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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fighting Burnout and getting a handle on the collection

Hi All,

As I blunder forward in the hobby I come across things that speak to concepts that gnaw at the back of my mind. Occasionally they come to the fore, only to subside as some other idea bubbles up. This past week two ideas came back up.

Fighting Burnout, restoring Mojo

Someone, I think it was Curis, posted a link to a blog I was not familiar with. The top article was about fighting burnout. The blog is called When Cannons Fade, the said post is here. In it the author develops the concept of having small groupings of miniatures and making a d20 table to keep it sufficiently random to keep your interest up. I like this idea as you can put stalled projects on the list. But I digress. The other part was a link to a youtube video talking about our tendency to be hoarders. I, for one, really need to stop buying the new shiny and/or the too good to pass up deals. I'm starting to buy things I already have and inadvertently getting a lot of doubles.

This leads into the next thought.

Getting a handle on the Collection

I have zero idea of how many models I have in total. I have vague recollections of things, but no precise idea of where they are in my shoddy storage system. I'm pretty sure I have doubles of a ton of stuff. I'm also pretty sure that over 75% of what I own is unpainted. In comes the concept of 100% painted. Now the idea of a general accounting of models painted versus bought/ in the leadpile is nothing new. Anthony, over at the Lead Collector, introduced me to the idea of focusing on trying to bring the ratio of unpainted down by posting about the 100% painted challenge. I think this also ties in a little bit with the "no unpainted models" thing. I need to hold my feet to the fire about painting, rather than buying so much stuff.

So, what's the plan?

Well, my hobbying is a little bit dictated by finishing the Old World Army Challenge and getting ready for Kublacon on Memorial Day weekend. So I think it looks like this.


  1. Finish April OWAC submission
  2. Finish terrain, extras for final OWAC Army shot.
  3. Help my son get his Orlock gang ready for Kublacon
  4. Paint up a Mordheim Witchhunter band?
  5. Unit cards/ sheets for Genestealer/ Abdul gangs
  6. Space Apes (Jokaero)?
  7. Squats?
Anyway, you get the idea. Somewhere amongst all that hobbying is taking the time to catalog the collection an get painted unpainted ratios. If you have thought on how to organize a database I'd be glad to hear them. I'm thinking Excel type thing and adding linked sheets based on categories. I was thinking of starting with 40K as I have less of that.

21 comments:

  1. A few years ago I was in the doldrums of collecting fatigue, spending more time on collecting than painting, having everything packed away and no idea what I had, and not knowing how I would ever paint it all. In late 2015 I took control and started cataloging and photographing my collection, and I made a complex google spreadsheet for both the collection and tracking every hobby session. A background in librarianship (collection management) and project management helped a lot here! I plan to do a blog post about it but I honestly don't know when I will get to it. Would that be useful? I can try to prioritize it.

    I have over 6000 figures catalogued now and have a dashboard with a bunch of charts, and I know how long it takes me to do each task from start to finish on an average figure, from stripping, cleaning, basing, priming, painting etc. I know how much time I spend on each project and status of most figures in the collection. It has made a world of difference.

    Also, when I moved a year and half ago I had the luxury of spending three months on packing the figures, and I washed, organized and documented what figures are in what boxes, and took pictures, which I organize and tag in lightroom. Lightroom is amazing for so many reasons, and is worth it just for the collection management toolbox alone. If I'm looking for a certain figure, I have a good sense of where it will be even before looking, but then can find it in lightroom without a trip to the game locker.

    I am still deep in over my head, but now I am not under the shadow of lead mountain. It may take me through my retirement to finish, but I think I will get there.

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    1. Oh, I also wanted to say I highly recommend To Have And To Hold: An Intimate History Of Collectors and Collecting, by Philip Brom. Awesome book that can be had for a buck or two on Amazon. Really helped me understand collecting and the concept of turning a pile of acquisitions into a collection. https://www.amazon.com/Have-Hold-Intimate-Collectors-Collecting/dp/1585673773/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524155110&sr=8-1&keywords=to+have+and+to+hold+collecting

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    2. Also, I do think I will make it to Kublacon this year! Getting a plane ticket is top on my list. I will look out for you, and am sure we will meet up if you are going to link up with the OpFor crew, Clark and Tyler and them.

