Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year Folks!

Yep, it’s that time again, 2013 has shuffled off and we have a whole new integer. In fact, as the third millennium AD is now fourteen years old it is on track to be starting to slam doors and tell us it hates us. Painting bedrooms black is next year.

So, as has become somewhat traditional here it’s time to take stock of the year gone and think about the year ahead. 2013 has been the most stable year for Mrs PVP and I since this blog started. At its inception we were living with friends, last year we had two house moves within 6 months. This year? Quiet, stable, nice. It shows up in the Pirate’s Progress numbers, 2012 had 285 models painted over its course. 2013 has had 388 models painted; three of those were titans…

It still only counts as one!

Yeah I know, probably worth about 30-50 figures, but when I decided to start tracking progress like that I figured that it would be too much of a pain in the neck to figure out equivalences! The blog itself has been doing well, audience numbers continue to rise, thank you ever so much. Especially to the now 215 of you who follow PVP and all those who left comments this year. It’s harder now to track whether anyone is really reading, as there are click-baiting advertising sites that spam your page with views in the hopes that you will follow the link back to see where the surge in traffic has come from. As a result, it is only by knowing that there are followers and commenters out there that I really, really know that I am not just broadcasting to an empty room!

Bet you thought I’d forgotten this right? Wrong! All this year Operation Remove-A-Toddler-From-Jeff’s-Waistline has been in action and it has paid dividends. This time last year I weighed 137.1kg (that’s 21 stone 8 lb or 289 lb for readers over the pond). I had a visceral fat (the fat that clags your organs and well, kills you) score of 21 which was off the scale for assessing healthy. It wasn’t the worst I had been – I almost hit 24 stone at one point – but it had been stable for too long.

Today I weigh 118.8 kg (18 stone 9 lb or 261lb). One pesky pound off losing three entire stones this year. That’s the average weight of a four year old child. Frankly, I am feeling good about this! My visceral fat is still too high at 17 but it is now on the charts and heading in the right direction. Need to lose at least another two stone before I feel content (I’m built like a rugby prop forward or an AFL line-backer, almost 50” chest and all so 16 stone will feel right) but damn this has been promising. So with that out of the way, let’s see how I did on the ol’ resolutions huh?

Judge Mulder now in session
So last year I resolved to:
  1. Take part in the Beard Bunker's Next Big Thing for 2013.
  2. Finish (I.e. workometer full) an army project from this list: My Flames of War Paratroopers, My Night Goblins, and My Warmachine Cygnar.
  3. Paint a minimum of six bases of Waterloo Napoleonics this year or abandon the project in 2014. No more kidding myself!
  4. There will be a gaming table in Mulder House (PVP headquarters).
And for the blog/business:

  1. Like last year, no dry spells, hobby content all the time.
  2. Put out more video tutorials, maybe one a quarter. So 4 by 2014.
  3. Take the time to improve skills, airbrush, sculpting etc.
  4. Produce at least one product I can sell.

So how have I done? Well, on the personal front, the Next Big Thing for the Beard Bunker didn’t really happen, we were all enjoying the ongoing campaign and had had rather a falling out of love with 40k for a while so nothing much of an organised nature happened there. We’re fixing that for next year as we know now we do sooo much better with a plan!

Finishing a workometer: Well, this one went better, I am now just one unit shy of the original 2500 Night Goblin army and in fact have added more stuff to it. I’m loving my gobbos and these lads will continue to grow. Flames of War had absolutely nothing done to it. Not a sausage. I might have hit my limit on 15mm stuff for the time being. Mojo will doubtless return at some point. The Cygnar I am selling so I think we can all see what the deal was there but hey! Goblins! 

Yeah, so nothing at all was done on Napoleonics, time to box that project for a little while. I love the models so I am sure that the urge will rise again. Trouble is they are a massive effort/reward ratio. In the time to paint 10 Brits I can paint 50 gobbos. With personal painting time limited the choice becomes a tough one. This is going to change (see below) so I imagine the lads will be unboxed at some future date and run with.

Finally, gaming table, yes! I have all the components I need now, I just need to get it painted and flocked and it is ready to go. I had a hugely over ambitious plan earlier in the year which has come down to a sensible: Get a Suitable Surface For a Realm of Battle Board Ye Prat. This has happened so there will be movement on this over the next year too.

The business resultions took something of a beating. I don’t think I left any gaping dry spells – although the flare up of my RSI was an annoyance. The video tutorial thing turned into another effort/reward gap. Each of the videos I’d done before has had a couple of hundred views. The text and image based tutorials by contrast are in the thousands. It takes hours to produce one YouTube tutorial, minutes to type one. Unless I run into something difficult to describe I think I’ll be sticking to text. 

I have certainly taken the time to improve my skills. I’ve used the airbrush a lot this year and while I think it will never be a primary weapon for me it is a valuable tool in the box. I’m much more comfortable and confident with sculpting and increasingly reach for it to get exactly the model I want. Still not at producing whole figures Charlie style but getting there…

Now the last one, produce something to sell kinda brings me on to the problem with 2013. I tried a couple of different routes to making things. All were dramatically out of affordability. Even with things like kickstarter I don’t think I could have done it. Kickstarter has kinda been ruined by all the established companies using it as a hype generator and pre-order system. People aren’t investing in things that don’t give them endless stretch goals and the like and I don’t blame them. There is only so much hobby wallet out there and it has to go where we will get the most benefit.

Speaking of wallet. Sadly, after three years of building PVP I have had to acknowledge that I simply cannot paint fast enough to make the business a viable source of primary income. I’m going to do a proper post on the experience of being a painter for hire – and it has been a really good one – but I have been working full time hours for far less than minimum wage for too long. We were ok initially, but three straight years of inflation beating wage rises and ridiculous bumps in things like the price of energy means that we are struggling to cope just on Mrs PVP’s wages month in month out. As a result, the painful decision has been made that I have to return to the ol’ gainful employment dance.

Don’t feel sorry for me, the last three years have been ace but our government hasn’t done well at making the “recovery” work for normal people and we’ve finally hit the tipping point. I have committed to one final project after the Eldar are done and will be wrapping up the business April time. The site will remain though it will mutate to be simply my own hobby on screen. How this works we will see. Obviously I’ll have simultaneously more time to work on my own stuff and less time as I have to, y’know, work for a living. We’ll see how it goes.

So with that, 2014!

I’m going to keep the objectives very, very simple as frankly, it works better that way. In 2014 I shall do the following:

  1. Support the Beard Bunker in 2014’s Next Big Thing (there will probably be a new Warhammer army in this, I’m torn between Nurgle, Dark Elves and Empire at the moment)
  2. Wrap all professional obligations in the first third of the year. Close PVP as the business and mutate the site into my personal hobby boudoir.
  3. Get the gaming table ready and play AT LEAST one game in my own home.
  4. Continue the fitness quest and add in more exercise.

That’s it. I think that’s do-able! To finance some of these I shall be selling off some of the stuff I have gathering dust. This will include some 54mm Inquisitor bits so keep your eyes peeled Inquisitor fans!



  1. Kool. Always look to reading your tales and occasional divergent forays.

  2. Hi. Loved reading your blog over the years. Sorry the painting as a living has not worked out for you but at least you tried and had a great time doing it. I am looking forward to your article about it as I think it will be a fascinating insight into a professional model painter. All the best for the future. Nathaniel