Tuesday 12 February 2019

Quantity vs Quality

As I talked about in my New Year post, my goal for this year is to only play games with painted models. That's a great goal to aim for, but it's thrown up an unexpected quandry, which I want to talk about today.

My mantra when painting over the past couple of years has been to 'up my game' wherever I can. I used to be able to churn out entire armies in no time at all, but quite frankly in hindsight, they looked like garbage. I've been making a real effort to change that recently and have been trying to really improve my painting skills.

Without tooting my own horn too much, I think it's been working well for the most part. I'm certainly a lot prouder of what I've produced of late and I've had comments from several people about how much I've improved as well.

The thing is that improving my quality takes more time. Pretty obvious I know, but that's kind of at odds with what I want to achieve this year. To give you an example, my scheme for my Slaanesh Daemons looks like this:

They look great in my opinion and are exactly how I want the entire army to eventually end up looking like. the problem is though, these five models took two or three hours to get to this stage and I need fifty of them just to make my Daemon army playable.

Now compare those previous models to these:

Granted these aren't finished yet, but these took roughly an hour to get to this stage, painting mostly with washe. That's a fraction of the time it took me to do the first five, but they still look pretty decent in my opinion. They still need another layer of wash on their claws, but they're fairly close to being done. They look good as a collective group, but they're nowhere near as high quality. I'd consider them a mid-level tabletop standard.
The question I'm finding myself asking is, do I want to compromise on the overall standard of painting to help clear my backlog quickly and be able to play games with my Daemons, or do I take the time to bring them all up to a higher level?

I'm sure it's a question we've all found ourselves asking ourselves from time to time, hence why I decided to make a post about it, so I can hear other people's thoughts on the matter. 
I'm going to think this over for the next couple for days, but I'm currently leaning towards mass producing them. I can always return later and 'top them up'. Getting a shift on with my rate of finished models seems a really solid idea, especially with new projects on the horizon calling to me already.

What do you think?


  1. A thing to remember is that a fully painted army is a great goal, but to start with tabletop quality is fine. Get those fifty painted and then work on them to get the quality you want.

  2. I can only speak for myself and my own personality, but I’ve been here with a previous army. I painted them up quick to get them on the table.

    Every time I looked at them however I saw the flaws, the things I knew I could have done much better if I’d spent the time on them. Shortly after I sold them - I couldn’t face going back over the army to tart them up, and I didn’t enjoy playing with them knowing it wasn’t my best work.

    Like I said, that’s just me, but it’s my experience of what you’re talking about.

  3. I've gone back and forth on this over the years. Lately, I've been leaning more toward Quality over Quantity, which has been pushing me away from 40K proper, and into stuff like Kill Team, Necromunda, and Shadespire, where I can take that time and still complete a force reasonably quickly.

    The Genestealer Cult Codex, however, is pushing me back the other way, since I really love them, but there is no way to run them other than with serious numbers. So I'm having to consciously make myself leave minor mistakes alone and just move on, knowing that when the full swarm of them are marshaled together, it really won't be noticeable.

    It's also useful to figure out which shortcuts have the best ratio of time saved to impact on appearance. Good use of washes, glazes, and careful drybrushing can get you something that looks surprisingly good in a relatively short amount of time.

  4. @Nick - that's my main worry atm, but I think I'll finish up two units, one of each standard and see how I like the look of them before pressing on.

    @WestRider - yeah literally the only thing which pulls me up short of lavishing attention on each and every model is the sheer amount of them which I'll need for the final force. I'm wanting 90 Daemonetters at the very least, not to mention other units!