Not everyone can casually jump back and forth through time I mean my Tardis is currently in the shop personally. So between “the busy” that is our lives each of us tends to try and carve out some time to march around or tinker with our little toy soldiers. Not everyone is lucky enough to get paid to play with little plastic men for a living, most of us have several other things that require our attention and time. Most of us have a job for example or things we have to do during the day like school. (some of us have both) I will let you in on a little secret that you already know. It takes time to get good at this hobby just like anything else. Only this hobby is a bit more complex than most hobbies so it’s easy to forget that. (why we play)
No matter what part of the hobby is your favorite it all requires some leveling so to speak in a grinding type fashion to get better. You will only become a better modeler, painter, or player by spending some time doing so. No big shock I am sure, I might as well have told you that the cast of Jersey Shore will be getting drunk in the next episode. Instead how about some tips on keeping yourself on track to hitting your new hobby goals this year.
Tip One – Break things down in small easy chunks.
This won’t work for everything but there are several things you can break into small chunks. It isn’t always possible to find a large block of time to relax and do things in. So this small tip will move your projects way further along if you can do the parts that don’t require large chunks of time. If you’re building models you can take 15 minutes to clip everything you need from the sprue and throw it in a bag. If you can get in the habit of thinking of your projects in 15 minute steps you can actually sneak in a ton of hobby time during the week to get closer to your goals. Glue together the basing material, clean off flash for 15, are your bases already done? Go ahead and glue the legs in place, or the torso and walk away. You can also sneak in some painting the same way. A quick Primer coat and put them up to dry, or even 20 minutes to base coat a squad isn’t impossible. You will be amazed at how much this adds up over the week when you normally would have gotten nothing done. (Disclaimer some models are super annoying to put together from a bag of parts you cut from the sprue. Cough cough.. Ghost ark)
Tip Two – Everything has it’s place
This really just adds to the above, but you should have a hobby area, or if possible a mobile hobby area. Something you can move around with you depending on what you are doing. A T.V tray so you can spend 15 minutes clipping sprue while watching a movie with the wife is the idea. I cook often in our home and I tend to put water on or something and while waiting for it to boil or the oven to pre heat I will spend 15 minutes on something hobby related at the kitchen table with my little “to go” hobby area. If your area isn’t mobile no shame in that there are several chances during the day to escape for 15 minutes to your hobby area. Just make it a POINT to only do the one step in the process you stopped in to do real quick. If you start spending too much time getting lost in the hobby you won’t be able to sneak in small hobby steps in your day because you will start to avoid them because you don’t have time which is the opposite of our goal here.
This is one of my mobile hobby area's so can easily carry or move around the next step or two with me. The wooden thing is like 1 dollar at any craft store. Some extra hobby time on the go is worth a dollar right?
Quick shot of my press mold emblems in the background of the top picture. The detail is amazing once you get the process down. You can see more of the army in progress with conversions here.
TIP Three – Setting some realistic Goals
Now that we are thinking about our hobby in what we can do in smaller steps and figuring out when we can take a small hobby break in our daily schedule. I have found with me and my friends it helps to set a goal. I would suggest a weekly goal of get X progress with a unit. Maybe you want to have a entire unit built by the end of the week. Maybe you want to have an entire unit based and primed by the end of the week. Maybe your goal is to have all your current projects clipped from sprue so you can take them with you while you travel. Setting a goal will help you keep the steps you would like to have done in your mind and help keep you focused on how much hobby break time you are going to be able to fit into your schedule on a regular basis
TIP Four -
This last tip like buying your wife a new vacuum might come across the wrong way. I don't mean brag or talk trash, although I would normally encourage a little trash talk among friends. The point is at least in our local circles progress encourages progress. If you are making steady progress and the guys you game with can see that, it might a light a fire under some people to also chip away at projects we have setting around. Just like a good paint night can encourage more people to paint. It's always a plus to have more great armies on the table both locally and for the hobby as a whole, so I tend to compare progress with my friends to encourage them to keep their heads in the game and I challenge you to do the same. You never know when they will be the one's encouraging you to put that last layer of paint on your squads. =)