVA painting competitions and then get on it.  It’s already June!

Wednesday Workbench

20150930 Wednesday Workbench

Kind of a lot of balls in the air at the moment:  the first batch of Huns are done and ready for varnishing.  The next, larger batch is in progress.  Somehow I volunteered to paint another few Partisans before the end of October, and since I’m painting WWI Germans and the FoW Great War book comes out any month, now, I might as well knock those out too.

Ork Warbuggies – Part 1

Guys, the Ork Warbuggy is not a great model.

I think it’s from somewhere in the late 90’s; it’s kind of hard to make out from the 3E Ork codex.   I’d have guessed it was done in Gorkamorka, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  The point is, it’s a so-so model that’s kind of dang expensive ($30).

So, I decided to convert something up.  Through some poking, I found a Willys Jeep (?) from Warlord that I thought looked promising: it’s pretty cheap, and I should be able to Ork it up without too much trouble.  So, I ordered one (smart move; more on that) to see how well it would work out before ordering another two (since I’ll want to run three).

Shipping took forever.  As it turns out, that’s ’cause it was coming from overseas!  I’d thought Warlord was a UK (or Australian?) company, but couldn’t find evidence of it when placing this order.  C’est la vie.

IMPORTANT: Don’t order one of these to convert to anything.  I’ll get into why tomorrow, but I don’t want anyone thinking this model was a good idea.

While waiting for it to show up, I discovered the Warpath Marauder Raptors.  Despite being dissatisfied with the Mantic minis I have (something I still need to articulate in its own post), they’re cheap, stocked by The War Store, and still better than the GW Warbuggies.  So, I ordered one to check it out.

My preference would have been to grab a regular old Raptor, but The War Store is inexplicably not discounting it, charging the same amount as the other Raptor flavors. So, instead, I grabbed the Raptor Quad   because it cost me the same.

Finally, while waiting for that to show up, it occurred to me that I should just say, “Screw it,” and run all three buggies as different models, maybe picking up the homely GW model for the hell of it; then I remembered that Casey had talked me into picking up some random discontinued kit that GPC had on its shelves to use in a Dreadnought conversion (that never really came to fruition) that might work.  After some digging in the closet, I found it: it’s a Helix Robogear, and I paid probably twice what it’s going for on Amazon (because, hey, GPC).

(Seriously, those Helix kits are insanely good deals.  Less than $6 on Amazon!)

Tomorrow, I’ll get into what I did with them (and why the Warlord jeep was a mistake!).

The Great Skaven Push

by fedezz

I’ve pretty much decided on running Skaven at the NoVA Open (tickets for the Fantasy side of things have not gone on sale, yet).

I’ve been telling myself all year that I’m going to try to get the list that I’d been playing fully painted before doing anything drastic (swapping units, etc) with the army.  This should push me to really drive to make that a reality.

The list I’m planning on running (with room for some mild tweaking: item swaps, an extra couple of bodies– but not more than that):

Ratputin Rampages – NoVA

Lords (475)
Grey Seer – Power Scroll, Talisman of Preservation
Warlord (General) – War-Litter, Sword of Swift Slaying, Enchanted Shield

Heroes (436)
Chieftain (BSB) – Armor of Destiny
Plague Priest – Flail, Plague Furnace, Opal Amulet
Warlock Engineer – Doomrocket

Core (625)
Clanrats x30 – Full Command
– Poisoned Wind Mortar
Skavenslaves x52 – Musician, Shield
Stormvermin x19 – Full Command, Storm Banner
– Poisoned Wind Mortar

Special (481)
Plague Monks x30 – Full Command, Plague Banner
Gutter Runners x6 – Poisoned Attacks, Sling
Gutter Runners x6 – Poisoned Attacks, Sling

Rare (475)
Hell Pit Abomination
Warp-Lightning Cannon

The army’s not, done but it’s close.  So very, very close.  I’ve plugged everything I need into the same sort of Excel sheet I used last year to track my progress with my Daemons.  There are some notable differences: I’m using Google Spreadsheets instead of Excel, for one.  Even more significantly, a very large portion of the work ahead will involve rebasing already painted minis: I’ve got a number of models based on generic static grass bases (seen here), but have done all of my newer models in the more interesting, display board friendly, cavern scheme.

So, while I’m 56% done, I’m actually 83% done if you ignore the need to rebase 50 models.  I’d be even farther along, I suppose, but most of the stuff I have left to do are big things: the Abomination, the Furnace, the display board.

Overall, that’s basically:

Small Models to Paint: 9
Large Models to Paint: 2
Banners to Paint: 3
Rebase: 50
Displayboard: 1

Totally doable, right?

