Wednesday 5 January 2011

Alchemy at Lead Mountain

As mentioned on Monday I've had a rough Christmas and consequently not got a lot done on the paining front. I'm feeling a lot better now and Monday I actually sat down and did a bit of painting, moving one small step closer to finishing my latest project. I also spent time carrying out what has become something of a New Years ritual; tidying up my model box.

I keep a 'working' box of tools and materials close to my desk but I also have a much larger toolbox filled with models and scenery yet to be worked on. This is where my Lead Mountain lives and like many embarrassing secrets it spends most of its time hidden away in the cupboard under the stairs. I pull it out several times a year to put new stuff in it and (rarely) take models out to paint. Now it doesn't take a physics genius to work out that it would take internal dimensions like the TARDIS to accommodate a lifetimes worth of collecting. I periodically have a sort out of models and - like thousands of painters before me - silently rebuke myself for buying so many when I never stood a chance of painting them all.

Last year I was ruthless in my sort out, and gave a lot of models to the kids in an attempt to encourage their own painting. This year I found it much harder to thin the ranks because I think 2010 is the first year when I haven't added to the Lead Mountain. There are two reasons for this (trust me I will get to the point eventually). First I've been trying to only buy miniatures to paint for current projects, only making new purchases when needed and painting almost immediately. This has taken some self discipline but clearly the policy has worked. The second reason for my static Lead Mountain is that a lot of what I have bought isn't lead or even metal!

It suddenly dawned on me that a large part of my Lead Mountain is actually Plastic or Resin. Obviously I've been aware of the trends towards these materials but I never truly appreciated just how much of what I purchase was not white metal. Which of course begs the question: Is it still a Lead Mountain if half the models are not metal?


  1. Given the density of lead, it would still be a lead mountain for some way over the 50% mark. But if we're allowed names like Firetop Mountain, Sugarloaf and Doom, why not Lead anyway? It also has a magical ring to it.

  2. Yes it is still a lead mountain even if it was only 5% lead, if your not painting some of it sell it on ebay and fund a project you are doing.

  3. I know what you mean...not only is my storage space running out for finished as well as not started stuff but I think I will have to become a buddhist in order to have a chance of being reborn several times over to get half my projects finished.

  4. If you can fit your unpainted stuff in a single toolbox, then you are doing a lot better than me! :-) Simon

  5. Hope your paying your daughter well for painting your figures!!

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  7. Lead mountain works as a good catch all. I have also adopted a similar approach these days. Trying one project at a time and getting it mostly done before starting the next. At the moment I am working on Salute to Salute figures bought last year to use in a game at Salute this year:0)

  8. Thanks for all the replies. The toolbox containing my unpainted lead is a big monster, I can barely lift it. But yes, my lead mountain is much smaller than some. As I said I have had several clearouts, in particular a biggie last year when I got rid of a lot of old GW stuff. I was never going to paint these and they have gone to a better home (mostly my kids model boxes). I still have a lot of old resin scenery and assorted D&D character models waiting patiently for the day they are needed. But as my current focus is 15mm ww2 I expect these will remain unpainted for a while yet.

    As mentioned I try to buy what I need rather than what I want and 2010 was the first time in many a year when I painted everything I bought. Mostly this is to do with trying to get the most out of my modest gaming budget by not wasting it on stuff I’m not going to paint. I can’t guarantee that I’ll maintain this discipline in 2011 but I’m going to try hard.


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