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2020 Year in Review

Year in Review

January was mostly me working to make The Old Dominion Disagreement 2020 come together. I’ve done a spectacularly shitty job posting about the efforts I’ve put into running these ITS events here, but the ODD was a big deal! It was a Satellite! That’s amazing! We had nearly 50 people show up; folks from as far out as Colorado. I over-prized the fuck out of the thing, and that was January.

This wasn’t even all of it.

I also banged away at painting some Combined Army, so I could bring a new army to Rumble, a project I’d started in December.

February was the actual event! And more Combined Army. I also picked up an FDM printer, which has been running almost nonstop since.

March was the last of the CA for Rumble and then, uh, pandemic.

The rest of the year was us buttoned up. I’m blessed with a home, job, and family that has allowed my wife and I stay home for the duration of this. My first day was March 13. I’ve probably been out (besides dog-related activities) maybe a dozen times since. I did a month-by-month of my hobby activities for the first six months back in September. I painted more in the subsequent three months, of course.

Hobby Charts

I’ve been collecting this hobby data for eleven full years, and purchase/painted stuff for five.

I’m surprised that this year didn’t out perform 2016, but I think I know why: I did a lot of TGS / 10mm / 15mm painting which skews the numbers up a bit.

Great painting-to-building ratio here.

This is such a feat: without counting junk I’ve sold, I painted $700 more than I spent this year. I painted more than I spent within almost every month. The exceptions: March, when I panic-bought a bunch of Ogres, and July, when I started buying 40K again.


I think 2020 screwed up everyone’s goals. It screwed up everyone’s everything.

2020 Goals:

  • FinishSuccess. I finished a lot of stuff this year. AoS, 40K, Bushido, Necromunda, Aeronautica Imperialis, Saga… stuff got finished!
  • PaintSuccess. Yeah.
  • CompeteFailure. I played maybe a half-dozen games of Infinity this year, casually, and nothing else.
  • Backlog Partial failure. I’ve painted some stuff in my backlog, but most of it’s been stuff that I’ve bought… and I’ve bought more than I’ve painted of course.
  • Blacklog (Part 2) – Failure. I’ve got some Crimson Fists in the backlog, plus some Malifaux.
  • Print – Success.
  • Rumble ReadySuccess. Didn’t get to use it, but I did get it.

2021 Goals:

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete

(of course)

Beyond that, I have no clue. I hope to be able to get out and play some games and see people but I don’t know how reasonable a goal that is. It’ll happen, but I suspect it’ll happen late in 2021 for me.

2019 Year in Review

I actually started this in January, I swear!

Weirdly, because WP pushed a theme update that prepends the featured image above the post and since I’ve been doing that manually for, like, years, all of my posts look like a lunatic made them now and that’s been irrationally discouraging. Also, boy-howdy is uploading photos via the WordPress app anything less than incredibly unreliable and, as a result, frustrating. I blame those facts on my falling off on posting here. I need to channel my frustration with Facebook and the active degrading effect it’s having on our democracy into motivation to post here more.

I played a wagonload of Infinity this year but, despite it being a second year of Infinity for me, I painted hardly any Infinity models. Looking back: I came very close to not painting any at all.

Year in Review

January was preoccupied with planning for The Old Dominion Disagreement, a tournament I organized and ran in February. It was kind of a big deal: a 50 person tournament with $1,500 to spend on prizes, patches, food, etc. It was the first time I’d done something quite so large and intense. It was a success: we’re actually a Satellite in 2020 and, as I write this, I’m mostly thinking about the next one in, uh, a month. I also became a Warcor the literal week of the tournament, which was fortuitous timing.

I also finished painting up my Adeptus Titanicus. I’m really happy with how they came out, but have yet to play the game a single time.

February saw little action: I got the flu at ODD, also there was our now-annual vacation to Playa del Carmen.

March saw a LOT of activity with building minis. I also got started on painting up Monsterpocalypse, which is a fun game that I haven’t played in months.

April & May were more of the same: painting Monsterpocalypse. In April, I traveled to Albuquerque for the first time since leaving Kemtah to play in my first Rumble on Rt 66. It was, of course, an enormous blast and I’m going back this year.

In June, I started painting up a new Infinity table. I love my Warsenal table, but it. is. a. bitch. to transport, setup, and break down. I’m quite pleased with how Tanuki Town came out: I think it looks great, but also vastly more practical than Xi Guan. I also won my first ITS up in Hagerstown, and traveled to Ohio for friend Lee’s Rustbelt Ruckus (which is now also a Satellite tournament and feels like a sister event to the ODD).

July – more Tanuki Town painting. I spent 2+ months on that thing.

August – finished Tanuki Town and painted up all of the Warcry starter box (minus the Untamed Beasts I sold off). I also painted up all of Minimoto for Bushido. There was, of course, NOVA, where I played Infinity all weekend long.

September & October – I painted some Bushido Ronin, as well as a table for Bushido. If you’re keeping track, that’s 3 tables in 4 months. I also started painting up Malifaux, for the heck of it.

In November, I finished painting up 2 masters & their 3E available models for Malifaux (Kaeris & Mei Feng). Also, envious of a couple of folks I know with the same, I bought an LCD SLA printer.

December saw the first actual Infinity models of the year, as I got a start on painting Combined Army. I also screwed up with the printer a lot, but I did manage to paint something I’d printed which felt like a big milestone.

Hobby Charts

These remain incredibly interesting and motivating to me, even if I don’t have the gumption to type out my thoughts about them.

I’ve got a full ten years’ worth of data now, which I think is really cool.

This is a GREAT painting-to-building ratio!


My 2019 goals were the standard three. “I feel less driven to do specific things.  It’s hard for me to project what I’ll be working on 6 months from now, and the games I’m playing don’t really call for that.    I’m going to leave the standard three in place for 2019, but that’s it. “

  • Finish, PaintSuccess. I painted a lot of armies for a lot of games. I took on discrete, achievable projects and completed them. Hell yeah!
  • CompeteSuccess. I did a fair amount of traveling for Infinity, and I had a blast doing it.

For 2020,

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
  • Backlog – I’ve maintained a ratio of model spend vs. the cost of my painted models for several years now, with the intent of keeping the spend at <= what I’m painting. I’ve done a very bad job of doing that… but I’ve painted 2-3x times as much as I’ve picked up since November and if I can keep things where they are, that’d be great.
  • Blacklog (Part 2) – I’m very close to being able to say that every model I have bought in 2020 I have painted. I don’t expect that state to persist but I’d like to achieve it.
  • Print – In the past few months, I’ve picked up both a filament and resin printer. I’ve been printing stuff with them; it’d be cool if I kept that up.
  • Rumble Ready – This is a bit of a cheat, but late in 2019 I decided I was going to paint a new army to take to Rumble on Rt 66 in April. I achieved that earlier last week, but at the top of the year it was a goal so I’m listing it.

2018 Year in Review

(This is super late.  I drafted most of this in early January, got distracted.)

I saw someone say something to the effect that that 2018 was a rough decade.  I have a hard time disagreeing with that.

