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Friday, March 30, 2018

How long to paint a model?

Some of my friends outside the hobby have asked me just how long it takes to paint a single model.  The usual answer is "I don't really know", as I rarely paint just a single model, and when I do, it usually is not a very intense project and I usually spread the work out over weeks or even months. When I'm painting Battletech, which is much of what I've been working on lately, I tend to paint several units at once, so it's hard to break it down.

So when I decided on a last minute addition to my Smoke Jaguar force (I swore I was done with them...), I thought it would be an interesting experience to time each part of the process.

I'm not sure how accurate it is as an indicator of my usual time per model, as this particular piece is a bit bigger than most of my Battletech stuff, and it had some additional challenges (those propellers) that took more work than usual. Further, this wasn't "rush a model to a table-ready state" either, but an attempt to make it about as good as I'm currently capable of, in as long a time as needed.  Further, many of the steps involved stuff that would take the same amount of time whether I was doing one model or ten, and so my "average" time must be significantly lower than this. Further, I spent a lot of time on this one with unnecessary experimentation, so most of my models must have been a good bit faster. At least, that's what I tell myself in the cold watches of the night.

Here's the breakdown:

Day 1:
Filing and trimming, washing:  10 mins
Drilling: 10 mins
Assembly: 10 mins
Priming: 3 mins
Total for Day: 33 minutes

Day 2:
Airbrushing preshade, base coats: 26 minutes (incl cleaning between colors)  preshade black, dunkelgrau, barley grey highlight, us grey camo stripes, dunkelgrau corrections).
Airbrush cleaning: 3 mins (light cleaning)
Total for day: 29 minutes

Day 3:
Detailing: (base coat for all details – US light grey and gory red) 60 mins
Wash: “pin wash”, black into cracks only. 35 mins.
Total for day: 95 minutes

Day 4:
Glazing (part 1): red details and blue cockpit glazing – 30 mins

Day 5:
Glazing (part 2): grey/white, propellers – 25 mins.

Day 6:
Repair after unfortunate feline encounter – 5 mins
Shading correction on propellers – 10 mins (blending highlights more neatly)
Adding missed details: 10 mins (armaments) due to mistake and fix.
Reapply wash to propeller and a few details to deepen the shadows for contrast: 10 mins
Paint base: brown craft paint – 2 mins
Total for day: 37 minutes

Day 7:
Final blending on propellers and obsessive unnecessary corrections and highlights: 30 mins
Drybrush (white): 23 mins
Drybrush (steel): 2 mins
Stupid obsessing over the propellers: 15 mins
Basing: 5 mins (if that). Just flocking, a little bush and some pebbles.
Total for day: 45 minutes

Day 8:
Satin varnish applied via airbrush: 7 minutes
Gloss Varnish brushed on cockpit: 1 minute
Total for day: 8 mins

Grand Total: 302 minutes or just over 5 hours.

Based on this, I'd venture to guess that a Battletech model takes me about 4 hours if I go all out.

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