Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Shelf of Shame

In my miniatures cabinet, somewhere between the army display shelf and terrain storage, lies the Shelf of Shame.™ Every modeller has one, and you all know what I'm talking about– The place where half-finished projects languish in a state of limbo, hoping to one day regain the attention of their creator, who has abandoned them to this state of perpetual purgtory for reasons beyond their understanding.

I imagine it like a scene from Toy Story: On the display shelf, a full unit of grave guard practices marching in ranks and attacking in unison. Marduk the Ghoul King riles his wolves into a frenzy, all in preparation for the eventual day when a giant hand will reach into the cabinet and carry them off to war.

Meanwhile, on the Shelf of Shame, half painted and unglued knights struggle to stay in their saddles; zombies, still attached to sprues, wail in agony; and a wight king with no hands fumbles for his weapons. They look up through the glass above with a never ending desire to join the ranks of finished models.

I wonder who the "Woody" of the bunch would be. Probably the vampire standard bearer; he's fully assembled and looks pretty authoritative with that sword.

"Here he comes, guys! Stand at attention, maybe today will be the day!"

The hellsteed stops flopping around on its back, and one of knights makes a comment about having been waiting for nearly a decade. Of course, this all goes on while I'm not looking. At least, I think it does...

Working on the winged ghouls got me thinking about all of the unfinished projects I have for my Vampire Counts army. And, yes, some of them have literally been there for years, having been packed up and unpacked through multiple address changes.

I think it's about time I finished some of these. My buddy and I are talking about having a super-sized throw down, hopefully before the end of the year, and it would be nice to bring some newly painted models to the table. So, this is what I'll be working on in my spare time between modeling and terrain commissions.

Legion of the Infernal Skull Project Queue

(This list isn't presented in any particular order; I'll be finishing them as time and inspiration allows.)

1. Garden of Morr

I thought this would be a quick, one or two day project but it has been sitting unpainted for about a year. (At least I took the time to prime it.) I've got to finish this before the next big terrain project comes along or it may be another year before I can get back to it.

2. The Last 10 Hellfire Knights

Nine. Years. That's how long these models have been waiting to be finished. Although in my defense, there used to be 28. These last ten are left over from the 2004 Iron Painter challenge at the Glen Burnie Battle Bunker. The challenge was to paint a1500 point army, start to finish, in 24 hours. While I didn't complete a single model, I was able to knock out a significant portion of the painting. I've been picking away at these guys ever since, slowly adding them to the ranks of completed knights. When they're finally finished, what had begun as a pair of small 6-man units will be rounded out to an entire legion of 40 Hellfire Knights. The horses are already done, and I only need to paint the riders.

3. Toht Nhemisis, Mounted Necromancer

My army list for the painting challenge consisted of 28 black knights, 20 dire wolves, and this mounted version of my necromancer Toht Nhemisis. The wolves have already been finished. Once I knock out those ten knights and this guy, I can finally call it done. After nine years. That's abysmal.

4. Hellsteed

This is a project I started while I was out in Seattle. The hellsteed is based on a plastic Bretonnian pegasus knight, with some plastic skeleton steed parts and a lot of sculpting. The wings are from a Warmaster wyvern and the head is from the Red Duke's horse.

I've been collecting the plastic vampire parts from terrorgheist kits, in the hope of scratch-building a unit of Blood Knights. I'll think I'll use one of those to build a new vampire character to ride the hellsteed. Maybe this could even become the mounted version of Dimitri Von Koss.

5. Oren Koth, Mounted Battle Standard Bearer

My wight king army standard bearer is converted from a classic Blood Dragon vampire miniature. The blister pack had come with both mounted and infantry versions of the same character. I've had the one on foot finished for quite some time, and a couple years ago I decided to convert the mounted version. With a little sculpting and a horse from the plastic Empire General kit, he's ready to go. I keep putting off painting this guy, but now that the black knights are nearing completion, I think it will be nice to have a mounted battle standard bearer to accompany them.