Despite that, 2018 was A Year of Infinity for me.  I ran my first Infinity tournament at Huzzah and, thanks to a lot of help, it was a huge success!  On the basis of that success, I continued running those tournaments on a quarterly basis and upsize one of them into a full-fledged Dire States event.   I played in something like a dozen tournaments and even did some traveling for one.  That’s pretty cool.

It’s also the first time I helped out with NOVA Open Charitable Foundation.  I’m very selfish about NOVA – it’s the only big gaming convention I get to go to, so my time there is for me… but I can certainly spend a little time outside of it helping out.  I ended up helping out with two off-season auctions.

Year In Review

  • In January, I continued working on my Infinity table, which ultimately took several months to do.  I blew through a Necromunda gang in very little time, which was refreshing… even though I’ve yet to do anything with them play-wise.
  • Feburary had my first Infinity tournament at Huzzah and, I think, finished my Xi Guan table.
  • March was Madicon, of course. I helped out painting some Varangian Guard for NOCF.  I also started making my own tokens and wrote what I think was a pretty helpful article about it.
  • April was more Infinity painting.  I started on Yu Jing.
  • May was my second tournament, just as successful as the first one.
  • In June I painted up a St Isaac force for Dark Age because there was going to be a DA event.  I wasn’t able to make it to that, though, and I ended up giving it to NOCF to auction off.  (Black Friday had me repurchase the same models.)
  • In July I gave Age of Sigmar an honest try.  I bought and built a bunch of Nighthaunts and really worked through the book.  I’ve yet to play with the models, though, and I still find the setting bland-to-bad.  I tried.  I really, really did.
  • I crammed painting most of the ISS sectorial into August, in plans of running them at NOVA.  We did a NOVA prep tournament, which was small for us, but that was expected.
  • September was NOVA, of course.  I did better here than I expected, but it’s still a rough field. I spent literally the rest of the month painting Adeptus Titanicus.
  • The Mid-Atlantic Infinity Travel Team drove to Michigan in October for the Michigan GT.  It was a blast… but I might still be recovering.
  • November was a blur: I painted a bunch of mercs, and played in my second Baltimore Brawl.
  • December kind of didn’t happen. I moved around the furniture in my hobby room, which was disruptive, and did a ton of travel, which was also disruptive.  In the end, I painted nothing. In the end, I pretty much just played video games.  I did run a quarterly on my birthday, though.

Hobby Charts

2018 was productive: I’m not surprised that it was less productive than 2016 & 2017, but I got a lot done in it.

As usual, I did more building than painting.  That’s not likely to change, as I’ve gotten into a routine of painting for a few hours in the early evening and then building models while I watch TV with my wife.

No surprise here: a crapton of Infinity.


2018 Goals

My 2018 goals were light: the standard three.

  • Finish, PaintSuccess. I finished a Warsenal table, dang near anything I could need for the ISS sectorial, everything else I might need for the Corregidor sectorial, a couple of small project for NOCF, a Necromunda gang that’s yet to see action, and all of the Adeptus Titanicus models I picked up.  I’ve been in a really healthy place where I take on a handy-sized project, work it, then move on to the next one.  That’s where I want to be.On the other hand, I built an AoS army that I’m not likely to make any headway on any time soon.  I’ve picked up a disconcerting amount of A Song of Ice and Fire models that will stay bare plastic.
  • CompeteSuccess. I’ve been playing a lot of Infinity.  I’d like to play more, but I’ve been getting a lot of games in and have been having a blast.  This is the first year in a long time that I haven’t entered anything into a painting contest, though.  This continues to feel like a healthy choice, however.

I feel less driven to do specific things.  It’s hard for me to project what I’ll be working on 6 months from now, and the games I’m playing don’t really call for that.    I’m going to leave the standard three in place for 2019, but that’s it.

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete

2017 Year in Review

(“I don’t have to tell you that 2016 was, as years go, a murderous sack of crap.” was how I started last year’s review.  Oh, you sweet summer child.)

Hobbywise, I actually got a fair amount done this past year, so this should actually be a fairly positive YiR.

Year in Review

  • In January, I banged out some Frostgrave Barbarians in no time that have held up quite well, as well as a few other assorted Frostgrave models.
  • February saw me blow through my Blood & Plunder models (though I have yet to touch the ship) and start painting Infinity again after kind of a bit.  (How is it I’ve yet to photograph my Blood & Plunder models?)
  • March means Madicon, and somehow that translated into deciding to paint almost the rest of my Wrath of Kings Goritsi.  I’ve picked up the new models that have come out since, and I have a few Zeti unpainted, but for the most part, everything is done, which is kind of crazy.
  • April was an unusually quiet month for me.  This is probably Persona 5’s fault.  I painted a ton of bases for Infinity, and that’s all.
  • May hit, though, and I went full Infinity.  Just painted a ton of Nomads. I believe it’s around this time that I got to start playing Infinity regularly.
  • I got to play in my first Infinity tournament in June, and had an amazing time.
  • July was probably my final Historicon, due to the move.  I got in a couple of great games, this time, and did very well in the painting competition, winning Best in Show for the second year in a row.
  • I was kind of aimless in August: I painted up a bunch of Bones and terrain, but didn’t really have much direction in what I was doing, hobbywise.
  • September was NOVA, which was, as usual, the gaming highpoint of my year.  I played in two Infinity events, and had a blast.  Going in, I was concerned I’d burn myself out, but coming out of it, I’m ready to sign up for All Of The Things next year.  I also exceeded my expectations by being able to place with my Anaconda and make final cut with two other entries in an increasingly competitive event.
  • In October, I painted some Dark Age that I picked up at NOVA, and then Shadespire came out, and I blew through painting it.
  • November was the Baltimore Brawl, the local satellite Infinity tournament.  Big surprise, I had a great time at it.  I also decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world, and organized a couple of tournaments that I wanted to happen (instead of waiting for someone else to run them).
  • In December, I ran Huzzah’s first Shadespire tournament.  It was a huge success, especially for a weeknight, and should go on to be a monthly thing.  Hobbywise, it’s felt quiet, but I’ve possibly been busier than ever, grinding through a stack of Warsenal terrain for an Infinity table. 

Hobby Charts

I got a lot done: less than in 2015 or 2016, but more than any other year.  I actually painted more models in 2017 than in any year other than 2016, and I started gaming a lot more than I remember doing, which is fantastic.

Early high productivity, and then somewhat consistent productivity past that.

Again, maybe not a record number of models painted, but this is pretty amazing, especially considering there were no 15mm/1:72 models painted this year, and a solid month’s been spent painting “8” models (buildings).

Hobby Spending

I was able to track all of my purchases vs. painted models vs. sold stuff for a second year in a row.  (I had to do this chart in Excel, as Google seems to be rolling back the flexibility of its Sheets’ Charts.)

I sold some Forgeworld early in the year; in fact, I did a great job of clearing out deadend projects, including finally clearing out the Tau I knew I was never to return to.  That means that, without even factoring in the painted models, I sold about $700 in models more than I bought, which is great.

Most of the stuff I don’t want anymore’s been moved, though, so I can’t rely on that to keep my numbers good next year.