I’m going to wrap up what I’ve started with my Deathwing (Belial III, Whirlwind Turrets x2) and I’m going to set back into this.  Wish me luck!

Hobby Status Spreadsheet!

A couple of months ago, I shared some details about how I track my progress through this hobby and how satisfying it is to be able to look back on all I’ve accomplished over the past year.  I ended with a promise to make a blank copy of it available to anyone interested in doing the same.

Well, I’m done!  It took me a bit longer than I thought it would (I initially thought I’d be done with this back in October) but the extra time went into refining the sort of data it tracks (it now accounts for assembly and conversion, in addition to simple painting) and making the formulae as flexible as possible (because I wanted this to be accessible to folks who don’t have a lot of Excel experience.)

I’m going to walk through how to access it and then how to use it.

Q: How Do I Access This Thing?

The spreadsheet is a Google Spreadsheet.  To maintain your own copy, you need a Google account: if you have a Blogger blog, you already have one.  It will be added to and interfaced from your Google Documents page.

To get to the blank copy I’ve created for you (yes, you!) to access:

  • Follow this link.

    You should now be in edit-mode for the spreadsheet.  Inconveniently, though, all of the sheets are locked down.  That’s so the sheet is always pristine for the next guy.  When the spreadsheet’s in your account, that won’t affect you.

  • So, copy the sheet to your Google Docs account.

    Click “File” -> “Make a Copy”

    Call it whatever you want.  It’s yours, now.  Leave the checkbox unchecked.

That’s all there is to it!

Q: How Do I Use This Thing?

There are six sheets in this sucker.

General rule: if the cell is greyed out: you probably should leave it alone.  It’s calculated.

Also, I’ve include a little bit of data to provide you with an example of how this stuff should look.  Alternatively, you can always check out my copy.

1. Introduction

I blab a bit about what the sheet does and why I did it.  Sort of like I’m doing here, but with less verbosity.  You can delete this if you want, hang onto it, whatever.

2. Hobby

As far as I’m concerned, this is the meat of the sheet.  Here’s where you log what you finish as you finish it.  Note the year, the month, the model.  How many, what system and army.  What the type is.

Key fields here are:

  • Quantity – How many
  • Assembly Value – How much work went into putting the model together.  Things scale up from simple kit assembly to scratch building.  How you rate things is up to you.  There’s a guide to the right.  
  • Painting Value – The scale of the undertaking.  This is an arbitrary value; I’m including the Lone Pilgrim chart to the right, but how you rate something is up to you.  I gave my display board, for example, a value of “20.”
Conveniently, I’ve made all of these cells yellow.  You’re welcome!

If you’ve painted something without building it, leave Assembly Value blank.  If you build something without painting it, leave Painting Value blank.  (If I build something one month and paint it the next, I’m giving it two lines, but that’s up to you.)

I’ve also included some weights on the right.  You can change those, if you want.  If you’re less concerned about painting than you are building, giving assembly a higher number will increase its impact on the rollup.
That rollup, btw, is: Subtotal = (Painting Value * Quantity) + (Assembly Value * Quantity)
3. Gaming
Here’s where you track games.  Not much complicated here.  
4. Charts
The other meat of the document: taking the information you’ve dumped in and spitting it back out at you in chart form.
This is also one of the biggest disappointments: because of the way Google Spreadsheets works, the charts either look funny or don’t include all of the data.  So, as you add data series (like a new army, or another month’s worth of data), you have to alter the formula that drives the chart.  I’m really sorry about that.  
I’ve included notes about what you have to do to make that work, though, and I think it’s pretty clear.  If there are ever any questions about what to do: don’t hesitate to ask me.
I’ve included charts I find useful and meaningful.  That’s not to say that if you wanted to create another one, you couldn’t do that. 
5. Calculations & 6. AxM Crosswalk

If you’re uncomfortable with spreadsheets, don’t touch these.  These guys take the data that you input on Hobby & Gaming, and process it for consumption by the charts.  
If you’re okay with spreadsheets: don’t let me stop you from playing with them.
Q: What Do I Do With This Thing?
As you plug along with your hobby, just update the sheet.

It’s really intended to not be a lot of work.

At first, it’ll look sparse and empty, but before you know it it’ll have a lot of information and you’ll be able to look back on exactly what you’ve managed to accomplish.

Q: Anything Else?
If you use this, and I’d be thrilled if you did, I’d love it if you let me know.  Fundamentally, this is all about being able to appreciate accomplishments.  If I know I’ve done something that’s helping out your hobby, I’ll get to feel good about myself. :)
Also, if you have any questions or need any help with the sheet: drop me a line!  I’ve tried to make this sucker as automated and simple as possible… but it’s not perfect.  I’m happy to back folks up on this.
Get the Warpstone Pile Hobby Status spreadsheet

Tomorrow, as part of my year-in-review, I’m going to dredge up and share some data from my copy.  That should provide some real examples of this thing in action.
Hope this is helpful!

