Well, I decided to take a break from the Games Workshop models and instead turn my attention to the large batch of Reaper Miniatures I have scattered about my workstation. Reaper Miniatures were, in fact, my introduction into this hobby. It was always the painting/ modeling/ diorama aspect of miniature figures that first caught my attention, and Reaper's line of models immediately appealed to me with their detail, diversity, and, most importantly, affordable price point!
What we have here is Juron, Mystic Knight from Reaper's Dark Heaven Legends line. This is my 4th attempt at painting him. My first 3 attempts were pretty miserable, but that's to be expected considering how new I was to the hobby when I first purchased this figure. I'm mostly satisfied with this most recent paintjob, although my Juron's resemblance to Batman is purely concidental! It was only after I started painting his chest symbol Antique Gold did I stop and mumble to myself, "Blue cloak, grey breastplate, yellow symbol on his chest...holy subconscious - I've turned him into the Caped Crusader!"
Interestingly enough, this Juron paintjob was not only a marked improvement over my earlier efforts, but it also took less time to do. At this point, much of my Beginner to lower Intermediate level painting skills have become muscle memory and instinct, which is a good thing. The fact that one can see gradual improvement over time so long as one continues to practice makes this hobby potentially much less frustrating. Of course, it all depends on what you want out of this hobby. If it's the wargaming aspect that interests you, then speed is probably more important when it comes to painting your figures than anything else. And that's perfectly fine. Being able to consistently achieve table-top quality is a skill in and of itself. If it's the hobbyist aspect that interests you (like it does for me), then the fact that you can chart your progress month by month makes you more likely to press on, anticipating that next milestone achieved on that next model. Now, I'm pretty sure at some point I'm going to hit a plateau with the progress on my painting abilities. Some of the miniatures on sites like Cool Mini or Not, or in the pages of White Dwarf take my breath away with their subtetly of shading, glazing, and attention to detail, and at this point, I can only dream of approaching that level of quality. Well, when I do reach that plateau, I'll just move on to another aspect of the hobby - I'll become more adventurous with my conversions, finally start sculpting with green stuff, dive into the mad and elaborate dioramas I have planned in my head, maybe even start wargaming if I have the time, etc. - before going back to painting. Regardless of where I am in the hobby, in other words, it is a deep enough and complex enough hobby that I believe I will constantly be finding something interesting about it for years to come.
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