2017 Goals

  • FinishComplete Success – I got so much Infinity painted, and I closed the loop on a lot of Frostgrave projects, and even got all of my Blood & Plunder stuff painted up (until I bought more. :( )
  • Paint Complete Success –  Undeniable.
  • CompeteComplete Success – Sorta.  I mean, I don’t know that I was ever competitive this year, but I certainly played in some tournaments, which is the point.
  • Step it up for Historicon – Complete Success – I placed with all but one entry, and took a second Best in Show.
  • Step it up at NOVA – Complete Success – I painted a couple of competition entries this year, so I’m counting this as a win.  The competition is passing me by, though; my best isn’t going to be able to hang for much longer.
  • Stay away from Kickstarter –  Success – Down a couple from last year: only backed 8 things; of those 8, only 4 had minis – more Blood & Plunder, more Zombicide, more Bones, and then A Song of Ice & Fire.  A manageable amount.

2018 Goals

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete

As always.  Beyond that, it’s hard to say: my two big events are changing… Historicon’s moved away, and I might not make it out to it.  NOVA’s not going anywhere, but the painting event’s changed so much, I’m not sure if I’m even going to try to keep up.  Anything I can see on the horizon is either so immediate in term or narrowly focused, it’s a copout to list as a goal.  The best I think I can do at this moment is supplement the standard with:

  • Play

2016 Year in Review

I don’t have to tell you that 2016 was, as years go, a murderous sack of crap.  I’m trying to focus on the positive, though, and fortunately: there was a fair amount of positive things I can look back on.

2016 wasn’t as stressful as 2015: but there was a moment there in the middle, when I made a major career change. A couple strands of grey in my beard became an inch-thick band of white in my beard while working through whether or not I should make it: not exaggerating at all.  I’m still settling in at the new job (ie: hanging on by my fingernails) but so far it feels like the worst is over.

Year in Review

  • January was spent grinding out the table & finishing up my Amiens TGS game.  And, of course, running it.  Room for improvement, but it was successful.

  • February saw me painting up a bunch of Partisans for a Bolt Action league at Huzzah.

  • In March, I built a light arch, which was a very smart move and has helped me a lot.

  • In April, I painted up some Stuarts.  They placed at Historicon, but let’s face it: they got third because, surely, there was one other entry. They’re notable, though, because they were a huge breakthrough for me in terms of airbrushing tanks.  I have miles to go, but I finally get it, because of these tanks.

  • May and June were for Flames of War – Great War: Chris ran a Great War tournament, and I’d picked up a bunch of stuff for it the previous year.  I painted all of it. It was hugely liberating to blow through so many minis in so little time, and set me up to jump on a bunch of USMC stuff for Flames of War: Pacific when it came out.

  • The penultimate Historicon was in July.  I ran a game that was poorly attended, played poorly in a By Fire & Sword Tournament, got to play in the League of Augsburg game, and crushed it at the painting competition.

  • August was, as is traditional, a lot of NOVA prep.
  • September began with NOVA, which was a good time despite me not having any idea what I’d be doing at it, and ended with Arnhem, which was a feat (that I got to contribute to).

  • October, November, December were radio silence as I worked on, then ran, then recovered from running 40K Black Ops.

Hobby Charts

Clearly, I peaked early (with the Flames of War bases), but kept up a solid, excellent pace, and finished 2016 having done more than any previous year.

I also managed to paint more actual models this year than any previous year.

I think I can, unquestionably, thank 15mm and 1/72 models for this.

Hobby Spending

This is also the first full year I was able track all of my model purchases against my model painting achievements (I’d tried it a few years ago, and failed within weeks). This practice was intended to help me throttle down on buying more crap than I painted by making me aware of how much was coming in vs. going out.

Basically: I’d log how much I’d spend on minis as a positive, then log the MSRP of the minis as a negative (this last part was to cover minis that have been sitting around in my closet, for which I don’t have a record of how much I paid… also to encourage me to get things at less than MSRP). Selling minis (not something I’m especially good at) would also be tracked as a negative.  The goal being to get that balance to be zero or even a little negative.

Whoops.  Selling my old NIB copy of Mordheim in October and then painting up a metric ton of Deadzone terrain blew my Δ to over a grand ahead of where I wanted to be.  That difference is so great as to be unhelpful (by the “keep that number negative” rule I could run out and buy a Forgeworld army and still be good; obviously no good), but the constant awareness of in vs. out was very helpful to me.

Now that I’ve kept it up for a year, I think I’ll be able to persist it into 2017.


2016 Goals

  • FinishComplete Success – Man, I did great. I prepped and GM’d two really good games (Amiens, Black Ops), and contributed to another (Arnhem). I painted a ton of complete forces: I finished a ton of 18mm WWI Germans, painted almost the entire gamut available of 15mm FoW WWI Germans, a whole Partisan force for Bolt Action, a platoon of 1/72 Red Devils for Arnhem, a Wrath of Kings Goritsi warband, a ton of stuff for Frostgrave, and thirty models for Black Ops. I built a WWI table and painted enough for a crowded, urban sci-fi table. I got stuff done.
  • PaintComplete Success – Unquestionably so.
  • CompetePartial Success – I played in a couple of tournaments, but would assert I was only really competitive in one of them.
  • AmiensSuccess – It happened.  I ran it again at Madicon
  • Step it up at NOVAInconclusive – I think I did well in the Captial Palette this year, but with the shifting format I think it’s tough for me to say whether or not I “stepped it up.”  I only painted one thing specifically for it, and “paint models for competition” is probably what I really meant to do.
  • Game in my basement – Complete Success – Dark Heresy continued to run in the basement.  I’ve been running a barely coherent DCC game there.  Did some wargaming: Amiens, Frostgrave, Black Ops.

2017 Goals

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
  • Step it up for Historicon – Normally, Historicon gets my NOVA entries from the previous year. I didn’t really have those this year.  Given that 2017 will be my last Historicon (screw the move to New Jersey), I would like to go out on a high note.
  • Step it up at NOVA – Actually paint some competition entries.
  • Stay away from Kickstarter –  I think I did okay on Kickstarter this year: a little but not a lot.  Let’s keep that up.

Not really sure what else I want to do next year.  I’d like to keep up the momentum of tackling small, manageable projects and finishing them.  In the immediate term: I’d like to experiment with some other Wrath of Kings forces to see if one better fits my playstyle.  I’ve got some friends I don’t really wargame with that like Heroes of Normandie: it’d be nice to play that with them.  I’ve got Zombicide: Black Plague sitting in my closet, still unplayed. I’d like to expand my ability to run 40K Black Ops with more diverse forces.

2015 Year in Review

Zurraigo - Front (1)

While overall 2014 was the most overall challenging years I’ve encountered, 2015 has given it a run for its money and hit unparalleled heights of stress… but was, for the most part, a pretty good year. Selling our home of ten years felt like it was going to kill me, but I (clearly) made it out alright, and it completely worth it.  Our new home is perfect, and my hobby space is definitely on the list of why.

