Recently I have started sharing my collection of unpainted miniatures online. I should clarify, when I am referring to miniatures, I am referring to the miniature figures used in Dungeons & Dragons. Being a lifelong gamer, I have accumulated a few of these over the years. When I was very young, I even tried to paint a few of them.
At the time I took it very seriously. I would sit in the bookstore where they had one book on miniature painting and I would take notes on what to do. The end result? It was something lower than amateur. I believe one of my friends might have said something like, “did your dog paint that?” Naturally I publicly laughed that off, but inside it hurt. All that time, study and investment in equipment was for nothing. No matter how hard I tried, I could never get my hand to stay steady enough. Nor could I keep my brushes and paints in good enough shape for the fine work often required.
My miniatures were put into boxes and never used after that initial wave of enthusiasm. This mean my gaming style tended to be more “imagination-based”. Rough estimates and enthusiasm making up for true tactics and precise and orderly play. It is not for everyone, but it is all I know.
Recently I started to pull my older RPG stuff out of boxes. Do you know what I found first? My miniatures. Not the painted ones, which I am sure are in some envelope or box covered with the word “SHAME” and frowny faces in red crayon, but the raw unpainted miniatures. My first thoughts were back to those initial feelings of inadequacy at my ability to paint them. But after setting them up and staring at them on my shelf for a few days, I got to say, I am happy I never painted them.
No matter how skilled I was at painting when I was 8 years old. These still would have been wrecked by the hand of an eight year old. No, my figures are pristine and untouched. Just as when they came out of the magical forge that wrought them. They will remain this way for as long as I own them. Maybe I will even take them off the shelf and try to use them in a game or two. Oh and when I find that shame box I will liberate those poorly painted figures and return them to their original unpainted glory using some elbow grease and Simple Green.