If you have followed the blog for the past couple of months, you might have noticed that I have returned to 40K and that since December, I have started to slowly collected and paint a 2000 point army. After two months of work, I am currently sitting at about 1000 points painted.
I know that this may not seem like very much to some people, but those of you that are parents realize just how difficult it is to find time to play 40K; let alone find time to build and paint your armies. In fact, this article is in response to several of the other gamer Dad's at the store asking me how I managed to get anything done with four kids. Yep, that picture above is a good representation of me; four children ages 12 to 4, with boys at the book ends.
The first thing I have to say is that time is a precious commodity when you have a big family and finding time...
...to hobby is an exercise in resource management. Not only do you have to juggle a job and the essential necessities of everyday life, but you also have to throw sports practices, dance recitals, choir practice, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and a host of school activities into the mix. It can become a bit overwhelming and I can quite honestly say that in the past I have struggle to find any time to hobby. It was for this reason that I started breaking down my hobby time into one hour segments.
I know what you are thinking, 60 minutes is not very much time to get anything done. However, if you plan out your hobby tasks, you will be surprised what you can accomplish in roughly 60 minutes. However, I must reiterate that at first it will take planning to get anything accomplished in 60 minutes. For me the issue was compounded by the fact that I do not have a dedicated hobby area; leaving paints, glue, and sharp objects lying around with a house full of kids is a recipe for disaster. Instead, I had to make my hobby space both modular and easy to store/keep out of reach of little fingers.
To this end, I broke hobbying down into assembly, painting, and finishing. These different components were then broken down into storage containers (that I could place on a high shelf) that would contain the essential elements. In this way, I can just grab a box of miniatures, my assembly box, my bits box (for the specific army) and get to work. The same thing goes for painting; I broke down the colors I needed to paint my specific army, along with some other possible colors I might need and stored them in a storage box (the rest of my paints are safely stored away from little fingers. Now when I want to paint, I grab my paints and painting box with brushes, sponges, etc and get to work.
The next thing I had to realize is that I was not able to work on large portions of the army at a time. Instead, I first broke the army down into squads and then I broke those squads down into 5 or 6 man chunks that I could more easily manage to work on at one time. I have two of these "chunks" with me at a time. I have found that this allows me to better make use of my time; I know this may sound intuitive, but it took me a few times to really figure this out. An example of this is using my hour to apply the base coats to one "chunk" and then wash it and with the time remaining start the base coats on the second unit while the first is drying. This allows me the next day to finish the base coat on the 2nd unit and then start dry brushing or highlighting the first unit. In this way, I am able to rapidly switch between units and more effectively use my time.
The weekends are reserved for primering and sealing my models. With the weather of late even this has been difficult, but do to the fact that I am working from sun-up to sundown this is the only time really available for me to accomplish these tasks. Each weekend, I try to seal the models from the previous weeks painting and then primer up one or two squads for the upcoming weeks.
In addition, weekends often provide me slightly longer intervals of time to accomplish hobby tasks. I tend to use these times to assemble chunks of the army as I can easily put this task away if something arises that requires my attention.
Hopefully this has been useful to those other fathers out there who find themselves short on time. I am not able to hobby every night, but I have found that even with 4 or 5 one hour segments of hobbying that I am able to accomplish quite a bit when I plan it out and am able to immediately jump into a given task. Try it, maybe it will work for you as well.