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UshCha09 Feb 2020 3:28 a.m. PST

In some quarters there is an over stressing of the need to turn up to a game with excessively painted figures. We need to make sure that these isolated intances do not represent the bulk of wargamers and that its OK to turn up with poorly or even unpainted figures if you want too. Cant Be Bothered (CBB) is perfectly acceptable for gameing.

Why today, well I am colouring some models up for a show. Due to the speed I was working clearing the supports from the models some small bits broke off. I realised that I had not even noticed untill I came to apply paint. The detail that was missing could not even be seen from the top down view of a game. If you have to get down for a LOS check you don't have time to look at the detail anyway you are playing. So detailed figures make no diffrence to folk playing seriously. Thewy may make a diffrence in a display case but thats modelling not wargaming. Two diffrent hobbies in my opinion.

Folk don't always have time to paint or indeed the inclination to, we need to encourage them to play, they are often better players than modellers who paint more than they play. In any "sport" there is a limiting factor of time playing to the standard of play. Painting instead of playing makes you less of a player. There is nothing wrong with wanting to paint, but it is not a pre-requisite to play. This must be the one and only time I agree with Workshop, unpainted or coloured figures are OK.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 3:53 a.m. PST

"We need to make sure that these isolated intances do not represent the bulk of wargamers"

This sounds a bit authoritarian, mate. Encouraging new players is all well and good, but each to their own and all…

Texas Jack09 Feb 2020 4:12 a.m. PST

To each his own of course, but even though I hate painting and am no great shakes at it, I would never put unpainted figures on the table, not even in solo games.

However, if you and your gaming partners have no problem with that then fine. One of the lovely things about our hobby is all the different aspects one can enjoy about it.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 4:25 a.m. PST

Painting & modelling are part of wargaming to me, not a separate hobby. Wargaming with unpainted figures is not something I'd encourage though I could see instances where it would be acceptable, as a temporary measure.

I suppose I'm pretty lucky as I game with other veterans and we can scratch up painted figures for a huge range of conflicts between us so the need rarely arises. Three of us are 70 this year and we are still turning out new armies.

If you can't be bothered to paint then, the way I see wargaming, you are unlikely to be in the hobby for long. Other people's definitions will vary.

FusilierDan09 Feb 2020 5:14 a.m. PST

I think this is GW position now that they realized people may not be getting into the hobby because they can't or don't want to paint to the level often seen in the hobby magazines.

I watched a video the other day that was 28 min long, all the painting parts were speeded up. The women put at least 4 highlights on the uniform. I'm guessing it took at least an hour to paint the figure in real time maybe more. It was beautiful. I have 15-20 minutes tops to paint a figure.

I understand not ostracizing someone who hasn't painted their figures yet but some basic paint doesn't take a lot of effort. I think that's why GW made contrast paints.

Black Hat Miniatures09 Feb 2020 5:48 a.m. PST

I don't really understand why you KEEP bringing this up. If you want to play with unpainted figures then no one is stopping you but the vast majority of wargamers use painted figures and always have done…


Frothers Did It And Ran Away09 Feb 2020 5:52 a.m. PST

We need to make sure that these isolated intances do not represent the bulk of wargamers and that its OK to turn up with poorly or even unpainted figures if you want too.

Who is this "we"?

Painting instead of playing makes you less of a player.


If someone doesn't want to paint their figures that's up to them, but I disagree that this is just as valid as painting one's figures. It's true that not everyone is Kevin Dallimore (I'm certainly not) but not everyone who goes to the gym is Arnold Schwarzenegger, not everyone who trains a martial art is Bruce Lee. But they do the best with what they've got, or maybe not even their best but they make some positive effort at least.

