Saturday 2 August 2014

Painting Points System - I've tried to avoid it and think I've succeeded but what the hell!

Random picture to illustrate painting?!

There's a point when you blog, particularly the way I do it where you start drafting a post only to stall part way through writing. This may be because you're waiting for content to mature, to conclude the point of the post or it may be events change the whole purpose of the piece. At that point the post is stuck in limbo, what does one do with it if it never gets the pictures or the content is out-of-date? Well I'm not about to waste the time I spent writing that's for sure.

I wrote this piece about Painting Points systems and I'm a big believer in systems as the great Harry of Hill once said. I'll let you read the piece because you may find some inspiration in it for your own hobby enterprise. Afterwards I'll explain why this is no longer relevant to me, although I think there are some pretty clear indicators throughout

Dale at Realm of Warhammer has been using a Painting Points System for the last couple of years. It helps motivation and as he translates his points into £'s he can reward himself for his efforts. I'd considered this before but I've struggled to keep track of time spent on projects like the Capillary Towers, I really didn't want to add another metric to what I was doing. Additionally I tried keeping up a scoring system on theTyranidHive once but the monthly deadline came and went and I think I didn't quite meet my target and just felt depressed afterwards.

Part of me has begun to warm to the idea though. It's another facet to the addiction and I feel compelled to record what I achieved, apparently the awards aren't enough! Although I kind of like the annual review of my To Do List and it shows up quite a lot of things that have been achieved beyond the list it would be handy to know what those detours were actually worth. So, I may as well give it a try, I'm going to backdate to the beginning, or maybe even the 2012/13 list [a bit harder to work out] here's Dale's points list, in some places I'll have to add my own values in and it's also going to feel weird getting points for the likes of my Dark Angel Tactical Squad because they've been ongoing for 2-3 years but nevermind.
Basic Points: 25mm base = 1 pt.

40mm base = 2 pts.

60mm base = 5 pts.

Monstrous Creature = 10 pts.

Small Vehicle = 15 pts.

Large Vehicle = 20 pts.

Flyer = 25 pts.

Terrain Feature = 10 - 20 pts.

Superheavy Tank / Flyer = 40 - 50 pts. (depending on size)

Titan = 60 pts. + 20 pts for each weapon.

Bonus Points: Character + 2 pts.

Extra Options + 0.5 pts. per option.

Based Model + 0.5 pts. per model.

New Technique Attempted + 5 pts. (one-time bonus)

Transfers / Unit Markings + 1 pt. per unit.

Weathering (Battle Damage) + 1 pt. per unit.

Weathering (Dirt and Grime) + 1 pt. per unit.

Gore (blood and guts etc.) + 1pt. per unit.

Completed Unit + 2 pts. per unit.
Additionally I think I need to add modelling points in. I do a lot of scratchbuilding obviously. For instance lets just try and work out the cost of my Skyshield, is it a 10-20pt Terrain feature, is it two [capillary towers and landing pad]? It's certainly bigger than a Superheavy Tank so lets say 40pts to paint, each tower is based so that's another 3 points. Gore and blood everywhere [6 towers, 6 walls and the pad 13 pts]. Gloss varnish on the digestion bases, another 3 pts and a completed unit 2 pts. That gives 61 pts for painting, but what of the making? How do I measure the 24+ hours construction of the towers alone? Multiply the final number by 2?

What about kitbashes, what value should they take? Again do I double the points or do I have a scale 0.5 for a weapon/arm/head swap 1pt for a considerable kitbash? Magnetizing too - that should be valued. You see this is why I didn't want to do this...


I thought long and hard about this and came to the conclusion it was just too complicated a system for what constitutes my hobby activities. Indeed I thought I'd probably spend more time trying to keep score than actually getting work done. If I'm taking shortcuts with my WiP photographs then I don't really have the time to spend totting up what 10 bases, with flock added and blood effects on half.

I realise that if I was going to undertake such a measure it would have had to have been using my own points system with a point per single model, and extra point for kitbashing and then various multiples of points depending if it was on a 40mm base or bigger. But I still couldn't reconcile the cost/value of something like the Bastion, or the Capillary Towers so in the end I thought it better to just leave it be. Maybe this example will illustrate what I mean:
  •  I completed making and painting my Skyshield Landing Pad, this would be a Terrain Feature worth 20pts +1pt for blood, so 21pts total.
  • I painted 20 Termagants for 20pts, +10 for the bases, +4 points for completing 2 units and it's debatable whether the glow effect on the toxin sacs are 5pts for 'extra options' or 10pts for a 'gore/weathering' option I would add under FX, but even so it's a minimum of 34pts total.
  • A Tervigon, something I said I would never paint again, 10pts +0.5pts for a base, +0.5pts forextra options +1pt for the glow FX +1pt for the blood and +2pts for completing a unit 15pts total.
So, 20 Termagants is worth more in points than painting the Skyshield? That actually might be true, it was relatively quick, but no way are they worth more than twice the effort put into the Tervigon. And therein lies the problem because I just can't work out what everything is worth and agonising over the value of something is just too much hassle!

I think my annual To Do List review is probably a much better way to measure my progress so I'll leave this post and challenge everyone to consider which system suits them best to chart their progress:
  • a Painting Points System
  • an annual To Do List and review
If you're going to choose the latter then you can start now or join me on the 28th August 2014, which is my next To Do List anniversary, and create your own list for the 2014/15 hobby season.


  1. Isn't a painting point system just a way of setting goals and determining progress (as well as potentially "rewarding" you as time goes on)? With that in mind, I don't see it as a bad idea for goal achievement, but it's not really better than your annual to-do list suggestion either.

    Some people are driven by setting a series of small goals and getting a little reward (even if it's just watching a ticker increment on your site). Personally, I get just as much pleasure out of setting the models finished, so I don't view it as necessary--but whatever helps you get the job done, right?

    By the way, not sure why, but my blog's link in your blogroll is showing a post from two weeks ago as the lastest post. Weird...

    1. Definitely a system to measure progress and therefore a way of keeping score. Keeping score is a way to aid motivation, and for some that's a powerful motivator.

      As you say my To do list is similar but more of a statement of intent, this is what I will aim to do but if I don't nevermind it was mainly a guideline anyway. Mainly it's pointing folk at two options to focus their hobby. For some it will be irrelevant for others there may be benefit in one or both, I just came to the conclusion when writing the post that a PPS wouldn't work for me and the To Do List was sufficient.

      I don't know why the blog roll isn't up-to-date, I don't understand. I just tried to reset it to list alphabetically, refreshed and then listed by most recent and refreshed hoping it would force it to pull in your feed. I'll try adding the feedburner URL again, see if that makes a difference, it's up-to-date so I don't know why the blog roll hasn't picked it up???

  2. Added the feed .xml link, it picked up a newer post immediately but still not the latest post, can't figure it out but I'll leave both URL's in place to see which one is the most current.

    1. Weird. Both of them are up to date now. Must've been just a glitch?