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    3. Hi Ryder. I never thought of using Lightroom to organize a collection, but it kind of makes sense. I think any thoughts on organization you'd be willing to share would be a great starting point for many people. I think one of the things that holds me, and perhaps others, back is not being clear on a system for managing stuff. I have every intention of gaming with Tyler, Clark, Tim, Mario and the gang. I need to download the pdf schedule from Kublacon and see what games are posted. Oh and I will absolutely cross promote your blog post when you write it, but do so on your timetable. I'm starting to get a little frantic about things I want to paint before Kubla.

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    4. Two Necromunda games at KublaCon this year!
      Sean was an excellent replacement for Ryder last year, so max fun to have you both on site.

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  2. I feel your pain. Its even worse for me at the moment because I have stuff split between two different houses as I try to make sure the current workspace doesn't become to cluttered. While I haven't catalogued what I have, I have been buying plastic boxes, used for shoes, to start sorting things into. So at least I know which box to look into before I run off and jump on that great deal. I also know that I absolutely do not need anymore union infantry or cavalry in 15mm any more, that box is full to the bursting point.

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    1. Hi Kris, I seem to remember you talking about hoarding a few years ago. I think all of my stuff is in the house at least. Although I'm convinced that my White Dwarf collection is in a storage locker we rent. Yeah, I have tons of 20mm (1/72) that has more or less been abandoned since I got back into 28mm.

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  3. Hey! Thanks for the shout out, I appreciate it!!!!

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  4. Glad to be of help. However I, in turn, got the idea and started the paint challenge at the time Rogers from Pointhammered did. He did a series of videos on his progress, starting with this one http://www.youmagnificentbastards.com/2016/03/100-paint-challenge-beginning.html?m=1
    IIRC, he also built a spreadsheet template for his painting progress. I organize all my stuff on good ol' Excel

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    1. Thanks Anthony, I do recall you saying that you got the idea from someone else. Thanks for the link, I'll give it a watch and see if I can use his template as a starting point. I use Open Office or Libre Office as I hate paying for word processing and spreadsheet programs. It only becomes a pain when macros and certain formulas don't work because of different syntax. I suppose I could do Google Docs. My kids use that a lot for school.

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  5. Yeah, really feel you on this one as I have been suffering the same of late.

    Arranging my pile into a manageable database or list or some shit so I can at least know what flippin bag/box/pile/unclipped-sprue goes with what and for which project would go a LONG way to helping me stay focused on actually finishing something.

    Stopping looking at mini store websites would also help me stop getting excited and buying new stuff. Obvious I know, but when 1/4 of the posts in my blog feed are purely about "what new shit is soon to be released by X or Y companies", or a chunk of my weekly emails are minis website bots sending their monthly releases.... Well, you get the idea.

    Feeling overwhelmed for sure right now and it's killing my mojo.

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    1. Hi Dai, I know I'm preaching to the choir on this one. The targeted adds on Facebook and Instagram also take their toll. But yeah, I think trying to avoid the "ooh shiny" and get a handle on what needs to be done might help mojo better. I'll continue to post as I figure it out. Perhaps you can learn from my trial and error and find something that will help you.

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  6. It happens to every gamer and for most, its just a temporary situation. You have the right approach though; a long look at what projects you have and what really matters.

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    1. Thanks Lee. The real trick is trying to calm the mind enough to figure out what really matters. Getting ready for events helps to focus, but there is always the pull of another game system or figure range.

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  7. Nice post! Something we all can relate too. For me, I learned that the key to stop burnout is to actually focus on less projects at once. I use a ‘rule of 2’ where I only have 2 projects going on at once, and one must be done before I start another. This sort of corrals me towards completing things. Then I try and play games with the stuff I just did to keep the motivation and provide rewards.

    Just my small 2 cents of course. 😀

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    1. Hi Stew, your approach sounds very reasonable to me. I think the idea of rewarding the effort with a game is a great idea as well. It's given me som pause for thought.

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  8. Thats a very good point. I end up being a bit of a collector though when it comes to ranges. So even if I don't necessarily plan to use them I must have them for completion's sake lol!

    I switch between projects all year round but I find planning a game then wanting to add stuff to my force or forces for the game stimulates the mojo.

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    1. Hi Simon. Yes it's easy to fall into the gotta have them all mindset. I go back and forth, probably why my collection is all over the place.

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