Playing with unpainted figures is lazy and rude. There are loads of products available now which mean someone can paint their figures and get a decent result and quickly- Army Painter, Contrast Paints, washes made by just about every painting manufacturer. If Player A has painted his figures according to his abilities, and there's nicely modelled terrain on the table, for Player B to rock up with bare lead is an insult to his opponent; what he's saying is that his laziness, can't be arsed attitude and insistence that those qualities are equally as valid as Player A's honest effort is worth spoiling Player A's gaming experience.

To make zero effort and expect to be treated as the equal of someone who makes an effort is morally corrupt. Painted figures vs. unpainted figures is small fry in the post-modern relativist world we live in, but it is certainly part and parcel of the lifestyle of pathological irresponsibility and willful mediocrity that is now considered a virtue.

TMPISNAFF Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 6:15 a.m. PST

+ many, Frothers and others.
I'm aghast that anyone would want to turn up or game with unpainted figures. What next? A bare board with books for hills?

This isn't snobbery. Lack of effort means lack of respect, lack of research, and lack of enthusiasm.

OK. I'm old (school), from the times when, if you couldn't buy something because no one made it, then you had a go at converting or scratch building. It wasn't perfect, but you'd made an effort, and people understood and appreciated that.

Now almost anything you want, in most scales, is available off the shelf. Gamers are pampered.

How do you, or your opponent identify units in unpainted armies? Painting figures means you absolutely have do some research. Some gamers allow rule writers to do their research for them. Why are these troops dressed like that?, why are they in this order?, what actually happened in real life?

Fine if that's what you want. You might as well just turn up and toss a coin to decide events.

Dynaman878909 Feb 2020 6:21 a.m. PST

Badly painted is one thing, not painted at all – don't even try it.

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 6:33 a.m. PST

I'm not a great painter, a fast painter or an efficient painter. In fact there is more likelihood of a finished figure using Infinite Painter Theorem than me completing something.
However, I see that figures are made by a sculptor to represent a particular troop type. We must have knowledge of troop types in order to purchase different figures to form an army. Then there is a need to divide the different figures into units, identify the units and so on. Part of the enjoyment of the hobby is the research, trying to represent those units/figures and so on.
If there is no need to paint figures, then I can throw away the moulds in my shed. Instead I can place an ingot on the table and indicate that it represents 8 foot or 3 mounted (because that is what it takes to spin a mould of 8 foot or 3 mounted.) I agree that not everyone can be an artist and perhaps there is an over emphasis on this in photos/magazines/selling blurbs, but all those artists started by taking bare metal and doing crappy paint jobs, until they ceased being crappy.
I'm with others, badly painted/incorrectly painted is just fine as it indicates effort and preparedness to give it a go. As someone once wrote in an old magazine (Mil Mod or Practical wargamer?) – "If you don't love 'em enough to paint them, why should they love you enough to fight for you"


IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 6:50 a.m. PST


Skeets Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 6:59 a.m. PST

I believe that this problem arises from the fact that many younger players are gamers first and their interest in the historical aspects of gaming is little to none. I recall years ago offering uniform information to a new member of the club and his response, as I recall, was "not interested".

JMcCarroll09 Feb 2020 6:59 a.m. PST

Live by the two foot rule. If the figures look good at that range you are all set.
When you go to a tourney or just playing a game a your local store remember your opponent is there to enjoy looking at your troops, they have seen their troops hundreds of times!
Please don't disrespect them.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 7:41 a.m. PST

I think Brain only does his topic "leads" in order to get some discussion going. He does not really believe the things he says about the supreme greatness of his games etc. It is just a well intentioned "ruse" to get the ball rolling with an injection of silliness to provoke chat. He is a military combat veteran with a good insight into what it is really like in battle.

Thanks to Brian.

UshCha09 Feb 2020 7:44 a.m. PST

Interesting that to some here the game seems secondary to the figures. Surely the emphasis should be on the game? Perhaps its why certainly round my area at the shows I go to the young seem more interested in the game than the figures. Board games are taking over many of the war game shows around my area. The old Guard are still into figures the young more interested in the game play. Perhaps we need to emphasise the game play not the "Furniture".

