Sunday, February 12, 2017

Figmentia - Part II

(2 of 2)  After ripping through a little speed paint project in the first few days of January, I hit the pause button, so to speak.  I invested two weekends, part of a holiday and most every evening for over two weeks taking a fairly detailed inventory.  Why?

Well, for many reasons, actually.  First, I need to know what I have before joining any further painting challenges makes sense.  I have often referred to the unpainted backlog of minis as The Mountain, so keeping in that metaphorical context, I felt a survey was needed.  After all, who sets out to climb any mountain with only a vague idea of where the summit stands?  No one says, "Oh, I'll just start walking, see what happens.  I'm sure the peak is up there somewhere, behind those big, grey clouds.  I'm sure I won't need food or water, equipment, oxygen...everything will be just fine if I keep walking.  I'll know the top when I see it.  What could possibly go wrong?"

Knowing how many unpainted minis I have, what they are, their intended purposes, all give me some sense of purpose.  I can better decide what to paint next, set some goals, figure out which games interest me or what I will paint just for fun or competition.  Selling some of the collection also becomes a clearer option, but that's a topic for another day.

One more reason for taking inventory, although it's not the biggest reason: it seems like something I should have done years ago, and the time is right to get it done.  I mean, the last rough count was about 7 years ago, around the time I picked up a collection of over 90 dragons and more than 300 single minis at an estate sale.  Adding those in put me at approximately 3200 total miniatures, give or take a few percentage points.  A prior census was taken in maybe 2006 or early 2007, after moving everything into the current house.  Both of those counts were just that - counts - without taking the time to ID very much.

Most already in the collection were loose, out of the blister or box, having been picked up at auction or getting cleaned up, primed and stuck on steel bases.  This is where true self-delusion, evidence of Figmentia came in.  I kept thinking that I could make assembly-line painting work for me.  I whispered to myself, "If you paint it, the games will come."  I thought that if I prepped and primed, I would remember what I have and would never really need an exhaustive list.  I thought my memory and a spreadsheet for just one or two main manufacturers would be enough.  An actual database seemed like too much work, taking nerdiness about 3 steps too far.

I was wrong.  I did not anticipate the pace of life would keep me so much from the painting table, or that it would thoroughly overrun my previously photographic memory.  I did not expect Kickstarters and the explosion of boardgames to entice me into getting so many more minis. Along the way, some manufacturers and games simply died, leaving scads of tiny metal and plastic corpses in my house.

Okay, sorry, that's a little morbid.  Accurate, but still a little dark.

Anyway, reducing the backlog by selling on eBay, sometimes just to make ends meet, helped a little.  Painting binges and 'reduction challenges' did not make much of a dent.  The net result is that I currently have 2,557 mostly fantasy miniatures.  A few are 25mm scale, historical in nature, but most are in the range of 28 - 32mm.  Positive ID has been made on almost all of them, down to manufacturer, stock number, name and sculptor.  I have numbers on out-of-package or 'loose', new-in-blister/box/bag, painted and work-in-progress.  Here's that breakout:

Status Quantity
Loose 1162
NIB 1064
Painted 224
WIP 107

I have the data sorted and filtered several other ways, but I won't bore you with those details.  The point of all this, again, to understand the scope of the Mountain of Madness - 2333 unpainted minis - and to make a plan for conquering it.  A few will never be painted, just collected.  Others will be sold as is, just primed, loose or new.  Some I plan to paint and sell, hopefully generating funds for a summer event my daughter has been invited to.  And some will be painted for games, display or competition, should I decide to return to that arena someday.

So, the Mountain will be climbed.  Paths will be mapped, equipment will be readied, supplies gathered, and a couple of guides will be engaged.  It's not Mt. Everest (that title is reserved for a hobbyist with 50,000+ miniatures in his collection!), I know that now.  I also know it's time to stop writing about it and get to work!

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