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I'm a "Non-painter."
I have always enjoyed opening a box of 1/72 HO truly soft plastic toy soldiers and especially in the appropriate colors.
I like soft plastic. It feels real. I don't like hard plastic; it doesn't feel real. I like colors - red, blue, gray, white, yellow, striped, and trimmed especially. My senses of "touch" and "sight" are very important to me.
I also love Play Sets. I love to open the box and take the stuff out and see the surprises inside. I have never lost that thrill to this day.
One of my first Play Sets was the Marx "Charge of the Light Brigade." The British were painted in scarlet red, with white trousers and gold helmets. Not quite accurate, but I sure didn't care. I played with those guys until all the rifles broke off, lances split, and ring hands fell off. I'm not gentle. Gosh I loved the colors, but I hated the way the hard plastic broke apart.
Then I discovered the Airfix Fort Sahara and Fort Apache Play Sets. Bingo! I hit the jackpot. So long as the basic color was right, blue for cavalry and the Foreign Legion, tanned for indians, white for Arabs, my fertile imagination could compensate for the rest. Every day after school I couldn't wait to go home and relive a battle with these sets. I would just sit and draw pictures in my books, on my desk, and stare out the window until I could set up Custer's Last Stand.
Do I do battles today as an adult? Well, not really, but I sure want to! Do I do conversions and make things. You bet I do. And like Michaelangelo would stand back and just admire the stone sculptures he just carved, in one color I may add, did he say, "I think it needs to be painted!" I don't think so. I just liked doing the thing, and then just staring at it, and then going on to the next thing. I'm confident I'm in pretty good company with my philosophy on toy soldiering and how I do it. It's an "art thing!" to me.
For now, I'll behave like Michael'o. But someday when nobody expects me to behave myself anymore, you know - forced to live in a retirement home - I'm going to have big, loud battles with all my conversions. You'll be able to hear me all up and down the hallways. And you know what? I'll just bet a few good fellows will join in with me. Steal a nice, big caffateria table and bring it into the room. And maybe then, I'll even learn how to wargame too!!!
So for now, that's why I don't paint. How's about you's guys? "To paint or not to paint ... why or why not?"
As an enthusiastic painter, and a lover of art, I always liked colours and paints. I do feel the same kind of thrill when opening a box as Dave described. But for me the greatest thing is to bring those little figures to life by applying paints to them. Paintings makes me the artist, and not only the sculptor. I create my own world in colour. And with paint you can do so many things to figures. By painting you can make them look dusty/filthy, splendid in parade dress, etc etc. Variations is very important to me. (I play ww2 skirmish wargames at squad and platoon level, and my aim is not to have a single pose twice in a squad, and if possible in the entire platoon)With paints I make the men more varied. Each figure becomes an individual.
Painting is the main thing for me of the hobby. Historical accuracy is most important to my, and there for too I paint. For me painting figures is a bit like for example the osprey artist do: making a representation of the historical men (and women) of war. And how could you for example portrait French revolutionary troops in their shabby and filthy appearance right without colours? And individual regiments? Camouflage?
Where would I be without colour?
When I was a small child, my mother painted big 54mm farm figures as a kind of homework. I was always fascinated seeing her painting.
When I was three years old I had a lot of 54mm Cowboy and Indian figures. My parents asked me what I want to have for Christmas and I told them I wanted them to paint my Cowboys. Well I had to give them all the plastics and had just a few Timpo’s and Hong-Kong swoppets to fight my battles.
Then Christmas came and when I came into the room I found a Wild-West fort with painted Airfix 7th Cavalry, an Indian village, all my Cowboys and Indians and a lot of new painted figures there.
Well, you can imagine that painting figures for me was always an important part of my life. When I was 8-13 years old we played WW2 battles in the open with our figures, of course all of them painted.
Later came the girls, car etc. and I stopped with the hobby. When I was 24 years old my wife (then my girlfriend) told me I should search for a hobby. Her biggest mistake!
I started again painting figures. Well now I am 37 and I hope I will paint until I am 80 or more years old.
As for Christiaan painting is for me very important, it is a kind of art. I can let go my imagination, after a hard day at work I calm down while painting figures. I do not paint master peaces like Krisztian or Roland and a lot of other collectors, but I want to show battles. So I do not paint shadows on the figures, but I want historical accuracy. This research of uniforms is another important part of the hobby for me.
When I found a good plate, I am thinking of painting a figure of this unit. I have a lot of 18th and 19th century sample figures in my collection, just because I wanted to paint this uniform.
As there is no big wargaming scene beside Games Workshop I never came into wargaming. But I hope this will change in the future as I heard so many great stories of your battle-experiences!!
For me the painting is just a relaxing pleasure and it gives more joy to watch the figures you and others have painted.
Leaving them unpainted can also be charming. It gives the effect of black & white pictures.
But when painting a figure you are obliged to study the figure in every detail. I think the sculptor's work is much more appreciated that way. Every figure that is painted has got some personnel attention from the painter.
Because I take so much time for painting, there's no time left for playing (well, I play with my children, but as for now they're not intrested in playing with toy soldiers ; how can I persuade them to try it out ?)
I got into this hobby when I was 2 years old, watching my 10 year old brother play with his unpainted Airfix armored column. There were a lot of kids in the neighborhood playing with those toys at the time, perhaps one or two who didn't. Most of them were nonpainters.
By the time I was 18 I had painted some 50 figures and my parents threw them all away, along with my entire collection. That was the end of all figure painting for me.
It must have been in 2000, far away from my parents and in the secure arms of my wife, that I discovered TSHQ and later PSR. Soon I was fascinated enough by the pictures of unpainted figures that I decided to buy the first sets, WW2 at the time, just like my first collection had been WW2 for the most part.
Today, having 2 toddlers at hand, enjoying marriage (with IMHO the most wonderful wife on earth), being a professional, entertaining friends & family and enjoying life, I'm happy if I have time to desprue my figures and order more online. I regard them as sculptures and when I manage to set a few of them up in battle order, yet another piece of temporary art was created - a 3-dimensional battle sculpture. I do enjoy seeing the painters' contributions online (and yet would never consider doing that myself, recognizing it would take more patience, talent, experience and time than I have). So thanks for painting, painters!
I'm in the same boat with Jan and Dave. I've painted here and there but I'm not very good. I could become a good painter, but I don't have the time. With work, school, family, kids and all the running around I'm please to open a box of figures, take them off the sprue and admire them. One day I will paint, but for now I will collect and enjoy.
I agree with Sckott One day I will paint, but for now I will collect and enjoy( if i hve cash) . Simpley becase i am 27 year old and wihout wife or girlfrend (not like some others in this forum ) and i must work