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MVP Yourself to a Painted Army — MM 26

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ll look at a great little trick for getting your army painted.

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The easiest part of this wonderful hobby is buying the miniatures. You can get loads of wonderful models, some at amazing prices, for just about anything. I don’t know about you, but the hard part for me is getting them all painted. I still have a good whack of metal and plastic from my high school days that are still a pristine gray. That, my friendly Internet blog reader person, is where this blog comes in, and today I’m going to share my little secret that’s winning the war on bland gray.

An MVP Army

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Painting. I swear it does. No need to look it up.

By MVP I mean the fewest number of miniatures you need to paint in order to play a game where all the models are painted. In an RPG, this might be four characters and the monsters for an evening’s worth of encounters. In Warhammer 40,000, this might be a small combat patrol including a squad and your warlord.

I’ve been collecting miniatures for Warhammer 40,000 for years, but recently I’ve been working hard to put together three armies, so I can have friends over to play (when lockdown ends). I’ll show you what I mean with these three races. For Orks, I can put together 10 Boyz with a Nob, plus a Weirdboy warlord, for 163 points. My Genestealer Cults army consists of a Magus and 12 Neophyte Hybrids, for 162 points. Lastly, my Angels Encarmine Space Marines include a Tactical Squad and a Captain, all for 163 points.

The total number of miniatures I’d need to paint if they were all fresh out of the box is 12 Orks, 13 Gene Cultists, and 6 Space Marines. That’s only 31 models.

Start Small

The point is that it’s easy to go out and buy a 2,000 point army, but much better to start with a small one and add to it as you go. This lets you learn your army as you go, is much easier on the wallet, and means you’ll never be demotivated by a mountain of gray.

This is one of the many strengths of the Games Workshop 9th edition starter sets. You get everything you need to play, and it’s the perfect seed for a bigger painted army.

Also, starting small and painting an MVP helps stave off buyer’s remorse.

Don’t Forget RPGs and Board Games

This principle works well for painting up board games and RPG minis.

If you’re a GM, you usually know what the players will face, so you can paint what you need for your next session.

In the case of board games, you can sometimes exclude unpainted minis, or you can focus on the minis that will see the most play. I’ve got a stack of cards for my Dungeons & Dragon Adventure Board Game collection that includes only painted (and pre-painted) minis, so whenever I play the models are all painted. As a bonus, whenever I finish up new models their cards get added to the game; it feels like a treat.

How about you? Do you have any painting tips to help us get through the gray and bring a painted army to the table? Let us know in the comments.