What to do with a Year?

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2015 is rapidly fading into the fog of memory and the shiny new 2016 is waiting for us like unopened box of plastic toys; but what are we going to do with those toys I wonder? Today I want to talk about New Year’s resolutions, specifically hobby resolutions.

I maintain that a good new year’s resolution is something that you actually want to do, something that you are inherently enthusiastic about, that you have never had the time to do. A resolution that you feel obligated to make (loose a given amount of weight, give up some thing or another, etc.) is a resolution you are setting yourself up to fail. There is going to be some part of you that resents having to do it; and sticking to it becomes that much harder.

My resolution for 2015 was to watch all 54 of the ‘Disney Animated Classics’ from ‘Snow White’ to ‘Big Hero 6’. So my girlfriend and I watched at least one Disney film a week for a year [In case you were wondering: while the best Disney animated film is a matter of debate ‘Dinosaur’ is by far and away the worst.], and we had a blast. I now have more opinions about Disney films than is reasonable for any normal human of my age.

What’s the upshot of all this? Why, I hear you ask, are you telling us this? Well we’re all hobbyists of one kind or another here and hobbies lend themselves to this kind of resolution better than anything. Who amongst us hasn’t taken a look at their hobby output and wanted to finish X, do more Y, and get better at Z? Here at White Shark Gaming Studios we all wish we had more time to devote to our hobbies; so in 2016 we’re going to make time.

Our fearless leader Iain has had a busy year; work, trade shows, and household projects, have been queuing up to keep him from the hobbies he loves, painting, sculpting and woodworking have all had to take a back seat to that pesky life business.

Alex: So Iain, what hobby resolutions are you making for the New Year?

Iain: Ok; so I’ve been thinking about this since about October, I have a feeling that next year will be a very busy for me hobby wise. The launch of the new website, hopefully in early January, getting more products out, and keeping the Facebook page updated with reviews and pieces, will take up most of my hobby time. However I do plan to add to my Ork and Ogre armies over this time as well as painting some stand alone miniatures. There are quite a few British indie companies now churning out some incredible miniatures, I'd like to get a few painted up and write some reviews. One main item at the tippy top of my list is to get my new shed sorted out. That’s going to be my main casting space and should help getting the messier of my projects sorted, it might even be the start of White Shark Castings but that's something for the future.[ A historical sidebar; Iain is obsessed with sheds. For as long as I’ve known him, he’s been convinced that sheds are the solution to all hobby problems.]

Look at that, not only does Iain have a packed hobby schedule, but half of it is to benefit you good people.

You want to talk about busy, try having a kid. Rich has been, much to the horror of everyone involved, raising a tiny version of himself. Who has time for toy soldiers etc. when there is actual important stuff going on?

Alex: given how limited you time is, what hobby activities do you have planned for the New Year?

Rich: I have three hobby goals this year. Firstly: finish off my pending projects: painting Space Hulk, finishing my 40k Ork army, finishing my Khorne Age of Sigmar army, and painting Roboute Guilliman, we’ll see how far I get with the last one but the intention is there. Secondly: I want to get my act together with making gaming furniture. The last year has largely been setting up my workshop, making benches and building the tools I need. I am hoping by spring I'll have made a prototype gaming/dining table so one to watch out for. Lastly: set up a painting space. We are renovating part of our house...still; so ideally I'll get some space back in a few months and have a painting desk setup so I'm not painting on my lap in questionable lighting. As with all New Year’s resolutions, the challenge is sticking to them. If I can get two out of three I'll be happy!

Deacon is our newest contributor, you can all look forward to hearing more from him in 2016, and as a teacher he has all the holiday time a person could possibly want.

Alex: Deacon, with your staggering amount of free time what are you going to commit yourself to this year?

Deacon: First of all, up yours.

Alex: Fair enough.

Deacon: New Year's resolutions have never sat well with me; "get a better body, stop being bad at this or that". However this one I will stick to, mainly because I’ve done virtually nothing hobby related since September. This is mainly because of my awful procrastination and the issue that being an adult is awful. [Deacon is not now, nor has he ever been, an adult.] After moving house for something like the eighth time in my adult life I've got so many unfinished projects it’s unreal. I’m the definition of a plastic crack addict and have been since I was ten, knuckling down and finishing something is next to impossible for me. With that in mind, here‘s what I plan to do this year: Complete at least 1650 points of my Flesh Tearers, hopefully by the end of February for a campaign weekend in Nottingham, Complete my Night Lords up to a respectable 4000 points (currently at around 2500 points), Paint at least a box of Confederate infantry from Perry miniatures, and build a gaming/dining room table so I have an excuse to get more mates round my house and be nerdy. How do I plan on completing all this? I teach and believe me I wish the stereotype was true, but it's not which hurts my hobby time like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve also just bought a house and d.i.y is an ongoing issue that needs addressing regardless of how much I put it off. I plan on trying to do at least one hobby related thing a week; even if it's just putting the models together or basing them. I love that side of the hobby; I can put a film or a podcast on and just disappear into my own world for a few hours. It’s cathartic and a well earned break from endless marking of coursework, books, and various other joyous parts of the teaching profession. If I stick to the timetable and luck into some extra days when the horrific demands of adulthood aren't getting in the way, or I’m distracted by something shiny and cool, I should be onto a winner. So here's to getting this stuff done and hopefully more as well.

If there’s a common theme so far in what’s keeping people from their hobbies, it’s clearly houses. It would seem that if you want to be a hobbyist, you should live in a box.

And what of your humble narrator? Well I’ve always been a hobby butterfly, flitting between projects with as much focus as a meth addled Lee Evans; so one of my glorious armies arrayed for battle has normally consisted of one or two units of painted models, twice that many undercoated units, and a handful of grey plastic. I currently have four armies under construction: Adeptus Mecanicus and Blood Angels for 40k, and Undead and Sepheron for Age of Sigmar. By the end of the year I resolve to be able to field full painted armies of at least three of them. I know what I’m like; I’m not going to have the staying power to stick to one particular project at a time, and having three jobs doesn’t give me the time to complete all four. By keeping my resolution deliberately vague it gives me the freedom to flit about and not get bored whilst still giving me a target to shoot for. I also have an extensive Magic: the Gathering collection that needs to be heavily pruned and properly stored, rather than piled haphazardly, and a small mountain of half-finished armies that need to be jettisoned, either sold or given to a good home, space is a premium. I also want to read a lot more over the next year, a librarian who doesn’t read is a poor one, a novel a month should scratch that itch.

So that’s it for our hobby resolutions here at White Shark, I hope this little chat we’ve had has made you think about your own hobby plans for 2016; why not share your resolution with us in the comments? We’re always keen to hear from our readers. As the year goes on we hope to keep you updated on what we’ve been working on, supply you with our thoughts on all things geek, and we hope you’ll do the same for us.

Happy New Year Everyone


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