Frothers Did It And Ran Away – And I though I was the rude one!

JMcCarrol there are no model shops of any form in my city except GW, and they allow unpainted.

Basha Felika09 Feb 2020 8:07 a.m. PST

The ‘look' of a tabletop wargame, both the figures and the terrain are an important element, otherwise you may as well just use counters and a map.

Sure, I'd not want to deter anyone from playing because he felt his painting wasn't good enough, but he should be encouraged to make an effort to do so, however basic – the 3' rule and lots of brown wash is always a good starting point!

And GW ‘allow' unpainted figures to be used because they know that their target audience will stop buying new stuff if they enforced a ‘painted only' rule: in the ideal world, the customer buys something, plays with it once while unpainted, then gets distracted by the latest shiny thing and the cycle is repeated.

UshCha09 Feb 2020 8:24 a.m. PST

Basha Felika, I have tried counters and maps. I find a 3D terrain, however crude is far easier to comprehend than a contour map, similarly a 3D Tank is easier to identify than a 2D version. Jury's out on 2D figures, most of mine are prone so practically 2D anyway.

Trouble is with the OLD GUARD is they forget, Donald Featherstone, great populiser of war games (poor rules though in general) He advocated Plasticine hills and in Advanced War Games, straight edged hex terrain. He even did not go big on painting. The emphasis was on play not paint. You might say its time we back to our roots to survive.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 8:46 a.m. PST

Again, UshCha, who is this "we?" And have you considered cardboard counters on crude 3D terrain? Surely there is a modern equivalent of System 7?

But if you don't care about the appearance, why do you keep posting to a miniatures board?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 8:53 a.m. PST

I love to paint so don't ever game with unpainted figs but that is because I spend about 10 hours painting for each one gaming

I have played games with unpainted figs (on the other side) and it was OK but would have preferred painted figs

That being said UshCha has it right – I have an original copy of The Wargame by Charles Grant from 1971 – as can be seen in some of the sample pages below the terrain was very, very rudimentary – and in the battles recounted in the book he very freely has Austrians stand in for French, etc. – he was all about the gaming!


KSmyth09 Feb 2020 9:01 a.m. PST

UshCha, you can't game everyday. On those when you aren't playing paint. In every hobby/sport/leisure activity, there's the hard part you do before the fun part. You become a good guitarist through hours of practice. You get to the top of the mountain by hiking uphill, you graduate from school after successfully completing the course work. So it is with miniature gaming. Of course you can definitely play with unpainted figures. Not with me, but that's my choice. I don't resent your attitude about playing with figures that aren't ready as much as I'm revolted by your suggestion this should be a new normal or a new standard for miniature wargaming. That's just offensive. Sort of like militant veganism.

Basha Felika09 Feb 2020 9:10 a.m. PST

Very true about Featherstone, Grant etc when it comes to basic terrain, substituting figures as required BUT they took pride in having neatly painted figures painted to the best of their ability.

And I suspect you'd take issue with their very basic rules – definitely games rather than simulations – that have now been supplanted by new ideas.

We are living in the ‘golden age' for availability of gaming stuff and there is no need to compromise on a basic minimum standard of presentation, especially if (as I think you said) you are preparing for a public show.

And rather than deter the new player, lend him some of your toys while he's painting up his own figures for the first time – I think we all remember (and still enjoy) that feeling when you put figures painted by your own fair hand onto the table for the first time – and then see them shot down like dogs and roll repeated snakes eyes throughout the game!

Frothers Did It And Ran Away09 Feb 2020 9:14 a.m. PST

Interesting that to some here the game seems secondary to the figures. Surely the emphasis should be on the game?

It doesn't, this is a personal perspective which you are imposing onto other people's words. The emphasis for all of us is on the game, we just prefer one that looks good.