Tracking Hobby Data

My first real professional software development gig was as a research assistant with the Texas Coastal Ocean Observation Network, a system of meteorological tracking stations up and down the Texas Gulf Coast that’s been collecting data since, in some places, 1989.  The system’s literally tracked how much water is under the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge, every six minutes, for 20 years.  That’s a lot of detailed data.

TCOON’s done some really interesting stuff with that data.  They’ve got some incredibly accurate forecasting tools, for example.  The system’s greatest strength is its volume.

This is definitely a lesson that’s stuck with me over the years: heaps of information can tell you things.  Of course, the only way you get heaps of data is to start collecting it.

Tracking My Hobby Data

At the beginning of the year, I said that I’d be using the Lone Pilgrim Points Tracker to track my painting progress through the year… and I have.  However, rather than just keeping a running number in a sidebar that I increment occasionally, I dump all of that stuff in a spreadsheet.  There’s a link to it in the sidebar, but it’s certainly easy to miss.  So, allow me to direct your attention to:

The spreadsheet was negligibly easy to set up, and takes little to no effort to keep up to date.  (Zealot had suggested that the maintenance would be onerous.  So far, it has not been.)  If anything, I’ve found that logging work in the spreadsheet really communicates an immediate sense of accomplishment.  This was especially true with the way I tracked progress on my Daemon army.  I could literally see progress bars filling up.

It also helps me keep things in persepective.  I brought this up just about a month ago, when I had the same sort of moment Bill just had: “I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing.  Oh, wait… I’ve gotten a lot done!”

(I’m going to post some charts.  These are all driven by the Google Spreadsheet!)

Of course, even though I painted a ton of Skaven in July and August, it’s obvious that 2010 has been the Year of Khorne:

I’ve done a bit more than track my painting progress, though.  Since it was easy, I started tracking my performance in games.  Given my W/L/D record… I’d probably have a higher opinion of my ability if I hadn’t!


It also gives me some perspective on what I’m really playing:

I’m sure to revisit / repost these charts at the end of the year: I’ve only been tracking this stuff for about 10.5 months.

Room for Improvement

It’s not perfect, though.

One thing my Skaven have definitely shown me is that I like to convert some models. This system doesn’t account for any of that effort. If I convert a model and fail to get around to painting it (which is usually the case with me), it’s as if it never happened… never mind how much hobby time it actually consumed.

Assembling things isn’t a small undertaking, either. Sure, snapping together a Black Reach marine isn’t hard: but 30 of them add up. A more complete hobby system would reflect this sort of thing, as well.

Next year, I’ll have to account for this sort of thing.

Exactly how, though, I’m not sure: building a Stompa is somewhat more involved than building a Guardsman, though, and scratch-building a Khornate Daemonette (Khornette?) would be more involved than doing a weapon-swap on a Deathwing Terminator.  These differences are something I should track.

The Lone Pilgrim system only measures painting, and it does so in terms of size: a tank is more points than a marine.  The axis is different with conversion and assembly.  Maybe it makes sense to track conversion separate from assembly.  Maybe it doesn’t.  This is something I need to noodle on a bit.

Also, Lone Pilgrim isn’t perfect: it attaches the same value to dudes I paint in batches of 10 as it does to a single character who’s a centerpiece to my army.  Maybe that’s okay, maybe it isn’t.

Finally, I’ll need to add a field to scope hobby records to year.  Gaming records already include the date, but it’d be nice to see what months are my hobby-fertile ones and what months are dry.

Sharing is Caring

Once I’ve settled these things, I’m going to create an updated Hobby Tracker spreadsheet.  Clearly, I’m doing this for myself… but there’s no reason y’all can’t benefit from it, too.  I’ll post a blank copy of it and make it available for any and all to copy to their Google Docs accounts.

What do y’all think?  Do I fetishize information a little too much, or is this a healthy way to gain perspective about how I spent most of my leisure time?

Hobby Status

So, I’ve been planning to use the Lone Pilgrim Points tracker to track my painting progress in 2010.  It might not be perfect, but an imperfect system is better than no system at all.

I’ll be tracking this progress in a Google Docs spreadsheet here: 2010 Hobby Status.

(I’m moving the link to the sidebar, as well.)

Because I professionally fetishize large heaps of data, I’m planning to try to expand the data I track: games I play and how much my collection grows and shrinks (stealing the idea from Jay).  Those sections are a dead and nonexistent (respectively) at the moment, but that’s because I’m putting off playing and buying stuff until I’m more or less done with the Daemons.

Let me know what y’all think!