Work Smarter, Not Harder

An excellent post the other day on Warp Signal got me thinking about my own hobby.  Do I take the game to seriously?  I took off my Imperial Guard hat, and sipped pensively on my Imperial-issued coffee.  I even sent my adjutant out of the dugout so I could focus properly.

Nah, probably not.

Although reading that post, I think I perhaps do paint compulsively.  I certainly agree with the whole 'painting creep' thing; the only thing destroyed in an Apocalypse game is a young child's bank account and my own faith in capitalism.  But I think, in my defence, that I need to be set targets sometimes.  50 guardsmen don't just paint themselves, and (shame though it is), a bit of tough self-discipline is what's required to prevent an unopened box from gathering dust on your shelf for years.
I once was blind ...
Anyway, to business.  I thought this led (rather tenuously) onto the subject of painting and modelling effectively, so until my latest purchases arrive, let's cover this.  My top efficiency tip starts with the Bitz Box.  For the uninitiated, a bitz box is a container with all the unused components from previous kits, ready for use in conversions.  Not to be critical, but some people's bitz Boxes tend to be either heaps of unused sprues or simply piles of arms and legs.  There's a bitz Box maxim which runs; "Never Throw Anything Away."  I'd disagree with this; if you have a bitz Box that's so disorganised that you can never find anything, then there's no point in keeping it.  If you're never able to find anything, and equally keep turning up stuff and saying, "I wish I'd found this the other day," perhaps it's time for a new approach.

... but now I see!
I'm wary of sounding too sanctimonious on this; I'll point out that I had a 'bitz heap' until very recently, and a successful conversion using the newly-organised bitz box has prompted me to share the joys with the world.  My new bitz box uses one of those DIY trays for storing screws in, and are divided up into sections for arms, legs, bodies, heads, weapons, etc ... shop around for these, as they are cheap but vary in quality.  The best (still under a fiver) come with moddable compartments you can move around, to make small ones (for heads) and large ones (for tank components).  The other day, I tinkered with and created an anti-infantry turret, and thanks to my bitz box it took scant moments to find the relevant parts.

Perhaps my compulsive organisation stems from a Freudean childhood nightmare; specifically the hours I would regularly spend rifling through an enormous box of Lego in search of a single elusive piece to complete my airship/train/bank/full-scale crossbow.

Moving on; today I also spent some time completing a planning chart.  I'll hold up my hands and confess to the OCD nature of my planning, but I really needed this.  It's basically a chart which shows all the models I need for my army, including heavy weapons, tank crew, sergeants, etc, and exactly what I've bought/completed.  A full review has spared me from nearly double-buying some units and highlighted a few odd blisters I need.  Apart from the spidery handwriting, I think it's clear what I mean from the picture.
The Second Battalion ... on paper, at least
A bit of a random post, but one that I hope paints a picture of how, with a little bit of time spent organising things, you can really make your hobby a lot easier.  The MOST IMPORTANT POINT IN THE ENTIRE POST is to remember that this is just a game ... so don't get too carried away with bothering to make this too 'efficient', or turn a fun and enjoyable hobby into 'work'.

At the end of the day if you have a 'bitz pile' and you're happy with how you spend your time, just carry on: every gamer is an individual and some enjoy the dip-in-and-out factor that wargaming allows.  Only if, like me, you found yourself painting up two sergeants by mistake for the same squad, or searching for hours in a bits box for a bolter arm that was never there, maybe this post is for you.  Maybe.


  1. Great work with that Bitz Box, matey!

    I have to confess to have done something broadly similar with my bitz...although the vehicle bitz are a little more disorganised than the limbs: they tend to be divided into 'big', 'small', 'too many of them' and 'cool'. Sadly, I always want to conserve the cool bitz, so I'm rubbish at actually using them!

    This may be of interest - many of my readers have taken the idea from me:


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