6. Vampire Battle Standard Bearer

I really like the Konrad Von Carstein model and its cloak of bats. With his arms cut off, the figure is open for some unique posing, and it struck me that I could easily turn this model into a third version of my battle standard, this time carried by a vampire.

My plan was to use some of the smaller Warmaster fell bats to expand his cloak, but all of them went into my bat swarms. I'll have to track down some more before I can finish this model.

7. Corpse Cart Conversion

This project fell by the wayside after the rules update meant the model's ability to negatively affect enemy wizards was no longer cumulitave with multiple carts. (I had planned to put five of these things on the table! How's -5 to enemy spell casting sound?) 

It's still a fantastic model, however, and I particularly like this conversion using all manner of Chaos spiky bits and carrion birds. It's already about halfway painted, so I should be able to finish this off pretty quickly. (Famous last words, right?)

8. Terrorgheist

I completed the assembly for this monster back in April but I keep putting off painting him. Maybe if I work on the terrorgheist's base and the Garden of Morr as a single terrain project, I can knock out two birds with one stone. Then I'll just have the beast itself to worry about.

9. Three More Vindicators

Because why take one when the campaign rules allow for an extra heavy support slot? Like the black knights, these tanks are left over from my time in Glen Burnie and have been waiting for almost nine years to be painted. I won't be getting to them any time soon, but the new space marine codex is out, so who knows?

10. Winged Ghouls

I'm sure "Woody" Von Koss tried to be open and friendly when the winged ghouls showed up. I can't imagine the black knights being very welcoming, though. Fortunately, most of the models on the shelf are in too much of a state of disassembly to to cause any trouble. The knights are almost finished, however... And those Vindicator tanks are fully operational!

Now, I can't say for certain how it occurred, but one of the ghouls was knocked over when I came into the studio this morning. Being the new kid on the block is difficult enough, but on the Shelf of Shame it's like Thunderdome when your back is turned. I really need to get painting before these guys get their asses kicked.

'Til next time!


  1. Suddenly my own sad and half-painted miniatures don't feel so bad. My destroyer has only been waiting a year or so, but my own corpse cart had been there, on the painting shelf, about ahem, three or four years now...

  2. The toy story anology is perfect! I think any miniature game has a shelf of shame, and I know my shelf makes your shelf look simple by comparison. Recently a gaming buddy and I each started up a list of projects on Kanbanflow.com to help keep us on track with our projects. So far it's been motivating, but there is always that "oooh shiny!" effect that new models have on the shelf of shame, but I've actually dug out some projects that sadly were still in boxes to work on. Great article!

  3. "New Shiny" is why I've decided to take stock in all the unfinished projects. I need to finish off some of these if I ever want to build my Mortis Engine, Hexwraiths, Vargheists, or more ghouls. (In addition to the winged ghouls, I've still got a bag of about 40 "regular" metal ghouls to build and paint.)

  4. One of the worst feelings is having models in the box get replaced by new versions. It's the dilema of "do I build the old or buy the new..."

    1. I'm in the same boat with the skeletons. The new ones don't match the scale of the old plastic skeletons, and don't even have any definition in their teeth. I can't mix 'n' match them with my other skellies so I'll have to rely on the Tomb Kings kits for building more skeletons.

  5. I fight new shiny syndrome and only buy something once I finished painting something else. My shelf of shame only has 4 models left in it now since I learned more self-control. I know it's super hard being a hobbyist and putting a damper on the "collecting" gene. CONTROL THE URGES!!!

  6. The Shelf of Shame - love it!

    My shelf of shame also includes a Garden of Morr -- although at least I got the individual tombs all done. However, I decided to use the walls to make a cemetery, and bogged down after assembling the entire thing. Painting all that metal ironwork was just so-o-o boring.

    There's also the odd unit that was supposed to be part of a larger project that never got any further. The unit themselves are finished, but nothing else. Such as the unit of 3 Minotaurs, after which I decided that I didn't want a Beastmen army after all.

  7. I LOVE this Hellsteed. What an amazing idea =) ... I think I yoink that ;)




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