Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Batch painting 2 - is it worthwhile?

Greetings all,

today I thought I'd spew a little bit of consciousness out onto the web for you all to peruse, and the topic of conversation is batch painting.

Now I've written an article on this before, here, but I've had a really good response in the comments section on my last hobby update here, which sparked my interest in the topic once more.

Essentially, batch painting (if you've not tried it before) is the idea that you paint all the similarly coloured areas on a group (or batch, if you like) of models at the same time, thus getting into a groove of painting the relevant parts and kind of speeding up the process of finishing the unit.

It's a technique I think most hobbyists out there will have used at one time or another, but I thought I'd explore a few of the advantages and disadvantages of this technique, when compared to painting single miniatures.

Just before we start though there's a couple of relevant points. First, if you paint using an airbrush then I think batch painting is pretty much a gimme - the preparation required for airbrushing seems to make the idea of painting single miniatures via that method kinda silly. Second, I don't think there is actually a right or wrong answer here, it's not a case of one method being superior to another, more that each has its own benefits and choosing the method to suit your mentality or the situation at hand requires an understanding of those benefits.

Single-miniature painting

  • I think the most obvious benefit here is the resulting figure. By their very nature, putting all your attention into a single figure at one time means you focus very much on its particular details. 
  • Regular motivational 'finishes'. Absolutely without doubt I am the sort of person who works best when I get regular breaks and boosts. Consequently, concentrating on a single model at a time means I am constantly changing my paint colours, and I can usually finish a normal infantry model in an evening. That means most days I get that little motivational boost of having finished a model, and diminished the 'to do' pile a little bit. For me, these constant wins actually encourage me to want to do more painting (I'm the sort of personality that's easily daunted by long or difficult tasks, and I'll find something else to do instead) so I end up finishing the models sooner, even though I've spent longer on each one.
Batch painting

  • Speed. I wouldn't argue that batch painting isn't faster than single-miniature painting, the total time spent on each figure is certainly reduced, and you get your army painted that much faster.
  • Consistency. This is an interesting one, since I've heard it argued that batch painting results in a better paint match across a squad than doing single figures. I can't say it's a problem that I've ever really encountered myself, though that could certainly be because I tend not to mix my paints, just using the specific colours produced by GW. 

So there you go, two different methods, and two benefits to using each of those.

I think that for me, single-miniature painting is most definitely the way to go, because it suits my particular personality traits better. I can't abide putting finished miniatures down on the table that are painted below the level I know I can achieve, and I'd rather take the extra time to paint things properly than do a rushed job. The regular buzz from constantly finishing models is also a real boost to me mentally, giving me that motivation to go ahead and make significant progress on my various projects.

What do you think, are you a batch painter or a single-mini guy, and why?

Till next time,

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