Hobby Room - After

From a hobby perspective, I was kind of all over the place: some Infinity, a lot of Wrath of Kings assembly, some By Fire & Sword, and then about half an eternity doing 18mm WWI figures. Not much game playing, and all of it pretty scattershot.  In previous years, I Played Warmachine or I Played 40K or I Played Fantasy.  This year, I played a couple games of a lot of different games. Bolt Action probably wins in terms of frequency, but not by much.

I feel like this has been a wash of a year in terms of hobby accomplishment: the house and move were immensely disruptive… but the data disagrees. 2015 was my sixth year of hobby tracking, and just look at that chart. I went from No, Actually Doing Quite Well to Killing It.  This is going to make future years look unproductive by comparison.

2015 PpMbY

Warhammer Fantasy, the models that got me into this hobby, was killed: that understandably has cast a pall of impermanence over everything.  I’m unable to look at the sporatic, sputtering Age of Sigmar releases without thinking ‘Nothing beside remains. Round the decay / of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare / the load and level sands stretch far away.’ Anyway, it’s certainly contributed to my shift into historics.

I got tied up with a couple of other area guys doing scenario-based historical gaming, which has been a lot of fun. It’s been formalized into a club: TGS (Mrs. Rushputin thinks ‘The Girlie Show‘ every time she hears it).  Prep for just such a scenario has dominated the back half of my 2015.

I did very well in terms of painting competitions, I think: two first place awards at Historicon (and a kind, passed-along word from Reaper)

2015-07-21 05.17.57

and an improvement over last year’s showing at Captial Palette: a second and a third place award

Zurraigo Award

(Strangely, no FacebookBrag photo of the Capital Palette awards.)

The death of Warhammer Fantasy Battles wasn’t the only significant loss of 2015 – The Game Parlor, where I really started up my participation in the hobby shut it’s doors after well over two decades. I’m sad to see it go, though if I’m honest with myself for the past six months or so I’ve been driving right past it to get to Huzzah Hobbies.

Another notable achievement: at the top of the year, I set out to track what I spent on models and map it against  what I painted.  The plan wasn’t so much to regulate my hobby spending (can such a thing truly be done?) as it was to achieve a parity between what incoming, unpainted models, and “outgoing” completed models. I immediately hit a challenge with the release of a bunch of new Skaven models, but by May had actually gotten the Δ between bought and painted to below zero.  (Of course, Historicon-born enthusiasm screwed the whole thing up).


This has been vastly more free-formed than I normally do my Year-in-Reviews, but that doesn’t mean I’ll let goals slip by:

2015 Goals

  • FinishSuccess – I suppose I finished some stuff – I painted all of my Infinity (until I got more over the summer) and am very, very close to finishing the Amiens prep.
  • PaintComplete Success – As above – I’ve unquestionably done this.
  • CompeteSuccess – I played in three tournaments, all of which were pretty non-competitive, structured-play opportunities.  That’s okay, but it’s not exactly what I meant here.
  • GameSuccess – I did do this.  A lot of this, across a million different systems.
  • Dump StuffFailure – I got rid of some stuff before the move, but not enough and I replaced it with even more stuff.  I really need to fix that going forward.
  • Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks WarbandTotal Failure – The really bad thing is there’s actually people who play this game at Huzzah.

2016 Goals

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
  • Amiens – Successfully execute this game in January, and again at Historicon
  • Step it up at NOVA – I’ve done okay in the Historical categories, but I’m not kidding myself that they’re the least competitive categories there. I need to paint-for-competition some models that are worth the effort for some other categories; more than my usual, “Well, I paid for unlimited entries so I might as well put something in every category…”
  • Game in my basement – My workshop is also intended to be a game room.  It’s great that our sporadic Dark Heresy game goes down in it, but I’d like to put it to work, more.

2014 Year in Review


Year in Review

As I’ve mentioned before, 2014’s been rough.  Way too much work and not nearly enough Stuff I’d Rather Be Doing.  It absolutely feels like it was a failure in a number of ways.

But, when I look at the numbers and not how beat up I feel: it really wasn’t as grim as I want to say it was.  I mean, I’m going to just cut ahead and put this here:

2014 Overall - Points Per Month

Pretty much from start-to-finish, this was one of, if not the (and by a significant margin) most productive year I’ve ever had.  I realized that that’s the track I was on in early August: just in time for me to hit work exhaustion.  That was a very positive realization; not only did it help keep me motivated, but I pretty much went into overdrive.

  • January through April (and even a on into March) had me working on Deadzone minis.  The Kickstarter stuff showed up mid-December, and I’d gotten to work on it right away.  I pretty much just painted everything I thought I could paint: Plague (since I figured it’d go quickly– it did), then Rebs, and finally Mercs. Enforcers weren’t (and still aren’t) on the table, because most of the faction’s been delayed until recently, and I can’t help but prefer GW Orks to the Marauders.
  • May was “goofy idea month.”  I got a bug up my butt about doing a ghostly Romans warband for Saga, with some pretty clear goals around what I wanted to do with them in terms of focusing on speed and getting them done.  Although they were successful (about a week?), I’ve only had the chance to play with them all of twice.
  • June and July had me primarily doing NoVA Open prep.   My thoughts around getting ready for NoVA Open 2014 are hauntingly similar to those for 2013 – Shortest path to playable, etc.  To get to ready for 2014 involved more models, but they were (generally) less involved.Also, Historicon was good to me:
    19-2014-07-19 16.56.00
  • August hit, and hard. For some tragic reasons, a vacation was cancelled and I hit a wall.  Shut myself up for a bit over a week and didn’t see anyone but the pets. Also, I built a Bolt Action army, which I then almost entirely painted in September.  Like, I painted a test model in August, and had nine bodies that I wrapped up in early October, but I pretty much painted the whole damned thing in a single month.This is more than a smidge significant.  I painted a Saga warband in about a week, but although I think it’s Clever, it’s not Golden Daemon quality.  The USMC starter+ (I added a handful of models to the Warlord starter) was somewhat larger, also (kinda-sorta) painted within a timebox, and is significantly higher quality.  I was satisfied enough with them to decide to drop my first batch into the Capital Palette, with some success.
    2014 Capital Palatte Bronze
  • The second (but regrettably not final) Deadzone wave showed up in October, so that’s how I spent most of the month.  Since the second wave included some more terrain, I’d held off on assembling or painting any of it until the rest showed up… and I no longer had any reason to hold off.  So, the bulk of November was spent painting Deadzone terrain.
  • In December, I wrapped up my first Infinity warband (squad? team?).  I’m pleased with them, and am looking forward to pushing them around.

Hobby Activity

So, like I said: this past year was nuts for getting stuff done. Nuts.  Forget building stuff (which I’m fast starting to consider Uninteresting in terms of progress), I painted:

  • A Saga warband
  • A Bolt Action army
  • An Infinity team

plus a bunch of just other stuff.

I don’t think I’m going to wrap the following chartdump in much text; I think it’s all pretty self-explanatory.  I got a lot done this year.

