Saturday, 24 March 2018

From NoelW: Did I really do all that?

In accordance with the rules and conventions of the Analogue Challenge, herewith please find my visual audit of the accomplishment achieved over the last quarter.

I think there’s 513 28mm figures here and 402 15mm, plus the odds and sods of terrain and cannon. There’s also 20 28mm figs I can’t show, as they’re no longer in my possession but in the display cabinet of our local wargames shop. If you count horses as separate pieces, and total the whole lot as if all items are equivalent, that’s over 1200 wargaming items. In the same period for 2017, I painted 268 figures, so the Challenge has enabled me to quadruple my output. Clearly there’s a management technique here well worth rolling out to a few other activities I could mention!

I’ve been wondering why the Challenge worked so well for me, especially as it was my first time, so I'd no real idea what I was letting myself in for. I started with a very modest target, and wasn’t sure that I’d even achieve that. But a host of different factors that Curt has cleverly integrated made the thing particularly effective in my case. Having a target in itself was useful, especially translating this into a concrete plan (in my case, to follow the first steps of a new ECW collection). Then there were the bonus rounds, whose possibility I didn't even understand when I set off. I was planning to ignore them, but then decided I might as well have a go. And, having done one, I thought "better do them all" - and in each case I ended up with something I couldn't have anticipated before the challenge, and added to my collection in unexpected ways. 

Then there was the encouragement of others at each stage - for which, many thanks. I'd got the impression that most of the community already knew each other, so I wasn't expecting any meaningful comments at all on my work, being a newbie, a stranger. And yet there was a long roster of them, many of them hugely positive - and I always find it a great boost to get positive feedback. This gave me a sense of being in a community of like-minded idiots individuals, which is a bit odd when you think about it, but now I feel as if I sort of belong to something.

Having a weekly deadline also helped – it’s both a pressure and a motivator. Then there’s the competitive element – I know that’s not a motivation for everyone, but once I’d hit my target competitiveness took hold of me, and I found myself watching other people’s achievements and wondering if I could match them. I kept setting new targets (can I make 1000 points? Can I make 2000? Can I get 500 points in a week? Can I get in the top 10? The top 3?)

On the other hand, I did find the excellence of some contributions actually discouraging. Curt himself, and Kent, and Miles all seem to be able to turn out pieces of the highest quality, beautifully imagined and expertly realised, and to do so again and again and again. Whereas I found myself sometimes sacrificing quality in order to finish by a deadline. So I think there may be a bit of a conflict here for some people – you want to paint well, but you also want to paint quickly.

But I didn’t come out of the Challenge thinking I’d been downtrodden by a Stalinist regime. Instead, it feels like a welcoming and rewarding community, which I'll miss for the next nine months. I’m hugely encouraged by seeing what I can achieve if I set my mind to it, and by seeing what others can do, too. So I’m now thinking that I can finish in the rest of the year many more units then I'd thought I'd be able to. I’m already thinking up plans for what I might be able to do come Analogue Challenge number IX. The only risk is that I might have exhausted the lead pile before December! 

Yes, I know - this is the face of a fantasist, as you can tell by the silly grin =

Many thanks, again, to everyone.


  1. A great first challenge Noel a proper welcome to the asylum ..

    Anytime to go shopping!

  2. Amazing productivity and a well deserve position in the rankings. I completely agree with your analysis of what it is about the Challenge that brings out the best in the participants. Long may it continue!

  3. Congratulations, a remarkable turnover of painting and good quality too.

  4. Very impressive output, Noel!

  5. Fantastic output and I totally agree that the challenge produces a really positive experience.
    Best Iain

  6. Well done Noel, that was a very impressive first outing in the Challenge. All you've gotta do now is beat it next year!!
    The Challenge always works wonders for peoples output and long may it continue.

  7. You had an absolutely amazing first foray Noel. From a 500 point initial target to a staggering 4800? Good lord, that's impressive. I also really appreciate your well-considered thoughts on the Challenge overall. To me, it's grown to become more about the community and camaraderie than the physical act of painting miniatures - odd, but there it is.

    As to the perennial question of quality vs quantity, well, everyone has their own approach to this. I know Byron can paint at various 'levels' of detail to get both showcase and tabletop results and I envy him extremely in being able to do this. Whereas there are others like Nick and myself who can only paint in one 'gear' (meaning slow and steady). So while I think the pressure cooker of the Challenge can be a bit oppressive at times, it does encourage participants to move along at a good clip, which for me at least is a good thing as I'd normally fall back to my normal glacial pace.

    Anyway, enough blather, it was wonderful having you with us this year Noel and I hope you join us again for Challenge IX!

    1. Thanks, Curt. Will certainly be up for Challenge IX. I bought some figures today potentially with that in mind!!

  8. Awesome 1st challenge. Some fab work and a huge output

  9. Well done! That's some excellent productivity on show. I hear you on ultra high quality or speeding it up. I think for most of us we are gamers so getting stuff done and ready for gaming is often the lead over making highly detailed bits of art. Glad you felt like you fit in. It's a great place to hang out for a while. cheers

  10. What a First Challenge. Some of these folks can realy make you wonder if they don't have a team slaving away in thier basment turning out all these miniatures! Your now one of those. I've Been in this since 2014 and its always a treat.

  11. Do you know Noel, while your output this Challenge is excellent both in quatity as in quality, it will be the eloquestly put posts and conversations I will miss the most. As far as I am cocerned you are now part of the Band of Challengers that you felt an outsider to at the Challenge's start!

    See you next year!