2021, The Year of Meh…

[This post was previously posted at Otherverse Games & Hobbies, and may make reference to various Otherverse Games & Hobbies social media sites which are now defunct. We wanted to preserve these posts however respective hyperlinks to these sites have been disabled.]

A retrospective of shame,

a feeling of failure, and hopefully a positive future

Another year has gone by. Indeed, another year down the crapper. I have a hard time imagining that anyone can look back and feel particularly good about 2021. The pandemic seems to have gained momentum, current events were miserable, disturbing or both, and people are clearly tired of it all. What an utter dumpster fire.

Firmly entrenched into the hobby would be a valid way to describe me. A large measure of how I feel about the year is determined by my hobby progress, and let’s say that subjectively I got a lot done, and at the same time I am disappointed in my results. 

But why is that? I painted 250 models. That seems like a lot. It is a lot, and honestly it’s more models than some hobbyists ever paint. When I look at the picture for 2020 for comparison though I find myself, let’s say, disappointed.

Cypher tells me to stop whining, the Deathwing does not approve…

Obviously, the thing that got in the way of hobbying the most this past year, was work. Imagine that. But it’s not just the aspect of going to a place to spend time there before coming home to your hobbies in an effort to pay for those hobbies. Plus food and a roof, I guess. For many years, work was actually stress relieving believe it or not. I have touched on it before and I will let my wife write that article, but home life can be stressful at times through no fault of our own. The pandemic changed things. I know, what a shock. A lot changed, including my drive to work, which alone steals an extra hour of my free time every day alone. And if the pandemic wasn’t enough on it’s own, one of the other managers got a well deserved promotion, but his position was not replaced in my store. 

And then one of the other remaining managers went on leave for over 2 months, and life got really stressful. As the pandemic stretched on, customers got less and less understanding. Everyone is stretched so thin these days, unless your last name is Bezos or Musk.

This was the total opposite of the year before: 2020 was tough, but I found myself temporarily unemployed and went to work on my pile of shame. In the 66 days of my vacation-turned-furlough I painted 236 models. Yup. Then the rest of the year we spent pretty much inside, and lucky for me all of my hobbies were waiting for me. And to finish off 2020, I spent christmas and new years isolated due to a case of covid. By the time I emerged from my personal lock down, I was able to post to social media a picture featuring 453 models that I had painted in 2020. The world was on fire but I was literally ordered to stay home. That’s like being grounded to your room, when all your toys are already there waiting for you.

The new edition of Warhammer 40k was announced in 2020 and I made the decision to go back to my first love, the army I had started in the 90s, and finally have a fully painted Dark Angel army. Sure, I had enough painted models to play with, but there were tons of models that were primed the right color but had progressed no further, and even more that were still new on sprue. It was decided, 2021 I would return to the unforgiven. On the plus side of things the plan was set in motion before I learned just how nasty the dark angels and particularly the deathwing would turn out in the 9th edition codex. 

I also decided to rebase and touch up models that had been in my possession for twenty years or so, give or take. I embarked on the quest, pulling pewter deathwing off the 25mm slot bases and discarding the 90s goblin green bases in between painting modern kits. To top it all off, transfers were applied to all models, including models from the Dark Imperium 8th edition launch box alongside models I bought when I was 17 or so. 

When I set out, I expected to be done by April. I didn’t take the army collection photo until the beginning of June. Exhausted, mentally and physically, I spent too many nights at the hobby table watching a battle report and pretending to want to apply paint to a mini. I wasn’t in a hobby rut. I was too burnt out to do the thing that I find stress relieving thereby adding to my stress. What a wonderful circle to be caught in. 

It was right around the same time that I was finishing up the Dark Angels project, Kera and I decided to finally do a thing and we paid the fees to start an LLC. Otherverse was born on June 2nd. With help from Nate and Ryan, we recorded footage for my pile of shame video like we knew what we were doing. We played a few 1k games and captured them more or less on film. We didn’t even know what we didn’t know about making videos. He said it all along, and Ryan was right *grumble* and we needed more practice and that footage is now relegated to a long term storage option instead of deleted in case I want to pull a few embarrassing frames out randomly for videos, like the shame video I built. Or Blog posts:

I got some Age of Sigmar miniatures painted. A whole bunch. Or, well, a small Underworlds team. I got talked into playing Age of Sigmar by the fact that I loved the look of the Bonereapers, but, they were brand-spankin ‘new and I couldn’t tell how they played, so I ended up going with the Flesh-eater’s Court and almost immediately regretted it. So when Ryan told us how much fun Warhammer Underworlds was, Nate and I decided we were in and I latched onto Kainan’s Reapers almost immediately. I love the models, barely played them and don’t regret it for a moment. I did manage to avoid finishing my Flesh-Eaters Court army. I guess that’s a 2022 Tyson problem now.

I love these models, they are wearing bone armor, over their own bones!

I had a blast losing with my Adeptus Mechanicus army during 8th ed while I learned how to play a non-space marine army and had bought some more models to add to that force. I got it all built, only got half of what I wanted to get finished. I absolutely love the Marshall. The fire-breathing dogs with their steampunk martian riders were a blast to paint, as were a few more tank-bots and dakka-bots, the pet names I have adopted for the Kataphrons and Kastelans. The new plane, electro priests and the winged guys are still in the to-do box. I had the want, just couldn’t summon the will. And anyway, the guys I had were plenty nasty when the codex was released. 