2014 - Cumulative Points Per Year

2014 - Points Per Year

2014 - Hobby Points by Month

2014 - Models Painted by Year

2014 - Models Built by Year

One thing I did do new this year was track how much I spent on models vs. how much the models I’d painted were worth.  Because this is a hobby that encourages one to have tubs of unpainted minis, the thought was it’d encourage me to 1) paint about as much as I buy (reducing unpainted minis) and 2) spend less on minis (a built-in cheat was that I’d list how much I paid when I bought a model and how much it retailed for when I painted it… ).

This chart shows two things: the relative spend per month (a negative number meant I painted more minis that I bought, a positive number means I bought more minis than I painted, a flat number that I kept an equilibrium) and the overall number from month-to-month.

Numbers have been obscured to hide my shame.

2014 - Overall Spend by Month

I actually think this was pretty effective.  Really, the worst thing that happened was the By Fire & Sword: Deluge Kickstarter.

Also, the need to just move all of this stuff out of a Google Spreadsheet and into an actual database is increasingly pressing. Half the time Google chokes on this thing… and need to update the above graph to be a rolling one: things shouldn’t zero out at the beginning of the year, you know?


2014 Goals

  • FinishComplete Success. As I’ve mentioned, I got a lot of stuff Done this year.
  • PaintComplete Success. Hells, yeah.
  • Compete – Failure. I hit NoVA and played in a mini Bolt Action tournament, but that’s it.  I don’t consider that enough: I even missed Dragon Wars this year.
  • GameFailure. According to my sheet, I played 28 games, total, in 2014. This is awful.
  • HIstoricalsSuccess. Like, huge success!
  • Continue Dumping StuffTotal Failure. I don’t think I eBayed anything in 2014.
  • Finish a Deadzone warbandSuccess.  I got two factions fully painted until Wave 2 showed up.
  • Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks warbandFailure. I’ve got one built, but it’s another silly idea. I have the minis for a normal one, I just have to build them.  Oh, and paint them.
  • Post more RPG content – Technical Success. I mean, I posted RPG content. Precious little.  My Rogue Trader NPC generator from, like, a year ago, was the most viewed poste this year.
  • Organize a Charity RTT – Failure.  I didn’t get to game, much less organize.

2015 Goals

The standard:

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete – Though this will be less key to me.  Tournaments matter less than actual gaming at this point.


  • Game – This is going to be my number one goal for 2015.
  • Dump Stuff – And this will be my number two goal.
  • Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks Warband – I have no excuse not to get this done.

I’d love to have some more specific goals, but really: I just want to get my painted : unpainted ratio more sane and roll more dice.

2013 Year in Review

1-2013-09-02 15.34.40

Year in Review

Looking back on 2013, I can’t quite tell if it was a hobby failure or not.  So much of the year, looking back, feels like wasted opportunities… and yet I feel like I was hugely successful in a number of places. This should have been the year of 40K for me: the three armies I have painted each got new books (almost) one right after the other.  Despite that, I only (and barely) managed to update one of those armies and that by the shorted path possible.

  • January: I started the year still working on Orks, which feels like it was a million years ago.  I still want to come back to them; I’ve got the army assembled and in transport shelves. I also started doing Wednesday Workbench which, while not necessarily the most useful content, is kind of handy to look back on.  Also, they do it on Tale of Painters, so surely there’s something valuable to it, right?
  • Not much interesting went down in February.
  • In March, work threw me a significant curveball that I’m still riding out and settling into.  While this has been great, it’s brought a lot of free-time uncertainty, which in turn has cramped my hobby momentum. Significant to the blog, Google killed off Google Reader; an nefarious act that I remain super-pissed about and motivated me to transition the blog from Blogger into WordPress.  Overall I’ve been happy with the move… though I still need to make time to tweak the theme quite a bit more and I’m not entirely pleased with the performance.  I also began developing a lot of frustration with Kickstarter… which has persisted through the year.
  • Precious little exciting happened through April through June besides some unpleasant health issues.
  • I made it out to Historicon in July, and had an amazing time.  The Historicon trip began a major shift for me: out of pew-pew and zap-zap land and into historicals, which is something I’d been building up to and looking forward to for a while.  Historicals (specifically Saga) would go on to dominate the second half of 2013 for me. Also: I had an excellent showing in the Historicon painting contest.  I only entered to help ensure Dave’s contest was a successful one: I certainly didn’t expect to take two awards!

    Historicon 2013 Awards

  • August was spent traveling a lot and somehow managing to prepare for the NoVA Open: my third time there, my first playing 40K.  Although I lost about as many games as I won, I did amazing in terms of hobby competition, placing third for overall army (and out of a field of 200+ competitors that’s a tough field).  I’ve been to three NoVA Opens, now, and have walked away with an appearance award from each one; it’s hard for me to not be pumped about the event.

    2013 NoVA 40K Hobby Ace

    More importantly, I took Silver in one of the painting competition categories (with, let’s face it, the first mini I ever painted specifically for competition).  I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of success in a number of competitions, but I account that my greatest achievement yet.

    02-2013-08-30 09.51.43

  • October and November were spent assembling and painting Normans for Saga and dragons for Dragon Wars.
  • December was more of the same, but with the added excitement of what feels like every outstanding Kickstarter starting to finally start delivering.

Also significant: back in early September, I said, “So, I think I’m going to try to see if I can go until 2014 without buying any new minis, period” (and then immediately added a disclaimer that finishing out my Norman Saga warband would be okay), because I had more than enough to paint and was on target to have three major crowdfunding campaigns deliver before the end of the year.  In this, I was actually pretty successful: I put in on Reaper Bones II, yes (but had I foreseen it running before 2014, I’d have included it in my disclaimer), and I came pretty close to buying a By Fire & Sword, but ended up not.  Besides that, though: nothing.  That’s an accomplishment.

Hobby Activity

Brood Horror

You should know, by now, that I log all of this hobby nonsense. I’m glad I do; I was ready to lament how my hobby activity was down this year from 2012 (which was, in turn, down from 2011)… but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

2013 - Points per Year

That’s a (slight) uptick from 2012!  I have no idea how that happened.  My only theory is that a lot of my work over the summer was with conversions, which end up being worth more points.

2013 - Points per Month by Year

At this point, after tracking this data for four(!) years, I think it’s safe to say there’s a bit of a pattern: lots of activity with the new year (I suspect this comes is partly due to digging into Black Friday sale loot and partly motivation from this very sort of post), springtime doldrums, renewed, frenetic activity leading up to and coming off of off of the summer’s tournaments and plugging away into the end of the year. Here, have some more charts:

2013 - Points by Month

2013 - Points by System

2013 - Points by Army by Month

2013 - Points by Army  

What’s really surprising to me about all of this is exactly how much of my hobby time was spent getting stuff ready for Saga. I know it’d been my focus for a month or three, but I hadn’t anticipated how it had dominated my year.  

Site Activity

10-2013-08-03 12.41.28

I always dump this stuff int to charts, furrow my brown and make noises as if I know what I’m looking at.  Frankly, I don’t; this might be on the same street as my profession, but it’s not my profession.  The numbers are there, and they’re easy to dump into chart, and it’s nice to know someone is looking at my stuff… but I have no idea what these numbers actually mean beyond going up or down.  I suppose I’m okay with that.