What you're proposing is a classic false dichotomy. You don't have to be either a display case painter who never games or a feverish gamer who never paints. Almost all wargamers are both painters and gamers at the same time, the one exists in harmony with the other.

Painted figures and the aesthetic elements of a wargame as a whole, make a miniatures wargame what it is. If you don't want to paint your figures then you go right ahead and don't do that. 99.9% of the rest of the hobby will be happily splashing paint around nonetheless.

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian09 Feb 2020 9:56 a.m. PST

If it was not for the visual and creative aspects of the hobby, I'd purely do boardgames and computer gaming. I could care less how well others paint although I really appreciate the effort a great looking table or unit represents. An unattractive minimal effort presentation solely to play a game or excessive emphasis on simulation versus plausible may be fine for some, the hobby is a big tent, but I am blessed with enough like minded friends that ugly is not an option I need to consider.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 10:00 a.m. PST

UshCha, this is The Miniatures Page, you know, and not The Gaming Page. You should also be aware that there are groups dedicated to the maintenance of purity of various languages--French and German, certainly. And I'm sure they have web sites. Wouldn't you like to take a break from us, and post there about how "we" would all be better off speaking English?

SpuriousMilius09 Feb 2020 10:34 a.m. PST

I attend the wargaming conventions that are within a day's drive & they usually have tournaments, some of which allow primed or unpainted figures. My tournament days are long past but I find it jarring to see 1 player's troops painted to standard (or better) quality on the table facing unfinished minis.

JMcCarroll09 Feb 2020 1:47 p.m. PST

"JMcCarrol there are no model shops of any form in my city except GW, and they allow unpainted.'
Well if no body has painted troops I guess you are in good company.

Grelber09 Feb 2020 2:02 p.m. PST

I've done a few solo games with a mix of painted, primed and unpainted figures to learn the rules, but otherwise always use painted figures, particularly when I've put on games at the club or a convention.


BorisTheSpider09 Feb 2020 2:17 p.m. PST

Of he is ok with the practice why is he constantly seeking validation from others?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 3:56 p.m. PST

All honor to Jim Slaughter of Slaughterhouse in Killeen Texas, who had a three-color minimum. (And if you can't paint three colors, who bother with miniatures?)

He was known to insist that really badly painted armies not be used in his shop when there were children present.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 4:24 p.m. PST

My response to this is always the same, no unpainted miniatures are allowed on my gaming table.

von Schwartz09 Feb 2020 5:04 p.m. PST

But you're forgetting one very important point:

"Nicely painted figures perform better than poorly painted or unpainted ones." (smile)

"If you don't love 'em enough to paint them, why should they love you enough to fight for you"
Well put!

On a more serious note, does anyone really believe that those display quality figures ever get out of their display cases very often?

If you can't be bothered to even try to paint them then why in the He** are you bothering to even purchase the miniatures? Go get yourself a board game with cardboard counters! And further more, why are you HERE on TMP, The Miniatures Page?

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 7:18 p.m. PST

I have never been in ANY miniature wargames group who thought unpainted figures were ok. Partially and poorly painted, no problem, unpainted they ALL insisted no table time. For the record, I have been in dozens of wargaming groups.

Korvessa09 Feb 2020 9:22 p.m. PST

For me, most of the enjoyment I get is from the spectacle.
Painted miniatures just look good.

If you don't like the look, play board games.

Prince Alberts Revenge09 Feb 2020 9:32 p.m. PST

And as an encore we will troll the quilting community to inform that lack of thread is acceptable and if they disagree they are focusing on the wrong thing. Yawn. Go trot your hot takes elsewhere even if it is merely to generate discourse.

Personal logo jdginaz Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2020 10:40 p.m. PST

JMcCarrol there are no model shops of any form in my city except GW, and they allow unpainted.

So?? That little fact is of no importance on whether it is important to paint figures or not to paint them before using them on the table. Everything needed is readily available through the internet.

tabletopwargamer10 Feb 2020 2:28 a.m. PST

I have seen unpainted miniatures, but mostly for our of the box games like legion, song of ice and fire, rather than historical games.

