Working on my Knight has been great fun. It’s these big showpiece kits that everyone admires that make painting a huge amount of fun. It’s garnered me a lot of praise and pleasant comments and I couldn’t be more grateful for those or thrilled with the results themselves. I’m hoping to get the big lug finished this week so keep watching this space.
On the flip-side, I hate the great big, pink mess. It’s full of mistakes, there are mismatched bits, I put it together wrong and frankly, I am sick and tired of denying myself a social life so that I can sit down in front of the b*st*rd thing and paint even more pink.
Now, the above two paragraphs are an indicator of the dual emotions we feel when working on big projects. I know I’m not alone because several people have confirmed to me that they suffer from the same split-opinion issue when confronting their own large bits of work, be they armies or single models. From a single Brass Scorpion to a massive mob of ork boys, from Titan to tyranid hive fleet, big projects are big pressure and big payoff.
I don’t tend to work on too many big models. I’ve not knocked out a big kit since my Storm Raven – probably about 12 months ago. And that’s not quite on the same scale as a Knight. It’s a big model, but there are far fewer components and less detail too. So while I’m working on an army, the issues come up over a longer period of time, and I can associate a single 20mm base with the time I rage quit for the day, or a single tank with me stabbing myself with a craft knife. It all happens over a longer period of time and so I don’t notice it so much – the wins and losses are spread out over a season (to borrow a sports metaphor). With a single, big model though, that all gets compacted into one long set of sessions.
What’s more, I’m making this one hard for myself. Everything I’ve learned is going into this one. There’s the freehand (both patterns and illustration), the weathering, the blending, the metallic work, the highlighting, the edging, the converting, the use of green stuff… this model really does have all of my last three or four years of painting and converting knowledge in its details. I even look at specific bits and I know which previous projects contributed to them. The rusting metals from my Death Guard, the wires from Orks, the illustration from Mortifactors… it’s all in there.
And because of this, I have messed up all over the shop. Now, don’t get me wrong, I look at it and think I’ve done pretty well too, but I know where all the mistakes are, now hidden beneath corrections. There was the time I got superglue on an already painted area, the pattern that was supposed to look like one thing and didn’t so I had to try and rescue it to be something else. Then there’s the times where I didn’t use enough green stuff to build an area up, or the time where I put a craft knife through my finger (I do that a lot).
Because of all that, I am sick to death of this big, pink git. There are genuinely times where I have been tempted, if only for a split second, to throw the thing out of my window and watch a bus go over it, the miserable pile of plastic.
Of course I’m not going to do that. For one thing, that kit ain’t cheap. For another, I have poured my very Slaanesh-owned soul into this knight. It represents how far I’ve come from my earliest attempts at painting the Prince of Pleasure’s pinkish and purple praetors. I think it looks great and I’m giddy with anticipation to show it off, all done and finished.
But then again, I hate it.
Though I still love it.
Except I hate it.
And love it…
You see the issue, yes? Well, all I can say is that, very soon, it will be completed and ready to roll out onto the tabletop. What’s more, I’m almost sure that I will miss working on it, and happy as heck that I no longer have to. If you were looking for any deep and meaningful conclusion to this blog post, or a way to address and fix this confusing duplicity, you will be disappointed. But I didn’t write it for you. I penned all of this because I want you equally frustrated and happy hobbyists out there to know that it happens to all of us. You are not alone in your trials with these big projects. They end, and, if you’re lucky, and you work hard, and you eat all your vitamins, you love the finished result. Keep going and don’t let the b*st*rd grind you down.
I might work on a single Ork grot next. Or, even better, a single nurgling. It’s important to have something to look forward to.