Anyway, these numbers are going to be weird, I think, due to the big move to WordPress. Some broken links resulting from the move probably didn’t help either.  I’ve broken them out into WordPress and Blogger, but that’s not entirely accurate: I stood up the domain in late 2011, not simultaneously with my platform switch.  Still, while I was on Blogger the vast amount of my traffic came through the Blogspot address and not the warpstonepile.com address so I think it’s a fair breakdown.  It’s distressing to see that I still get hits off of the Blogger address; I suppose/hope that’s primarily due to Spambots.

2013 - Lifetime Unique Pageviews

That spike in activity in August?  That’s me doing something I don’t usually do: post stuff (specifically my Marker Drones) to Reddit. Like, that page got more traffic than the root. That’s crazy.  I probably should do that more often, but since I haven’t been painting GW stuff, I don’t know where I’d put it.

11-2013-08-03 12.42.38

In terms of my top five individual posts this year:

  1. The aforementioned Marker Drones.
  2. The Brood Horror (also put on Reddit).
  3. My Herald of Devastation (also put on Reddit).
  4. A non-hobby post about implementing the XKCD Substitutions strip. (I put this in a Newsblur comment in addition to all the ways I usually syndicate out my posts.)
  5. 2010’s Walkthrough of how I paint my Khornate Daemons.

This is probably the first time the list hasn’t included those Skaven conversions I did a million years ago.

2013 - Posts by Month

I was fairly consistent in terms of posting, save for a dip in May (when I really wasn’t doing much of anything) and November (when I was too busy doing stuff to post about it).

2013 - Posts by Month Comparison

But I’m clearly down overall, even with those Workbench posts (which, let’s face it, are essentially filler).  At least I’m getting more consistent?


05-2013-08-30 10.10.07

2013’s goals:

  • FinishSuccess.  I got a 40K army updated to 6th Edition in time for a GT.  I got several dragons painted in time for Dragon Wars.  I got a Saga force 100% painted.  I fully expect that I’ll have a Deadzone force 100% painted within a week of posting this.
  • PaintTechnical Success. As usual, I painted, but less than I’d have liked.
  • CompeteTechnical Success. I competed, but just barely.  I’d call this a failure except for how successful I was with the few competitions I made it out to.
  • GameFailure. Yes, I rolled dice in 2013, but you’d hardly know it.  My wife’s working situation’s changed so that Tuesdays aren’t the only night I get to see her, so I have no excuse for this besides inertia.
  • Pace MyselfTechnical Failure.  I think I did okay overall here, but the stuff for a Tau update hasn’t seen much attention, and Kickstarter starting to produce deliverables has obliterated any chance I might be able to claim to I’ve painted more that I bought.
  • HistoricalsSuccess.  Historicon! Saga! Not quite the success I wanted to have (still hungering for ECW), but I definitely got into Historicals this year.
  • Continue Dumping StuffSuccess.  I sold off some stuff and made some room.  I have a lot more work to do here, though.
  • Post More to CMONFailure. I don’t think I posted anything whatsoever to CMON in 2013.

2014’s Goals:

So, we’re going to keep the now-standard…

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete

… carry over a few from last year…

  • Game – I still need to make “Get out to the FLGS regularly” a priority. It clearly isn’t going to happen on its own.
  • Historicals – Gotta keep on keepin’ on!
  • Continue Dumping Stuff – When Deadzone showed up, the wonderful and tolerant Mrs. Rush started making noises about the Hobby Closet only being so big, and she’s not wrong. I need to start shaving down on the stuff in there that I’m simply never going to use.

… and add a couple of new/more specific ones:

  • Finish a Deadzone warband – This is almost cheating, since I’m 1-2 days away from accomplishing this. I don’t care: low-hanging fruit is still fruit.
  • Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks warband – This ties into a bigger picture that I haven’t really gone into great depth on… but it’s something I really, really want to do.
  • Post more RPG content – When I moved over from Blogger to WordPress, I conflated my mini hobby blog (that a few people, like yourself, actually read) and my RPG blog (that, as far as I can tell, nobody read); but I don’t really do much RPG posting. I probably should change that.
  • Organize a Charity RTT – Or not, and just make sure one happens.  Our group used to be badass about this, with a big Toys 4 Tots event every December and one (or more!) Susan G. Komen fundraiser every summer. For the past few years, though, we haven’t been as great. I want to see that change.

I hope all of you had great 2013s and that your 2014s are only better!  Happy new year!

2012 Year In Review

Year In Review

  • January saw a good amount of activity: Empire dude building. I knocked out that Fimir, who stands as probably my favorite mini of the year.
  • February, March, and April were basically spent building and (somewhat less so) painting Empire minis.  Unsurprising but, honestly, probably a little uninteresting. Pics of unpainted, unconverted minis are boring.  Sorry about that!
  • In May, I tried adapting to the new Citadel paints.  I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say that this completely and totally killed any and all momentum I had for my Empire army.  They’re good paints, but something about the transition just deflated my enthusiasm balloon.More significantly, and unmentioned here, I went through tumultuous times in May: with a lot of job-related transition, uncertainty, and stress. It all worked out for the best but, yeesh.  That probably had a hand in it as well.
  • June saw the new edition of 40K!  Despite almost getting killed picking it up, I haven’t hardly done anything with it. I’ve played some desultory games with it over the past six months, but between tournament and Not Being Able To Game, I just haven’t done much with it.It was also when I started going a little bit Kickstarter crazy. More on that later.
  • July was probably the hobby high point of the year for me. For starters, I was lucky enough to make it out to Games Day!  Despite what was the worst Golden Daemon showing I’ve ever had (nothing made Final Cut), I had such a good time, and the GW staff was so above-and-beyond helpful, I hardly noticed!I overspent on Forgeworld resin (which remains unpainted).

    I didn’t paint or build much, but what I did do I’m super-happy with (Warpfire Throwers, the Demigryph).

  • August didn’t see much. I painted an Ork model for the heck of it and had such a good time doing it, now I’m neck-deep in a small Ork army.
  • September – Those Orks I just mentioned? It didn’t take long for me to start drowning in them.  Also, there was the NoVA Open, which was a lot of fun and will likely be even better in 2013.  Traveling for Grand Tournaments just isn’t something the cards for me, so I think it’s safe to call the NoVA the gaming highlight of the year for me.
  • October wasn’t exactly a dead month for me. I built some Orks, but this blog ran silent about it. Bare plastic might be boring, but I really don’t like letting this thing run quiet that long.
  • November saw, as expected, more Ork building. A couple of blog posts, but not much.
  • December was a dead month. No posts and, according to my tracker, no hobby. This isn’t exactly true: I’ve got 10 Boyz mid-painting on my desk, and have been slowly making progress on them since Thanksgiving… but nothing done. This is entirely because this has been an unusually crazy holiday season: a week in Texas, a second Christmas beforehand, preparation for both have left me frazzled and without productive time.
A lot of my hobby steam’s been stolen by scheduling: Mrs. Rushputin’s work schedule’s changed such that the only weekday evening we get to spend together is Tuesday… which is also the the CGL‘s gaming night at Game Parlor.  Since I like my hobby but love my wife, that’s really put a damper on my ability to get out and game.  Not being able to game’s put a damper on my motivation to paintThis year hasn’t been a dud, but it does kinda feel like it? I definitely rolled into 2012 like a motherfething juggernaut… and have definitely crawled out of it, blinking and trying to catch my breath.