However, yes I've seen it rarely for our undercoat figures to be put on table.

I'll joke and say they are lazy, but appreciate they want to play a game.

Anyone who refuses to allow unpainted figures in table, or refuses to play with needs to.. Lighten up and be a bit more welcoming.

This is exactly why the historical hobby struggles.

UshCha10 Feb 2020 2:34 a.m. PST

tabletopwargamer +1

My own club is struggling and at our shows. Many folk are put off when we meet them at our shows by the need to pain lots of figures. I assume TMP still gets new mebers so there needs to be a thread that says you can play with miniatures with a minimal/no paint job, If we don't want wargaming to die.

My models are a minimal paint job which I do prefer, I even go into a bit of artistic depiction but tolerance is needed.

And Yes its The Minatures Page, not the Painted Minatures Page. Its open to the Paper figures brigade, I would join but I can't fined the right sort of cut-out for me. again tolerance is needed

If we want warGAMEING with minatures to survive for the next generation we need to be more tollerant of all aspects. This thread alone indicates how far we have to travel if we want it to outlive ouselves.

Tony S10 Feb 2020 4:26 a.m. PST

Interesting. I think UshCha's approach will only help diminish and hasten the end of miniature wargaming.

Painted miniatures and nice terrain are the ONLY thing that distinguishes the miniature wargaming hobby from other gaming hobbies. It's a very niche hobby, and one that appeals to a limited set of people.

If you're just after a game, there are far better alternatives available. Computer and board games are much cheaper, are available immediately (or comparatively) and even look much better than unpainted figures on a bare table.

Having potential new players see crap like a bare resin hull of a Panther (no turret, no tracks) pushed around a table because the player just bought it moments ago and merely opened the blister, isn't going to attract anyone. And I witnessed that exact embarrassment. Seeing a big Perrys Black Powder game will, if a person is inclined to such a spectacle.

But if they're just a gamer, after just a game, they'll play Gary Grigsby or Steel Panthers or something. Primed figures are not attractive.

Jeffers10 Feb 2020 5:06 a.m. PST

Airfix 8th edition (and earlier) catalogue style:


Britain's style:


Job done.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Feb 2020 5:11 a.m. PST

UsCha – a minimal paint job is fine, most of those of us who paint agree with that – even suggest it to newcomers as a quick way of getting started. I game with long term painters who block paint and wash (sometimes) everything and I see no issue with that at all. They are happy with what they do and have no desire, or need to change.

To most of those responding here saying that we are 'unwelcoming' by insisting a new player paints something before putting it on the table is rubbish. We'd happily play with a newbie using our extensive collections while they get their own done and help out with them getting that far too.

Asking us to lower our standards to allow & encourage unpainted figures is like expecting a golf club to allow new players to kick a golf ball around the course until they get some clubs of their own.

If you want to be a 'gamer' and play with unpainted – fine, but you are not what most of the responders here would call a 'wargamer'. The gap between those terms may be small but, to most of us, it is significant.

UshCha10 Feb 2020 5:32 a.m. PST

Tony S,
your comments to me strike me as somone who has little experience of either of the alternatives.

Computor games lack the depth of understanding and planning in its opposition, that a capable human, Multi player games are inevitabley not well organised, all players want an active part (a problem often seen in muli player minature hgames) yet in any good plan and system, resereves are required even if they spend the game doing nothing so. Therfore computor games are no credible alternative.

Again Boargames are essntially 2D. very difficult to visulise the 3D effects. Again not a credible alternative. You do our hobby a diservice, it is a supreemly effective way of representing the 3D battalefield in all its vital detail. Nothing wrong with painting it, even I colour my models somewhat. However the painting is by no means the only attraction. As a Game it has inherent and significant benerfits.

