Painting psychology


In the past, when I’ve painted infantry, I’ve always painted in a production line – this was  true when I was painting my German WW2 platoon over Christmas.

More recently, I’ve been trying to paint in small batches – especially with vehicles. I’ve identified what I need to the next x scenarios we are playing, and then painted those models. This has worked quite well, and I’m making a significant dent in my painting queue.

A few weeks ago I identified some more infantry I needed: Officers and NCOs, a tripod mounted MG42 team, A Forward Observer Team, some MG42 crew (ammunition carriers) and some more MG42 teams for use with Sdkfz 250/1 half tracks (these are a great 3-point option in the German force list for Chain of Command)

I mounted all these on pennies, got them undercoated and started painteing them – I’d got through all the helmets and painted half a dozen uniforms – when I started feeling more than a bit fed up. German infantry are a bit of a PITA in 15mm to be honest – they carry a lot of different colour kit, so are very bitty to paint.

As I was struggling, I decided to change tack slightly and focus on more short-term goals. I broke the infantry back into their respective packs and decided to paint a pack at a time, so you get a ‘quick win’ every few days. The result is that I’ve painted both my NCOs and Officers in the space of a few days – that may not seem like much, but for me it was a big step forward.


I’m got to field a half-squad of each of these figures in the next Winged Horse scenario, so everything has come together rather well.

30 minutes a night, and small achievable goals – this seems to be working.

I might even get chance to paint up the MG42 ammo carriers before Thursday…

4 Comments on Painting psychology

  1. this is how I paint things, do small amounts and it just seems easier as you always make good progress even in a short time

  2. Aníbal Invictus // March 21, 2016 at 16:07 // Reply

    Agree with your method of organising the painting in a number of small batches. Specially when I face the daunting task of painting over 60 Fallschirnjager in different camouflage patterns

    • I have that dubious please to look forward to…

      After I finish painting my forces for the ‘Winged Horse’ campaign, I have an SS infantry platoon to paint for Operation Martlet / Scottish Corridor (which I’m painting in Oak Leaf) and then I will be painting a Fallschirmjager platoon to face off against Dave’s US Paras (Splinter Camo)

  3. Excellent point.

    This is something I’ve been trying to tell Warhams people and such as well. I don’t even suggest buying all at once. In an optimal situation you buy a pack, paint it and play and the next week you carry your weekly allowance to the gaming store, buy another thing to treat you for having painted that last bit and paint the new thing so you can play with it.

    Actually, this is the upside of GW’s insane prices – I can’t imagine some person in their teens being able to afford a full force all at once.

    Anyway, back to 15mm historicals – good to see that it works so well for you. I think that sort of painting psychology works for everything, even insane things like 28mm napoleonics and so on if time and thus motivation (or seeing actual progress) is limited..

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