Hobby Activity

Hobby’s been down overall… but not quite as hopelessly as it feels sometimes. I might not have painted much, but I’ve certainly built quite a bit.

It’s pretty tough to look at that and feel good about it. I suppose remembering that December-January was an abnormally productive time for me takes the sting out a little bit, but dang.

No unpleasant surprises here! A lot of Empire and a lot of Orks spent time in my workspace in 2012.
Grim as this chart is, it’s not surprising.  In 2012, I did a lot of building, but not much painting. I’m going to have to change that in 2013.  It’s also
Still: now’s probably the best of possible times to revisit the chart I posted in early November to put this year into perspective.

Gaming Activity

Somewhere along the way in early 2012: I fell off of logging my games. I find this interesting, because the only place I see my hobby tracker sheet get used is on Bill’s blog, and it looks to be where he gets the most use out of it. Significantly, no data means no chart.

It’s probably for the best. I really don’t think I want to confront how little I pushed my toy soldiers around this past year. I’ll have to get back on the wagon, though.

Site Activity

It should be immediately obvious to anyone at this point that the blog’s been in a bit of a slump…

Even putting aside the dead months of October and December, I’ve been less active on the blog overall.  So, if you’re reading this, thanks for sticking around!

Traffic peaked over the summer: Games Day and NoVA, I think, were responsible for most of this.

Comparatively, though, traffic’s a little down (14% overall).  I’m too lazy to check, but I expect that if I were to remove all of the YTTH drama traffic from last year, though, it’s probably more or less unchanged.  Given how little I posted this year, I’m delighted to call “more or less unchanged” a Win.


I’d done a couple of Kickstarters before (one in 2010, one in 2011) but like many 2012 was the year of crowdfunding. There’s a lot to be said on the phenomenon: but other people will probably say it more cogently and this thing’s gonna run long, so I won’t.   I’ll just touch on my experiences with it over 2012. (I’ll include IndieGoGo campaigns in my reckonings, too.)

  • Total campaigns: 27
  • Campaigns due in 2012: 17
  • Campaigns delivered in 2012: 1
  • Campaigns partially delivered in 2012: 5
  • Campaigns more than 2 months late: 5
  • Campaigns that should have been delivered in 2012 but did not: 12
  • Campaigns that are super late and pissing me off about it: 1
I haven’t actually seen a whole lot delivered from crowdfunding just yet: all of 1 campaign in 2012 has fully closed out with me.  That sounds worse than it is: I’ve got a couple that are shipping in multiple parts, and have seen results from 5 of them, which is great.
Most of them are late, but either haven’t been unreasonably so (I think we all have to expect some schedule flexibility from these), or have been good about communicating what’s going on and adjusting expectations as quickly as possible. Sedition Wars, for example, is over two months late, but they warned us about that pretty early on, so I’m perfectly content.
There only one that really stands out as goddamn unforgivably late.  When I consider the facts, it’s not surprising: there’s a lot of work for them to do and it makes sense for them to start with the small and work to the big… but it’s at six months late and looks to be at least eight. That means their estimate delivery date sucked.In terms of what sort of campaigns I pitched in on in 2012:

  • Board Games: 1
  • Gadgets: 2
  • Miniatures: 10
  • RPGs: 9
  • Video Games: 4



My goals from last year started general…

  • FinishUtter failure. I don’t think I finished any significant project this year. I built a lot of stuff, but didn’t get much totally done. Boo.
  • Paint Technical Success. I painted. Not enough to feel good about how I painted, though.
  • Compete Technical Success. I played in a few tournaments and NoVA. I had a good time with all of them, but competing once a quarter, again, isn’t enough for me to fist pump about how competitive I was in 2012.

Then, I got more specific:

  • Make Significant Progress on an Empire ArmyFailure. If I’d left out “significant” I’d probably have called it a pass, but I got a couple of months in on it and then dropped it.
  • Avoid DramaSuccess. My low post-rate probably didn’t hurt, but overall I didn’t really get involved in internet screaming.  That hasn’t meant that I haven’t seen it, though.  I’m starting to have some concerns about how toxic the hobby gaming community is or isn’t.
  • Step It UpSuccess. I’m claiming this because I started using rushp.tn has a URL shortener, which I think is hella cool, but that’s it.  All of the card/sign files have been mostly untouched. I probably should get on that.
  • Dump Stuff – Success. I didn’t do as thorough a job of this as I’d have liked, but I did purge a lot of RPG books with Casey‘s help, which is a big step.  I hope to start dumping some boardgames on Craigslist in the next couple of weeks.


I’m going to keep the general goals:

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete

And for specific goals:

  • Game – Similar, but different from “Compete.” I need to figure out how to get out and start rolling dice around toys again.  I’m kind of a homebody who’s only really comfortable with a regular schedule for things, and losing Tuesday night’s knocked me off my stride and I need to get over it already.
  • Pace Myself – I really need to paint more than I buy.  I’ve already dropped out of a high-mini-count Kickstarter, and have vowed to just not buy any damn minis until March (with an exception for the new Dark Angels minis, and only those after I’ve worked up a list).  I’m considering tracking my mini purchases on my hobby sheet to keep me honest.
  • Historicals – My hankering to start doing something with the English Civil War’s done nothing but pick up steam all year; getting a few boxes of Pike & Shotte minis from Warlord for Christmas has only sealed it: I need to do something with it in 2013.
  • Continue Dumping Stuff – I still have too much crap. I’m on the right track: let’s stay on it.
  • Post More to CMON – I’ve posted all of one mini to CMON (with a 7.6 that I’m delighted with).  Time to do more.

2011 Year in Review

This’ll be the the third one of these I’ve done (madness!)