BorisTheSpider10 Feb 2020 5:48 a.m. PST

What is the bizarre form of pidgin English he writes in?

YogiBearMinis10 Feb 2020 5:48 a.m. PST

If you don't want to play your painted figures against someone who does not paint theirs, that is fine. Perfectly fine.

But don't tell people what they can or can't do with the toys they buy, or that they aren't "real" members of a hobby. That is so elitist it is ridiculous, and over toy soldiers. If you want to tell people they are missing out on a huge part of the enjoyment of buying and playing, that is also perfectly fine. But good Lord, don't tell people how to play a game that they own.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2020 5:56 a.m. PST

+1 YogiBearMinis.

I was thinking Bill could re-name this thread "Intolerance".
I may not want to game with UshCha (modern warfare isn't much to my taste) but to say he's not a wargamer?

IMO wargaming is a very broad church with all manner of approaches. Good luck to anyone who gets joy from it no matter how they game.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Feb 2020 6:34 a.m. PST

Ochoin : It isn't a matter of intolerance but of terminology.

I don't consider those people who play boardgames with a military theme 'wargamers' in the same sense that I use for what I do – hence the use of 'gamer' and 'wargamer'. I don't disapprove of or consider what they do less than what I do but I do consider it to be significantly different.

YBM : To call this 'elitist' is ridiculous. I did not tell anyone what to do or demean what they do in any way – all that is in your head, not my words.

gunnerphil10 Feb 2020 8:25 a.m. PST

I do no go to wargames tournaments. I have ask is there a huge number of people with unpainted armies winning a number of games?

If they can not be bothered to paint not sure bothered they would be about other details like rules.

People have the right to what they want with their toys, and if they chose not paint them is their choice. I can go to shop by a train set but it on mdf , but it is not the same as Rod Stewart's layout.

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian10 Feb 2020 9:39 a.m. PST

As others have said, I generally find unpainted miniatures on my table unacceptable BUT I and my group happily provide all the painted figures anyone could want, all the advice and guidance a new person could want on painting and occasionally I've given a starter army or fleet to a new enthusiastic player who does not have the time or resources that I've been blessed with. I simply do not believe that a good looking game and simply a good game ever have to be mutually exclusive.

Personal logo PzGeneral Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2020 9:41 a.m. PST

Just my 2 cents on the term 'Wargamer'.

I started out playing Avalon Hill games. Then other manufacturer's military board games. Then I discovered miniature gaming. All of those games have a central theme, military simulation.

I consider anyone who participates in board, computer or miniature military themed simulations to be 'Wargamer'.

And on the topic of painting or not, if it is a 3D simulation you participating in, paint your miniatures to your standard. Otherwise, save money and play board games with standup counters.

And as a final note, playing with 'Paper Cutouts' is also miniature wargaming.

Just my 2 cents…


Don Perrin10 Feb 2020 11:04 a.m. PST

I'm okay with unpainted figures if you're trying out a unit, or even a whole army. Several times I've found that I can't stand how the unit plays, and sold it off (or a whole army – WHFB Empire, a good example).

Once I like how an army plays, or a unit plays, I'm willing to do some painting. But I've had many a game that I truly enjoyed against unpainted armies. I don't equate "unpainted" with "you're not worthy – you won't paint, so you won't play real good!" I think those two things are not related at all.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Feb 2020 11:15 a.m. PST

Computor games lack the depth of understanding and planning in its opposition, that a capable human, Multi player games are inevitabley not well organised, all players want an active part (a problem often seen in muli player minature hgames) yet in any good plan and system, resereves are required even if they spend the game doing nothing so. Therfore computor games are no credible alternative.

your comments to me strike me as somone who has little experience of computer games.

Again Boargames are essntially 2D. very difficult to visulise the 3D effects. Again not a credible alternative. You do our hobby a diservice, it is a supreemly effective way of representing the 3D battalefield in all its vital detail.

your comments to me strike me as somone who has little experience of board games.

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