Skip to main content

2018: the Backlog of Morgoth

The beast looms large, but hides in crevices. It is found in the darker depths of the house. If one digs too deep and sees its true scale, the knowledge can crush one's spirit. Often it is best to run. Only the mightiest of brush wizards can jump into the abyss and emerge triumphant, but I'm no wizard, I'm just a hobbyist, and there's only one way for me to fight a Backlog of Morgoth: cut off little bits, again and again, until I smite its ruin upon the hobby station.

Hmm. A tad overblown, that. Let's get prosaic.

When 2017 began, I took an oath to focus almost exclusively on eroding my hobby backlog instead of buying new stuff. Boy did I pick a tough time to make that decision. Little did I know that Games Workshop were about to drop 40k's 8th edition all over our collective faces, and then follow it up with a relentless tide of new hotness that made me feel like a crack addict being thrown into the stock room of Drugmart and being told to keep my hands in my pockets. I suspect for many of us it's been like a story from a few thousand years ago in which this famous Jewish dude took a desert hike without any provisions and got offered some high-end trail mix by a guy with a scary smile. Except, of course, that the vast majority of us haven't gone on to be arrested by the authorities after disturbing the peace for suggesting people should be nice to each other, and that we've got dads in high places.

Hmm. If that was prosaic, then Piers Morgan's a heartthrob. Let's just move on.

In terms of model count, I haven't produced vast amounts this year. Even so, I'm actually feeling rather pleased about what those things were, and what they mean in terms of gaming and backlog.

Stuff I finished this year.

All the scenery

The cathedral in the image above is something that's been sitting on a shelf for about a decade. It was half-done in grey and was covered in cobwebs. Armed with an old brush I took it outside and dusted it off. I had to dig through sedimentary layers of dust. Sedimentary layers. That's when you know you're digging through the backlog.

Fun fact: the cathedral took precisely one can of Zandri dust spray. It literally guttered and ran out as I sprayed the last piece.

I also painted a giant pile of Munitorum supplies. I actually finished more shipping containers than what appears in the photo, but Mark also did a lot of work on them, so I don't feel I can take all the brownie points there.

Mechanised Imperial Guard army finished

The arrival of 40K's 8th edition gave me the shove I needed to finish off the mechanised Ankran army I'd been working on. It's unabashedly a paint scheme brought to you by the question, "how quickly could I paint Cadians by using some Caliban Green spray cans?"

The answer is "err pretty quickly I guess? An olive green spray would've been better though."

That said there are some things about the paint job that I like. Having proper unit markings is both useful and satisfying, and I did actually put some effort into the commissar and the techpriest. As per the image above, the things needed to finish the project were: two Russes, a chimera, 10 storm troopers, a techpriest, a commissar, and a shadowsword.

Inquisition stuff

Having painted some of the old kasrkin storm troopers for my guard, I went on to paint 10 Tempestus Scions to support Inquisitor Drake's warband. Plus a model for one of my Inquisition characters, Nadiya Zelenko.

Deathwatch kill team

Deathwatch are pretty much my favourite 40K thing, but somehow these guys spent actual years in a box awaiting the tender ministrations of a Windsor & Newton Series 7. It's really pleasing to have painted everything I built. There may be more of them in the future, but the Deathwatch backlog has been smacked down and I'm happy with the results. Each marine was painted to the standard I usually reserve for characters - a decision that felt practical with such a tiny model count. Here's some closeups of Elias, the squad sergeant:

Painting speed vs. quality, and odd ends

Lately I've been drawn towards getting stuff finished, but as a result I got a little overly obsessed with doing things quickly. In 2017 the final ork units and my guard army both suffered as a result. Thus, in 2018 I focused on regaining some old skills that had grown rusty. Whilst I may not have achieved a huge model count, I did produce a bunch of models I'm proud of. Here's a couple of closeups:

Nozz Brewsnik, goblin shaman, possibly done at the end of 2017 but I can't remember, and I only blogged about him in January. Whatevs, I love the little bastard.

Celhelas, elven captain for Frostgrave

An engineer from the famous gunnery school of Nuln

Of course, sometimes it's satisfying to bang out a serviceable paint job in what (for me) is very little time. This year I acquired Jeff's fledgling undead army. I figured they'd be useful as a GM resource when running narrative games, but I didn't want to get pulled into the rabbit hole of having another army on the go, so I forced myself to just buy the stuff he'd painted... for the most part. Even though it wasn't fully assembled, I couldn't resist the varghulf. I really like the model, and reckoned I could get it done in a few hours. It would've been silly of me to waste loads of time on it when I had so much else to do, so I set myself the challenge of getting it from semi-built to finished in under three hours... and I managed! Just. So long as you don't include drying time for green stuff or PVA glue.

Plans for 2019

Experience tells me that I shouldn't be overly ambitious here, or I might depress myself into doing even less than if I had no plan at all. The Backlog of Morgoth has been injured, but is by no means slain, which means I'll stick to the rule of doing more of that than new stuff. I've already finished a few more bits of the backlog over January, including a block of 20 Empire greatswords. Maintaining momentum is the key. When I feel like I'm getting stuff done, it pulls me back to the workbench, and the endorphins just keep coming.

The one specific milestone that'll really please me is finishing what's left of the Empire stuff I've built but haven't painted, and at this point I'm really quite close: 10 crossbowmen, 5 outriders, a general on a griffon, and a regiment of free company. Once that's done, I want to renovate my hodgepodge collection of orcs & goblins and dark elves, at which point everything in my cabinets will be complete rather than WIP. I'm really not expecting to get the greenskins and the elves done this year, though, not least of which because I'd like to do more 40K and get involved in some Necromunda.

To everyone out there battling their own backlog beast, keep at it, and have a cracking 2019.


  1. we'll keep plogging away at the grey plastic mountain... I specifically asked for no miniatures this year for Crimbo because of the relentless assault on my wallet by GW this year! I think the to-do pile actally got bigger and I painted quite a bit... Warlord had sedimentary layers of dust too - now finally getting some love at the moment! That will be a BIG thing off the to-do mountain :)

    1. Oh man just building one of those things would intimidate the crap out of me. Then again, you're no stranger to titans! I look forward to seeing the finished warlord on your blog :)

  2. The plan is simple . . . One miniature at a time ;0) Have a great new year

    1. The simplest plan has the best chance of surviving contact with reality :P ...Cheers, Riot :)

  3. Awesome work, dude, makes me ashamed of my to-do pile. Looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings us!

    1. I think Jeff's ludicrous output makes me feel the same way! Ah well, we all go at our own speeds :P

  4. My 'only allowed to buy things to enable the completion of existing projects' rule seems to work OK; although does suffer in the face of a release of a new and shiny giant killer robot or whatever.

    But it is limiting expenditure and that in turn is promoting erosion of the pile.

    Wife and children have a massive impact on hobby time, which can be disheartening, but I just remind myself that it is only a hobby; There's other stuff which I could be (and often are) doing which is, in the grand scheme of things, more important.

    But for me this year will be about trying to get an extra hour or two in each week. I'm not going to die in ditch over it, but we'll see how I get on.

    1. Wait, there's something more important than hobby time?! :P

      Getting in a fer extra hours per week will definitely mount up, and like you say, if it's a general approach rather than a sacrosanct rule you haven't actually failed if it doesn't happen every week.


Post a Comment