Year in Review

  • January saw me dropping my Hobby Status Spreadsheet into the wild for public consumption.  (There’s no way for me to know how many folks are actually using it, but I still get the occasional ping for input and help with it, so someone out there’s getting use out of it.)  I painted up a Gremlin crew (that, after not touching for nearly a year, sold off) and recommitted myself to finishing my Skaven army.  This was really a year ago?
  • February I painted Skaven.  This was a theme for the year.  Plus, I went back and added some to my Daemon army.
  • March saw me focusing on adding shooting elements to my Khornate Daemon army in hopes of making them a bit more table-viable for our annual Battle for the Cure tournament.
  • April was back to the Skaven: setting a clear painting project plan.  And I picked up a lightbox!  It’s had such a marked improvement on the quality of my (still far-from perfect photography) and was so (relatively) inexpensive, I think everyone who put effort into painting their miniatures should get one so they can better share their work.
  • May was Skaven, Skaven, Skaven.  Plus, we had our first annual Clash for the Cure (which was just like the 40K Battle for the Cure, but for Fantasy).
  • June was Skaven… plus I finally (with some help) picked up the gumption to start selling off unused stuff on eBay, which was quite a success.
  • July – You guessed it: Skaven.  Also, I ran a tournament, partly as NoVA Open prep and mostly because hadn’t had a local tournament in a while.
  • August was a busy month.  We picked up a display case to store minis in, I painted a bunch of Skaven, and played in (and did quite well at, winning Best Overall and Best Army Appearance) the NoVA Open Fantasy GT.
  • September saw, again more Skaven… and I played in the Blob’s Park Fantasy GT.  Started off the month playing in a 40K tournament where I had a really unfortunate math mistake (and won Best Appearance).
  • October saw the last Skaven model I’ve painted in 2011: the Ratwyrm (winning Best Appearance with him). I also started messing around with HDR photos, something I’m likely to continue playing with.  Despite all of that, I spent most of the month too sick to accomplish much.
  • November saw my first true commission painting job.  Although I’d done some before for charity, this was my first “I will give you money to paint these minis for me” job, and it wasn’t too unpleasant.  I’m probably going to look into doing this again in the future, since it solves my problem with enjoying painting for skirmish games (while being unable to enjoy playing them).  I also briefly looked into playing Necrons (an idea abandoned after a few weeks).
  • December was a sweatshop month.  I ground through assembling an unbelievable number of models: over 90.  I was an unstoppable building machine.  Unfortunately, when my hobby waxes my gaming waned, and I didn’t really play many games at all.  

A key takeaway here is that, when I say it takes me three and a half forevers to paint an army, I’m not exaggerating.  I started actively painting my Skaven in January (which seems to be when I commit myself to an army for a year: 2009 was Daemons, 2010 was Skaven, 2011 will be Empire) and then had to actively worked on them almost constantly for eight months before they were ready: and many of those models (particularly the ones that helped me win Best Appearance) were actually converted quite some time before, in late 2009.

Additionally, early in the year, the Iron Fist League, the local gaming club I was a member of, schismed (for lack of a better word).  The two main subgroups went their separate ways: the subgroup that plays at my FLGS (Game Parlor) renamed itself the Chantilly Gaming Legion (CGL, pronounced “seagull”).  Although it wasn’t a clean break (a few folks, in both groups, seemed to go out of their way to make it acrimonious), it appears to have been an extremely healthy one.  There’s almost zero drama around our parts and, from the few times I’ve checked in on the IFL Forums, it looks like there’s precious little drama there, too.  I think both groups are the better for the split.  Furthermore, while I can’t speak for parts South, the break really invigorated things for our local group: more people turn up to the store to play and more events get run.  The club just seems healthier.

Hobby Activity

Here’s a breakdown of what the year looked like:

Some Daemons through the year, a ton of focus on Skaven from March through September, and a huge Empire rampup at the end of the year.  But, hey, we knew that.

Again, zero surprises here.

Or here.

And, because I’ve been doing this for two years, now, I can compare 2011 to 2010:

Gaming Activity

I find this really surprising: I played that many more games with my Daemons this year than with my Skaven? Crazy.

This doesn’t surprise me much, honestly.

Site Activity

I posted considerably less this year (nearly 40 fewer posts).  I’m not sure I can objectively evaluate how the quality compares between the two years: am I posting less frequently, but with higher quality?  Or am I just posting less frequently?

I clearly ad a few traffic spikes, with a good number of peaks in between.

And then, because I can, I’ll compare this year’s site activity to last year’s.  Traffic’s definitely up, overall.

My top two most viewed posts in 2011… were from 2009 and 2010.  Huh.  What’s interesting is that, back in May, I joined the BoLS Network (I’ve been in the FTW Network pretty much since I started the blog) and, although it consistently shows up as a significant referrer… it doesn’t look like it’s had that much of an overall impact.  I’m guessing that’s because it’s simply offsetting a reduction in traffic due to fewer posts.

The five most viewed posts actually written in 2011 were:

  • Necron Test Model – This… is one of the more pointless posts of the year.  “Hey, I tried a thing, and it looks terrible.”  Someone took offense at an aside I made in the post, though, and reposted it to YTTH.  That’s the big spike over there in late October.  So, one of the most useless posts of the year was one of the most viewed.  Blech.
  • Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven – Followup – I posted this hot on the heels of the book coming out.  I’m pretty sure that’s where this traffic came from.  Also, Clan Skurvy has a rat-parrot.
  • Dreadstone BlightThis is the sort of post I like seeing getting traffic.  Pure hobby, and something I’m quite pleased with.
  • Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven – See my comments above: new release = high traffic.
  • Warlord on a War-Litter – Again: hobby posts are what I’d like to see do well.  And, man, I love how this model came out.
2011 Goals

Last year, I continued with some broad goals while setting some very specific ones as well.  (Here’s a reminder of why.)

  • Finish Success!  I got a lot of stuff done.  A Gremlin crew.  (Broadly) A Skaven army.  (Specifically) three separate Skaven painting goals for three different tournaments.  Boo-ya.
  • Paint Success! Man, I painted a lot. Just shy of 200 models.
  • Compete Success!  I played in a lot of tournaments.  Two RTT-level 40K events, one RTT-level Fantasy event, and two GT-level events.  Even better, I performed fairly well in most of them.
  • Have a Fully Painted Skaven ArmySuccess!  I started painting loathsome ratmen back in ’92-’93.  It took me 18 years to have a fully painted Skaven army.  You can’t imagine how proud I am of this army.
  • Avoid ForumsSuccess!  Though I might not want to claim it as such.  I actually made an active effort to get spun up on Dakka… but couldn’t.  Traffic is… overwhelming over there.  Locally, avoiding the IFL Forum and its tendency to generate drama was made very easy by the club splitting.  (Never mind that the club splitting probably greatly reduced the forum’s ability to generate drama.)  I didn’t work for success here, but I feel like I achieved it.
2012 Goals
  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
Those first three goals are never going to be inappropriate:  get stuff done, focus on the part of the hobby I get the most pleasure from, and put its out there for people to see.
  • Make Significant Progress on an Empire Army – I think I know better than to commit to having one done.  I know how long it takes me to paint and, at my current rate, it’ll be 2028 before I’m done with it.  Significant progress will be sufficient.
  • Avoid Drama – Avoiding forums to avoid drama went a long way but, as noted above I wasn’t able to escape it entirely.  I need to focus on the aspects of the hobby that bring me happiness and vigorously avoid those that don’t.
  • Step It Up – I own WarpstonePile.com: it’s time to switch the blog over to that (dropping the .blogspot portion).  An ad or two isn’t going to kill the site, might maybe offset the cost of my hobby a bit and, when I’m unable to avoid drama, will ensure that at least something positive comes out of it.  I have clever ideas of using things like my army display sign on business cards.
  • Dump Stuff – This year, I started selling my unwanted, unloved stuff on eBay, with a great deal of success.  I’ve still got a lot of things I need to get out of the house (especially because one of my wider-scope, life resolutions is to declutter), so I’d better keep this up.  If I don’t need it, don’t want it, and aren’t going to use it: it’s gotta go.