I had been sitting on a few boxes of Grey Knights to add to the paltry collection I had painted a few years before. When the 9th ed codex came out I decided to finally build that army I had always wanted to build since the Demonhunter codex came out all those years. But, hold on there buddy. I had done the same the year before and bought the Sisters of Battle launch box because I wanted to build them during college, but they were still pewter and I didn’t have the money for that as a student. I didn’t want to get in the same situation, and sit on a bunch of models for years. So, I built an entire grey knights army, primed it and airbrushed Grey Knight Steel on them all. But.. Wait. no, I don’t remember seeing pics of painted Grey Knights…

Built, primed and airbrushed in 24 hours

You’re not wrong. *grumble* The Dark Angel project took too long and the Grey Knights kept getting pushed back. Robert, being the upstanding gentleman that he is got me not one but two forgeworld grey knight landraiders for xmas 2020. When I finally got around to putting them together I discovered FW had sent me two right sides, or was it two left sides, of the plastic land raider kit. It hardly matters, but by the time it arrived and I built it my manic mind had moved onto the next project and added an entire army back into my pile of shame. 

Kill Team Octarious came out, and I already wrote a blog about that, and Kera and I were excited for a small-scale game to play and the rules update made it even more enticing. Yet, as excited as we were, the pile of shame was mounting and it was decided that I could only get a set if we built and painted it immediately. So we jumped at it right away and made a plan to paint the Octarius set in three weeks; I would paint the two teams and Kera would paint the scenery. Well, three weeks turned to 3 months so quickly that I feel like we fell into a time warp or something; don’t be alarmed, there was no singing or dancing, and very little drag on my part… but I digress. *cough* It certainly didn’t help that we got a second Octarius Box during the middle of the process and built and painted only a few models, adding the rest to our shame.

It is now unavoidable that I will end up with a Krieg army… damn you GW…

I had been waiting since the shutdown for better stock availability in the forgeworld store; I wanted the iron hands and raven guards collections and whichever i noticed was in stock first I was going to buy. Well, I found the iron hands set available prior to building the grey knights. So I ordered it, got it a month later, left the pieces in an ultrasonic cleaner for a week and then built them. I was allowed to buy them on the condition that I don’t just add it to my pile of shame. So I started painting iron hands in October. 

In November it finally happened, I turned 40. Ick. But it would turn out to be a great month of gaming for me. The wife and I went away for our birthday, and she insisted that I buy an extravagant gaming gift, but I will save that for much later. More importantly, I launched my first video on YouTube for Otherverse Games and Hobbies; it was just a simple introduction and it was quite the learning process to make but I finally found my way there. The feeling of accomplishment I got from uploading that first video, complete with a logo I made and a perfect bit of music I licensed was just wonderful. 

If that wasn’t enough to make November a memorable month for me, Robert came to visit for a week of gaming and catching up. We worked on my Dark Angels Video, played games, listened to metal and had a great time, and amidst that fun, I had a few more friends over and the four of us played 40k all weekend. We ran a mini-tournament on saturday and played a massive 2v2 game on an 8-foot city board with planned reinforcements. What a blast. 

I have been playing warhammer with these “gentlemen” since the mid to late 90s.

Oh, but, I kinda forgot to paint models in November, and only got a handful of Iron hands done. I did find time to build, prime and airbrush more salamanders and some imperial fists. Even More Iron Hands were prepared, and even made a video of painting a 30k legionnaire. The sisters half of the Chalnath box gets built and primed but placed into storage in my shelves. 

Otherverse kinda gets in the way for the rest of the year. I love it but I haven’t found my flow. Time spent filming and editing is time I would have been painting. Time writing blog posts, building entries for others and posting to social media is largely time I would have been hobbying. The accountability is there, I feel bad about every new model I get, but time to paint seems to be lacking. I struggle through December, but manage a few more Iron Hands. 

I got more Iron hands painted but not nearly as many as I wanted. I got the Xenomorphs from Another Glorious Day in the Corp painted up at the very end of year. Awesome. I finally painted something that’s not 40k or warhammer related. I failed to finish the colonial marines; The rut was creeping up behind me and before it had me in it’s claws I decided to avoid it and throw in the towel for the year instead of forcing myself to paint when I wasn’t feeling it.

That still seems like a lot of models finished. I mean, if nothing that was about 6k of Dark Angels alone. Yet I think about the projects that I wanted to get to: 

The 2nd warhound titan didn’t get assembled. Grey Knights are based in that beautiful robocop blue color, but have progressed no further. The Thousand Sons half of the box shared with Grey Knights. Built. Primed. Abandoned to the shame pile. I didn’t end up building the sisters of battle or finishing my word bearers. The salamanders are still in a box on top of the rolling cart in my hobby room. Poor Gaunt and his posse are still blu tac’d to pill bottles to be painted. 

I am going to stop making myself feel bad. 

It’s all relative. I get that. I look on Facebook and see that I have painted more than most of the “look what I did this year” posts. I am probably being too hard on myself. I can be proud of what I did manage to finish this past year, and, on top of that the people that painted more were mostly professional painters, and if not, well, I bet they didn’t start a YouTube channel this year. I am ultimately proud of stretching myself beyond my comfort zone, putting my awkward self out there and trying to contribute to the hobby that I have taken so much enjoyment from. 

So when I think about it objectively I can say that I painted plenty of models for 2021. Plus I have an attainable goal to beat for 2022, and plenty of shame to convert from plastic to painted. 

I am going to get a few of those projects complete, a few others that I haven’t even talked about yet. And I am going to do some things that are not only non-40k, they are not even Games Workshop games. So, look out 2022, I’m gonna, um, paint more miniatures. And make videos while I do it. Yeah!

Oh. Let’s not forget I got an entire new army for xmas… what a jackass…

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]


Obsessive and neurotic collector of little plastic men, novels about the same little plastic men and paints to make the little plastic men pretty. Married to Kera, who puts up with him and pretends that she doesn’t hear him speaking to the little plastic men in between making pew pew noises in the hobby room. Requires adult supervision. A menace to himself but rarely to others. More beard than man

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