Wednesday 17 May 2017

Hector Cephas; Hobby planning and dealing with a lack of inspiration

Hey guys,

It seems that despite my frankly awesome start to the year with my World Eaters project, I've unfortunately landed myself in a hobby rut. It has has felt like a disaster but it has got me thinking about what went well with my World Eaters project, what went badly, what I need to improve and so on and this made me think of work...

That's no bad thing - I've got an awful lot of experience in project planning as a software engineer and more specifically, I have experience in various development lifecycles. For example, my World Eaters project was done almost in using Waterfall (admittedly unconsciously!):
  1. I worked out my requirements...
  2. ...planned the project...
  3. ...ordered everything in and did everything according to the plan (including weekly milestones to achieve so I had something new to show in the weekly progress reports)...
  4. ...made sure everything was good to go (checking if my basing etc were all completed and nothing missed from my original requirements)...
  5. ...and pretty much signed it off with time to spare.
And this made sense as I had a specific set of requirements and a specific deadline (ToS) up-front so it made it easy to do and it worked really well in my opinion.

However, since ToS, I haven't done nearly as much hobby stuff. I've kinda been pottering around, doing odds and sods and not really getting anywhere and the reason for this is that I am missing both the hobby goal and a deadline so what I did earlier this year won't work unless I fix that - easier said than done! I always had the inspiration and desire to do my World Eaters, just no deadline to do it for.

Where am I going with this? Well, I have a project I've been setting myself up for (Custodians) and a deadline that I'd like to complete them by (~22nd September - a week before the campaign weekend I advertised last week). However, I don't feel ready to do the project as I'm not entirely happy with my own requirements so doing it the Waterfall way isn't going to work - especially if i started on it right now. What I feel I need to do is take on a smaller project and use that to drive the Custodes one - I'm going to do a proof of concept by doing a Blood Bowl team:
  1. It's a squad of characters so I need to paint some things en-mass but ultimately the detailing has to be done model by model - just like with the Custodes to do them justice
  2. I can use the a similar colour scheme to what I intend to do for the Custodes to make sure I am happy with it - I am currently unsure how well I can do it
  3. It hopefully will give me enough momentum to push me into the Custodes project and hit the ground running with a more well refined project and confidence that I can complete it too.

So yeah, hopefully you'll see a hobby update from me this week as I make a start on that.

I feel this post probably will give you more insight into how I plan my projects more than anything else but I hope it does help anyone who feels a bit lost in what they want to do with their hobby projects. If you have a different approach to planning a project, write a comment below as I'd be very interested to hear from you - I feel I could improve my productivity but I haven't got myself to a happy medium as I can go from doing nothing to doing a hyper condensed project and then back to doing nothing instead of going at a more leisurely pace to achieve the same end result in a similar time frame.

Until next time!

Hector Cephas 


  1. For me? My hobby work tends to go in fits and starts. I'll go berserk (World Eaters, hur hur hur) assembling and painting for a few weeks then either switch to something else for a while. After a few weeks of drawing or writing, I'll swing back around and go right back to it.
    Of course, if a painting project doesn't go the way I orginally planned, Necrons I'm looking at you, I can get punched out for longer while I grumble at my brushes and draw bunnies instead.
    One thing I don't do is plan. Well, much further than, "I'mma paint this unit/vehicle now!"
    I'll build a small force, play it and then go from there to see how I like to play it and how I want to develop it.

    ~Inquisitor Corwin

  2. Waterfall? Never heard of it. But then again I have never been any sort of planner.
    My technique for getting things painted I suppose is the "how do you eat an elephant?" type that Kaelo taught me ("one mouthful at a time"). My elephant in this case keeps eating the Resin supplies at Forge World, whilst I gnaw at its ankle. I make a list of ten units/pieces and try to do them in order. This usually jumps left and right through my overall goals (#1 Freki and Geri, #2 5 Custodes, #3 9 Containers, #4 Leman Russ, #5 Shadow War scenery piece etc etc). That way I don't really hit walls ("if I have to paint another Legionnaire!!!!!"). Saying that though I do try to achieve all base and layers on the units in an army at the same time (so they don't look too different as each unit is completed), then apply the finishing touches to each unit in turn.

  3. Thanks for sharing
    I tend to build up my models
    1000 points at a time and assemble and airbrush at once
    Thats how i did my Carachadons
    Just hoping they are more recognised
    By gw and fw with rules
    I get through them fast in bulk with airbrush

    1. Ah another brother from the void! Any links to pictures or a blog perhaps?

  4. Also make some stencils ;)

  5. And set aside a weekend
    Get some sounds cranking and paint

    Nothing wrong with having a break
    We all get burn out - need time out
    Im in a break phase and back into it this weekend

  6. Quite interesting approch. As with your work I believe you use some king of planning software to lay down your planning? What do you use? I tend to use excel for that (with different steps of painting). It's just hard to stay focus and do stuff when I don't have deadline and I usually don't have any...

    1. For the most part I use excel for overall planning (both at work and for my hobby work - also useful for tracking progress as I've got a spreadsheet that gives me an idea of percentage completed and stuff on a naive level).

      Beyond that, we use a piece of software called JIRA at work for tracking progress of stories/issues and has extensions for logging time and can use that to see if everything overall is still going to plan or is ahead/behind etc. I don't use that for my hobby work as that'd be overkill and bring work a little bit too close to home :P